SALVATION – A GIFT GIVEN OR A GIFT OFFERED?
by Glen Berry
IS THIS merely a matter of semantics or is it a matter of being a serious doctrinal issue? Is the difference small and minor, or major? Is it a matter involving the very glory of God? Even some good preachers don’t seem to be aware.
Is this any more than a denominational “Shibboleth”? A corresponding concept is the matter of “whosoever will.” You know, “For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Thank God that is forever true! But when we begin to search the scriptures and compare scripture with scripture, we find that such a will that is thus exercised is NOT the will of nature that hates God, in the fallen state. It has to be a changed will, a spiritual will, a GIVEN will, a NEW will that comes as a RESULT (NOT the cause) of the new birth given by the Holy Spirit— “born from above.” “Thy people [not the goats of the devil] SHALL be willing IN THE DAY OF THY POWER .. (Psalm 110:3)
Thus it is, that if you love God, if you hunger after God and His righteousness, if you WILL to trust and live for God, IT IS NOT TO YOUR CREDIT, OR MARKED UP To YOUR INHERENT MERIT. Not at all! If such really be true of you in the “inner man,” it is because it was GIVEN to you by God’s sovereign grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of your- selves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works. lest any man should boast. For we are HIS workmanship. created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works. .. . ” (Eph. 2:8- 10)
This is a long way, or a far cry, from the way most preachers preach it (but that has not always been so, for in past ages most preached truth more soundly).
Can you begin to see that much more is involved than to tell a man to merely make a decision “to believe.” Even the devils “believe” but they also “tremble.” A truly convicted child of God does not go to some church altar chewing gum in order to carry out the psychological massaging of some zealous evangelist, no matter how “sincere” both parties may be. You can be “sincere,” but sincerely wrong, if your “belief’ and action is not rooted in Scripture and authored by the Holy Spirit of God, even in earth-shaking, mind-enlightening sobriety and humility. Yet so MANY are being deceived with man- exalting “easy believism.” God’s glory is not paramount, if considered at all.
Even the few lines above are enough to show you that the TRUTH OF GOD involves digging into the Scriptures, and must involve the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Another case in point is the matter of how a preacher interprets the word “world.” Some preach a good sermon, and then end it by denying true grace teaching, but teaching rather that it is FAISE that God has selected or elected a certain people to be saved, because God “so loved the world”—not just some group of “elect.” And they teach that this ‘world” means every child of Adam on the planet, They teach that Jesus died for all the sins Of every child of Adam on the planet. But if this be true, then ALL of them will end up in heaven because there are no more sins to charge against them since Jesus died for them all. Even the sin of unbelief must, then, be covered by the blood of Jesus on the cross.. But most will not carry it this far, though that has to be the logical conclusion, else Jesus did not die for ALL sins or ALL people. So such preachers end up preaching false doctrine rather than the very truth of God.
The Word of God does not contradict itself! If the doctrine you believe is not in harmony with the rest of Scripture, then you can know that somewhere along the line you have placed a man’s private interpretation on God’s Word.
This is quite elementary, but maybe you are wondering, then, what the word “world” means if it does not mean every person in the world. If you will but take the time to search the Scriptures, you will see there are many meanings to that one word “world.” Of course there is the meaning of “cosmos,” our God- created orderly universe. Then you have the meaning of “the earth.” Then you have the meaning of a system of things held in common among people, like “the world of fashion,” or the “world of business,” or the “world of politics,” etc. Of course, then, here is ‘the world of people, all races.” And the systems and material things of this life, “the world.’ And ‘anywhere in the world,” or “out of the world.” And, “the world, the flesh, and the Devil, the world with its interests, the flesh with its appetites, and the Devil with his evil promptings. ” —The World Book Dictionary
Consider also, even in the time of Jesus when He was on earth, then was to be taxed.” Did that mean every person on earth? Of course not. It was very localized. When it speaks of all the world going out after Jesus to see His miracles, this certainly was very localized, and even in that restricted locale, it did not mean EVERY person in that locale, but only a very great number of them, even various groups!
