Brethren Archive

The Salvation of God.

by Colonel Sydney Long Jacob

BEING what we are, poor selfish creatures, we always begin to view every matter in the way in which we are affected thereby.  This is inevitable under the circumstances, but unless a change of view is effected in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we never make much progress, soon cease to grow and then deteriorate, for this is selfishness, while Christianity is love, and selfishness always defeats itself.
Now what we need to learn is this, that God has far more at stake than we have.  God has made a beautiful creation, and matters have gone very wrong therein.  Sin (the rebellion of Satan and his hosts and the revolt of the human race) has assailed the character of God, damaged this fair creation, and wrought appalling havoc therein, so that the whole creation groans, while death triumphs.
What is God doing meanwhile?  The believer can answer, and no one else.  To all others, the riddle has no solution; it seems as if God were powerless, so that the philosopher has to fall back on the idea that all this state of things was inevitable, and unless evolution or some other dream of men can effect something, all is hopeless, and truly, apart from the Christian revelation, all is hopeless for the creature.
Blessed be God, all is well.  God cannot be defeated; He cannot but be right in all that He has done.  This is God's righteousness.  He has His remedy for every wrong; this is God's salvation.  Well may we rejoice and be glad, for though this is the time of the mystery of God (Rev. x. 7) during which evil is allowed to seem triumphant for the time being, yet we know that in the end, God's character must be vindicated before the whole universe, which will then be filled with His praise, while His glory shall fill the heavens and the earth, righteousness flood the scene, and the love of God have all its desire.
This is most blessed, but this is not all, for not only are we certain of all this, to the immense comfort and relief of our hearts, but we have the earnest of it all even now. We know the One who has been here for the glory of God, who has met Satan, sin and death, and has overcome.  We know Him, we are associated with Him, we are of Him, and by the Spirit given, we have present entrance into that which is to be manifested in the day of glory which is fast approaching.  This is Christianity, and it is wonderful indeed.
The fathers died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  This was indeed blessed, but we have so much more, for we enter into and enjoy and know by the Spirit now, that which the fathers so ardently looked forward to but were then so far off from.
Beloved reader, see that you miss not your present most blessed portion.  It is dishonouring to Christ for the believer to-day, to go back to Old Testament ground.
Now to go a little more into detail.  The first mention of salvation in Scripture is in Gen. xlix. 18.  "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Jehovah."  Note that it is Jehovah's salvation.  The Patriarch had been speaking of the troubles of the last days, and doubtless the adder is a figure of the Antichrist.  Then he falls back on the assurance of Jehovah's victory and triumph over that and every other enemy and says he has waited for it.  There is nothing selfish in this, he is longing for Jehovah's salvation, while he knows that will be salvation for himself, and for all the people of God.
The second mention of salvation is in Exod. xiv. 13, where Moses says, "Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah, which He will show you to-day."  It was Jehovah who had the controversy with Pharaoh and with Egypt.  Jehovah was going to fight the battle for His own glory's sake.  It was when Jehovah had triumphed, not till then that singing could break forth and Moses and the children of Israel could sing this song: "I will sing unto Jehovah, for He hath triumphed gloriously. . . . Jehovah is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation." How beautiful it is thus to find our salvation in God's!  It brings into far higher blessing than when we are thinking about ourselves first.  How often do the prophets speak of the salvation of Jehovah and how often is it linked with His righteousness.  It is most interesting to trace out these two thoughts; we have no room here for more than a few instances.
In Isa. li. 5, 6, 8, we get (Jehovah is the speaker): "My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth . . . My salvation shall be for ever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished . . . My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation." This is what gave strength to the prophets; they looked at every question as one between Jehovah and the enemy, and found their blessing in the way in which Jehovah maintained His own glory.  Then Isa. lii. 7 shows us clearly what this salvation is: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
How much better it would be to-day if preachers would ever remember to preach, not merely benefit to man, but the grand theme of God's victory over every enemy.
The prophets understood this well, so Isaiah, having established Jehovah's righteousness and Jehovah's salvation, can go on to Jerusalem's righteousness and Jerusalem's salvation, as he, speaking by the Spirit of Christ, identifies himself with Jehovah's triumph and rejoices in Jerusalem's blessing.  (See Isa. li. 10, 11, and lii. 1, 2.)
One more quotation from Psalm xcviii. 1-4, which emphasizes the same thought, "O sing unto Jehovah a new song; for He hath done marvellous things; His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.  Jehovah hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen.  He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."
