Pt 1: Salvation
Pr Edi Giudetti
30th January, 2022
At the culmination of the youth camp this week, I was struck by how many of the children from Church backgrounds were struggling with the understanding of the salvation of the soul. Many understand that Jesus died for them, they understand that he took upon himself their own sin, and that believing in that work they should be saved, but many struggled to understand that Salvation is not something we work for, salvation is not something that comes and goes, salvation is not tentative, eternal life is a gift.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish…” (Jn 10:28)
The title of this short series is The Gift.
She was only five years old at the time, but she remembered the gift she got from her father so clearly. It was not much by today’s standards, but when father revealed from behind his back what was in his hand she was over-joyed. Adele was never awake when her father went to work, nor was she awake when he came home, he worked most hours of every day, he needed to because the cost of living in Hungary in 1945 was the most extreme ever seen in Europe.
She only ever saw her father on Sundays, today was Tuesday and it was a Christmas day she would remember all her life. With no small amount of drama, her tall father stood there with both hands behind his back and asked her to pick one, she chose and as he swung his arm around she could see the bright coloured fruit that took up the entire palm of his hand, it was an orange.
Adele was elated and snatched it immediately from her father’s hand, ran to tell her mother and then back to thank her father for a gift she would always remember and retell, first to her children, and then to her grandchildren. No doubt, even at the age of five years, she told everybody she could about the rare gift that she received that Christmas morning.
What she did not understand was what it cost her father.
Turn in your Bibles to;
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
4 And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
THE GIFT OF GOD
When I was a small child there was no doubt I looked forward to Christmas more than I did even for my own birthday, there was something special about it for me, I don’t really know what it was, perhaps it was because everyone I knew also waited for that day to come.
That is also true for the nation of Israel, all the people looked forward to the coming of the messiah, the one that would give to the people the salvation of their souls.
But there was something else I enjoyed about Christmas as a small child, I loved telling everyone what I got. When school came around again it would be one of the first conversations we all had as Children.
Its interesting to see that, after the woman heard of the “Gift of God”, the text says;
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
It always amazes me how our nature is so reflected in the Bible in so many different ways.
But there was something else I remember loving about Christmas as a small child, I knew among the many gifts under the tree, there would be one there with my name on it;
This woman is not known to us by any name, in fact every time we refer to her she is simply referred to us as “The woman at the well”. Jesus did not refer to her by name either, but he spoke of a gift, THE Gift, “The Gift of God”. It was a gift with her name on it, a name that her father in heaven knew, and it was offered to her personally.
We will talk more of the GIFT BEARER, in a later message, for now it is important to understand that Israel had been long awaiting this gift from the time of Abraham. Since the writings of scripture were handed down generation after generation, the gift of salvation leading to life eternal had been anticipated and looked for.
Unlike the Christmas gifts that may come each year, this gift was to come once and for all people. Equally unlike the temporal gifts of any annual celebration, “The Gift of God” would never deteriorate or diminish. We will talk about that also this morning. But very much like the gifts given at birthdays, at Christmas time or for any other purpose, the Gift of Salvation is simply to be happily and joyfully received.
If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Note the phrase “thou wouldest have asked of him”, in this we get to a portion of the gospel that presents to us the petition to Christ.
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
We see pictures of this in the Old Testament, the rock that followed them in the wilderness, Paul says was Christ in the New Testament (1 Cor 10:4), it was a PICTURE of Christ.
And it was of interest that the first instruction given to Moses to obtain water from the rock, he was to smite it (Exodus 17:6). The second time it occurred he was commanded to speak unto the rock (Numbers 20:8). But what did Moses do instead? He smote the rock twice.
For this sin, God would not suffer him to enter the promised land, why? Because God was setting forth an example of Christ. He was once smitten for the transgression of his people, but now he was to be petitioned for their salvation.
Once he died for your sins, now all we need do is ask for his forgiveness and salvation.
Turn forward to; Acts 2:37-38
As I mentioned, Israel had long awaited for the coming of this “Gift”, and from verses 14 to 36, Peter stands up and testifies to the people of Israel that this is the Christ that should come into the world. He explains to them of the history of that which the people of God looked for, and shows that Jesus is ‘The Christ’, in other words, “The Saviour”.
Now consider how the motions of this truth are stirring up the hearts of all the hearers and brings to Peter the big question.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Beloved, at the youth camp held this week it would be fair to say that many were pricked in their heart, and as a result many also asked this very same question, and truly the answer to the question should have been no more complicated than the Bible presents in this passage;
When the question was asked also by the guard who kept the prison with Paul and Silasand many others inside, in Acts 16:27-31, Paul did not provide to him any convoluted explanation of how the eternal life of the soul can be obtained, he simply told him only how simple The Gift of Salvation can be received;
Take a quick look;
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Simply put, Salvation is a FREE GIFT, it is FREELY received to ALL who would only receive it. There is NO exchange necessary, it is NOT earned and it is certainly NOT DESERVED.
