Henry Mahan

A man’s idea of Salvation and his security is based on three things – It’s based first of all on HOW you got it, it’s based secondly on WHAT it is that you have, and it’s based thirdly on what IT DID FOR YOU.

Now let me point those out. Number one, HOW did you receive Salvation? Now your idea of Salvation, and the security of that salvation depends on HOW you got it. How did YOU get salvation? Huh? Was it something that was a work YOU performed? Was it a change that YOU affected? Was it a decision that YOU made? Was it something that YOU did for God? . . . . then you can lose it! ‘Cause it’s YOUR work, and YOUR work will not abide. Your work will not endure the trial. It won’t last! If it’s something YOU did, it won’t last, you can lose it!

But was it all of GOD? . . . was it GOD who saved you? Was it God who found you in the ditch? Was it GOD who found you hopeless and helpless like the babe in Ezekiel 16, neither washed nor swaddled nor navel cut, lying in your own blood, polluted – waiting for the vultures to pick your bones dry? And God said “LIVE”, it was a time of love, He said, “I came by and I said “LIVE!” Was it a work GOD did for you? Then it will last, because the scripture says, “He that hath begun a good work in you will perform until the Day of Jesus Christ!” . . . It all depends on HOW you got it.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 says that “whatsoever GOD doeth, it shall be forever” no man can add to it or take from it! I don’t know who saved you, but I’ll tell you if GOD did, it is an ETERNAL WORK! Now if YOU did it, if some preacher stood up and kept begging you to make a decision for Jesus and you stood back and wrestled over it for a while and decided you might as well please your wife, your son your daughter, and you might as well please your brother or sister, you might as well get religion and you might as well go to heaven when you die . . . if THAT was all there was to it – and you joined the Church, got baptized, you turned over a new leaf, you quit your drinking and you did this that and the other . . . you’re going to hell before it’s over! That’s not nice, but that’s so! Because if YOU did it . . . you can lose it. But if GOD did it, it’s a whole lot different.

Second thing it depends on is this – WHAT IS IT YOU GOT? What is salvation? Is it just ‘reformation’ well then you can lose it. If you can reform one way, you can reform the other way. Is it just mental assent to certain doctrines? Did you just read some doctrine and say, “Well, I believe that” well you can un-believe it too. That’s all it is. Is it just a desire to go to heaven? Everybody wants to go to heaven, . . . well maybe someday you might change your mind, and decide there isn’t a heaven after all. You could you know. You made that other decision, you could make this one.

What is Salvation? Reformation? Mental assent to doctrine? A desire to miss hell? Then I say you can lose it. Or is salvation like the Bible says – A new life, a new life, a new life! The Holy Spirit quickeneth whom He will. A new nature! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. I still have a fleshly nature. But thank God by His power – by His regenerating begetting power I have a new-nature, a divine nature, a godly nature. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, he is a new person. When God gives the sinner life, he is a new person! A person who never was before! A new person, a new being, a new creature – THAT is what salvation is about and Christ is the King and Priest and Prophet of that new creature.

And the THIRD thing is WHAT HAS SALVATION DONE FOR YOU? Has it made you miserable or has it made you happy? Has it left you pining for the world? Has it left you wishing you didn’t have to go to Church, wishing you didn’t have to give your income, wishing you didn’t have to associate with those religious people, and wishing you could go on and be what you want to be . . . then go on and be what you want to be . . . ‘cause you will sooner or later anyhow.

But when GOD saves a sinner, He puts the love of God in his heart, and He gives him a new walk and a new desire, He makes him happy in Christ, he is happy with the people of God, he is happy with the Gospel . . . that’s his new nature, that’s his new life. He who is born of God overcometh the world! You see what I’m saying. He is not miserable, he is happy. This is where he wants to be, these are the people he wants to be with . . . this is what he wants to be doing. He is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new! [2Cor 5:17]

[Transcribed by Michael Jeshurun from Pastor Henry Mahan’s sermon titled – “Astonishing Doctrine” preached on August 3rd 1975]

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