Elder Vernon Johnson



Salvation from Ignorance

In our previous essays we have considered how God has saved us from the condemnation of sin, from the bondage of sin, and from the corruption of sin.  These make up our eternal salvation which according to the scriptures are by the grace of God and not by the works of the creature.  In this essay we will begin to look at our timely salvation.  That there are two types of salvation taught in the scriptures is plainly set forth in II Tim. 2:10, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."  Thus "the elect" already have "eternal glory" and Paul desired they would have another salvation, for which he endured "all things" for their sake. 

One aspect of timely salvation is deliverance from ignorance and working to "get right" with God.  Paul prayed for a people in Romans chapter 10 who were ignorant of God's righteousness and going about trying to establish their own righteousness.  In other words, they were trying thru their efforts to "get right" with God.  That such effort is futile is evidenced by the fact that salvation from sin is by the grace of God.  They, however, according to their ignorance thought they could do something that would put them in judicial favor with a just and holy God.    

Please note that no one tries to get right with God who hasn't first felt the conviction of sin in his heart.  A person who wants to get right with God does so, because he has been convicted in his heart of sin.  Next, no one has felt conviction of sin in his heart until God has first written his laws in his heart.  Without law there can be no conviction of sin.  God writes his laws in our heart when we are born again (born spiritually).  Jesus died and redeemed all, who are born again, from the condemnation of sin.  The born again person being convicted by the laws of God written in his heart will try to alleviate his heartfelt conviction of sin by trying to get right with God.  At this point in time he is ignorant of the "righteousness of God," i.e., that Christ thru his sufferings and death on the cross redeemed him and made him right with God.  He in his ignorance goes about trying to do something to get right with God. 

In Matt. 11:28 the Lord said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heave laden, and I will give you rest."  The born again but convicted child of God labors trying to establish his own righteousness all the while he is heavy laden with a burden of sin guiltiness.  What can save this individual from the predicament he is in?  Well the answer is "coming to Jesus" to see that he is "the end (fulfillment) of the law for righteousness."  When we see that Jesus has made us righteous before God then we will stop all our efforts in trying to get right with God.  The true gospel brings this knowledge to the laboring sin burdened child of God.  II Tim. 1:10 declares the gospel purpose as follows: "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  The gospel brings life and immortality to light!  It declares what Jesus has done for us and how we are made righteous thru his sacrificial atonement.  The gospel does not give life, but it brings that life that God has already given us (of which we were before ignorant) to light or knowledge.  Therefore when the born again child of God who is burdened with sin guiltiness and trying to get right with God hears and believes that Jesus died to deliver him from his sins and that he is thus made right with God, he is then saved from his ignorance and from his fruitless attempts to get right with God.  Many of God's born again people are today still in their ignorance trying to get right with God.  Let us have the same concern and prayer for them that Paul expressed in Rom. 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."  Isaiah 40:1,2 illustrates the purpose of the gospel in saving God's people from ignorance and effort in trying to get right with God: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished; that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."  Many of God's people today are fighting a warfare in trying to get right with God when the war is already won for them by the Lord, they just don't know it.  The gospel, however, brings this knowledge to them. 

It is indeed a great comfort and load removed from our heart when we come to believe that Jesus has redeemed us from our sins by his sacrificial atonement and by the grace of God.  It removes the load of sin‑guiltiness from our heart and delivers us from a fruitless effort of trying to get right with God. 

Next, we'll consider how we may save ourselves to the service of God and from a condemning heart.

NEXT- Salvation from a Condemning Heart