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From the book Living the Christ-filled Life by John Hunter. Copyright © 1969.
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Jesus Christ, My Full Salvation
by John Hunter
"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10).
We read in Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Here we have clearly stated the truth that the death of Christ was for all sinners. Verse 9 adds this further word that we were: "justified by His blood." Our sins are forgiven, they are put away, they are gone.
Many Christians know only this aspect of God's salvation. They have been to Jesus and their sins have been forgiven; they are "saved." With this limited knowledge of God's salvation they then go out to "be Christians," and no one need be surprised if very soon they are living the same kind of life they were before. They will then say they have tried religion but it failed, or, as often happens, they will make another profession of salvation to get their sins forgiven again, and go our once more into a life of inevitable failure. It is good to see that there is more than having your sins forgiven. In fact, the first two words of Romans 5:9 are these -- "Much more..."
The whole of Romans 5:9 says: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Here it is stated quite simply the fact that we shall be saved. Because my sins are put away by the blood of Christ then that which separated me from my God has been put away also, and "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). The Biblical word for this is "being reconciled." We are reconciled to God -- not God to us. We are the guilty ones; we have to be reconciled. Because we are reconciled, we shall be saved from wrath to come. There will be no Great White Throne for us, no eternal separation to a lost eternity. Instead, we have a home in heaven.
Some people are not sure about their home in heaven. They have doubts about their future salvation. This is sad because they have no assurance. They miss the point that He is my salvation. My safety does not depend upon what I keep on doing, but upon what He is.
But most Christians know Christ died for their sins and they know that they have peace with God. The load of sin is gone and a home in Heaven is sure. What happens now is perhaps the biggest tragedy in the Christian life. Having received a past and a future salvation they now set out to spend the present time fighting the fight of faith. They fight and struggle, they plot and plan, they worry and scheme, all with the best intentions of living the Christian life.
If their struggles entail suffering and hardship, they accept it as part of the price they pay as they try to gain the victory day by day. They miss the Scripture message that there is more than having their sins forgiven and having a home in heaven.
The whole verse of Romans 5:10 says: "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
Because we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Most people would say they were saved by His death, yet here it states saved by His life.
The unfortunate fact is that these words: "We shall be saved by His life" are a very poor and inadequate translation of the original Greek. A more comprehensive translation is that given in the Amplified Version: "We shall be daily delivered from sin's dominion by His resurrection life." That is the whole emphasis -- daily delivered, a glorious present tense experience. How complete is the whole sequence: Justified by His blood, reconciled by His death, and daily delivered by His life.
Matthew 1:21 says: "You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." And 1 Timothy 1:15 says "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Thus, first of all, I must realize that if I come as a sinner, if I confess my sin and recognize my need and claim Jesus Christ as my Saviour, then I can know by faith that my sins are gone.
I now recognize, according to our Scripture, that there is much more than forgiveness of sins. Because my sins have been dealt with, then I am reconciled to God, I have peace with God, and I am assured of a home in heaven.
Having identified myself with Christ in His death, I now go on to claim the present salvation that is mine through His indwelling life. How can His resurrection life give me a daily deliverance from sin's dominion? The Bible promises this. How can I make it mine?
First I must realize that when I became a Christian I was born again. I received a new LIFE, eternal life. This LIFE is Christ Himself. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). We read in Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
I John 5:12 says: "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." Jesus Christ lives in me in the power and person of His Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 says: "If anyone man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."
I now have to realize that Christ lives in me to give me daily deliverance from sin's dominion. He is the present tense of our salvation. I must prove experimentally the truth of 1 John 4:4: "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." So often as Christians we accept the fact that Christ lives in us in a casual kind of way. The attitude we show is quite academic. "Yes," we say, "Christ lives in us, the Holy Spirit lives in us -- but what difference does it make?"
We accept the fact, but deny the consequences. To our own cost we push aside the possibility of a present-tense experience of God's salvation, because we are so busy living the Christian life in our own way. We never learn by experience that we cannot gain the victory over sin. We always hope to meet the victory somehow by our own endeavors.
We believe that if we can only follow the right pattern, go to the right Church, or read the right book, then we can find the "super" experience. And all the time God has made full provision for our present salvation. Because we miss the daily deliverance, we miss the blessing of the next verse, Romans 5:11: "And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ." We never have the fullness of joy because we have either fully occupied ourselves in the struggle to do the impossible, or resigned ourselves to something which is less than God's best for us.
For so many of us our biggest problem is the present. It is good to know my sins are forgiven, and very comforting to look forward to a home in Heaven, but many Christians are mainly interested with the actual present-its problems and its defeats. Most Christians are defeated at some point in their daily living.
"The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I John 2:16) work daily havoc in the lives of God's children.
The vital truth of Christ living His life in me is the only answer to this problem.
Paul repeatedly used the phrase "Christ in me" or "In Christ." This has been called Paul's magnificent obsession, for he uses the phrase more than 170 times. Galatians 2:20 is a good example: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."
What a difference this sense of Christ's life in me ought to make in my daily living! The responsibility should roll off my shoulders. As I commit my life to Him, I would become His responsibility completely, for He not only saves but He keeps. I would know victory in my personal life where once I only knew defeat. As the sin that tempted so successfully in days past returned to the attack, I could step back in simple faith and say "Blessed Lord, this thing is too big for me; I've always given in before, but, Lord, nothing is too great for You. Please meet this for me in Your strength."
Then I would know that victory would be inevitable. I would also get a new standard of values. I would see that the priorities of the world's system need no longer be the priorities in my life. As I seek first the kingdom of God the other "things" in my life would take their proper place. I could dare to stand back from the mad rush of life around me and know the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Jesus said in John 13:17: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." How far is this truth working in your life? Is it only in your head? That will never bring peace and blessing. Dare you commit yourself and identify yourself with Christ so that He can take over the present tense of your daily life?
God is the author of every good and perfect gift, and thus God's salvation is perfect. The imperfections arise when we present a "shortened version," or limit the area of God's opportunity, either in tense or place.
Some years ago the Bishop of Durham, England, was Dr. Wescott. He was a real saint of God, one of the greatest scholars of his day, a real believer with a great sense of humor. One day he had to make a train journey, and, as English trains then had carriages containing separate compartments for six people only, he sought and found an empty compartment and settled down to read quietly.
Just as the train was moving away from the station, the carriage door was opened, and a young girl in Salvation Army uniform jumped in. After she had settled herself in her corner she realized that the only other person with her was, as indicated by his distinctive garb, a real live bishop. She hadn't long been converted, and was keen to win others for Christ. Therefore, when she saw a real live bishop, and realized that he would be her companion for at least another hour, she planned how she could lead him to Christ. She assumed that because he was a bishop, in her opinion, he couldn't be a real believer!
Presently she leaned across to the bishop, who was reading, and said very abruptly, "Excuse me, are you saved?"
This short, but unexpected question caught Dr. Wescott by surprise, and he said in his kindly way, "Pardon me, but what did you say?"
She immediately thought, "There, he doesn't even know what I'm talking about!" and so explained, "I simply asked if you were saved."
The bishop's face disappeared behind his book and his eyes twinkled merrily for a moment; then, leaning toward her he asked her, "Excuse me, my dear, but do you mean sotheis or sezosmenos or sozomenos?" The girl's face went blank, then puzzled, then startled. Finally she blurted out, "I don't know what you are talking about. I simply asked you -- were you saved."
"Yes, my dear," replied Dr. Westcott, "I realized that, and I asked you which 'saved' you mean. Did you mean 'I was saved' or 'I will be saved' or 'I am being saved'?"
And the story goes on that for the rest of the journey this great man of God explained to the simple believer the wonder and immensity of God's salvation -- past, future and present.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
This page Copyright © 2002 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: http://www.peterwade.com/.
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