Vol.XIX No.V Pg.6
July 1982

Saved - - - From What?

Robert F. Turner

The gospel is God's power to save (Rom. 1:16), but from what? "Save, demands a peril. Where no peril exists, there can be no salvation. Further, where man does not recognize a peril, salvation is — at best — difficult. See the wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked Laodiceans? They are in bad shape, but worse yet — "thou knowest not" (Rev. 3:17). The prospect for saving them is scant. They may say —as some today — "Go teach people who need help." Or in an insulted tone, "You think I am lost."

The gospel is God's power to save man from sin. Man is accused (Rom. 2:15) his own conscience testifying against him. He is guilty; stained by sin. The good news is that Jesus came to save from sin (Mt. 1:21). The death of Jesus and the gospel obeyed enables guilt to be washed away from the mind of both God and man. This is forgiveness. Then there remains no more conscience of sin (Heb. 10:2), and the saints sing, "The burden of my heart rolled away."

The gospel is also God's power to save from punishment for sin. A soul is saved from death (Jas. 5:20), from wrath (Rom. 5:9). "The soul that sins, dies" continues as a timeless principle. Pardon is the only answer. "...as sin... reigned unto death" — the principle of justice — "even so might grace reign... unto eternal life by Jesus Christ" — the power of the pardon (Rom. 5:21).

The gospel, however, does not save from the natural consequence of sin. The thief goes to prison even though he becomes a Christian. God forgives and pardons, but society rightfully demands punishment. Neither does the gospel save from sin's physical consequence. The drunk damages mind and body in slavery to the bottle. By the gospel he is forgiven and pardoned, yet his physical maladies — the consequence of sin — are unchanged.

The gospel is God's power to save from the practice of sin. Paul shows us the man sin rules (Rom. 7:14-25). He cannot do as he wills — "what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." He has lost control — "...it is no more I... but sin that dwelleth (continuously rules) in me." He cries "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (v.24). It is a plea for salvation from slavery. The answer? "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord (v.25). Again, you were "the servants (slaves) of sin" but you have been made "free from sin" to become "servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17) Peter declares that Christians have "escaped the pollutions of the world" (2 Pet. 2:20). They may again — as once before — be "entangled and overcome". Such terms show the peril of sin's awful dominion. How dreadful if there were no power to break such bondage! We rejoice because the gospel breaks these bonds. True, the Christian has weak moments; he sins. In this, he loses a battle, but through the power of the gospel he is winning the war with sin. Christians strengthen themselves and encourage others through the gospel's truth. "If the Son... shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (Jn. 8:32,36).

Joe Fitch 6326 Peacepipe San Antonio, TX