Salvation by Elder David Montgomery 7-26-2018
The other day, I could not find my car keys. Those of you who know me will understand that this is a daily thing with me. If it’s not the keys I can’t find, then it’s the wallet; if not the wallet, then it’s the glasses. Well anyway, after 45 minutes of searching, I found them. Oh how happy I was! Finding those keys saved my life!
What exactly do I mean by that? How did finding my keys “save” my life? Well, it helps to substitute the word “delivered” for the word “saved” and then ask yourself two questions:
1. What was I delivered to?
2. What was I delivered from?
In the above scenario, I was delivered to the comfort of knowing where my keys were and I was delivered from the having to take an Uber to work. Of course, I didn’t mean that finding the keys saved my physical life or that I would have died if I hadn’t found them—but in finding them, I escaped a whole lot of stress and trouble. I was saved TO something and saved FROM something…I was delivered TO something and delivered FROM something.
Here are some other things that save my life: coffee, coffee makers, grocery stores, microwave ovens, air conditioning, heating, my iPhone 8+, plumbers, electricians, that honest mechanic I go to, my sweet Leslye, the prayers of the saints, the fellowship of the saints, spiritual hymns and songs, the gospel, and most of all: The Lord Jesus Christ.
Each one of the above saves me from something and saves me to something; but the salvations they bring are different. This is a very, Very, VERY important thing to know, especially if you are serious about understanding the Scriptures. If you cannot get this lesson, you will be totally confused because there are scriptures in the Bible that will totally confuse you.
Understanding this point will unlock many scriptures for you and will save you FROM confusion and save you TO understanding.
The lesson is this: Not every scripture in the Bible that contains the words “save” or “saved” means salvation from hell or salvation to paradise. I am going to throw out a few scriptures and let us see if all these scriptures are talking about saving souls from hell.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Yes, He did)
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Yes, we are)
1Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (Yes he was and yes he was)
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Yes, it is)
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (So thankful)
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (And it was)
Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Yes, we were)
2Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (Amen and amen)
Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. (But save them from what? Read the context of the verse and you will see).
Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (But I thought Jesus saved…is this saying that we have to save ourselves?)
1Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (How can the chief of sinners save lesser sinners from sin?)
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (But I thought Jesus saved, now we have to receive the engrafted word? And what the deuce does that mean?)
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (Not in that case)
James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (But you taught in chapter 2:14 that faith alone can’t save us, now you say it does.)
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (But I thought Jesus saved; now we need to go around converting people?)
1Peter 3:21 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: (But I thought Jesus saved; now we have to get baptized?)
Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (But James said that faith can’t save us)
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (I think these guys were wrong. So did Paul and Barnabas)
Acts 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. (What do stars do with saving us from hell?)
Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. (Well, they better stay in the ship then. If they left, would’ve Paul and everyone else go to hell?)
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: (But I thought faith saved us and also the grafted word and baptism and conversion and those idiots staying in the ship!!)
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (Well Paul, you said over there in 1Corinthians 9:22 you were going to save some, so stop whining and get after it!)
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (So you have to confess to get to heaven?)
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Paul, will you make up your mind? You said earlier that you have to confess to get saved!)
1Corinthians 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (But I haven’t heard you preach, so how can I get saved?)
1Thessolonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (So these folks stopped you from saving people from hell?)
1Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (WAIT A SECOND! The only people going to Heaven are mothers who have faithful kids??)
1Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (WAIT A MILLISECOND! The only people going to Heaven are these eight people??)
If you look closely at these scriptures, you may have noticed that several seem to contradict each other. Some has it that God saves, some that faith saves, some that others can save others, some baptism, one mentioned of a salvation in bearing children, one said the waters of the Great Flood saves. The Apostle Paul wrote in one verse that he was the worst of all sinners and then in another verse he wrote that he is going to save sinners. How can the worst sinner save sinners? Then, Paul says in another verse that folks can be saved by remembering his preaching. So the worst of all sinners is so good a preacher that his sermons can save people? If Paul is the worst of all sinners, it seems to me that others ought to be preaching to him so he can be saved. Am I making sense here? I can go all day like this. Are we having fun yet?
To solve the dilemma and still make sense, I can see only two conclusions:
1. The Scriptures are wrong.
2. There is more than one type of salvation.
I subscribe to point #2. There is more than one type of salvation.
Consider this illustration: How many types of apples are there? I can think of several: Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Pink Lady, Rome, etc. Lots and lots of apples, right? OK, so here’s the point: There are different TYPES of apples but they are all called APPLES. The same reasoning applies to salvation. Yes, it is salvation but what type of salvation? Remember the two questions I asked previously: What are we saved FROM? And what are we saved TO? You have to ask these questions when you read scriptures about salvation or you will get majorly confused and could end up believing a doctrine that isn’t in the Bible.
Let’s apply this line of reason to some verses in our list.
1. Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Jesus is going save his people FROM what? The verse says He will save them from their sins.
Jesus is going save His people TO what? Well, we can imply that he will save them to a position where they cannot ever be tainted by sin, which is exactly what Jesus did (see the essays on Justification and Sanctification).
2. Matthew 8:25 “And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.”
Save them FROM what? From the storm, of course.
Save them TO what? To a place where the storm isn’t there.
3. 1Corinthians 15:2 “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”
Now here is a verse that says we save ourselves. Well, apply the questions and see what you get.
Saved FROM what? If you read the context, it is a salvation from a vain, empty and hopeless mentality.
Saved TO what? To a knowledge which yields happiness and confidence.
It is always a good idea to check the context of any verse of Scripture before you make any assumption as to its teaching. This is especially true when a verse mentions salvation. I always ask myself, what salvation is this text teaching? Is it salvation from hell? Salvation from fear? Salvation from physical death? What? What? What? You see, that is the burning question: When a verse in the Bible mentions salvation; is the context always about saving sinners from sin, death and hell?? My answer is NO, and a thousand times, NO.
There is a salvation that only God can accomplish and that is to save no-good hell-deserving, lousy, filthy, stinking, bushwhacking sinners. The work of this salvation began in the process of election and went through predestination to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ when He paid our sin debt on the cross, and on to Regeneration where we are born again and our sins are washed away. I call this work of salvation, “eternal salvation” but once we have this spiritual life within us, we *ought* to live as best as we can. We *ought* to obey His commandments and believe the gospel. When we do these good works, we experience a deliverance FROM fear, ignorance, bad philosophy and a deliverance TO hope, confidence and good judgment. I call this work of salvation, “time salvation”. Using expressions like this has greatly helped make sense of what was once a very complicated puzzle to me.