So Great A Salvation

At the naval training center a boot camp instructor shouted, "You'll listen to me or pay the consequences."  The seaman recruits smirked thinking, "Yeah?  I'll listen only when I want to listen."  The instructor continued, "Today you'll be spending some time in the gas chamber.  I'm going to tell you the proper way to wear your gas mask."  Everybody listened.

The Bible asks an important and sobering question: "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" Hebrews 2:3.  Salvation?  Wake up!  The neglect of salvation reaps terrible consequences, which are sadly ignored by most people.

Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13, 14.  Those who are unsaved "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord...." 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

Salvation is God's way of escape from sin's condemnation and eternal destruction.  What is this way of escape?  How can we be saved?

Ephesians 2:1-10 clearly sets forth the biblical doctrine of salvation.  It presents the need of salvation, the way of salvation, and the result of salvation.  Pay attention.  There is something worse than the gas chamber.

The Need of Salvation

According to Acts 4:12, "we must be saved."  But why is salvation necessary?

First, you need to be saved because you are "dead in trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1.  Dead?  Yes.  This death is a spiritual death.  Your sin has separated you from God.  You need to be made alive.

Second, you need to be saved because of the way you live.  You are a slave of sin, captive to the world, the flesh, and the devil.  You walk "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan)...fulfilling the desires of the flesh." Ephesians 2:2, 3.

Third, you need to be saved, or you will experience the wrath of God.  Those who are "the sons of disobedience" are also "by nature children of wrath."  The wrath of God abides on those who are unsaved.  Ephesians 2:1-3 presents a dark picture of those who are unsaved, deserving nothing but God's wrath.

The Way of Salvation

You deserve to die, and suffer the consequences of your sins.  But the Lord has no delight in the death of the wicked.  In fact He "desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4.  Only God can meet your need.  There are three things that you should know about Him.

First, He is "rich in mercy."  Being the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth, we know that He isn't a pauper.  The cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him.  One thing of which He has an abundance is mercy.  He has enough mercy for everyone.  His riches in mercy are not showered on Himself.  His mercy is extended to sinful men and women.

Second, He is great in love.  "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (or atoning sacrifice) for our sins." 1 John 4:10.  Jesus died for you, for your sins, in your place.  Since sinners are spiritually dead with nothing to commend them to God, the giving of His Son reveals the greatness of His love for you.  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.

Third, He is abounding in grace.  God in His mercy doesn't give us what we deserve; in His grace He does give us what we don't deserve.  Salvation is God's greatest gift and man's greatest need.  God in grace has provided a way for you to be saved.  He has graciously done His part.

But what is your part in salvation?  What do you have to do to be saved?

First, there must be an abandonment of works as a contributing factor in your salvation.  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us...." Titus 3:5.  Salvation is "not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:9.

Second, there must be an acknowledgement of your need of salvation.  Before you can be saved you have to realize that you are lost.  "God...now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man (Jesus Christ) whom He has ordained." Acts 17:30, 31.

Third, there must be an acceptance of salvation by faith.  "For by grace you have been saved by faith, and that now of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8.  God gives, and man receives.  God provides by grace, and man appropriates by faith.  He saves us when we trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our personal Savior.

We aren't saved because we pray earnestly, or repent sorrowfully, or sign some pledge card legibly.  When we believe God's promise, and put our faith in the Savior that He has freely given, we are saved.

The Result of Salvation

What happens when we are saved?  What is the result of our salvation?

First, we are made alive.  "Even when we were dead in trespasses, (He) made us alive...." Ephesians 2:5.  We receive God's gift of eternal life.  This is not just a long life, but also a new life.  We are born of the Spirit, born from above, born again.  "We know that we have passed from death to life...." 1 John 3:14.  We are no longer spiritually dead, but rather are spiritually alive, no longer separated from God.

Second, we are identified with the Lord Jesus in His death, resurrection, and exaltation.  This is a wonderful truth of which many Christians are not aware.  The key word in Ephesians 2 is "together."  You should know that God "made us alive together with Christ..., and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:5, 6.  Believers have a new life, power, and position in the Lord.

Since the believer has been raised together with Christ, he should "seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." Colossians 3:1.

Third, "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works." Ephesians 2:10.  Those who are saved are "a new creation." Galatians 6:15.  "Workmanship" (Greek, poiema) denotes a work of poetry or a masterpiece.  God doesn't make junk.

Christians are created in Christ Jesus "for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10.  God has prepared a path of good works for believers, which He will perform in and through them as they walk by faith.  Works never produce salvation.  Good works are evidence of our faith in Him.

Are you saved?  Have you passed from death to life?  Are you a new creature in Jesus Christ?  He died and rose again to become your Savior.  To neglect Him is to reject Him.  He is willing and able to save you.  Accept Him as your personal Savior today.

 
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