by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
Now, the question came up several weeks ago in our Tulsa class if I would go through the plan of Salvation using the Scriptures of course, which I did. At the end of that hour so many of them were so appreciative that when we came back the next week several asked me if I would do it again. So we did it again, and then we did the same thing in the Muskogee class. R.L. made real good notes during that class and he came back the next week, with those verses typed out. Iris has made copies of them, so the notes are available if you would like them.
The plan of Salvation. How can you know that you are in Christ as we have been seeing in Romans Chapter 8, and all the other various chapters in Romans? How can you know that you have eternal life? How can you know that you don’t have to worry about missing heaven? How can you know that all these things that Paul is talking about are really yours? Well, all of this is based on `faith.’ You can do nothing in the realm of the Spirit without faith which is Taking God at his Word. So that’s why we’re going to study the Word. How can we come to a place of having, and knowing that we have eternal life? Well, the best place and the first place I always like to start with is Romans Chapter 3, and verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
All have come short, and they can not meet God’s criteria. They can no way claim to be good enough to enter God’s heaven. In fact, it was the Navigators or the Campus Crusade who, in their little helps for students, witnessing one on one, admonished their students not to just ask someone, “Are you a Christian?” Because invariably people will say, “Yes,” but instead you ask them, “Why should God let you into His heaven?”
I myself have used that question over the years, and I think it is the best way to start. After you ask that question you will hear all the various reasons, and by approaching them that way you sort of put them on the spot, and you let them express themselves, and it’s amazing what you hear. Of all the reasons that people will give, as to why they think God should let them into His heaven, they will invariably overlook Romans 3:23. But this is the very first step of faith on the road to Salvation, and that is to recognize that in ourselves we are lost. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We are separated from God because of the fall of Adam, who was the federal head of the whole human race, and so, consequently, the Scripture says,“That everyone has come short of the glory of God.” Which means we can’t enter God’s heaven unless God does something on our behalf. Now, the next verse I always like to use is Romans Chapter 6 and verse 23.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now, as you deal with someone (and that’s the reason we are doing this), hopefully sometime in the future you’ll have an opportunity, maybe with a child, or grandchild, or co-worker, or neighbor, or whomever, to let them see these verses in their Bible. Don’t let them have to take your word for anything. Point out that in Romans 6:23 it says the wages of sin is death, and wages is something that you work for. Wages are never a gift. Wages are something that you get in return for something you have done. Now, what the Scripture is pointing out then is The old Adamic nature, that nature we’re born with has only one direction, and that is death. Eternal death. Everything that lost person does be it good or bad is piling up wages for his eternal doom. That’s what the Scripture says, but the flip side, the last half of 6:23 says:
“…but the gift of God is eternal life…”
Now, you see the difference between wages and gift? Wages you work for, and that’s what you deserve, but a gift is something you do not deserve. And that is what Salvation is all about. It’s a gift, and not something that you can do, not one iota of work to earn, it has to be a gift. Now, I would like for you to turn to Romans Chapter 1, and verse 16, and this is a well known verse, where Paul now writes:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel)is the power of God unto salvation…”
Now, remember when were back in Romans Chapter 1, I spent almost a whole lesson or more on that word `Salvation.’ It’s that all inclusive word that implies everything that God does on behalf of the believer who cries out, “I’m a sinner, I’m in need of Salvation, I believe that Christ died for me.” Then God does everything else. He imputes righteousness, He forgives, He cleanses, He baptizes us into Christ’s Body, He does everything that needs to be done, and how do we know He did it? By faith. You’re not going to feel any of those things, or see any of those things, but you’re going to know that He did it because The Book says so. But what is the Gospel? Now, here we have to leave Romans for a few moments, and go back to that portion that we have used over and over in I Corinthians 15, the first four verses. And here is the Gospel that saves you. Now, I have nothing against John 3:16 so please don’t misunderstand me. But John 3:16 by itself is not the Gospel, it is certainly a part of it once you understand the Gospel. But the Gospel that we had better believe if we want eternal life is found here in this passage. And now let’s look at the Gospel.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (do you see how plain that is?)which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved (it’s by the Gospel that you’re saved, and you’d better know what you believed), if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received (Paul received our Gospel from the crucified, buried, and Resurrected Lord from Heaven), how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
