Elder Vernon Johnson



Salvation from an Untoward Generation

In this essay we continue a study of timely deliverance (salvation) as we look at the exhortation in Acts 2:40, "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."  It is only those who have been called of God that can save themselves from this "untoward generation."  According to Rom. 3:17 the unregenerate (those not born again) know not the way of peace.  Likewise in Eph. 2:2, 3 we are told that before we are born again we "walked according to the course of this world" and "had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and mind."  It is only after the miracle of the new birth that we can "save ourselves from this untoward generation."

The Greek word for untoward is "skolios" meaning crooked or curved in contrast to that which is straight.  John describes for us this "untoward generation" in the admonition of I John 2:15, 16, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."  James says in James 4:4, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."  Thus we conclude that the course of this world is to satiate self with the fleshly lusts.  That is to live a lifestyle seeking to satisfy the fleshly desires.

There are two ways that are set forth for us that we can choose to travel in this life.  There is the broad way that most people travel and there is the narrow way of discipleship that a few travel.  Matt. 7:13, 14 describes these ways for us thusly: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be which find it."  For a child of God to travel the road of life living a lifestyle to satisfy the fleshly lust is to travel the road that leads to destruction.  Destruction can come in many forms a few of which are:

          1.  Broken marriages, broken relationships, broken fellowship, and broken promises.
          2.  A lifetime of despair, despondency, and depression.
          3.  A lifetime of dependency brought on by addiction to drugs and alcohol and other addictive substances and practices.
          4.  Loneliness.
          5.  Bondage to the false ideas and false teachings of false prophets.
          6.  Lives, ours and others, destroyed by lustful action.
          7.  Wasted opportunities to worship and serve God with the talents God has given us.
          8.  Guilt‑ridden lives often coupled with mental illness.

Those who travel the broad way of destruction usually do so because of the promises of fleshly gratification (lust of flesh, lust of eyes, pride of life) only to find out later in life how "empty" those promises really were.

The other way set forth for us to travel is the "narrow" way of discipleship or "way of peace also known as the "highway of holiness."  We are admonished in Rom. 12:1, 2, "I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  The travelers along the "highway of holiness" find that they experience a life of inner peace, rest, comfort, fellowship with God, true spiritual joy, friendship with God and God's obedient people, help in time of trouble, growth in the knowledge of God's word, strength during the time of adversity, consolation in time of loss, etc.  Thus this way leads unto the deep, full spiritual life in God's kingdom.

We save ourselves by initially and continually committing ourselves to the worship and service of God in his kingdom church and to being disciples of Jesus Christ by studying his word and by being doers of his word and by mortifying the deeds of the flesh through purging out the old fleshly ways and replacing them with the way of holiness and godliness.

Thus we should all strive to enter in at the strait gate and walk the narrow way which leads to this rich spiritual kingdom life. In our next essay we will consider how we are saved with many timely, providential deliverance. 

NEXT - Providential Salvation