Salvation is God’s free gift to all who believe, for Christ’s sake alone. Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son. We do not earn salvation by our obedience. For salvation is the free gift of God received by faith.
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Jesus worked out the wonderful plan of redemption. He united fallen and finite individual with the holy and infinite God. We all should try to comprehend as far as possible the love of God, for in it is contained the mystery of God – the plan of salvation.
Though, the human mind is not capable of understanding its full significance, it is our privilege to obtain clearer and more distinct views of it. From eternal ages the covenant of grace existed in the mind of God. It is called the everlasting covenant. The plan of salvation was not conceived after the fall of man. It was
the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. Romans 16:25, 26
The purpose and plan of grace existed from all eternity
Before the foundation of the world it was according to the determinate counsel of God that man should be created and endowed with power to do the divine will. The fall of mankind, with all its consequences, was not hidden from the Omnipotent. Redemption was not an after thought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was an eternal purpose, suffered to be wrought out for the blessing, not only of this atom of a world, but for the good of all the worlds that God had created.
Eternal life is an infinite gift
This places it outside the possibility of earning it. As a gift it must be received by faith and gratitude and praise be offered to God. The righteousness of Christ must go before us if the glory of the Lord becomes our reward. If we do God’s will, we may accept large blessings as God’s free gift, but not because of any merit in us. This is of no value. Do the work of Christ and you will honor God. Thus come off more than conquerors through Him that has loved us and gave His life for us – Romans 8:37, that we should have life and salvation in Jesus Christ.
The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been. Moreover, just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents – perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery to be immortalized.
Come to Jesus just as you are
Remember that God is just and merciful, true and gracious – Psalm 116:5, Psalm 145:8. God can be just, and yet be the justifier of him or her that believe in Jesus. He will accept you just as you are. There is no hope of your becoming better until you come to Jesus for pardon and sanctification. Mourning and weeping will not purify you. You may mourn your life away in unbelief and in bitterness of soul. But the power to cleanse sinners is grant wholly to Christ. For he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him – Hebrews 7:25.
All the remedies and medicines of the world would have failed to cure one soul who had been bitten by the venomous serpent – Satan. Nonetheless God had provided a remedy that cannot fail.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16:31
Be not among the number to whom the Savior said: Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life – John 5:40. He longed to save them –for while we were yet sinners (not waiting for us to make ourselves good), Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.
We do not earn salvation by our obedience
Obedience is the service and allegiance of love. Moreover it is the true sign of discipleship. Thus the Scripture says:
This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. 1 John 5:3
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4
It is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ which enables us to render obedience.
We do not earn salvation by our obedience, for salvation is the free gift of God received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith.
Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not. 1 John 3:5, 6
Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ and the love of God dwells in us, then our:
- purposes or motives
will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7. Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.
A belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption
The so-called faith in Christ which professes to release humans from the obligation of obedience to God is not faith, but presumption. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, many are workers of iniquity. With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. Ezekiel 33:31. One who declares God’s word is to them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not. Ezekiel 33:32.
The apostle John says: He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4.
Jesus said of Himself before He came to earth – I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8. And just before He ascended again to heaven, He declared: I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. John 15:10.
Do good works count?
The troubled souls may find peace through faith in Christ. They cannot present their good works as a plea for the salvation of their soul. At the same time the Scripture states: We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10. In His divine arrangement, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone. The acts of mercy and charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith, and they become a blessing to us. For believers will be rewarded according to their works.
It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God. Moreover, it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We have only done what it was our duty to do. Our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.
Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for our salvation
It is impossible for anyone to save himself or herself. This is the gift of God. It is the wedding garment in which you may appear as a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let faith take hold of Christ without delay and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world. Christ is called The Lord our righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6. And through faith each one should say – The Lord my righteousness. When faith lays hold upon this gift, the praise of God will be upon our lips. We shall be able to say: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29.
Do you have a sense of want in your soul? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart. He created this sense of need, in order that He may be sought after to do those things for you through the endowment of his Holy Spirit which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for his mercy, desire his counsel, and long for his love.
The asking makes it manifest that you realize your necessity. If you ask in faith, you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail. That you feel and know you are a sinner is sufficient argument in asking for His mercy and compassion. The conditions upon which you may come to God are not that you shall be holy. But that you shall ask Him to cleanse you from all sin and purify you from all iniquity. Then why wait longer? When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin. For Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God.
With great zeal people have taught – “Only believe in Christ, and be saved – but away with the law of God.” This is not the teaching of the Word of God. There is no foundation for such a faith. This doctrine misleads honest souls. God’s Word reveals the fact that the law must be proclaimed. Christ must be lifted up, because He is a Savior who forgiveth transgression, iniquity, and sin, but will by no means clear the guilty and unrepentant soul. Take up your Bible with earnest prayer. Thus you may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that you may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy.
Appropriating the Righteousness of Christ
Restoration and reconciliation is provided for mankind through Christ. The gulf that was made by sin has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. A full, complete ransom has been paid by Jesus. By virtue of it the sinner is pardoned and the justice of the law is maintained.
All who believe that Christ is the atoning sacrifice may come and receive pardon for their sins. For through the merit of Christ communication has been opened between God and man. God can accept me as His child, and I can claim Him and rejoice in Him as my loving Father. We must center our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because He is our substitute and surety.
We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that one in his or her own strength can make, are valueless to meet the holy and just law that they has transgressed. But through faith in Christ they may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient.
Christ satisfied the demands of the law in His human nature. He bore the curse of the law for sinners. Furthermore, He made an atonement for them, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ. The sinner is made an overcomer with Christ. For he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined.
Jesus is our atoning sacrifice
We can make no atonement for ourselves. By faith only we can accept the atonement that has been made.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. 1 Peter 3:18
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold;…. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.1 Peter 1:18,19
No man of earth or angel of heaven could have paid the penalty for sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In Him divinity and humanity are combined. This was what gave efficacy to the offering on Calvary’s cross. At the cross, mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other.
As the sinner looks upon the Savior dying on Calvary, and realizes that the Sufferer is divine, he or she asks – why this great sacrifice was made. The cross points to the holy law of God which has been transgressed. The death of Christ is an unanswerable argument to the immutability and righteousness of the law. In prophesying of Christ, Isaiah says:
He will magnify the law, and make it honourable. Isaiah 42:21
The law has no power to pardon the evil-doers. Its office is to point out their defects. Thus they may realize their need of One who is mighty to save. Furthermore, realize their need of One who will become their substitute, surety and righteousness.
Jesus meets the need of the sinner
He has taken upon Him the sins of the transgressor.
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
The Lord could have cut off the sinners and utterly destroyed them. But the more costly plan was chosen. In His great love He provides hope for the hopeless by giving His only begotten Son to bear the sins of the world. Thus He has poured out all heaven in that one rich gift. He will withhold from us no needed aid that we may take the cup of salvation, and become an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ.
When we seek to gain heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we may go on from strength to strength, from victory to victory. For through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation.
Draw nigh to Christ
As we draw nigh to Christ, and as He draws nigh to the believing soul, we can say with all confidence:
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
By keeping the love of God in the heart, the love of the world is kept out. Thus we become built up in the most holy faith. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. When we yield to Him, we shall steadily grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. We shall make progress until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ.
Look not to Self but to Christ
Jesus says: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28. Do not think for an instant that any human being has a more loving heart, and a more tender compassion for you, than he who died on Calvary to save you. Do not turn from the divine to the human.
As you turn your eyes to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, the controversy with the enemy will be ended for that season. You can repulse the enemy by declaring that Christ was wounded for my transgressions. He was bruised for my iniquities. The chastisement of my peace was upon him, and with his stripes I am healed. Isaiah 53:5
Christ is the friend of sinners
It is your privilege to believe that Christ has borne your sins. All legalism, sorrow and woe by which you may encompass yourself, will not give you one moment of relief. You cannot rightly estimate sin. You must accept God’s estimate, and it is heavy indeed. If you bore the guilt of your sin, it would crush you. But the sinless One has taken your place, and though undeserving, He has borne your guilt. By accepting the provision God has made, you may stand free before Him in the merit and virtue of your Substitute.
Jesus has come to be your burden bearer
When the scribes and Pharisees accused Jesus of eating with publicans and sinners, Jesus said: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32. If you feel yourself to be the greatest of sinners, then Christ is just what you need. He is the greatest of Saviors. Lift up your head and look away from yourself, away from the poisoned wound of the serpent. What will all your groaning and the torturing of your soul avail?
You may entertain thoughts that condemn you, but in them there is no salvation. Put away your thoughts, and receive the thoughts of God, through which your mind may be elevated, your soul purified and uplifted. The Lord says:
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. Isaiah 54:7, 8
Roll your sins at the foot of the cross. Unload! unload! He takes away the sins of the world. I, even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah 43:25
There are many who want to know what they must do to be saved
They want a plain and clear explanation of the steps requisite in conversion. The answer is – Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. Furthermore, and earnest appeals should be made to them to repent and be converted. Conviction of sin is the first step in conversion. By the law is the knowledge of sin reviled. Ones realized, sinner is in a condition to be drawn to Christ by the amazing love that has been shown for him or her on the cross of Calvary.