In other words, this was all pre-planned before anything was ever created. God would create man, and man would sin, and find himself in need of a Saviour, a Redeemer. so God set everything in motion, and brought about Christ in His earthly ministry, brought about His Crucifixion, and raised Him from the dead, brought Him back into heaven from which He has now revealed these things that Paul calls the secrets or the mysteries, and the very core of that is the Gospel. “That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.” Now, while we’re out of Romans let’s go on to the Book of Ephesians for a moment, and look at Chapter 1. I’m going to make this as plain as I know how to make it, and I know it works because I’ve seen so many that have come from various backgrounds, and life styles, and they have come to be what the Scripture calls living epistles. They are trophies of God’s Grace, not anything that Les Feldick did, but only that they saw what The Book says.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth (what’s the word of truth?), the gospel of your salvation (that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. So after you’ve heard the Gospel, and you’re old enough to consider it, and old enough to understand that not only are you a sinner, but now you can understand that Christ is the remedy. Now, read on): in whom also after that ye believed (now do you see all the things that it doesn’t say? I’m just stressing what Salvation is. I’m not against the local church, but when it comes to Salvation you can’t put church membership, or baptism, or The Lord’s Supper in with believing because they are not in here. Now, those things can follow after you have believed for Salvation. After you believed what did God do?), ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Now, I’m still a cow man, and I’ve been working cattle every day lately, and one of the very marks of ranching is what? The brand. And it denotes ownership, and that’s exactly what the indwelling Holy Spirit is for God, it is His mark of ownership. Verse 13 again:
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Back to the Book of Romans Chapter 5, and verse 8. These verses are just loaded if people will stop and examine them.
“But God (The Almighty, Creator, Triune God)commendeth (extended)his love toward us (everything is based on His love), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Why did God create mankind when He knew that he would become such a disappointment, and create such a catastrophe on the planet? Why did God ever create man in the first place? To have someone He could love, and a creature who could respond to that love. Now, that’s the whole idea of the marriage relationship as I have said so often before. That’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians:
“Husbands, love your wives,…”
Men, extend that love to the female, and God has put within her a responder, and she will respond to that love. And that is what God does in the big picture to the whole human race. He extends His love. That was the whole idea of the Cross – that He loved us and gave Himself for us. And then He has every right in the world, and Heaven, to expect that love to be responded to. People will sometimes say,“How can a God of love and mercy send people to an eternal hell?” Well, that’s why. Because He’s already loved them to the very extent that heaven could offer, and He gave it to every human being who has ever lived. And when a human being spurns that love, then God in His Sovereignty has every right in the world to reject them at the Great White Throne Judgment. This Book was given to the human race for basically the sole purpose of helping people escape this wrath of a righteous God. Romans 5:8 again:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet (still)sinners (God doesn’t expect people to straighten up, and clean up their lives, and then approach Him for Salvation. God saves everybody just exactly where we are, and then He does the work of regeneration. And that’s what He wants, He wants all the credit, and glory. So while we were yet sinners), Christ died for us.” Now, let’s stay in this same chapter, and come over to verse 20. I think this is a verse that isn’t in the list that R.L. has, but it’s a good one just the same.
