“12 For though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
We established last week that Jesus is the author of our eternal salvation. Just this past week, I have heard so much misinformation about salvation that I had to address it in our weekly mid-week study. I heard this week that one has to keep the Law to be saved. I elsewhere heard that you don’t need to repent of your sins to be saved, and on and on. The doctrine of salvation has been and always will be under attack as it is the power of God to save souls and rescue men and women from Hell. The author of Hebrews is stressing from the very first verse that Jesus is the be-all and the end-all of salvation. It is by Him, in Him, and for Him that we are saved. No Jesus, no salvation.
In my personal devotions right now, I am reading through the writings of Paul once again. And in church after church, we can see that attacks on the Gospel — from the Gnosticism of the Galatians to the polluted Gospel of the Ephesians, and on — we see that Satan has figured out that if he can pollute the Gospel, then he can take as many as possible to Hell. Many people simply do not know or understand the Gospel of Jesus. The Hebrew writer comments that it is difficult to get further into the teachings and ways of God if we cannot come to terms with the fundamentals of the Gospel. There are many unskilled people that profess to be teachers of the Scriptures, and yet they are novices that need to go back to the very basics of the truth before they can honestly teach the deep spiritual truths of the Bible.
- Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection were never plan B.
This is one of the hardest things for people to come to grips with. God knows EVERYTHING. The fall of man was not a surprise. The events of Genesis 3 did not catch God off guard and send Him scrambling to find a solution. What does the Bible say? See Revelation 13:8,
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (NKJV).
Jesus was slain, as far as God was concerned, before He ever breathed life into the little clay man He had made. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He agreed to create mankind. As such, we can see that God had to work very hard (a relative term for us to understand) to keep the bloodlines safe. He preserved Noah, who was ‘perfect’ in all his generations (Genesis 6:9), meaning that he was pure all the way back to Adam and able to preserve the pure mankind for Jesus to be born, the Perfect Man, who would be our Perfect Sacrifice, so we could be Perfect in Jesus to be accepted by God.
- Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can save you.
This may sound like I am being trivial, but I am not. To a seasoned Christian, this may be boring, but I hope not. Even after 40+ years of being saved and 38 years in the ministry, I still am in awe that the Gospel is for me as well. You and I could not and cannot save ourselves; there is no amount of goodness or Law-keeping that will save you from Hell. You MUST be saved by Jesus. If you deny that Jesus is the Son of God, making Him equal with God (John 5:18), you are not of God (1 John 2:23). If you deny that Jesus is the Living God, you are not saved.
If you are trying to be saved by keeping the Law, you are NOT saved. God lays this out plainly in Romans 3:19-20 (Berean Study Bible),
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin.”
The Law was designed by God to make you aware of your sinful state and, thus, your need to be redeemed. It was never designed and, in fact, cannot save you. In Galatian 2:16, we see this verse,
“Know that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we too, have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Berean Study Bible).
Paul, a former Pharisee, one who kept the Law, is telling us via the Holy Spirit that we are justified by faith and not by works of the Law. No one is justified by the works of the Law. To be justified means to be declared ‘righteous or innocent. Only by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross and in His resurrection can we be saved. The thief on the cross (see Luke 23: 39-43) was saved instantly by his faith. He addressed Jesus as Lord and believed in the resurrection; “Lord remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” This man was never baptized, never tithed, never handed out a Gospel tract, and never joined a church. He was simply saved by faith in Jesus; that is it and no more. You and I must be saved the same way.
Too many are unskilled in the Word of God.
I am not boasting; I know many men who are way better than I at teaching. But I know this: salvation is by God, of God, from God, and in God. Your part is to acknowledge your sinfulness and trust in Jesus’ full payment and His resurrection for your sins. Some would even call you to stop sinning before you are saved. This is impossible, as your very nature is sin. You need a new birth, a regeneration in Jesus (John 3:3). Even after that, you and I will still be sinners, but we will be sinners saved by grace. The Bible is filled with many Godly men, the ‘heroes’ of our faith whose humanity was on display all too often. But they, like Abraham, had this on their side: they believed God, and it was accounted for righteousness. Romans 4 tells us that Abraham is the father of ALL who believe the way he did — by faith, NOT WORKS. He did not earn his salvation; it was a gift from God because He believed God. See Romans 4: 2-3,
“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'”
Has God’s righteousness been accounted to you? This is the question.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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