Salvation with Eternal Glory!
William Nicholson, 1862
"Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory!" 2 Timothy 2:10
Salvation by grace is the most valuable blessing that can be enjoyed by man. It was so regarded:
by all the sacred writers;
by the patriarchs who apprehended it by faith;
by the prophets who were inspired to predict it;
by angels who announced it, sang their songs of ecstasy over it, and who ever "desire to look into it;"
by Jesus Christ who purchased it;
by Jehovah who formed the plan, and sent his Son to execute it;
by the Apostles and martyrs who preached it, defended it, and shed their blood for it;
by all believers who have tasted its riches; and
by all glorified saints whom it has elevated to Heaven.
In the context, Paul declares that his profession of Christ, as an apostle, subjected him to trouble and bonds, verse 9, 10. Nevertheless, he counted them as nothing for the elect's sake. It is Christianity alone that can inspire such a spirit, and give such an example to the world.
I. The Necessity of Salvation.
Salvation, in a temporal sense, implies deliverance from some danger, calamity, death, or ruin. The Psalmist applies it to the deliverance of the children of Israel from the tyranny of Pharaoh. Psalm 106:8-10. "So he was their Savior." Isaiah 63:8, 9. Such also was the deliverance of Noah, Lot, and that from Babylonish captivity, etc.
In the New Testament, the word salvation means deliverance from spiritual captivity and everlasting ruin. "Even Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come!" All the terms descriptive of salvation, as redemption, saved, reconciliation, deliverance, etc., imply a state of danger, ruin, misery, and exposure to future wrath, in which the sinner is involved. Hence salvation is necessary.
1. Sin is the cause of this danger and ruin. Sin expelled our first parents from paradise; it destroyed their communion with God. Whatever punishment, misery, and ruin came upon individuals subsequently — the cause was sin.
Sin has been the cause of all natural evil, such as sickness, human frailty, physical death. It has been the cause of all moral and spiritual evil.
The image of God is defaced from the soul;
the mind is alienated from him;
the affections are corrupted;
the understanding is darkened;
the heart is hardened;
the will is stubborn;
the thoughts of the heart are only evil, and that continually,
and the course of action is wayward from God.
And what is the prospect of the sinner without God? It is "the blackness of darkness forever!" "For the wages of sin is death."
2. As a practical transgressor, man is in a state of condemnation. He is a transgressor of God's holy law. "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:19, 23. And none are exempt from these charges.
Some may boast . . .
of their moral virtues,
of their native goodness,
of the excellent quality of their hearts
— but let them explore the inmost recesses of their souls, and they will find sin . . .
in their affections,
in their desires,
in their purposes, etc.
The law is so spiritual, that it condemns the sinful desires and purposes of the soul, as well as the actions of the life. All sin is hateful to God, and he declares that it shall not go unpunished. The threatenings, the woes, and the anguish, denounced against transgression, loudly proclaim the necessity of salvation.
3. Salvation cannot be procured by human acts or inventions. Can a finite being, defiled, condemned, and the subject of infinite demerit and punishment — perform anything to regain the Divine favor? Can he annihilate the danger and evil which are infinite? No, for the Gospel sweeps away all human devisings, when contemplating the infinite power of the only Savior, by declaring, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ!" 1 Corinthians 3:11
II. The Source of Salvation:"In Christ Jesus."
Salvation is in Christ Jesus —
1. By designation and promise. God foreseeing the ruin of man, appointed Christ before the foundation of the world was laid, to become the Savior of sinners. "The lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13:8. The sacrifice of Christ to procure this salvation, was "according to the eternal purpose which Jehovah purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:11.
From the earliest time he was so promised; "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Genesis 3:15
All the laws, sacrifices, feasts, types and shadows of the old Testament, proclaimed him as the Savior. All believers expected him as such. Salvation prospectively by him, was the joy of the ancient Church.
2. By his unique qualifications. The constitution of his person. Divine. Human. Both combined. He was God, the true God, and eternal life. He was man, truly and properly man. By the latter he could die as a sacrifice — and the former invested that sacrifice with an infinitude of merit.
