Tom: Our topic for this segment Understanding the Scriptures is the gospel of salvation. And Dave, you know I think this is wonderful. We are going to be dealing with this, not just this week, but for the weeks to come because it is such an awesome doctrine. All the aspects of it are just so wonderful, because it’s what Christ has done for us. Last week we talked about the gospel, where it came from, some say today well, this was just an idea, a teaching that the people made up who followed Jesus and it’s basically man made,man produced. But we know from scripture that’s not true. 1 Peter:1:20-21 tells us he, that is Jesus, indeed “…was foreordained before the foundation of the world.”
Dave: That is, foreordained to be the sacrifice for our sins.
Dave: He’s also called “…the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.”
Tom: Right, so last week we talked about prophets. How that was a testimony, a testament to how the gospel, the Word of God had to be exactly that, had to be his Word because of prophecy. These are proofs to that affect. But it’s awesome to consider that the gospel of our salvation was in the mind and in the heart of God before creation. What we want to do is explore as much about the gospel that we can. And some very basic things: before humanity was created it was in the mind and in the heart of God. This wasn’t something that he was trying to solve. Oops, we made creation. In Genesis it tells us “it is good,” “it is good,” “it is very good” and then something went awry and now he’s got a problem of how to figure it out. That’s not what the scriptures testify to.
Tom: The other thing is, what does the gospel do? We want to get into the practical aspect of what God has done for us and how that affects us eternally; temporally. What is the gospel in terms of our lives?
Dave: Well we quoted last week Ephesians:2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved….” So it brings me into the grace of God and creates a real gratitude on my part that God would forgive me, that he would save me. “For by grace are ye saved through faith;” that causes me to believe God. Now I am trusting him. “…That not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…” so again I’m very grateful to God because he has given me a gift that I couldn’t pay for. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” So I’ve been humbled. I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing that I could do and I’m not trying to please God in order to get to heaven. I’m not trying to prove to God that sometimes people when they pray, we don’t really confess ours sins. “Lord, I’m sorry I did that but it’s almost like we’re thinking yeah, but just give me another chance Lord, and I’ll show you that that’s not the kind of guy I am.”
No, I’ve been humbled. It’s by God’s grace and by God’s mercy. It’s a gift that I couldn’t earn. But it says we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, [2 Corinthians:5:17], he’s a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I mean I can remember, oh my goodness, sixty years, coming up sixty years since I opened my heart to Christ. And I can remember like it was yesterday. There was a transformation in my life. I had been well, I am almost ashamed to admit it over the radio, but I was kind a difficult person. I had been in at least a thousand fights, probably more and this was the summer before I entered high school. I mean my life was completely changed. I remember when I stood there and let some guy hit me, because I just couldn’t in my heart—it was my fault—and I couldn’t double up my fists. And the laughter and the guys that saw that were just absolutely astonished. I remember the night that I was saved for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid to die. In fact, I almost wished that I would so I would meet the Lord that I now loved and I had just met. He had come into my heart.
So when we’re born again there’s a transformation that you can’t escape. I had a new hunger for the Word of God and a new understanding of the Word of God and a desire to tell others. It’s a complete transformation when we really meet Jesus.
Tom: We quoted this last week, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe.” And even the believe part of that, I mean that is another demonstration of God has to be involved. Because if this is something that truly we can’t do, God has to do [it] for us, then even the way in which we receive this has to be so unique that it covers everybody. From the youngest, from those with learning deficiencies, those with brain damage, those with—it cuts through all of that. All they have to do is believe and only God can bring that. One of my favorite examples out of the scriptures is the thief on the cross. What could he do tied to that cross, what could he do—?
Dave: Nailed to that cross, that’s right.
Tom: The thief was nailed?
Dave: Right, I think he was.
Tom: Do you? Okay.
Dave: Well yes, that’s what they did. That’s what crucifixion was.
Tom: But what could he do?
Dave: Well he certainly had nothing to offer to God. He didn’t even have a life. He couldn’t do any good works. But he could receive as a free gift salvation from Jesus Christ. And he apparently understood who Jesus was and that he was dying in his place for his sins.
Tom: And what does Jesus say to him? “This day…” the promise of salvation from the lips of our Lord and Savior right then and there—absolutely incredible!“This day you will be with me in paradise.” The man believed. To me, only God could come up with a solution. Not just the solution of salvation in Christ, but the method of receiving the solution. That to me was miraculous.
Dave: Not a word about Purgatory, by the way.
Tom: Not a word about baptism, by the way.
Dave: Or good deeds, or church attendance.
Dave: It was—
Tom: Or a saying, well I’m going to do better.
Tom: There’s nothing we can do except receive him.
Dave: The slate was wiped clean. He was forgiven of his sins because Christ paid that penalty. And we have to come back to that and keep coming back to that because we can become very sentimental about the physical sufferings of Christ on the cross. But thousands were crucified and suffered on crosses. That wasn’t what Jesus wept, by the way, in sweat as it were drops of blood in the garden. “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me.” Thousands were crucified and I’m sure a lot of them gritted their teeth. They wouldn’t give those Roman soldiers that were pounding those nails into their hands and feet, they wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of a whimper. They were going to go down you know, in defiance. Jesus could bear the physical pain. That wasn’t what he was concerned about. It was that he would be made—the Bible says that “He who knew no sin was made sin for us. That he would become the very thing that he hated. He would be as though he were sin itself. He would be punished for the sins of the whole world and pay the penalty that his own infinite justice demanded. And that’s what his holy soul shrank from. And that’s where our salvation comes from is through his pain and the penalty. It’s not through the physical sufferings that he suffered. And again we have to get and hammer at that because otherwise, there’s—God can’t be just and forgive us.