How did God save us? What does the Bible say?
- Chapter 1 The Overflowing Love of God - The Predestination of God
- Chapter 2 The Weight of Sin - The Fall of Mankind
- Chapter 3 For God So Loved the World - The Gospel of God
- Chapter 4 We Are Destined to Die - The Wages of Sin
If you are not in Christ, you must know where you are at right now in order to see what God does to rescue you.
If you are in Christ, you get to rejoice and celebrate where God has rescue you from?
John 6:44–47 (CSB)
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me—
46 not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.
47 “Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has eternal life.
When God calls out, he is never speaking to hear himself speak. His words are never idle (Isaiah 55:11) but they have the power to give sight to the blind, for the lame to walk, to set the captives free, to save souls. In other words, to make dead people come alive. This is the gospel, this is the calling: the calling of God is drawing those to himself through the bloodshed and broken body of Jesus Christ by the power manifested in His Spirit.
This is the first instance of the calling: the breath of life.
Genesis 2:4-7 (CSB) These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation. At the time that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, no shrub of the field had yet grown on the land, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not made it rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground. But mist would come up from the earth and water all the ground. Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.
When God breathed his essence into our original parents, it wasn’t just simply oxygen filling our lungs, it was His Spirit. This is what made us different from all of creation and it is why Paul says that we “who have the firstfruits of the Spirit” (Romans 8:23) because God breathed his life into our bodies, giving us the very fullness of life. He was in us and we were with him.
Then the Fall came. We did not believe the truth of God’s word that gives life and sustains life. He spoke his perfect plan to us. We chose not to believe that plan and instead, exchanged it for our own plan of peace. In that fateful exchange, all of creation shattered. At that moment, we went from destiny of life and peace to a destiny of death and destruction.
Romans 8:6 (CSB) Now the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.
Despite our folly, despite our wickedness, despite our wickedness and despite our iniquities, God still calls out the gospel to our original parents:
Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
And upon hearing God’s promise that he will do everything to make everything right, correct, perfect and peaceful again, Adam and Eve believed in God and because they believed God again, he clothed them in His provision.
Genesis 3:21 (CSB) The LORD God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.
And if you see any time in the Bible that one is clothed by God, it is always clothed in righteousness.
Job 29:14 (CSB)
14 I clothed myself in righteousness, and it enveloped me; my just decisions were like a robe and a turban.
Psalm 132:9 (CSB)
9 May your priests be clothed with righteousness, and may your faithful people shout for joy.
Isaiah 59:17 (CSB)
17 He put on righteousness as body armor, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and he wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 61:10 (CSB)
10 I rejoice greatly in the LORD, I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Luke 15:17-24 (CSB) When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Ephesians 6:14 (CSB)
14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
Let’s keep going down the list.
Romans 3:23 declares all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Genesis 6:5-7 (CSB) When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.”
Genesis 6:5 starts out by God seeing the wickedness of man on the earth, not only in their actions but at the root level of their hearts and minds where all they did was think evil thoughts continuously. Verse 6, God says, “I am sorry I have ever made man and verse 7, God decrees “I am going to wipe out every breathing thing on the earth because I am so sorry I have made them.”
Yet in God’s overwhelming mercy and beautiful grace, he saves one wicked, depraved, horrible, sinful man and his family to be saved. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) You know the rest of the story: God tells Noah, “I am going to wipe everything off the earth. I need you to build a boat. Not a canoe, not a kayak, not a clipper, I need you to build a really really big ship: an ark. Yea, I know it has never rained—don’t worry about that so much.” Noah, upon hearing the calling of God, believes and now has the power to be obedient.
One last point before the horse is truly beaten. There was this Gentile, pagan, living life like any other sinner would: not worshipping God, not seeking him, not chasing him… just living life. And God calls out to him, “Abram, I need you to leave your dad’s house and your country. I am going to guide you where you are going to go. I am going to use you, you really old man, and through your offspring, I am going to build a nation of my people.” Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal except Abram and Sarai have no children. Yet, from God’s calling and by His power, Abram believed.
Four times in the New Testament by Paul and James they will simply quote Genesis 15:6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
But what is the truly awesome power of the effectual calling of God? These guys were basic living, with ears that can hear and an intellect to process such words and had the power to discern what is true or not, whether they came from God or not. Except that Paul will quote the Psalm in Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Paul will go one step further in Ephesians 2 and states emphatically:
Ephesians 2:1-3 (CSB) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
Was Paul using strong language in saying that we were basically dead? Yet God gives us the perfect analogy:
Ezekiel 37:1–14 (CSB)
1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.
2 He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry.
3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I replied, “Lord GOD, only you know.”
4 He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
5 This is what the Lord GOD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.
6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord GOD says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!”
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’
12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, my people, and lead you into the land of Israel.
13 You will know that I am the LORD, my people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the LORD.’ ”
Not only it is the perfect historical account of God’s breath and God’s words bringing life in Genesis, God’s calling used for salvation throughout the Bible and theologically proven by the prophecies of Ezekiel and the accounts of Paul, the Word himself, Jesus Christ, shows us this way in John 11.
John 11:1–44 (CSB)
1 Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.
3 So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.
6 So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was.
7 Then after that, he said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
8 “Rabbi,” the disciples told him, “just now the Jews tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?”
9 “Aren’t there twelve hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10 But if anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.”
11 He said this, and then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on my way to wake him up.”
12 Then the disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.”
13 Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought he was speaking about natural sleep.
14 So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.
15 I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go too so that we may die with him.”
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (less than two miles away).
19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary remained seated in the house.
21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.
22 Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.
24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.
26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”
28 Having said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”
29 As soon as Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
30 Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him.
31 The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her saw that Mary got up quickly and went out. They followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to cry there.
32 As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!”
33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled.
34 “Where have you put him?” he asked. “Lord,” they told him, “come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t he who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?”
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.
39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said. Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me.
42 I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.”
43 After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
John 11 is the clearest, boldest, truest example of our salvation. Like Lazarus, we were dead. Yet, God loved us even we could not love God because dead men cannot truly love or have the capacity to fully love. God came to us because dead men cannot walk to God. In his compassion alone, in his mercy alone and having nothing to do with our will and our exertion because dead men cannot will and exert themselves in order to save themselves (Romans 9:15-18), the Almighty God, who alone has power to create and make the dead now alive, calls out to each and every single one of us,
“Come forth! Come to the cross. Lay your sins upon me. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden by the weight of sin and iniquities, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest and peace for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Romans 8:10-11 (CSB) Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.
He did not save you from a bad marriage, bad kids, bad job, or nothing like that. He did not save you from pain and misery and persecution. He did not save you to a easy life. He saved you to himself–actual life, fullness of joy, pleasures evermore, and complete satisfaction.
But if our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered through the cross, would we, his brothers and sisters and his people, do anything less?
My friends, our God has saved us death.
We were once dead. We were once dead in our trespasses. By nature, we were children of wrath. Our real selves were dead as the embalmed Lazarus in the tomb for four stinking days.
If you are not in Christ, you are dead!
Praise be to God that we have the only God that will preach the life giving gospel to the dead!
Rise up! Live today!
Save me, Lord, NOW! Amen