TO YOU, my friends, who do not yet know the way of salvation, it is my desire to have you journey with me along the pathway that leads to glory. As we journey, may God, by His grace, make known to you the riches of the glory of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Saviour.
THE WAY OF GOD'S SPIRIT.
Perhaps, at times, even from childhood. when hearing the Word of God, you may have felt a magnetic power drawing you toward Christ. But then, you may have thought that childhood, like vanity, is filled with illusions.
Moreover, in later years, perhaps during your teens, your twenties or thirties, when you heard the message of salvation, you felt as though you were being won over to it. But even then, you failed to realize that it was the spirit of God drawing you to Christ. At first, you may have felt disposed to put it off - even to ignore it. Yet, somehow, you felt unable to shake off such an over-powering influence.
The truth of the matter is, that God was really at work in your heart; God's holy spirit was revealing His Son in you - Gal. 1:16. The time was ripe for you to become acquainted with Him and to embark on the pathway to glory. Presently, looking back over the years, you may perceive that your experience in childhood was a preparation - a sort of softening-up period - for the time when you would recognize Jesus as your Saviour, and that, after all, there is a vital connection between your experience in childhood and that in your mature years.
As a matter of fact, gently, patiently, kindly, considerately, God has been dealing with you through the years with a view of bringing you to Himself. While you did not rebel against His overtures, you simply kept putting off the matter of salvation. Never-the-less, when trials seemed to overwhelm you, you did somehow think of God's goodness and favor in your life. You may have had some unpleasant experiences, too, and even resolved to make a change in your life. But all this was God working in you to show you your need of Christ, the Saviour, who died for all.
WHY DID GOD GIVE HIS SON FOR US?
The reason why God gave His Son for us, is that the very first man, Adam, committed an act of disobedience to God's Word, thereby involving the whole of the human race which sprang from him. Naturally, all of us partake of his nature and the penalty imposed on him - "Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came through into all mankind on which all sinned" (Rom. 5 :12). Regardless of our position in life, we are sinners by birth, certainly, not by choice. So then, God sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us from sin and death.
Our Lord Jesus gave His life for the salvation of mankind, therefore, sin and its effects will be repudiated - "Yet now, once, has He been manifested through His sacrifice, for the repudiation of sin at the conclusion of the eons" (Heb. 9 :26). Actually, His saving grace is now being applied to all those who are called to salvation; and still, there is power in the blood of Christ to correct the havoc wrought by sin now, and in the eons (ages) to come. Sin, death, and Satan will not then triumph as in the past, and at the present moment, for Christ died and conquered them all. It is only a matter of time, when He shall be placing all His enemies under His feet. So then, the saving grace of God will reach every man in due time.
HOW MAY I RECEIVE SALVATION?
The answer to this question is so wonderfully simple, that it may be difficult to believe. While in another administration, "forgiveness" or "pardon" of offenses may have been had on the basis of works; in this present administration, salvation, which is not to be confused with "forgiveness" is received in a somewhat different way; that is, "according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). The righteousness - (salvation) - which is of faith is given on this wise: - "In Whom - [Christ] - you also - when hearing the Word of truth, the evangel of your salvation - in Whom, when believing . . . " Let me pause a moment to point out that from this statement, it may be seen that no amount of praying, or confessing, or any of man's deadly-doing can avail in the matter of one's salvation. It is not a case of "DO," but "DONE," for the benefits of the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ become ours. And note a further statement in the text; - "in Whom (Christ) when believing also," mark you, not, "tarrying for," not, "speaking in tongues," not, being "baptized in water," as evidences of salvation, but believing you are - (taking place at the same time) - Sealed with the holy spirit of promise (Eph. 1 :13-14). So then, the saving and sealing are yours simply by believing.
BUT SUPPOSE I CAN'T BELIEVE?
To believe, is to have faith in; to rely upon. It is part of our being. There is not a man who exists without some natural faith. Such faith is common to man. In fact, the experience is so common, it would be like asking, "How can I breathe? for if I do not breathe, I am not alive. Natural man and natural faith go hand in hand. However, the believing with which we are concerned, is not the natural inherited sense of trust; but that which is supernatural - God given. It is a special kind of faith - "Jesus Christ's faith" that comes to all and upon all who are believing (Rom. 3 :22). Our salvation is, "of faith, in order to accord with grace (Rom. 4 :16)". We are ". . . saved through faith for grace, and this is naught of yours; it is God's oblation, not of works, lest anyone should be boasting" (Eph. 2 :8-9). With respect to salvation, the truth is, that human effort is ruled out entirely, for faith to believe in the finished work of the Cross is the gift of God. Every one who is saved can truly testify to this truth.
