It is one thing to be saved from a sinking ship.It is another to be delivered from a deadly disease. But it is a far greater thing to experience a spiritual and eternal rescue from the horrors of hell and
eternal separation from God!
Imagine that you were on a sinking ship and didnt know how to swim. No lifeboats or life vests were available. You were far from land. Drowning in the merciless ocean seemed certain. But, just in the brink of time, a rescue ship arrives and saves your life!
Imagine further. You contract a deadly disease. There is no known cause and no known cure. The prognosis is hopelessno one has ever survived this fatal illness. Then you learn of a recently discovered cure and are able to take it. You are healed! You are saved from your expected death!
Once I was driving through another state along a country road that was under repair. A huge log truck slowly pulled onto the lane before me and I began to pass it. Just as I pulled alongside, the heavy top log rolled off and hit the back of my car. If I had been a second slower in passing, surely the log would have landed on the top of the car and killed me! I was saved!
These kinds of rescues, savings, and deliverances are noteworthy and we rejoice in them. But there is a deliverance that is far more important, more significant, and more astounding than any of these. I refer to a spiritual and eternal salvation! We are in far more peril than a sinking ship. We face a tragedy far more hopeless than a deadly disease. We face a spiritual and eternal disaster much more severe and tragic than merely dying in a highway accident. The consequences of this spiritual peril are eternal! They are a million times more tragic than any physical deliverance we may imagine!
Christians enjoy singing joyful songs about this deliverance, such as the following:
Saved by His power divine!
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For Im saved, saved, saved!
But what is the tragedy from which God saves us? What is the peril that Christ delivers us from? There are a number of different aspects to this deliverance. Consider the following.
God saves us from Spiritual, Eternal Death.
A person who has never been forgiven and born spiritually of God, is living in unforgiven sin. As long as one remains in sin, he is spiritually dead. The Bible says, You were dead in your trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). Most people are physically alive but spiritually dead (1 Timothy 5:6). Not only is one spiritually dead now, but also if one remains with unforgiven sin, he will die in those sins. Jesus said, You will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8:24). Furthermore, at the awesome judgment of God at the end of time, one who is in sin will face the terrifying second death (Revelation 20:14; 21:8)!
When a person who is spiritually dead comes to Christ, God gives him spiritual lifea life that is eternal or everlasting! Scripture says, The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). The Lord Jesus makes this promise: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John. 5:24). What a salvation this is: We are rescued from death and given eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!
God saves us from Judgment and Condemnation
At the present time, while on earth, those who are in sin are under the judgment of God. The Lord Jesus said, He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already (John 3:18). Not only is one judged presently before God, but also there will be a great Judgment Day on which most of earths population will be condemned by a Holy God. Paul asks, Do you suppose this. . . that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:3). None of us will escape! Paul speaks of the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (2:5). We read of the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7). Jude refers to the judgment of the great day (v. 6).
When one is saved, he is delivered from Judgment! Yes, he must be judged by God and stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1), but he will hear the welcome words, Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). The good news is that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The saved person does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). We have been saved from the judgment and the sentence of condemnation!
God saves us from His Holy Wrath
We all know that God is love (1 John 4:8). That is basic to His character. He loves all people and has demonstrated that love when Christ died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). However, when one is in sin, there is another vital aspect of His character that is paramount. It is His wrath! Although most people choose to deny this aspect of Gods perfect character, we must not overlook this. Scripture says, The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). After mentioning various sins, Paul says, Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:6). Further, he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36). Paul the apostle speaks of the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Romans 2:5). In short, one who is in sin experiences Gods burning anger presently, and will experience His anger or wrath in all of its fury in the future (Revelation 6:16-17).
Through Christ Jesus, however, we may be saved from this wrath! We read that Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:9). Paul assures us, We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Romans 5:9). What a relief it is to realize that not wrath but salvation awaits us because of Christ Jesus!
God saves us from Eternal Separation from Him
People may not fully realize it, but right now those who are in sin are alienated from our Holy God. They are separated from our loving and merciful Creator. Scripture says that they are separate from Christ and without God (Ephesians 2:12). We read, Your iniquities [sins] have made a separation between you and your God (Isaiah 59:2). But not only is the person in sin alienated from God, he will be eternally separated from Him! Jesus said that when He comes in glory to judge all people, most of earths population will hear these dreadful words: Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire (Matthew 25:41). The Lord Jesus will declare: Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (7:23). What does this mean? These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Can you imagine the dreadful sentence of being forever banished from Gods presence, along with all that is holy, pure, lovely, and pleasurable! Surely, this eternal separation from the presence of the blessed God will be shocking and despairing!