Is not this magnificent, dear reader?  Have you entered into it?
How well Simeon understood.  He takes the babe Jesus in his arms, and blesses God, saying, "Lord (i.e., Jehovah), now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation."
What had he seen?  With his bodily eyes he saw a babe in flesh and blood, but with the eyes of faith, he saw the One who would fight all God's battles, and overcome every enemy, and bring in unspeakable blessing.  Jehovah's salvation was for him wrapt up in that babe and was the pledge of the accomplishment of every promise and of the glory of the coming kingdom.
Again, in Luke iii. 6, we are told that "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."  In the passage in Isa. xl. 5, which is herein quoted, the expression is "the glory" (not salvation) "of Jehovah"; this makes it clear that Christ is the salvation of God, and that this salvation is the basis of all the glory.
Therefore, it is that the Apostle Paul says the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles. (Acts xxviii. 28.)  What does he mean?  He means the story of God's triumph in the resurrection and in the glory of Christ.  This is the salvation of God in the present day, though manifested to some extent now in the victory and power given to the saints, and to be openly shown to all in a future day in the coming out of Christ from Heaven in power and great glory to reign for God.
The last mention of salvation is in Rev. xix. 1, for, when God has judged the great whore and avenged the blood of His servants at her hand, then the great voice of much people in Heaven is heard saying: "Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God."  If His is the glory, and honour, and power it is because His is the salvation, the triumph, and the victory.
Unless this be the case, unless He absolutely triumphs over every enemy, and unless the victory be such that more glory be gotten to Him thereby than if sin had never come in, then salvation were impossible for any creature, but, blessed be God, it is all this and much more than this, and we know it in the glory of the Man Christ Jesus, by the power of the Spirit which He has sent down.  Well may we rejoice.
II. Our Salvation.
IN a former article we sought to show how God had infinitely more at stake in this evil world than we have.  We can only lose our souls, but if God could be defeated, His character would be gone and blessing impossible in any spot of the universe.
Secondly, that the remedy is in what Scripture calls God's righteousness and God's salvation.  How great then, must be the remedy, seeing it worthily clears God's character, and turns apparently terrible defeat into glorious victory.
This being the case, and seeing also that God's salvation is our salvation, for His enemies are our enemies and His triumph involves ours, how great must be the salvation which is ours as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Beloved reader, do learn this side of the blessing if you would be blest indeed.  How paltry are the current thoughts on this subject.
With all reverence, we say it, our blessed Lord Himself, who knew no sin, experienced salvation.  The prophetic Word put in His mouth is, "Save Me from the lion's mouth, for thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns." (Ps. xxii. 21.)  And afterwards it is written, "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him who was able to save Him from (out of) death and was heard in that He feared." (Heb. v. 7.)
Again, in Ps. xx. 6, it is written, “Now know I that the Lord saveth His anointed (Christ); He will hear Him from His holy Heaven with the saving strength of His right hand"; and in Ps. xxi. 1: "The King shall joy in Thy strength, O Lord, and in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice."
How it enlarges our thoughts about salvation to see Christ as King greatly rejoicing in Jehovah's salvation, which is therefore, His, as He triumphs over every enemy. How great the meaning in this word salvation.  It is translated in many ways in our English Bible: help, 2 Sam x. 11; welfare, Job xxx. 15; deliverance, Ps. xviii. 50; safety, Ps. xii. 5; saving strength (literally the strength of the salvation), Ps. xx. 6; victory, 2 Sam. xix.2; saving health, Ps. lxvii. 2; health, Ps. xliii. 5; and Acts xxvii. 34. It includes all these thoughts and far more.  It is so vast that it embraces the thought of ultimate triumph over evil of every description, and the bringing in of all that is good in its place, while there is involved in it for us the deliverance from every bad or defective thing, be it a state of sin or the coming wrath, a bad temper or an evil thought.
It must do away with every infirmity, change my body of humiliation and remove every weakness we inherit from Adam.  How wonderfully great and far-reaching it necessarily is; as to its fulness, it must be future, seeing it will remove all sin and defect within, and produce a scene of exquisite glory and order without, so that there shall be no enemy any longer to assail.  We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, (I Peter i. 5.)