Finally, what about Jesus Himself explaining in John 17 that He was not praying to the Father for the WORLD but for those the Father had given Him OUT of the world.” Big difference!
I am well aware that no man knows ALL the truth about anything. And it behooves us to realize “how little we know.” But I am amazed that educated preachers do not take the time, or may even lack the gut-rending honesty to admit error as they fail to search out the truth and bow to what the Bible actually says! If they be true children of God, how this must grieve the Holy Spirit, and they thus don’t render anything close to proper glory to God! On the other hand, if they really believe in their HEART, a man-exalting gospel that denies the true nature and lack of ability of natural man, one may wonder if they themselves have ever been born again—when they attribute the new birth to themselves. But only God knows all those that are truly His.
But Christ’s sheep follow Him and obey Him; and the Holy spirit teaches them. But there is a DIFFERENCE between following the Jesus Christ of the Bible and some fantasized Christ that MAN makes up with his imagination!
Now let us get to the subject of the title of this article.
Is the GIFT of salvation, the purchase of salvation—is redemption a GIFT or is it an OFFER of a gift? Would you ask, “At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE”? (Hillary should have never said that.)
Some that even believe in grace, say the Gift was for the elect but it is legitimately OFFERED to everyone. This is but a cop-out to try to answer the dilemma that man has made, “kicking the can down the road,” so to speak, without giving any real solution.
Go to the Word of God, O man or woman of God. If you will take the time to look up “offer,” “offered,’ and “offering,” you will find the real answer mainly in the book of Hebrews. Even there, and in all the Bible it does NOT say that Jesus offers Himself to people, to be accepted or rejected by the natural human will. He is NOT spoken of OFFERING Himself to them at all but He offered Himself as the Supreme Sacrifice as the Lamb of God TO GOD THE FATHER. That was to whom the OFFER was made. Look up the scriptures for yourself. That is what it says. Just like in Hebrews 9:14— “How much more shall the blood of Christ. who through the eternal Spirit OFFERED Himself without spot TO GOD .
The OFFERING of Christ Jesus our Lord is always as a High Priest, as a sacrificial Lamb OFFERED to God the Father, which action He performed on the cross of Calvary for the SINS OF HIS PEOPLE. And being of- fered to the Father, it was to be rejected or accepted by God. The resurrection proved that the Father did accept the Sacrifice, else Christ would not have been resurrected. And this IS our justification. Without the resurrected Christ, none of His people, His sheep could ever be justified and redeemed to God.
So this also means that Salvation or Redemption was not merely made a “possibility” left in the hands of man; but it was an actual PURCHASE from the slave- market of sin, a real redemption for ALL the lost sinners in the whole wide world that are spoken of as Christ’s sheep, of whom He the good Shepherd will lose NONE—not even one lost sheep.
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all WHICH HE HATH GIVEN ME, 1 should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”— John 6:39
Jesus’ name was called “Jesus” “for He shall save His people from their sins.” “And I give unto them eternal life; and they SHALL NEVER PERISH . ‘ (10:28)
Why won’t any of them perish? Because He is NOT WILLING that any of them should perish because God GAVE them to Christ to save and He GAVE Christ to a chosen bride, as a GIFT and not as an offering. Yes, the Father gave Christ as a Savior and Husband to the bride, not as an offering but as a GIFT.
Does God have the power to bring all this to pass? When Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus told him that flesh and blood did not reveal that, but it was by His Father in heaven. And that brings us back to Psalm 110:3 where God’s people are MADE WILLING in the day of His power. It also takes us to John 6:44, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Finally, in closing, we must realize that in the old Jewish world, the Jews had long received the oracles and laws of God, exclusive of all the other nations of the world. They began to think that they were “it,” and looked down on other nations of the world, as God having no interest in them. But the New Testament, even in John 3:16, makes it plain that God “so loved the world,” meaning that He has a people in all the world, as it states in Revelation 5:9 and 14:6 “redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation . and we shall reign on earth.” “Fear God and give glory to Him.”
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