Two Salvations

Paul said, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (II Tim. 2:10)

Paul had suffered ridicule, persecutions, including beatings, stonings, jail and many more things because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul endured all these things for a particular group of people. He endured them for the elect’s sake. He did not endure them for the non-elect’s sake, but only for the elect. We are told in the scriptures that the elect are those that are “chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.” (Eph. 1:4) God chose them solely by his grace. This choice was not of works, either foreseen or actual.

Now Paul did not endure the pain, suffering, and persecutions that the elect might obtain eternal glory, for they already had eternal glory. The key phrase in our text is “also obtain.” This means that they may obtain something in addition to that which they already had. Since the elect already have eternal glory, Paul suffered that the elect may obtain a salvation that is in addition to eternal glory. This, brothers and sisters, means that there are two salvations taught in the scriptures. Paul preached and subsequently suffered that the elect might obtain a salvation that is in addition to eternal glory.

We know that all the elect are predestinated, called, justified, and glorified according to Rom. 8:29, 30. The Lord said not one of the elect would be lost (John 6:37-39). But, do all the elect obtain the salvation that is in addition to eternal glory? The answer is no. Paul said that they may obtain it. Something that they may do is also something that they may not do. Thus this timely salvation is conditioned on the response of the elect.

The Old Baptists are right when they claim there are both an eternal salvation and a timely salvation that are taught in the scriptures.

Those things which pertain to our eternal salvation: i.e.; salvation from the condemnation of sin; salvation from the bondage of sin; and salvation from the corruption of sin are all by the grace of God.

First, we are saved by the sacrificial atonement of Jesus from the condemnation of sin. It was said of Jesus, “He shall save his people from their sins.” Paul wrote to Timothy about the work of God in saving us from the condemnation of sin. “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Jesus finished the work of saving his people (the elect) from the condemnation of sin while on the cross. Rom. 8:33, 34 confirms this: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” This we were told was not according to our works, but according to God’s purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Second, we are saved from the bondage of sin by God’s sovereign work in the new birth. Rom. 3:9-20; 1 Cor. 2:14; and Eph. 2:2, 3 tell us plainly that we as natural men and women were in total bondage to our corrupt sin nature. However, in Rom. 8:2 Paul writes, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The new birth has made us free from having to serve the corruptions of the flesh. In Tit. 3:5 we read of the new birth that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Thus we conclude that our salvation from the bondage of sin is not by our works of righteousness but by the grace of God.

Third, our salvation from the corruption of sin will take place at the resurrection from the dead, when our bodies will be changed and fashioned like the glorious body of Christ. This mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible shall put on incorruption. 1 Cor. 15:57 reads, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God gives us the victory. We don’t earn it, labor for it, or deserve it, but God gives it to us by his grace. The end of God’s covenant of grace (Rom. 8:29, 30) is glorification. All of the elect will be glorified.

In summary, we conclude that salvation to eternal glory is solely by the grace and works of God and is sure to all the elect.

In contrast, our deliverances (salvation) here in time as we live are conditioned on the responses of the elect. The elect may or may not obtain these timely deliverances, but their eternal destiny is sure regardless of whether the elect obtain the timely deliverances.

The preaching of the word of God is instrumental in bringing about these timely deliverances of the elect. Paul said, “Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” The question we ask here is “That Israel might be saved from what?” Paul proceeds, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” From this we gather there are three things Israel needed saving from. First, they needed saving from their ignorance of God’s righteousness. Second, they needed saving from going about to establish their own righteousness. Third, they needed saving to submit themselves unto the righteousness of God.

I submit that the Israel Paul was praying for were of the elect. According to the scriptures, the non-elect don’t seek after God; God is not in all their thoughts; they have no fear of God; and they have said in their hearts there is no God. Now such individuals would have no zeal of God as the Israel Paul prayed for has. Paul would not pray for the non-elect for he knew their eternal destiny and also knew that they couldn’t be saved in a timely sense either.

The elect need to be saved from their ignorance. Through ignorance the elect will worship falsely and believe falsehoods. The gospel brings the knowledge of God’s truths to the minds of God’s elect. Furthermore, through ignorance, the elect go about to establish their own righteousness. The problem with this is that there is nothing we can do or say that will make us right with God. All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Man does many things to try to establish his own righteousness before God. He tries to keep the law, he tries to keep a works system, he puts forth unscriptural principles for himself and others to keep in an effort to get right with God. Alas, all the efforts that man puts forth to get right with God and to try to make it possible for others to get right with God, are but vain efforts.

The Lord said, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Whole systems of vain worship have arisen through the efforts of men to get right with God and to give others a chance to get right with God. Through these systems and all the efforts and labors and billions of dollars spent on trying to get right with God and give others a chance to get right with God, not one person has gotten right with God thru those efforts!! The elect need delivering from these systems and efforts. The gospel that brings knowledge that Christ has made us right with God is the remedy for the elect if they will believe it and submit to it. The elect need to submit to the fact that Christ is the end (fulfillment) of the law for righteousness. Christ said “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest...” Those who labor trying to establish their own righteousness and are heavy laden with a burden of sin-guiltiness need to come to Christ. We preach the gospel to bring knowledge of salvation unto the elect that Christ has already saved them from their sins that they may rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Next, the elect need to be delivered here in time from the service of sin. In Rom. 6:17 we read, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whither of sin undo death or of obedience unto righteousness. Therefore, the elect need to be admonished to obey God. Peter said to the elect, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation. We live in an untoward society whose chief desire is to serve the flesh. All about us there are the allures of the devil, the flesh, and the world. However, as blood bought children of God, we owe a much higher allegiance to serve God and keep his commandments. We should save ourselves from this untoward generation and live godly lives and lifestyles to the praise, honor, and glory of God. The gospel ministry need to preach the whole counsel of God to the elect that they may be admonished to save themselves from serving sin.

The elect need to be delivered into the kingdom of God (God’s church kingdom in this time world). The gospel calls on God’s elect to repent, be baptized, and to take up their crosses and serve God in his kingdom. Now we are told that baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh (sin), but is the answer of a good conscience towards God. When a person hears the true gospel and is convicted in his heart of its precious truths, he begins to have a desire to serve God. The gospel calls on him to repent of any ungodly lifestyle and from any false worship and to publicly profess the Lord thru water baptism. In doing this the elect child of God enters into the Lord’s church to worship God in Spirit and truth and to serve him acceptably according to God’s word. This delivers the child of God into a close fellowship with God and to those fellow sojourners who have done likewise.

Now there are many other things taught in the scriptures concerning our timely salvation, but this will suffice us for the current writing. May God bless you with understanding to see the two salvations taught in his word.

Elder Vernon Johnson