Elder Vernon Johnson



How are we Saved from a Condemning Heart 

In this essay we will continue 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.  We will now consider how the elect are saved from a condemning heart and into the service of God. When we are born again God writes his laws in our heart and mind (Heb. 8:10; II Cor. 3:3; Heb. 10:16; Rom. 2:15), sprinkles our heart from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22), and sets up a courtroom in our heart and mind (Rom. 2:15; 1 John 3:21, 22).  In this courtroom we are convicted in our hearts as sinners under the wrathful judgment of God as the following examples illustrate:  

          1. Isa. 6:5 ‑ "Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

          2.  Luke 18:13 ‑ "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."          

          3.  Rom. 7:24 ‑ "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"         

Thus, as the above scriptures illustrate, when we see ourselves in light of God's laws and the justice and holiness of God, that we then begin to see ourselves as poor ruined sinners worthy of God's wrath being executed upon us.  The question before us is "How are we delivered (saved) from our condemning heart?"  The answer is given to us in Mk. 16:15, 16, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."  Thus, without doubt, there is a salvation in the preaching of the gospel, believing the gospel, and being baptized."  I Pet. 3:21 describes this salvation to us as follows: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."          

Peter points out to us that the salvation in baptism is "not" the putting away of the filth of the flesh.  The filth of the flesh is sin.  Sin is not put away by water baptism.  Sin is put away by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Baptism is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.          

Peter also points out to us that the salvation in water baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God."  I have always been taught that if you have an answer then you must have first had a question.  The question is a two part question.  First, do you as a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross to deliver you from your sins and that when he arose that proved you are justified?

The second part of this question is that since Jesus died to redeem you from your sins are you going to serve him as his disciple and enter into that service thru water baptism?  Thus belief of the gospel message and being "baptized in water serves to deliver (save) you from a condemning heart.  The gospel message assures you that Jesus delivered you from the wrathful judgment of God and thus assuages the condemning heart.  Likewise, water baptism assuages the heart that would condemn us if/when we turn away from the service of God.

The above principles are illustrated for us in Isa. 6:6‑8.  As you will recall from above that Isaiah in v.5 had seen himself in a state of condemnation and woe.  Verses 6 and 7 tell us how that God had taken care of the problem that plagued Isaiah's heart: "Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."  In the typical language above, if in place of the "seraphim" we inserted the gospel preacher and in place of the "live coal" we inserted Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, then we have the gospel message that brings such comfort to a sin‑plagued heart.

Next, in v.8 we see the call to service and response of Isaiah: "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send me."  This is typical of the call to service in the gospel and ones response to that call by being baptized in water.  Thus it is the answer of a good conscience towards God.

Thus the salvation from a condemning heart requires the preaching of the gospel; belief of the gospel; repentance; i.e., turning from any false belief system or evil works in our lives; and baptism.  This salvation requires us as born again children of God to perform the above works if we are to experience this salvation from a condemning conscience and salvation into the service of God in his kingdom.  Unlike our eternal salvation which is by grace and without our works, this timely salvation is brought about in part by the works God has given us to maintain.

NEXT - Salvation from Death of Fellowship