Feb 24, 2021, 2:49 PM
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Most people will frown on free gifts – particularly when it is coming from a stranger. It is a natural phenomenon; instinctive even. They receive nothing for free. It is not that they think your gift is a poisoned apple or that your gesture is suspicious; nothing of the sort. It is just that they have not had a personal input in it. It would have been more exciting and more noteworthy for them if their ‘imprints’ were associated with the effort.
By extension, even with regard to our faith and our salvation, we display such bizarre behaviours over what God Himself has freely offered us on a platter – eternal life through Christ Jesus, His Son. If however ‘Salvation’ had been for sale, at exorbitant prices, many would have gone out of their way to show that they have the means and are qualified – because of their resources – to purchase it.
Sad to say, salvation is not in the market for sale; it is a free gift. What is required of an aspirant is to accept it by confessing with his/her mouth by faith. No one is justified to earn salvation through self-righteous deeds; for the Bible says: “There is no one righteous, not even one …” (Romans 3:10)
In God’s eyes, there is no distinction between the rich and the poor. Salvation is not a matter of who can or cannot afford it, but rather for the person who ‘hungers and thirsts after righteousness’ or who desperately needs it. Only then are we qualified for it.
The Bible is punctuated with the word ‘save’ with reference to what God can do for humanity; whereas the word ‘Saviour’ is used with special reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God in Himself is “mighty to save …” (Isaiah 63:1) “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; …” (Joel 2:32)
We hear of prophecies of the birth of a Saviour from the writings of prophet Isaiah and in the Gospels, all pointing to the coming of Christ, the Saviour of mankind. From the mouth of the Saviour Himself we hear: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13) “He will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, - and this not from yourselves, -- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10)
Paul and Silas had been mysteriously delivered from prison after God
provoked an earthquake that shook the prison walls. When the jailer saw what had transpired and knowing what his fate would be if these prisoners had escaped, he wanted to kill himself. Just then, the Apostles assured him that they had not escaped. Astonished at what had happened, he enquired of them: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31) We observe how the Word of God desires that a whole household be saved, not just one individual.
How does one get saved? “… if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Jesus Himself made this pronouncement: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Eternal life means living forever, even after death; because those who believe in Jesus, the Son of God do not die; they only transit into eternity through sleep.
The process may seem very simple. Why should it be complex? Every one of us, who enters someone’s house and is invited to take a seat, does not contemplate first to examine whether the chair would be strong enough to carry his/her weight before he/she sits down. We do the same for food and water. We accept the offer without winking an eyebrow of doubt. Yet, when it comes to matters relating to God, we want to tread with cautious indifference. We doubt; we are critical and even suspicious. We want to examine the veracity of the offer, if possible with a magnifying class; whether God can carry through on His offer.
The problem is that we have founded our beliefs on many half-truths - proposed to us by the devil - that have become the foundations of on which our faith repose. It is not easy to discard such beliefs because they are now rooted in us - in our belief systems. In the Book of Acts of the Apostles, we read that Apostles Peter and John had been jailed - whilst awaiting a hearing before the Sanhedrin the following day - for having healed a lame man that was accustomed to asking for alms at the entrance of the Temple. Boldly, as if preaching to them, Peter said declared: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) That declaration is still valid today. Only Jesus “… for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
God’s promises are unmatched and unparalleled anywhere. Their value is measured in gold. It takes a humble man or woman to receive them. He says: “Turn to me and be saved.” (Isaiah 45:23)