God, however, makes the way to escape from this present and eternal separation! It is called reconciliation. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). The apostle Paul explains: If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:10). Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, is the means of reconciliationthe way a repentant sinner may be united with a holy God! He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death (Colossians 1:22; cf. Ephesians 2:13). We are saved from present and eternal alienation from God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
God saves us from the Fires of Hell
Because we sin against God, each of us deserves to be eternally separated from Him in a place called hell. Although many people use this as a curse word, and some even joke about being in hell with their friends, hell is a real place that is dreadful beyond imagination! It is a place of fire, a place of darkness, a place of grievous pain, a place of utter hopelessness (Matthew 5:29-30; 8:12; 13:42, 50; 18:8-9; 25:41, 46; Revelation 14:10-11). Hell is called a lake of fire into which the unrepentant will be thrown and will be punished forever (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8). The Lord Jesus asks the painful question, How will you escape the sentence of hell? (Matthew 23:33). Hell is a real place and will be the eternal destiny of the vast majority of people because they have never been born of God!
The good news is that the Lord Jesus delivers us from the condemnation of hell! When He comes in judgment, Christ wants to welcome us into His heavenly kingdom rather than condemn us to eternal punishment and the fires of hell (Matthew 25:34, 46). When He comes in flaming fire, Jesus wants to receive us into His eternal presence rather than commit us to eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). In Christ Jesus and His saving death on the cross, we may escape the destiny of everlasting hell! Instead, we may receive a place in the eternal dwelling place of God, where all pain, sorrow, tears, unfulfillment, and death are forever banished (Revelation 21:1-7)!
God saves us from Ourselves
This may appear to be a strange statement, but we need to realize that we are our own worst enemyto use a common expression. We are the problem! God describes us as sinners, enemies of God, ungodly in nature, and unable to save ourselves (Romans 5:6-10). We are foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved to lusts and pleasures (Titus 3:3). We are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and profane, unholy and immoral (1 Timothy 1:8-10). We are self-oriented and pleasure-oriented, rather than God-oriented (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Even if we are religious and good by human standards, we suffer the fatal disease of sin. We need to be saved from ourselves and our self-destructive focus, attitudes, and behavior.
God wants to save us from ourselves. He wants us to turn from our own way (Isaiah 53:6) and our own thoughts (55:7-9). We need to be saved from our self-focus, our pleasure-orientation, our self-righteousness, and our inward heart rebellion against God and His perfect law. Christ came that He might make us free through His liberating truth (John 8:32). If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (v. 36). God liberates us from ourselves so that we might be focused on His kingdom (Matthew 6:33), His will (6:9-10), His word (4:4), and the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14).
God Saves us from His Own Response to Sin
Maybe this is a shocking statement, but it is very true. We must remember that God is a God of holiness, righteousness, justice, and judgment. God is absolutely holy and cannot have sin in His presence. He is just and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7). Scripture says, Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is a jealous God who will allow no other competing interest in our life (Deuteronomy 4:24). The Lord Jesus warned, Fear Him [God] who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Because of this, it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Since God must punish those who remain in sin, the Bible speaks of the wrath of God and the cup of His anger that will condemn forever those who are guilty (Revelation 14:10-11; 20:11-15).
Yet God is also a God of mercy, compassion, kindness, and abundant grace. God is love is a basic aspect of His perfect character (1 John 4:8). And this is the blessed news of the gospel! God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8; cf. John 3:16). Since Christ, the Son of God, bore our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18), God is able to bestow His mercy and grace on us. He wants to withhold His judgment and give us His forgiving grace. By grace you have been saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Through Gods merciful work in Christ, we may be saved from His righteous judgment on guilty sinners!
An Amazing Deliverance!
In many different ways, we may be spiritually saved! We may be delivered from spiritual and eternal death! We may be saved from judgment and condemnation! We may be rescued from Gods righteous wrath! We may be delivered from an eternal separation from God! We may be rescued from hell fire! We may be saved from ourselves and from God Himself! No wonder Gods Word calls this so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3)!
Wont you soberly, seriously, and sincerely consider these truths that we have examined? It is one thing to be saved from a sinking ship. It is another to be delivered from a deadly disease. But it is a far greater thing to experience a spiritual and eternal rescue from the horrors of hell and eternal separation from God and heaven! Now is the time for you to respond to the call of God and come to Christ for His glorious, astounding, and eternal salvation!