They look to God, who has provided forgiveness and sanctification through His well-beloved Son. Thus by beholding they become changed into His image. The apostle wrote: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 All who see their own ignorance and sin in the light of the law, will realize their great need of a Savior. Every step in repentance, contrition, obedience, and faith, is a step toward the Father.
We need to change our course of action
God’s standard must be our standard, or we shall fail of everlasting life. We are still in the precious hours of probation. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 2:1, 2. He pleads in our behalf with prevailing power. We are invited to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Christ’s intercession is that of a pierced and broken body, spotless and victorious life, the pleading of all the wounds of Calvary. It is the intercession of our great High Priest – who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
The work that is required of every follower of Christ
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2: 11-14
Through the grace of Christ we are to perfect a Christian character. We must not think that we can wait until Christ comes, and that he will then give us the necessary virtue and grace. It is in this life that we are to represent Christ. He gave himself for us that he might cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
We should not continue in sin that grace may abound
The love of Christ manifested in the infinite sacrifice is sincere, devoted, measureless, and meets the emergency of the sinner’s case. It awakes in the heart of those who receive it, respect and reverence for the holy law of God. In the light reflected from Calvary, the law is seen to be holy, just, and good. If Christ had to make so great a sacrifice, endure such sufferings because of my sin, shall I not bow in humility, and regret that I have inflicted such grief upon His divine soul? Shall I not fear lest I shall crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame?
The soul who appreciates the precious gift of salvation will ever behold Christ dying upon the cross. The language of that soul will be the language of unselfish sorrow that he or she has ever committed sin to wound the Son of God. I shall always grieve that I have sinned, and have cost the Man of Calvary so great anguish. I look upon him whom I have pierced, and I mourn that I have transgressed the law of God. When we have a proper appreciation of the sacrifice that has been made in our behalf, we shall not plead for the privilege of continuing in transgression. We shall put away sin, and our hard hearts will melt under the amazing love of Christ for our souls.
What is man, that such a price should be paid for his redemption!
All the riches of the world are not of sufficient value to redeem one perishing soul. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world, as He hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable. It was infinite. His love was stronger than death. Though He had the most fearful conflict with the powers of darkness, yet amid it all. His love decreased not, but grew stronger and stronger. He endured the hidings of His Father’s countenance, until He was led to exclaim, in the bitterness of his soul:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46
The price was paid to purchase the redemption of man. Then, in the last soul-struggle, the blessed words were uttered, which seemed to resound through creation – It is finished. John 19:30
When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice, which was made by the Majesty of Heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified. Thus reflections of Calvary will awaken tender, sacred, and lively emotions in the Christian’s heart. Praises to God and the Lamb will be in their hearts, and upon their lips.
We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone. The proof of our love to Him and the evidence of our faith, will be found in our obedience to God’s holy law. Our Savior says:
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21
Christ enjoins upon us the keeping of the commandments because He knows that in keeping them there is great reward – the revealing of a character after the divine pattern.
The joy which sustained Christ in all His sufferings was the salvation of poor sinners. This should be our joy and the motivation in the cause of our Master. In view of what Christ has done for us, and what he has suffered for sinners, we should imitate his example. Out of pure, disinterested love for souls, we should sacrifice our own pleasure and convenience for their good. In so doing we please God, and manifest our love and devotion to Him as His servants.
Present Christ – the way, the truth, and the life
Present the truth as it is in Jesus, making plain the requirements of the law and the gospel. Tell of His power to save all who come to Him. The Captain of our salvation is interceding for His people, not as a petitioner to move the Father to compassion, but as a conqueror, who claims the trophies of His victory. The Son of God came to earth to reveal Father’s character to all, that they might worship Him in spirit and in truth. He impressed upon people the paternal love of the Father, who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
He urged upon men the necessity of prayer, repentance, confession, and the abandonment of sin. To those who thus yield themselves to God, having an honest desire to know and to do His will, the truth is revealed as the power of God for their salvation.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13
- ST, Nov, 1889; RC 274; ST, Mar, 1888; MB 146; AG 331; ST, Apr, 1894; BE Apr, 1893; ST, Oct, 1889; RH, Mar, 1890; ST, Oct, 1889; RH, Nov. 22, 1892; 1SM 363; BE, Mar 15, 1893; ST, April 9, 1894; ST, Feb, 1893; BE, Jul, 1894; ST, Jul, 1890 – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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