NO beloved, unlike Satan…sorry, SANTA, God does NOT HAVE a naughty or nice list of those who deserve The Gift. Quite to the contrary, ALL ARE DECLARED NAUGHTY.
there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. Rom 3:12-18
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
All are Naughty! (Note: the word Naughty is wicked / evil! See Pr 6:12, 17:4 etc)
You cannot earn Salvation, it is a FREE GIFT; Just one more passage to turn to before I close this portion that might help us understand;
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
I’m not sure, perhaps you missed that. Did you notice the use of the word “Gift”?
Did you notice the frequent use of the word “Free” almost as a Prefix?
I’m truly not very sure how God can simplify it any further.
In this passage in Romans 5, the Bible gives the single best explanation as to how it all works.
There was an offence by one man, Adam, and it was through his offence all were made sinners, death came into the world and all die.
BUT through the righteousness of one man, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
In other words, Salvation is available FREELY to all who want it.
The Gift is available freely to all who would simply receive it.
- There is no price of admission to heaven other than that which has been already paid for.
The ONLY ‘pre-requisite’, is the desire to receive it, and such a desire can only come IF you believe it!
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I don’t know if that excites you? But I don’t know what other gift is worth receiving more than eternal life!!!
I would like to show you that the gift is UNDIMINISHED.
Salvation is eternal, it is as everlasting as Christ, it is undiminished by use, undiminished by time, undiminished by abuse and undiminished by neglect.
It also cannot be improved upon, you can’t make salvation ANY better, nor can you make it any worse.
Those that gain salvation later, don’t get a poorer version and those that found it earlier don’t need an update.
There is no Eternal Life version 1.1.
TIME DOES NOT DIMINISH THE GIFT
Take a look at how Jesus explains it.
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
So we see in this parable that all who receive the free gift, no matter if they have endured all the work for the kingdom of God, or were even like the thief on the cross who testimony is given to every death bed conversion.
Beloved, time does not diminish your salvation.
SIN DOES NOT DIMINISH THE GIFT
THIS IS THE BIG QUESTION:
Beloved, it is easy to think that after we have received the free gift of salvation, after we have been Given that Holy spirit of God, after we have been born again of the spirit of God, that our sin can somehow diminish our salvation, but this is not true.
It breaks my heart today that so many people are so miserable because of sin. It breaks my heart that there are so few who know what the Bible teaches respecting the issue of sin among those who have received the free gift. Some think they can sin just once after they are saved, and its gone. The “gift” simply vanishes away, easy come easy go, somehow the “free gift” now has an “upkeep cost”.
The belief that now, after we have been saved, we need to take great care we don’t lose that which we have been freely given, as if it’s a toy we got at Christmas time that we need to work hard to keep it clean and new and not lose it.
We will talk more this this point in the next two messages, as it is a very important subject.
But firstly we must see that this assumes several things, only one of which we address here.
- It assumes we ultimately attain eternal life by merit.
- It presumes Jesus vicarious (substitutional) death is insufficient for our salvation.
- Lastly, it holds that somehow we are less worthy of his love after having believed the Gospel of his son that when we were enemies of Christ
It is this last point I desire to address here.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
How can it be beloved that you must now pay to keep that which was given you for free? He died for you and I when we were in the midst of sin. Sin permeated every fiber of our being, yet Jesus died for the ungodly, HOW MUCH MORE then are we saved by his life?
Jesus was put on the cross BY the very SINNERS he came to save.
The very people;
- who scourged him,
- who spat upon him,
- who pressed the crown of thorns upon him,
- who beat him, who mocked him,
- who made him carry his own cross,
- who pulled off his beard,
- who hammered the nails into his the wrist of his hands and through his feet,
- who stripped him,
- who parted his clothes between them and gambled for his vesture,
- who dropped the cross into place,
- who pierced his side,
for THEM he went upon the cross and took the shame, bearing EVEN THEIR sins in his flesh. And while he was up there he prays; …Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…(Lk 23:34)
…..but you think a sin after you trusted him as your Lord and Saviour will condemn you again?
… for 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.
The preservation of your soul is now in the Lords hands, not in yours.
HOW CAN WE KNOW THIS?
- BECAUSE THE GIFT IS BY GRACE
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We have been given this gift by God’s grace and God’s grace alone. The ONLY prerequisite is that we BELIEVED IT BY FAITH, that is, we believed it because God said it! That is how it is received.
Your works CANNOT SAVE YOU. In other words, trying to be good enough CANT save you, you couldn’t work your way to heaven before you got saved, and it is certain that there is no other work you can do in your flesh that will keep you saved.
