What Is God’s Salvation?
God’s salvation is different from man saving each other; it’s not the financial relief given to the poor by the rich, it’s not the saving of the dying and the treating of the wounded performed on patients by doctors, and it’s not the deeds of charitable organizations or philanthropists. God’s salvation is prepared for the sake of saving man’s degenerate souls, and the entirety of His salvation contains the truth, the way and the life.
After we attain salvation, there is no longer any more pain, tears or sorrow, nor any more feelings of helplessness in our families, our studies, our work and our lives, and our lives become filled with light and happiness; we live with more purpose and meaning, and we live within the promises and blessings of God.
In one lifetime, God will give us many opportunities to be saved, but if we want to attain God’s salvation, we must first know God’s salvation, or else we will miss our chance to attain it. Some people say, “So what if we miss it? It’s no big deal.” But we should understand that missing our chance to attain God’s salvation is not like missing a good meal, or missing your subway train, and it’s not like missing an opportunity for study or employment. Missing our chance to attain God’s salvation is like being trapped in a burning building and missing your chance to be rescued in time by the fire brigade. Therefore, missing one’s chance to attain God’s salvation is something incredibly regretful and lamentable. Knowing God’s salvation and attaining God’s salvation are so important. And since they are important, from God’s work we will now gradually learn what God’s salvation is.
The Salvation God Prepared for Man in the Age of Law
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were thrust out of the Garden of Eden, and they didn’t understand how to live or how to revere God or follow God’s way. Thereafter, the earth became filled with killing, violence and adultery, etc. until, several hundred years after the world was destroyed by flood, people still didn’t know how to live or how they should worship God. And so, God used Moses to proclaim His commandments and laws to man, such as to keep the Sabbath, respect one’s parents, and that there should be no idolatry, adultery or stealing. There were also rules about the offering of sacrifices, the eating of food, compensation for stealing, and rules about killing cattle and sheep, etc. In this way, whatever people did, they had principles to guide their actions. When people offended God’s laws and decrees, they were punished. But if they made offerings to God and repented and avoided committing their sins again, God would excuse them from their sinful actions. Jehovah used His commandments and the rules of His laws to place limits on man, and because man listened to Jehovah’s words and kept His commandments and laws, they were protected by God, and they attained God’s salvation of the Age of Law.
The Salvation God Prepared for Man in the Age of Grace
Toward the end of the Age of Law, man was becoming more and more degenerate and they were no longer keeping the laws and commandments. They did many things which offended God, such as engaging in idolatry and adultery, devising evil schemes, deceiving and cheating, stealing and robbing, embezzling money, etc., and even sacrificing to God lame and blind doves, cows and sheep, and so God abhorred them. As Jeremiah 14:10 says, “Thus said Jehovah to this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore Jehovah does not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.”
And yet God didn’t have the heart to have all of mankind sentenced to death by His laws, and so He incarnated as the Son of man — the Lord Jesus — once again opening a way for mankind, bringing the Age of Law to an end and ushering in the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The Lord Jesus preached His gospel everywhere He went, healing the sick and casting out demons, bestowing an abundance of grace on man and forgiving them their sins. So that man’s sins could be utterly absolved, the Lord Jesus was crucified upon the cross, thus becoming man’s eternal sin offering and completing the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. If we accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation, prayed to His name and confessed and repented our sins to Him, our sins could then be absolved, and we were no longer to be condemned or sentenced to death for having offended the laws. This was the salvation God prepared for man in the Age of Grace.
The Salvation God Prepares for Man in the Last Days
It is recorded in the Bible, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pe 1:5).
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Heb 9:28).
“Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:13).
It also says in a book that “The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation”
The Lord Jesus redeemed us and enabled our sins to be forgiven. But the roots of man’s sinful nature endured, and our corrupt dispositions remain deeply rooted within us, such as being arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, crooked and deceitful, and being bent only on making profits, etc. It is precisely because we possess these corrupt dispositions that we can argue with our friends, suspect each other and secretly plot against each other for the sake of fame and fortune, and we can also lose trust between ourselves and our families; when trials of illness and disaster befall us, we blame God and misunderstand Him, and we live a life whereby we sin in the daytime and confess in the evening. The Lord Jesus once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (Jhn 8:34–35). God is holy, and no stained person is permitted to enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, we need a further stage of salvation so that our corrupt dispositions can be cleansed, and we can be utterly saved by God. The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12–13). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7). God has already told us clearly that the Holy Spirit of the truth in the last days will come to guide us into all truths and to uncover all mysteries. If we want to earn God’s praise, we must accept God’s work in the last days, for only then can we attain the salvation God has wholly prepared for us! Therefore, only by listening carefully to God’s voice will we be able to welcome the Lord’s return and attain God’s salvation of the last days!