Thursday, 17 January 2013

Are you saved....??

In last week's Blog I outlined some of the Biblical references which give a hint of what Eternal Life will be like, as an experience. But perhaps it would be good, helpful, and important, to check whether we are 'saved'....or not.....

There are at least 3 questions that need an answer:

1. Were the following representative 20 great characters in the Old Testament 'saved'?: 
Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, Joseph, Joshua, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

2. What does the Hebrew word translated 'salvation' in the Old Testament mean?

3.  Do you have to, and need to, believe in, and trust in, the finished work of Jesus at His Crucifixion and order to receive 'salvation', and to be 'saved'?

Let's take the 3 questions one at a time:

1. Were the following representative 20 great characters in the Old Testament 'saved'

YES....without any doubt! The Psalmist is clear that when God restores His relationship with Man through Man's request for the forgiveness of sin....he shall be saved!
Psalm 80:3  Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!

Solomon is similarly clear:
Proverbs 28:18  Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.

David confirms that he has received the shield of Your salvation in Psalm 18, and in Psalm 35:
Psalm 18:2,35,46  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.... You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. ...The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

Psalm 35:9  My soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation.

In addition, following the death of his child conceived in his adultery with Bathsheba, David prays:
Psalm 51:12  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 

Again, the Psalmist prays that 'Your salvation may be known among the nations':
Psalm 67:2  That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

2. What does the Hebrew word translated 'salvation' in the Old Testament mean?

The Hebrew word translated 'salvation' is 'yeshuah', and it means 'a deliverance or freedom from a trouble'.  There are 2 important points to note:

1. Is there a connection between 'yeshuah' and the Hebrew name of Jesus, which is Yeshua?  Of course there is, and we shall see why shortly.

2. The 'trouble' that one is 'saved' or delivered from is the ultimate penalty for sin, which is The Second Death, as the Prophet Ezekiel, and Paul note:

Ezekiel 18:20  The soul who sins shall die. 
Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death...

We have already noted that The Great White Throne Judgment, The Last Judgment, is the event when God delivers His punishment, The Second Death, to those that Ezekiel and Paul refer to. 

However, to be punished with The Second Death is likely to be suffered only by those who have lived lives of consistent, unending, persistent, unvarying, unfailing, and undeviating evil and wickedness.  Have I made the point clearly enough?  I hope so!!

3.  Do you have to, and need to, believe in, and trust in, the finished work of Jesus at His Crucifixion and order to receive 'salvation', and to be 'saved'?

In the answer to question 1. I quoted from Psalm 67.2  that 'Your salvation may be known among the nations'.  

One of the aims and achievements of Jesus at His Crucifixion and Resurrection, was to make available to ALL peoples of the world the chance and possibility of atonement with God, with the forgiveness of sin:
1John 2:2   He Himself is the atonement for our sins, and not for ours only (the Jews) but also for the whole world.

Before His Crucifixion and Resurrection, 'salvation' was available to those who journeyed to Jerusalem and offered an animal, substitutionary, sacrifice for their sin in the process of the sacrificial system in The Temple, or earlier in The Tabernacle.  This 'salvation' was received by all those in the Old Testament who offered their sacrifice....including ALL those 20 great characters!!

This was the ONLY way in which a person could receive 'salvation', and forgiveness of sin, before His Crucifixion and Resurrection.  If a person lived in Britain, Gaul (France), Russia, or China before Jesus, the ONLY way to receive 'salvation' was to get on a donkey, or a camel, or walk to Jerusalem.

AFTER His Crucifixion and Resurrection, and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in 70AD/CE, 'salvation' and the forgiveness of sin became available to ALL people in the world, but ONLY on the basis of trust and commitment to the price that He paid at His Crucifixion.

That price was the price of His Life Blood which paid for the Redemption of ALL Mankind.  

So....ALL mankind is redeemed.  The problem for ALL mankind, then, is to accept or to refuse His 'salvation', which became a possibility as a result of His Redemption.

It is as if ALL Mankind was in a locked prison cell. His Redemptive act, at His Crucifixion, unlocked the prison door, and threw away/destroyed the key, so that the door can never be locked again.

The next step for Mankind, individually, is to accept His 'salvation' by trusting in His Redemptive act....and to walk out of the unlocked prison cell.   Tragically....the vast majority of Mankind remains in the prison cell, despite the fact that the door is unlocked.

So.....are you 'saved'??   I believe, and am certain, that you are 'saved' from the 'trouble' that you might be in at The Great White Throne Judgment....and you should believe and be certain that you are 'saved' from The Second Death.

BUT....have you received His Salvation, and the forgiveness of your sin, which enables you 'to walk as He walked', and to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus at the First that you can have a thousand year preview experience of ultimate Eternal Life.....!!

Until next week....when I will attempt to explain what Paul means when he writes in Philippians 2.12: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling......

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