Things That Accompany Salvation
SALVATION is of grace alone, without works or anything that we can give or do. Yet we must not forget that there are "things that accompany salvation" which it is our responsibility as believers in Christ to give heed to. Let us ever remember that the grace that has brought salvation to us (Titus 2. 11), TEACHES US "that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
SOBERLY teaches us that "whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10. 31). "That He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5. 15).
RIGHTEOUSLY signifies that Christians should regard the claims of their neighbours; "rendering to every man his due." That "whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report" (Phil. 4. 8) are to be thought of. That they are to "owe no man anything"; and see to it that in business there are "just balances, weights, ephah, and hin" (Lev. 19. 36), and that their words are as good as their bonds. We are plainly told that God meant His people to be separate from the world, a peculiar people, "zealous of good works." That they are "the salt of the earth, and the light of the world" (Matt. 5. 13, 14).
GODLY reminds us that we are to live not for ourselves but to God. We want to realise that the great business of our lives is "to glorify God in our bodies, and in our spirits, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6. 20), making business, pleasure, and everything else subordinate to that. Then we shall fulfil the grand purpose of God in our new creation in Christ Jesus.
THE WORD OF GOD is to be the believer's daily companion and guide. "As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2. 2). "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Col. 3. 16). "Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jer. 15. 14). "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psa. 119. 105). No believer who neglects the Word will make progress in the Divine life, much less those who read novels and light reading which deprave the spiritual appetite. "God and the Word of His grace alone can strengthen and build the new life which believers have received at their new birth. Our obligation is to hold fast every jot and tittle of that Word and to esteem God's precepts concerning all things to be right, hating every false way (Psalm 119. 128). The Word of God is made of none effect by the traditions of men (Mark 7. 13), therefore we must reject that tradition as of any authority whatsoever, and yield implicit obedience to the Lord alone.
The great principle of the believer's life is to be OBEDIENCE TO THE LORD JESUS. 1 Samuel 15. 22 declares that "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." Our Lord Jesus said, "If a man love Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him" (John 14. 23); and again, in John 15. 14, we read, "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you"; and in John 13. 17, He also says, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Again, in Luke 11. 28, "Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." The Word of God, not the traditions of men, is to be the Christian's guide, and he manifests his love to the Lord Jesus and his obedience to God by walking in all the paths marked out for him in that Word. It is not enough to say, "Lord, Lord!" It is the DOING of the will of God that proves we are truly His disciples.
SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD is plainly shown to be the believer's position. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17. 16). Given to Him out of the world by the Father (John 17. 6), delivered from the present evil world, by the Cross (Gal. 1. 3), crucified to it and it to us (Gal. 6. 14), we are to be unto God a peculiar people, not walking as other Gentiles, but as strangers here, not conformed to this world (Rom. 12. 2); we are to be a "peculiar people, shining as lights amid the world's darkness" (Phil. 2. 15). Alas! how much this has been forgotten by many, with the result that they have become like Lot in Sodom, mixed up with the world's politics and reformation schemes, spending their time and energy in making better, whose end is to be burned.
UNEQUAL YOKES with the unconverted are forbidden by the Lord, in marriage (1 Cor. 7. 39), in business (2 Cor. 6. 14-18), and in religion (2 Tim. 3. 5). The friendship of the world is enmity with God (James 4. 4), and how can two walk together except they be agreed? (Amos 3. 3). The vast majority of those who profess to be the Lord's are so mixed up in association with the ungodly that their lights are extinguished, and they themselves lulled to sleep in the world's lap, pleading excuses for their position that they will be ashamed of at the judgment-seat of Christ.
FELLOWSHIP WITH THE UNCONVERTED is forbidden in the Word of God. If any at their conversion are found in association with the religious or irreligious world, the Word of the Lord to such is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (2 Cor. 6. 17). "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5. 11). Nothing sooner causes the fine gold to become dim and the first love to decline than companionship or fellowship with those who are without Christ. There can be nothing in common between one who is alive in Christ and those who are dead in sins, and consequently, when the believer is mixed up with such, he soon sinks down to find his satisfaction in things that the carnal mind can enjoy. Alas! how many who once were bright and happy have lost their joy and become backsliders through the influence of their associations.