Let us then, while looking forward to the fulness yet to be revealed, make no excuses for our present failures.  The reason we fail is that we do not take advantage of what is provided for us in the great salvation.  Christ has triumphed, our enemies are beaten foes, all power is with our Lord, and the Holy Spirit within makes our Lord's power available every moment.  We fail because we leave the place of dependence and do not avail ourselves of His power.  How pitiful when we limit salvation to the idea of ultimate blessing after death or the coming of Christ, while at the present time, we are continually being overcome by sin instead of being of those who overcome by faith through the blood of the Lamb and the Word of His testimony.
Seeing then, that salvation means so much, it will be apparent that each epistle which treats of salvation (and all do so, though the Word is not in all) will deal with a special aspect of it, according to the theme which engages the inspired writer.  We will briefly look at some of these.
In the epistles to the Thessalonians, everything is referred to the coming of the Lord; He is our Deliverer from the coming wrath (I Thess. i. 10).  Our helmet is the hope of salvation, for God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. v. 8, 9), and God hath from the beginning, chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thess. ii. 13). In the meantime, a present power is working in us that we may walk worthy of God who has called us to His kingdom and glory (I Thess. ii. 12).
In the epistle to the Romans, we are not taken off the earth, nor spoken of as quickened with Christ, but we are justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; we have a blessed standing and a sure hope of glory (Rom. v. 1, 2).  Yet this epistle does not say that we are saved: we shall be saved from wrath through Him, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. v. 9, 10).  Therefore, we are not spoken of as actually saved here, but saved by (or rather in) hope; but hope that is seen is not hope (chap. viii. 24), and now is our salvation nearer than when we believed (chap. xiii. 11; see also chap. x. 10-13).  In the meantime, we have a great portion of salvation, for we have the Spirit, and blessed are we, when we learn to say, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (chap. viii. 2).  Blessed it is to be in Christ, not in Adam, in the Spirit, not in the flesh, and to have the power now to live to God and to present our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice for the Spirit is life, because (or on account) of righteousness.  Thus, though the full salvation is future, yet we have the power thereof that we may live.
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we see the purpose of God; here it is all God's side, we are saved clean out of the earth and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. ii. 4-6.)  All is complete here in the light of purpose.  Therefore, the helmet is no longer the hope of salvation, as in Thessalonians, but the helmet of salvation, for we have to fight God's battles with wicked spirits in the heavenlies and need all the armour (Eph. vi. 12-17).
In the Epistle to the Philippians, we have the experiences of the heavenly man on the earth in most trying circumstances.  The Apostle is in prison, everything seems to go wrong, but to him, all is right; he can say, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." (Phil. i. 19.)  Here salvation seems to be soul prosperity, soul health and spiritual welfare, betokened by the many enemies (Phil. i. 28), and something to be worked out in result, not looking to man but unto God, who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Phil. ii. 12-13.)
In I Tim., Timothy is told to save himself and those that hear him (chap. iv. 16).  This is the daily preservation from evil we all so much need.
In II. Tim., we again get the purpose of God, so we are saved, and called with a holy calling according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (chap. i. 9); yet, strange to say, the Apostle endures all things for the elect's sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (chap. ii. 10).  Thus, the purpose of God does not make a soul careless, nor the one who ministers to him careless, but stirs up to intensity of desire, that all may get that to which they are called even now.
In Titus, the grace of God, which carries with it, salvation for all men, has appeared (chap. ii. 11); but we are saved here by the inward work of the Spirit, (i.e.), the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (chap. iii. 5) from the impiety and worldly lusts in which we were involved.  This aspect, therefore, must never be forgotten.  Unless there is a work of God in us, all done for us, were in vain.
In Hebrews we are pilgrims in the wilderness.  Salvation is not presented here by the Saviour dying on the Cross, but by Him as the High Priest, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him (chap. vii. 25).  Here salvation is from all the perils of the way by reason of our infirmities, for Christ will appear a second time without sin unto salvation (chap. ix. 28), and we must not forget so great salvation, which the Lord began to speak of and which was confirmed to us by those that heard Him (chap. ii. 3).
Space does not allow our considering other interesting epistles which bear on the subject; the reader can work these out for himself. The subject is a vast one, and the desire in these two articles has been to call attention to the immensity of salvation on God's side, and the greatness of it on our side, so that we all may be deeply exercised to enter as far as possible into the vast blessings thereof, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that God in all things may be glorified.  May we increasingly desire to answer to the thoughts of God.  S. L. J. 
“Words of Grace and Encouragement” 1909


Add Comment: