Saved from what?

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Is.52:7, Joel 2:32).

The Scriptures speak everywhere of God’s salvation, but people who are self-righteous and prosperous, and who have no sense of pending judgment, will often ask mockingly, “saved from what?”

Christians use the expression “being saved” to describe the redemption obtained by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, through faith in which they receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

A rabbi, addressing an anti-missionary meeting, dismissed this concept of salvation, claiming that salvation in Scripture has nothing to do with being saved from sin and is always physical and political, referring to the rescue of individuals or people from oppression. However, the Law of Moses made it abundantly clear that Israel was assured of God’s blessing and divine protection provided that they continued to obey all that is written in the Law. Falling into the hands of their enemies was the consequence of sin and disobedience. So the real enemy is sin!

Most of us are always inclined to blame our circumstance on others, but Daniel readily admitted that the situation he found himself in, exiled in Babylon, was the direct consequence of sin:

“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name . . . Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame–the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you” (Daniel 9:4-11).

Those who believe that they are deserving of God’s favour and that salvation will be physical and political, have a completely erroneous concept of salvation. They expect to be vindicated through the destruction of their enemies but they fail to see what the real enemy is (cf. Isaiah 63:10). What is even more disturbing is the growing number of Christians who are buying into this concept of a physical and political salvation for unbelieving Israel. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34), yet they fail to perceive that the essence of our salvation, is to be set free from our bondage to sin so that we may worship the LORD in spirit and in truth.

Those who believe that Israel will only be saved at the second coming, when they “look upon Him whom they pierced,” underestimate the serious consequence of unbelief. The Messiah is not coming to vindicate those who have persisted in their hatred and rejection of him. Nor is he coming again to bear sin. He is coming to bring salvation to the faithful, to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28). Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

This present age is by no means a mere parenthesis, an interruption in God’s plan for Israel while he deals with the Gentiles. It is the day of salvation! I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation. When Jesus returns in glory it will be a day of rejoicing for those who have believed, but a dreadful day of judgement and condemnation for all who have rejected his grace and have treated the precious blood of atonement as an unholy thing! (Heb. 10:29). Those who scoff at the notion of being saved have no fear of God and no expectation of the coming wrath: How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Heb.2:3).

Our enemy is not what many have perceived it to be. Our worst enemy is our own sinful nature and unbelieving hearts which have separated us from God. The good news of the Messiah is that he saves us from sin now. We do not need to wait for the end of the age to take hold of that salvation. Now is the time to look to the One who was pierced for our transgressions.

It was on the day that Jesus shed his atoning blood that a fountain was opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. Since that day, the LORD has been pouring out a spirit of grace and supplication on the humble from the house of David and on the faithful inhabitants of Jerusalem, the eternal city of the redeemed (Zechariah 13:1 &12:10).

Our own sins made us enemies of the LORD and the purpose of the Messiah was to bring us peace with God through his atoning sacrifice. Jesus was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? (1 Peter 4:17-18).

Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land (Psalm 85:9). The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here (Romans 13:11-12).

The apostle Paul expressed his heart’s desire, that the Israelites may be saved. If we share that desire then let us imitate Paul, preaching the gospel in season and out of season for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.