3. All his names and offices imply salvation. "Christ Jesus" the anointed Savior. The same as Messiah. Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 61:1.
Anciently priests and kings were consecrated to office by the ceremony of anointing with perfumed oil. But Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. John 3:32-34; Luke 4:18. He was anointed to be a prophet, priest, and king. " You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins!" Matthew 1:21
4. Salvation is in his sacrificial death. He died — that sinners might live. He endured the curse for guilty men — that they might be blessed forever. "Who himself bore our sins in his body on the tree." He is now exhibited as the Divine Substitute, Surety, Ransomer, Atoning sacrifice , Atonement, etc. See Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:9, etc.
5. In his resurrection. This gave validity to his sacrifice, and became the pledge of his people's resurrection. "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith!" 1 Corinthians 15:14. "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification!" Romans 4:25 .
There is salvation too in his intercession. "If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous!" 1 John 2:1. "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them!" Hebrews 7:25
6. Salvation is dispensed by him. He delivers those who apply to him. He saves those ready to perish, when they come to him. Hence he said, "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink!" John 7:37. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!" Matthew 11:28. "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14. "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:28
III. The Nature of Salvation.
1. It is salvation from all guilt. "Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven!" See Ephesians 1:7. Peter declares the same thing, "I want you to know that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you!" Acts 13:38. Sins numerous — long continued — the most enormous — the blackest guilt — can be forgiven through the efficiency of Christ's blood! "The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!" 1 John 1:7, 9
2. It is salvation from all condemnation. "Through him everyone who believes is justified from all things." Acts 13:39. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" Romans 8:1
This is more than forgiveness; for being free from guilt, and clothed with a Divine righteousness — he is accounted holy; free from all law-charges, and none can condemn him! Romans 8:33.
3. It is salvation from the domination or power of sin. Being regenerated, or made new, by the Spirit of Christ, he hates sin, he avoids it, and he receives grace to resist it. Romans 6:1, 2, 13, 14, 22.
4. Salvation implies adoption. Salvation from the society of the wicked — to companionship with the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty! "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus!" Galatians 3:26. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1.
5. It implies the enjoyment of all privileges and blessings flowing from salvation. Fellowship with God, fellowship with saints, ordinances, Divine protection and preservation, the influences of the Spirit, etc.
This is the salvation of Christ.
It is free, unmerited, undeserved.
It is by grace, Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:4, 5.
It is complete.
It does all for the soul which the soul needs.
It must first be enjoyed on earth, or it cannot be enjoyed in eternity.
It is eternal, as the following remarks will show:
IV. Salvation on Earth is Followed by Eternal Glory in Heaven."The salvation — with eternal glory."
Salvation enjoyed on earth is replete with blessedness, and joy, and hope. And yet, as great as it is, as rich and exquisite as its pleasures are — it is only the precursor of that which is everlasting.
It is but the pledge of the unfading inheritance.
It is only a drop from the ocean of salvation in Heaven.
It is but the first fruits of the eternal harvest.
It is but a cluster of grapes from the heavenly Canaan, as a specimen to the soul, of the abundant, exhilarating, and satisfying nature of the vintage of immortality. And those clusters reached down from Heaven by the hand of faith, sometimes cause the Christian to say,
I have tasted Canaan's grapes,
And now I long to go.
Where the Lord his vineyard keeps,
And where the clusters grow!
The word "glory" is expressive of everything grand, noble, honorable, rich, great, delightful, etc. In its application to Heaven, it implies this, and much more abundantly.
Glory, connected with salvation, implies,
1. Union of body and soul by a glorious resurrection. Salvation will not be complete until that period, Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:20, etc.
2. Introduction into Heaven, the habitation of God. John 14:2, 3; 17:24; 2 Peter 1:11.
3. Vision of Deity; 1 John 3:2; Psalm 17:15.
4. Entire freedom from sin, and its consequences, Revelation 21:27. Perfect purity — no affliction — no sorrow, Revelation 7:15-17; 21:4.
5. Companionship with heavenly intelligences.
6. Progressive improvement and happiness.
7. All crowned with endless perpetuity!