SALVATION – NOT WAGES BUT A GIFT
The apostle says, “YE ARE SAVED.” Not “ye shall be,” or “ye may be”; but “ye ARE saved.” He says not, “Ye are partly saved,” nor “in the way to being saved,” nor “hopeful of salvation”; but “by grace are ye saved.” Let us be as clear on this point as he was, and let us never rest till we know that we are saved. At this moment we are either saved orunsaved. That is clear. To which class do we belong? I hope that, by the witness of the Holy Ghost, we may be so assured of our safety as to sing, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
We are bound to view salvation as being as surely a divine act as creation, or providence, or resurrection. At every point of the process of salvation this word is appropriate—”NOT OF YOURSELVES.”From the first desire after it to the full reception of it by faith, it is evermore of the Lord alone, and not of ourselves. The man believes, but that belief is only one result among many of the implantation of divine life within the man’s soul by God Himself.
Let men give as liberally as they may, you can always proclaim the value of their gift; you can cast it up, and reckon its worth; but God’s gift is unspeakable and unreckonable. YOU CANNOT FULLY ESTIMATE THE VALUE OF WHAT GOD GIVES.
Salvation is THE GIFT OF GOD, IN OPPOSITION TO A WAGE. When a man pays another his wage, he does what is right; and no one dreams of belauding him for it. But we praise God for salvation because it is not the payment of debt, but the gift of grace. No man enters eternal life on earth, or in heaven, as his due: it is the gift of God. We say, “nothing is freer than a gift”. Salvation is so purely, so absolutely a gift of God, that nothing can be more free. God gives it because he chooses to give it, according to that grand text which has made many a man bite his lip in wrath, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” You are all guilty and condemned, and the great King pardons whom He wills from among you. This is His royal prerogative. He saves in infinite Sovereignty of Grace.
SALVATION IS THE GIFT OF GOD: THAT IS TO SAY COMPLETELY SO, IN OPPOSITION TO THE NOTION OF GROWTH. Salvation is not a natural production from within: it is brought from a foreign zone, and planted within the heart by heavenly hands. Salvation is in its entirety a gift from God. If thou wilt have it, there it is, complete. Wilt thou have it as a perfect gift? “No; I will produce it in my own workshop.” Thou canst not forge a work so rare and costly, upon which even Jesus spent his life’s blood. Here is a garment without seam, woven from the top throughout. It will cover thee and make thee glorious. Wilt thou have it? “No; I will sit at the loom, and I will weave a raiment of my own!” Proud fool that thou art! Thou spinnest cobwebs. Thou weavest a dream. Oh! that thou wouldst freely take what Christ upon the cross declared to be finished.
It is the gift of God: that is, IT IS ETERNALLY SECURE IN OPPOSITION TO THE GIFTS OF MEN, WHICH SOON PASS AWAY. “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you,” says our Lord Jesus. If my Lord Jesus gives you salvation at this moment, YOU HAVE IT, and you HAVE IT FOREVER. He will never take it back again; and if HE DOES NOT TAKE IT FROM YOU, WHO CAN? If he saves you NOW through faith, you are saved – so saved that you shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any pluck you out of His hand. May it be so with every one of us! Amen.