Salvation Comes Through The Word
July 27, 2011
Yesterday I wrote about how knowing God (having fellowship with Him) comes by knowing the Word of God. Today I want to expound on that by showing that our very salvation depends on knowing the Word.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17), but since faith without action has no life (James 2:17), then these three actions are necessary to true faith:
1) Belief in the Gospel
2) A turning to God in repentance
3) A faithful (loyal) and obedient following after Jesus
The third “action” is the most difficult to accomplish for the obvious reason that it is not a one-time act, though of course having a believing, repentant attitude must be continuous also. However, many people accept that salvation comes through numbers 1 and 2, but then seem to think that to remain faithful is not a necessity! They are therefore lax about remaining faithful, or at least concerning what it entails.
The only way to remain faithful is to keep on following Jesus. And the only way to do that is to listen to His instructions. The only way to listen to His instructions is to listen to His Spirit. But the only way to know the voice of His Spirit, apart from other voices masquerading as His, is to be matching all voices against the Word of God. We are not wise if we think no evil voice will try to deceive us and lure us away from the Truth. Jesus tells us in John 10:5 that there will be strangers’ voices coming at us and that there will be robbers climbing into the sheep’s pen through ways other than through the Gate (Jesus –v. 9).
Consequently, for us to remain in the faith, number 3 (above) must be accomplished by continuously studying the Word and listening to the Spirit therein. This is why Jesus tells us we must remain in Him and keep His cleansing words remaining in us. (John 15:3-7)
So, does our salvation depend upon our knowing the Word of God? (Remember, Jesus is the Word of God. John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13) It does. 1 Peter 1:23 says that we “have been born again… through the living and enduring word of God.” (And of course we know that being born again is equivalent to being a new creation, and being saved from sin and sin’s penalty. John 3:3-8 & 2 Cor. 5:17 & Rom. 6:18,22 & Col. 1:13) Heb. 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active” –extremely sharp as “it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This Word can know and judge hearts because this Word is God. Therefore, if we cannot say we fellowship with this Word, then we do not know the Spirit of the Word, and we then do not belong to Christ. –Which means we are not saved. –Which means we are not on the Road to Heaven.
James 1:21 tells us to “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” What can save us? Answer: The Word planted in us. But, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (v. 22) How can we deceive ourselves? Answer: By hearing the Word, but not obeying it. This danger is why verse 25 tells us to look “intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and [to] continue to do this” so that we will not forget what we’ve heard, but instead put it into practice. (See also Ps. 119:11) For as Jesus warns in Luke 6:49, if we neglect putting the Word into practice, we will incur upon ourselves destruction that is complete and final. Therefore, He asks in verse 46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” In other words, claiming Jesus as Lord is useless if we do not faithfully and obediently follow His words.
But some people may claim ignorance of Christ’s words. Hmmm… And what is the excuse? Is it that there is no Word of God on their shelf? Is it that they cannot even get to a church or store and ask for one or purchase one? Unless we live behind some “Iron Curtain”, we have no excuse to not be meditating on the Word, feeding ourselves there daily. For Jesus tells us clearly, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) In other words, My words are alive and give life, because My words are My Spirit, and I am Eternal Life itself. (1 John 5:20) Peter acknowledged this when he said, “Lord… You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) Paul acknowledged this when he told Timothy, “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) And in 1 Tim. 4:16, Paul warns, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Let’s note that word “if”. If we watch our doctrine closely, and if we align our lives with the Truth, then, and only then, will we save ourselves and those we teach. For as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:1,2, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” He is saying very clearly: If we do not hold faithfully to the true Word, the true Gospel, then belief is not enough. In fact, the belief has been all for nothing, because to desert the true Gospel is cause for eternal condemnation. (Gal. 1:6-9)
But what do so many in the church think? They think all they need to do in order to be saved is believe the main points of the Gospel, say a prayer of confession of sins, and say, “Lord, Lord” to Jesus every day, or even just every Sunday. But because they have not studied the Word of God carefully and diligently, they do not fellowship with the Person of the Word, and so they neither know Him nor obey Him.
Does salvation await these negligent people? Hardly. But they don’t even know what does; for they’ve refrained from reading, understanding, and applying such verses as these: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord…” (2 Thes. 1:8,9)
Salvation does come through the Word. But it starts with hearing it, knowing it, and then knowing it well enough to put it into everyday practice.