1 Peter 4:18 “Now If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
A powerfully profound sermon by Don Fortner that I listened to today, how can a man be just with God or how can God save a sinner? I like to write down these truths that I hear as I sort through them with my own understanding.
There are many within this religious age that never question the matter of their salvation. They perhaps walked an aisle one time and prompted by the pastor said a sinner’s prayer, perhaps they were baptized and have gone to church the majority of their lives. It seems that often what is lacking is a sense of astonishment or sense of wonder at the mercy and grace of God. We speak of ‘amazing grace’ but do we really know what the means?
According to Mr. Fortner’s message, ‘Salvation is not an easy thing; it is not a simple thing for a sinner to exercise faith in Christ’. In fact, it is an absolute impossibility for men because it is “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). Christ in speaking about the rich young ruler said that ‘a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven’ and his disciples were astonished asking ‘who then can be saved?” Jesus gave them the answer, which is the answer for us as well. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)
According to the message, the word ‘scarcely’ in 1 Peter should be translated ‘with difficulty’. The scripture doesn’t mean that we barely get into heaven, nor does it mean that we enter in with fear and trembling. It is translated this way “If the righteous be saved with great difficulty, what shall become of the ungodly and the unbelieving?
Who then can be saved? As the redeemed of the Lord, we are encouraged and our hearts are filled with amazement, praise and thankfulness at the answer.
The Salvation of a sinner requires the Will of God.
Only those who God wills to be saved will be saved and that begins with Election and Predestination. Salvation begins with someone’s will and most today believe it is man’s free will, his choice. Election isn't hidden, it is taught throughout the Scripture and yet many are afraid to preach it.
Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Mr. Fortner’s definitions: Election is God’s free, sovereign, eternal choice of his people in Christ unto salvation. Predestination is God’s wise, gracious, orderly arrangement of all things from eternity, by which he secured the salvation of his elect.
There is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. Christ alone could be the satisfaction of divine justice. He is our meritorious substitute.
Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his rightouesness for the remission of sins that are part, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
God requires satisfaction and righteousness and Christ accomplished it.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for is righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:21)
Mr. Fortner tells us that Providence is the outworking of God’s purpose in the Gospel. He accomplishes in time what He has predestined in eternity and that is why we can confess and are comforted by Romans 8:28-30
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called and who he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
God alone is in control of all things and He sovereignly directs all things to bring His elect to their appointed time and place when He reveals to them His Grace in Christ Jesus through the Gospel in power.
“Blessed is the man whom thou chooseth and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple (Psalm 65:4)
It is the power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration who calls us effectually, generates a new heart within us, gives us the gift of faith, converts us and that is how we come to the Lord.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:17-20)
Faith is not a free work of man but a mighty power of the Holy Spirit. “He that believeth on the Son of God HATH everlasting life” Faith is the result, the fruit of regeneration, not the cause of it.
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”
The Gospel and Divine Preservation
Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We hear the Gospel by the foolishness of preaching.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)
We are saved by the same power that we are kept. "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)
We will experience and our salvation will be complete to us when these bodies sown in corruption are resurrected and we put on incorruption. Oh what glory that will be for it is then that we shall ever live with Him in eternal bliss.
“Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dear shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be change. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying this written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death where is thy sting.
We have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Salvation is of the Lord.