THE CRUEL CROSS
The whole scheme of our Lord's crucifixion was enacted by Satan and his cohorts for the destruction and consequent elimination of Jesus the Saviour of the whole world. But, God intended this diabolical scheme - with its resultant tragedy - to accomplish His purpose for the good of all His creatures, even those who perpetrated this heinous act.
Yet, His death became the most sublime incident in the universe, and by far, the most breath-taking, because of its place in the purpose of God. Thank God, Christ came out of the ordeal triumphantly. "He has the keys of death and hades" (Rev. 1:18).
By heavenly design, the Cross of shame is transformed into something respectable, yea, glorious and of inestimable value. It is something not to be ashamed of, but rather, to glory in. The Apostle Paul states the matter accurately when he says, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6 :14). The provision for the salvation of all mankind is therefore complete. At the present time, salvation is an election - a calling. God is not at a loss to save anyone now, or in the future - a truth which is indisputably taught in the Scriptures. But no one is saved, unless he comes to God through Christ, and no one can come to Christ, unless he is drawn by Him (John 6 :44). God, then, is Master of the entire situation, in every sense of the word. He is the Saviour of all.
A CONCLUDING WORD
The more excellent way of helping you in seeking the way of salvation would be to bring to your attention - and recollection, the very early promptings, and later, the strong pull of the spirit - if such there were - as evidence of God's operation. To be sure, once you have experienced the spirit of God making its home in you - which comes not by praying, or by confessing, or by tarrying, but by God's grace, which is wholly unearned, unsolicited - you certainly will know your place in the family of God (Rom. 8 :16-17).
If, however, you feel this drawing-power, this pull on the heart (as it were) of God's spirit in your life drawing you to Christ, then you may have good reason to believe that you are among the chosen of God. It is written: "For whoever are being led by God's spirit, these are sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). On the other hand, if you do not feel this drawing power, this, of course, does not mean that you are entirely out of God's favor as is sometimes said, "eternally lost and without hope," (a statement not found in the Scriptures), for God has made provision for all. There is no one really lost to God; for, note "the lost things" in Luke 15, were not permanently lost, but only temporarily displaced, even the "lost son" found a loving father. How could anyone be everlastingly lost to God the Creator of all when everything, and everyone in life or death - is open before His eyes. If earth's millions are lost - out of God's reach - who then would be the victor, God or Satan? Is Satan stronger than God?
But someone will say, although God has provided salvation for the sinner, who is a free moral agent, it's up to him to exercise his own will in the matter, for God will save no one against his will.
This argument sounds most conclusive were it not for the clear teaching of the Scriptures which give us a concrete example of God's method of saving man in this day of grace. Consider the case of Saul of Tarsus, and answer. Could ever a man more madly do all in his power against Christ and His people? Saul's religion made him the chief of sinners, Christ's bitterest enemy; but did all his opposition to God and his bitterness to Christ win out over God's intention? Oh, No! For the record in Acts 9 speaks for itself of that salvation which is of grace - grace alone, without human will, works, or wealth.
By Divine design, God had chosen Saul in Christ eons before his birth and in due time called him - even against his will, while on the road to Damascus. There, suddenly a light - brighter than the noon-day sun - flashed about him, and falling down to earth, he hears a voice saying unto him, "Saul, Saul, why art thou persecuting Me?" It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Yes, "the grace of God over-whelmed him, with faith and love in Christ" (1 Tim. 1:2-16), even as it does all believers today. God's purpose of the eons (ages) is to eventually save and reconcile all intelligent creatures by means of instructions and disciplinary measures, which He will institute at the Great White Throne Judgment. Consequently, all will have come to a knowledge of the truth, and a realization of God - as He should be in their lives - God of love, of wisdom and of grace, determined to bless all His creatures to the full with infinite joy, peace and endless happiness.
This, then, my friend, is the story of the pathway that leads to glory. I sincerely trust that you will treasure this golden nugget of truth passed on to you and that God will use it to His honor and glory, and to your good. May you too, dear reader, feel the power of His presence as you read these lines. Believe from the heart, confess (Him) with you lips, and thou shall be saved (Rom. 10:9-10).
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