Salvation From Death
This salvation of which I speak is a complete salvation from that enemy who has conquered the whole world and every human being. This is a complete salvation from that monster sin, so that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Hence the Lord Jesus Christ is said to have finished transgression, made an end of sin, and redeemed His people from all iniquity.
This salvation is not only a salvation from sin in all its bearings, but it is a salvation from the curse of the law. The law cannot curse the sinner that is saved, because he has become dead to the law by the body of Christ. What adds to the blessedness of this salvation is, that it is a salvation of manifestive union to the Son of God. Those who are killed to the law are married to Christ, and are manifestly one with Jesus; they are bone of His bone, body of His body, flesh of His flesh, and spirit of His spirit. Then what a glorious salvation that is which the Lord has accomplished for poor sinners.
I have often thought of what Paul says: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions [impulses or passions] of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death” (Romans 7:5). Have you not found it so? When in the flesh, working such abominable things, sometimes it has brought forth legal vows and promises; at other times working wrath and rebellion; so that in the end it brings forth fruit unto death. This is all that ever the law can do for a sinner. All its workings in a poor sinner’s heart only make it fruitful unto death. But, being delivered from the law by the blessed body of the Lord Jesus Christ, we bring forth fruit unto God; we bring forth fruit unto holiness. Thus it is a salvation that raises a sinner from the most awful state of degradation and ruin to the blessed, solemn, glorious state of manifestive union to Christ, to oneness with Him. They therefore bring forth fruit unto the praise and glory of His name.
This salvation is a salvation from death in all its bearings. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is a salvation from death. Say you, “Will not the Lord’s people die? Shall we not all die?” I will tell you how it is. The Lord’s people go to sleep; they sleep in Jesus. That is what the Holy Ghost declares: “They fall asleep in Jesus” (see 1st Corinthians 15:50-58; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18). Death to the child of God, who is saved by the grace of God, is no worse than a gentle nurse coming and rocking a peevish child to sleep. They are rocked asleep in the cradle of the love and blood of the Son of God. They that “sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” They shall be eventually raised from this sleep. It is a salvation from every appearance of death, a salvation to all the glorious appearances of divine life and love. This is the salvation the Lord accomplishes for His dear people. You know what the Lord says concerning this people with the rest of mankind, that they are all dead in trespasses and sins: “You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) Then, whether you know it or not, if the Lord has not quickened your soul, you are as dead to spirituality as a dead corpse in the grave; and it has as much power to come out of the grave and work as you have to quicken your own soul. This salvation is a salvation that brings quickening power, and makes the dead soul alive to God; brings the soul that was spiritually dead up into life in the Lord.
That soul that is made a partaker of this salvation is brought to cry, sigh, groan, pant, pray and wrestle again and again, day by day, and will never rest till the Lord manifests to him Christ’s salvation. There being living movements in all his ways, after the Lord makes him alive, he has living movements towards God. It is as that blessed portion of the Word of God says: The Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). That poor soul in which the Lord has begun salvation – at times he cannot talk; he cannot speak in prayer to the Lord. Perhaps some poor soul may be here tonight who is so bewildered, who is so confused, when he is on his knees he has not words to speak. “But,” say you, “if he cannot speak, he should use the prayer book.” You might as well count twenty. There is no prayer book that will touch your case, or come to the core of your disease.
Now, mind what the Lord says. The Spirit helpeth the infirmities of the saints: “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit maketh intercession according to the will of God. Is there a soul reading this, groaning, sighing and panting for the living God? There is the inditing of the Spirit of God in your soul. He has commenced His divine life, seating Himself there; and you may rest assured of this: He will maintain the life He has commenced. This salvation brings peace to the conscience, and is a salvation from death to life. That poor soul is alive that is in such a state that he sighs and groans to God to have this salvation brought down to his conscience. Once there was a time when he had no desire to groan; he had set his eyes, his ears, and his heart on pleasure; when he took his fill of sin, saying, “What is it to anybody? We are to do as we like. Come, let us have another glass to drive and drink away sorrow.” Many thousands drink away sorrow, till they drink themselves into the wrath of God in black despair. It is through the mercy of the Lord He does not leave you to say this.
When this salvation is made known and manifest, it leads the soul to plead with God. Sometimes there is such a blessedness in it, the man feels such fellowship between God and his conscience, that he is led to follow the Lord from Bethlehem to the wilderness, from the wilderness to Gethsemane’s garden, from the garden to the cross, from the cross to the grave, and from the grave to the right hand of God, who has raised His people up together with Christ, and makes them sit together with Christ (see Ephesians 2:6). Thus He raises the soul up to have holy converse with God. Thus he can plead with God as a man pleads with his friend. This is the nature of this salvation; it takes away his filth and gives him Christ’s holiness. Christ is made to such a sinner, sanctification. It takes away his unrighteousness, and gives him the righteousness of Christ. Christ is made of God unto him righteousness. He delivers him from all his foes, internal, infernal and external. In the end, it raises him up to have intercourse with God in glory. He shall reign with Him and Christ for ever and ever.
What a blessed salvation this is! Talk about doing our best, and the Lord will do His part, is all foolishness, mere lumber. When the Lord, in the riches of His grace, comes into the soul and raises the sinner up to God, and brings God and heaven down to the sinner, then God and heaven meet in the sinner’s heart. Here is immortal glory not to be described by all the powers of men and angels.
“Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation” (Psalm 35:3). You sometimes talk about the glorious body of Christ. Did you ever give it a thought what is intended by the glorious body of Christ? See the Lord Jesus Christ travelling in the desert; we do not see His glory. I have often thought of one thing that eclipsed His glory, and an awful thing it was – the sins of His people. They were all imputed to Him and put upon Him. If only yours and mine are so great, what must all the sins of God’s people be? Do you wonder the people saw no beauty in Him? It was no wonder when He was covered with such an awful garment as your sins and mine. There was one place where His solemn Majesty appeared in His glory. That was on the mount of transfiguration. Peter, and James, and John were with Him, and said, “It is good to be here.” Peter wanted to stop there for ever. Poor creature! He was for setting about building three tabernacles, but the Lord had better work for him to do.
This salvation our God has accomplished – a salvation from death in all its bearings, and which shall issue in life in all its matchless glories. By this salvation He will raise the bodies of His people and fashion them like to the glorious body of Christ. Body and soul be together glorified with Christ.