“Moreover the law entered (the human experience), that the offence (man’s sins) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
The Law entered 1500 years B.C. with Moses coming down off the mountain, and he introduced the law to the Nation of Israel. Until the written Law appeared man could only go by conscience, but when the written Law came there was no doubt that everything man was doing, even after searing his conscience, was breaking God’s Law and became sin. The last part of that verse deals with Grace. Everyone of us knows of somebody that we think is so ungodly they are so hateful toward God, they live the life of a reprobate, and most people don’t even like to associate with them, but God still loves them. And God is able to reach below the vilest sinner, and lift him up and make him a saint. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” And that’s why Paul refers to his gospel as the Gospel of the Grace of God. Now, let’s go over to Chapter 10. And let’s read verse 9 through 13. I always like to end up with verse 13 when we lead someone to The Lord.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
In other words, God expects you to communicate this not only to Himself, but to others. God is a commentator, and he expects us to verbalize some of these things. I’m afraid too many people have just had a mental assent, and say, “Yeah, I believe in God.” But that’s not what God is looking for. God is looking for a verbalization of all of these various steps. You tell God that you recognize from Scripture that you’re a sinner. Tell Him out loud, “Lord I’m a sinner, I’m a child of Adam, and I have no reason to expect you to take me into your heaven, because that’s what your Book tells me.” And the same way when we call on Him for Salvation. Don’t just assume that God reads your heart although He certainly can, but He wants us to actually, audibly say it out loud. Just ask God to save you, and tell Him that you believe that what He’s done, He’s done on your behalf. So looking at verse 9 again:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth (verbally)the Lord Jesus, (Now, here we have to go beyond the Jesus of His earthly ministry. During His earthly ministry, He hadn’t died yet, but as soon as He finished the work of the Cross, and the power of the Resurrection, He now becomes Lord of our lives. He becomes not just Jesus, but He becomes Jesus Christ The Lord, or The Lord Jesus Christ. I think that it is only proper to approach Him on those terms. Now, reading on:)and shalt (what?)believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, (and believing is something that you don’t do with your hands and feet, but believing is the attitude of the heart. So if you believe that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead what’s the promise?) thou shalt be saved.”
Now, that’s a promise! God said, and I know the Apostle Paul wrote it, but God said it through him. And this is where He wants us to come. So just say, “God you said it, and I believe it with all my heart.” Then what does God become? Duty bound. He is duty bound to fulfill His Word, otherwise this Book is a lie. But He will fulfill what He said He would do. Now, reading verse 10:
“For with the heart man believeth (now I don’t want to scare people but I think once in a while we need to self examine. Am I just believing a head knowledge, or am I believing with all my inner most being that Christ died for me?) unto righteousness;…”
Now, that’s an imputed thing, and as soon as we believe the Gospel for our Salvation then God imputes His righteousness. Just like back in Genesis when God killed the animal for Adam and Eve, and it says that He clothed them. I pointed out that it wasn’t the covering for their nakedness that was done when it says He gave them coats of skin, but the last part of that verse in Genesis says that He clothed them. With what? Righteousness.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
And then I took you to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 61, and Isaiah said the same thing.
“For I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…”
Then I took you into Romans Chapter 3 where the Apostle Paul says the same thing happens unto all that believe.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:” Now, Paul is saying the same thing here in Romans 10:10
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (that God can actually clothe him with the righteousness of Christ); and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Now, it isn’t that you have to tell somebody before you’re saved, but whenever you have experienced something good it should be hard not to tell someone about it. And it’s the same way with our Salvation, I mean we should be ready to talk about it at the drop of a hat. It should be just as easy as talking about the weather. We should be able to talk about these spiritual things that God has done on our behalf. I know I’m going to Heaven when I die, and that’s not a braggadocio statement because I’m deserving of it. I’m going to heaven becauseI know that Christ did everything on my behalf. I’ve done nothing and am not deserving. None of us are deserving of God’s Heaven, but we know we’re going there because of God’s promises. Now, we need to drop down to verse 13: And here is the culmination of this whole act of becoming a believer. You now recognize that Christ died for our sins, we recognize that we’re hopeless in ourselves, and now we call upon Him.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now, that’s a promise. I’ve used it before, and I’ll use it again: you take a swimming pool on a hot summer day, and all those kids yelling and screaming, but it’s the kid that’s in trouble in spite of all the other racket that the lifeguard hears. Now, I think God is the same way. His ear is tuned to the very second that sinner cries out and says, “God, I’m a sinner, but I believe that You died for me.”