It does not matter how much people try and twist this verse to make it say something it does not, the only way we can trust God at his words is to believe they mean exactly what they say.
Salvation is THE GIFT OF GOD, the ONLY prerequisite is to receive it by faith…that’s it, no more and no less.
- BECAUSE YOU ARE PRESERVED BY GOD
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
As we go through this series, we will speak to the preservation of the soul again and again, but there is something interesting we see concerning the issue of the Christian struggle with sin in the bible. There seems to be a desire to return to attempting to return to the law because of the Christian battle with sin.
I have shown to you already that Salvation is a GIFT, there is only ONE THING NECCESARY FOR SALVATION, and that is to Believe the Gospel.
Every time we see the question asked in the scriptures, the answer is always essentially the same.
The Eunuch in Acts 8:36 said “What doth hinder me to be baptized”, turn to the passage as it is again one of those fundamentally important passages, just like we already saw with the prison guard of Acts 16 in the previous point.
Please do turn there, I don’t want you to just trust my words, but that you might be convinced by the Lord.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
So there we have the question, then in verse 37 we have naturally both the answer and the confession, and just as naturally, we have verse 38 following with the response.
Salvation is NOT HARD….
Well, it is HARD TO SOME.
Turn to Mark 10:24
Please do again turn there, this is vitally important, because salvation is indeed hard for some people.
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
When Jesus wants to emphasize the point he repeats it as he does here.
Do you see? When people want to trust in anything else other than Jesus to save them, the kingdom of God is hard to obtain. It is hard ONLY “for them that trust in riches”, he goes on to say how hard, indeed it is only possible with God.
For us to ever think that salvation can be diminished by anything we can do, then we must reject the very reason Jesus came.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
There between verse 10 and 12 is the purpose statement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It tells us the reason he is come, and that is “to save that which is lost”, that is, you and I.
Perhaps if that verse wasn’t there, you might have more excuse to think that your sin can diminish his saving work. Perhaps that is just what the devil would like you to believe so you don’t live the abundant life Jesus promised you in John 10:10.
Beloved, nothing is able to diminish your salvation, nothing can ever again separate you from the Love of God.
Since the times of the New Testament Christians who have received the free gift, struggled with the flesh, not realizing that now they had two natures in them rather than the one. And like Jacob and Esau wrestling in the womb of Rebekah, so too does the flesh lust against the Spirit to have you do that contrary to your will.
Two books in the New Testament deal with this very thing, two letters, one to the Gentiles and the other to the Jews, both of them correct the Christians who now find themselves turning to the Law to keep them, both are in very serious error and will eventually lead them to legalism, as they try and make themselves perfect by the flesh.
The foolish attempt by the Churches of Galatia are rebuked by Paul who wrote;
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
No beloved, this is the reason even so many of our sister Churches have turned to become legalistic and have lost their first love. This is the problem of the Ephesian Church who receives just such a rebuke by Jesus himself in Revelation 2.
No beloved, Paul makes it clear in Galatians 2:21 that, “if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain”
What kind of gift is it that first gives, then takes away? Is that a gift?
Would not the gift of God be perfect?
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
The story of the five year old child that I began this sermon with is important to us for several reasons.
Adele received from her father what she believed to be absolutely worth celebrating, but the gift itself was temporary, if she did not peel the orange and enjoy it, she would lose it. Compared to the things we want today, this is one of the simplest gifts that can be given, and Adele rejoiced.
We have a gift from God that is absolutely worth celebrating, and this week a good number of young people were shown what God had given them that they may enjoy Jesus forever. Some believed and were saved, some testified to it on paper, others came to the Lord the following day, perhaps some today.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
At the end of 1945, Hungary would experience the most extreme hyperinflation in history. Prices were doubling every 15 hours and workers would need to be paid twice a day with the wife entering the workplace to collect the pay packet at lunchtime, and the man at the days end, in the hope that anything could be purchased with the sweat of the mans brow.
The cost of an orange at that time exceeded the income a man would earn in a month.
Adele received it joyfully, ignorant of the cost, and the smile on her father’s face was reward enough for him.
The free gift of Salvation has a cost we are ignorant of. We speak of it with the same level of ignorance Adele had, yes she knew her father purchased it, but at what cost? We do not truly know the cost, Perhaps its cost is relative to the consequence of its rejection?
Lastly, Adele looked forward to that Christmas event that comes once per year.
But, Jesus is offered only ever today, he can only ever be received today; yesterday is history and tomorrow is uncertain, your connection to eternity is only ever at this moment. The offer of The Gift is almost as frequent as it is rare!
Will you receive it?
Today is the day of salvation, today is the day that this gift can be received and the only thing that is in your way is…well… you!
Will you ask him for it?
Eternal Life is The Gift, it has been paid for by Christ, and it is simply to be received with joy.