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Vital Church Truths
by R.J. Anderson
Chapter Two-How to be Saved
The most important of all questions is "What must I do to be saved?" Paul answered it by saying, to a penitent sinner, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). That is all a penitent sinner can do. This man gave evidence of repentance. Salvation is certainly through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and a personal, definite experience that trusts everything one hundred per cent in the merit of the sacrifice Christ made, when He bore our sin in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pet. 2:24). The blood and nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin. This truth is stated in 1 John 1:7, "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." That blood, indeed, cleanses from all sin past, present and future.
The individual who thinks his good works, his high morality, his culture, his sacrifices, his tears, his baptism, his church membership, his giving, his service or anything else he is or does has any power to cleanse of even the smallest particle of his sin, simply does not understand the plan of Salvation. You can't be saved and trust partly in Christ and partly in self effort and the individual, who thinks his Salvation depends on the atonement Christ made plus his own works, just can't be saved.
It is our judgment both from studying God's Word and from observation that the most wide-spread false doctrine in all Christendom is the teaching that we must trust in Christ and be just as good as we can be through our own effort to be saved or that we must trust in Christ and be just as good as we can in order to stay saved.
A thorough examination of all false religions will reveal the fact, that they teach Salvation is totally or partly by good living and good works. Anyone who so teaches is a false teacher and a real enemy of the truth. It matters not how sincere he might be. If we feed deadly poison to our children, thinking it is good food, the result will be death, just as truly as if we poisoned them purposely. The fact we were sincere will not alter the effect of the error.
Certainly God's Word teaches that Christians should live holy, clean, honest, upright lives in every way. It teaches that perfection should be their goal, that they should crucify the flesh with all its lusts, that they should desire to keep their bodies clean, that whatsoever they do in word or deed should be done to the glory of God. It says they are to glorify God in their Spirit and in their body, that they are to walk in the spirit and they shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But it teaches very clearly that the saved do these things not in order to be saved or to stay saved, but in order to please and glorify the Savior, who gave Himself to save them. It also teaches they will not fully reach this high goal until they awake in His likeness in their resurrection bodies, but will be constantly laying aside every weight and the sin that besets them, that they might better run the race and better exemplify, glorify and satisfy their Lord. If the saved fail to live as a child of God should, they will be chastened for their sins of omission or commission, but not condemned to hell.
We have digressed from the subject of Salvation in the last few paragraphs because we thought it well to show that while good, works can not save us or keep us saved, they are the inevitable fruits of Salvation. When we are born into the family of God we are born with an appetite for Spiritual things just as truly as the babe born into this world has an appetite for material food.
Now let us return to the subject of Salvation. There are but two dominions in this world, Christ's and Satan's. You belong wholly to one or the other. Christ said "lie that is not for me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Christ's domain consists of all those who have been born again having exercised repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21), "Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." I also believe all dying in infancy are saved.
Satan's domain consists of all who have not exercised repentance toward God and faith toward 01.11- Lord ,Jesus Christ or all who have not been born again.
1. We should be Christ's by the right of creation. (He gave us our life.)
2. We should be Christ's by the right of provision. (He provides us with all that sustains life.)
3. We should be Christ's by right of redemption. (He died to redeem us.)
However, the human race chooses to turn from God to Satan (Rom. 1:21, 28), "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." The unsaved portion of the human race in all ages has lived in open rebellion to God's revealed will. Since the first sin of man, the battle has been fought between Satan and Christ and Satan is, indeed, the god of this world and most of the human race still choose to follow him. The natural man certainly proves how exceedingly evil he is when he will take the life God gave and the provisions God supplies and use them to serve Satan. Could anything prove more conclusively his total depravity?
Christ redeems and keeps all who wish to be delivered from Satan's domain, if they will but put their case wholly in His hands. Those who try to escape by their own power are doomed to fail. Eventually Christ will completely crush Satan and his domain and Satan with all his followers shall be cast into the lake of fire forever and ever and the earth will be purged of every trace of contamination Satan and his followers brought upon it.
In concluding this subject let us notice a few clear statements from God's Word:
1. The entire human race is declared sinful. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). "For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
2. It declares the results of sin is death and certainly this means separated from God now and eternally. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1).
3. It teaches Christ Himself died in our place, actually bearing the penalty of our sin in His own body. "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pet. 2:24). "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).
4. We become God's child by faith in Christ, trusting completely in the sacrifice He has made in our behalf on the cross. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
5. God promises to keep all who are saved. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand" (John 10:28-29). "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).
6. God's Word teaches that this new life received when we received Christ expresses itself in upright living and good works. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17).
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