David Huss, an Ohio preacher, tells about the time he had a hospice chaplain call and ask, “Are you still looking for a car?
I said “Yes.” I asked him, “How much does the car cost?”
He said, “It’s free.”
I said, “Where are you? I”m coming as fast as I can!”
Huss continues. “I went there and it turns out that a hospice patient wanted to give his car to someone who would use it for a good cause. The car was free but I had to do certain things to get it.”
“First of all, I had to visit with the hospice patient. Next, we had to have a gift letter made. After this, we both had to sign the gift letter in the presence of a notary public.”
“After this, I had to contact my insurance agent to get insurance on the car. I had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a plate. The car was free but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to do anything.”
Huss’ story illustrates of our word the week, Salvation.
The Bible, in Ephesians 2, describes the unsaved state of humankind as “dead in trespasses and sins.” We “followed the ways of the world.” And were under the influence of Satan. We were disobedient to God. We were aliens. Strangers. Foreigners. Without God. Separated from the Savior. And without hope.
It’s a pretty dismal description. A sad state. A helpless, hapless, hopeless situation.
Then we read these words. “But God…”
Because he is “rich in mercy.” Possesses “great love.” And desires to demonstrate “the exceeding riches of his grace.” We can receive salvation because of God’s grace. God’s mercy. God’s love.
It is said that grace gives what we don’t deserve. And mercy doesn’t give what we do deserve. This is the perfect expression of the unfathomable, unsearchable love of God. “That while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
But salvation from sins comes only through Jesus Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” affirmed the apostle Peter (Ax 4:12).
Salvation is God’s gift to sinful human race. The Bible says so 6 times in 4 verses (Rom. 5:15-18). Jesus paid the price for our redemption, justification, and salvation.
Yet, like the gift of David Huss’ car, we must meet God’s conditions to receive His gift of salvation.
It is through the gospel, “God’s power to salvation,” that we learn about God’s plan for salvation. We must hear the gospel, which can incite faith in the hearts of honest hearers (Rom. 10:17).
When the Jews on Pentecost were cut to the heart and believed the gospel message, they cried out, “What shall we do?”
Peter responded, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ax 2:38).
The Scripture says “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (Ax 2:41). Baptized into Christ. Baptized into the Body of Christ. Baptized into a saved state (Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor 12:13; I Pet. 3:21).
However, their work, like ours, was not complete. God calls us to faithfulness and fruitfulness in His Kingdom. (Jn 15:1-8; Rev. 2:10). The results of salvation have not ended. They have only just begun. Salvation demands dedicated discipleship. God-centered worship. Meaningful ministry. Family fellowship. And evangelistic outreach. (Ax 2:42-27)
Indeed remaining saved requires our diligent attention. Paul’s admonition ought to motive and inspire us. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman