Things That Differ

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - Salvation

Of the things that differ we now proceed to say a little on the subject of salvation. Far be it from us to even seem to make the way of salvation difficult or complicated, but we feel that there are many very strong demands for an emphasis upon the tremendous nature of a conversion. This matter has been made all too simple and easy with disastrous consequences in after life.

While it is true that in many notable cases the final touch by which the new birth has taken place has been very gentle and undemonstrative, this does not by any means weaken the case or take from the terrific nature of the entire new birth. Precautions must be taken against such contingencies as are commonly met with amongst those who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus.

For instance, there are many who come to a time when the whole question as to whether they are really born again children of God arises and they are tossed about in uncertainty, darkness and helpless impotence. Then there are many who after a time of seeming reality drop back into the old life and are carried away into greater excesses of sin and worldliness than ever. Further, the Master spoke of many who in that day will say "Lord, in Thy Name we have prophesied and done many mighty works" and that He would answer "Ye stand in no relationship to Me."

Now while in the two first instances there may have been a real transaction with God at some time and in their case doubts have arisen under extreme pressure from the Enemy, and in the other instance a pure case of backsliding, experience goes to prove that in all too many cases the origin of this "Christian Life" (?) was doubtful or inadequate.

In view of the tremendous sifting which must take place and of the words, "If the righteous scarcely be saved where will the sinner and the ungodly appear" it behoves us to be very clear and certain as to the nature of salvation.

It is a tremendous thing to be born out of God. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is set throughout the scriptures as an example of a new birth. The divine attestation to His Sonship is always reserved for His resurrection, both in type, prediction, and fact. The Bible is written from Genesis to Revelation in the terms of the resurrection of Christ. When the Father says "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" it refers and relates to His resurrection by which He was the first begotten from among the dead.

Now the Apostle says, "The exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe according to the energy of His might which He energised in Christ when He raised Him from the dead." This energy of the might of God in resurrection is "to usward who believe" and represents the nature and requirement of a birth from the dead of such as are dead in trespasses and sins. The inwrought faith of God Himself is the only adequate faith and the essential principle of resurrection. Apply this to the scriptures and you will find it is true. When we believe we turn with willingness and sincerity toward the Lord and come to Him, thus opening our hearts that His Spirit may give unto us the extra essential requisite, even saving faith.

So often there has been quoted to the unconverted as a simple basis of salvation the familiar words "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," but we must remember that faith in the heart which is justifying faith follows upon a previous work of the Holy Spirit in the deep conviction of sin, and such faith is by the Holy Spirit's energising. In ourselves we have no saving faith - our life in Christ from start to finish is "by the faith of the Son of God."

Then also we must remember that "no man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Spirit." This carries with it the law that, not by any mere mental assent to certain proposed truths about the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, not by any mere mental apprehension of the terms of the Gospel can man be saved, but by nothing less than the mighty work of the Holy Ghost upon and within them.

We have not sufficiently measured the force of spiritual death, the authority of Satan, the awful nature of sin, and the real change in the nature and level of man's life through the Fall. To apprehend by revelation but a little of all this would enable us to see that souls are not as easily born and cheaply won as we have been prone to think. Sooner or later in our relationship to Christ we shall be forced experimentally to recognise the infinite measure of the resurrection of Christ wrought - not only for - but in, every true child of God.

The Lord make us very sure for ourselves, and to make very sure in the case of every one with whose salvation we have anything to do.

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