John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
The first thing we need to understand is that salvation is built on a proper view of God and Christ. Christ must be seen as the Creator God if He is going to be our saviour. This passage makes it very clear that the Word is God. You will notice that it says was God, not was a god as some, like the Jehovah Witnesses, would have us believe.
The beginning spoken of is the beginning of creation. The Word was already there with God when creation began. Noting was created before the beginning of creation, that should be obvious.
The next thing we need to do is determine who the Word is. The answer is given in verse 14:
John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Who could the Word possibly be if it is not the Lord Jesus Christ? Why this emphasis on His being WITH God in the beginning? Do you suppose John is trying to show us the Trinity? John is the one who wrote the clearest verse in the Bible on the Trinity:
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
There is even an indication of the Trinity in the very first verse of the Bible where it says, “in the beginning God…” The word translated God is ”Elohim.” The “el” part means the almighty one, while the “him” part of the word makes it plural. How can the almighty one be plural if there is no Trinity? A little further down in the creation story, God is talking to someone, and He says, “Let us make God in Our image.” Who is the us and our, if the Godhead is not plural, or a Trinity?
Another thing we learn for our text is that the Word is the Creator. We are told that everything that was made, was made by Him, and without Him nothing was made. Jesus Christ is the Creator God, He is Jehovah.
Next He must be seen as holy.
Psalm 99:5 – Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
Holy means He is totally righteous and separated from sin. He can do absolutely nothing that is wrong. All of His other attributes, including His love, are controlled by His holiness. We, therefore, are to worship at His footstool. Worship means to reverently fall down before Him. This is an attitude as much as a physical thing. At His footstool means we put ourselves at His feet (the lowest part of Him). Why? Because He is holy.
The next thing is similar, He must be seen as righteous.
Psalm 145:17 – The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Everything that He does is righteous. He does nothing that is not right and just. We need to distinguish between righteous and moral, they are not the same. Moral has to do with what is accepted in a given culture. Righteousness has to do what is right, regardless of the culture. It is moral for a cannibal to have his neighbor for lunch, but it is never the righteous thing to do. It is impossible to be holy and not be righteous.
Salvation is also built upon a proper view of self. We need to understand that we have all broken the law of God.
James 2:10-11 – For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
This means we must keep the whole law, every part in every detail. It is impossible for us to keep it to this degree because we have already failed. By the time we are old enough to understand the law, we have already broken it. Even after we understand, we still deliberately break it.
To offend in one point means that no matter how small our transgression may be in our sight, we have still broken God’s law and stand guilty before Him. To offend in any part makes us a transgressor.
In Romans 6:23 we are told that the wages of sin is death. This means we are under the wrath of God.
Ephesians 5:6 – Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Don’t be deceived by what men say. God says the wrath of God comes upon those who disobey Him. They have no inheritance in God’s kingdom.
Wages are what we earn. We deserve God’s wrath and the wages we earn from our sin. Not to give them to us would make God unjust, and God is a God of justice. He must pay the sinner his just dues if He is to remain a holy God. The law was given for a purpose. It shows us our need for the grace of God
Galatians 3:24 – Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The law is a schoolmaster that shows God’s requirements for us. It also shows our failure to meet those requirements. It makes us aware of our guilt before a holy God, and our inability to fix the problem. It then It points us to the only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
In salvation His righteousness is imputed to our account. It is received by faith, and faith alone.
I mentioned in the beginning that there is a process that brings us to salvation. First, God’s holiness must be preached.
Romans 2:4 – Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
It is a dangerous thing to despise God’s goodness. Despise means to hold in low esteem or to speak against. The goodness of God is His holy character. If we don’t hold this in high esteem we have despised it.
God’s forbearance is His self-restraint which keeps Him from destroying us as soon as we sin. His longsuffering is His putting up with our sin and giving us repeated chances to come to Him for salvation. These are also things that must not be despised.
Understanding God’s goodness will lead us to repentance, but it will not necessarily make us repent in the right way. We are told that our repentance must be toward God.. This requires a special kind of sorrow.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 – Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
In this passage we see two types of sorrow. There is the sorrow of the world, which is being sorry that we got caught. It is based upon the fear of punishment.
Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is a broken heart over having offended your Creator. It is also a desire to rectify the situation. There is also fear involved, but it is a fear of offending a holy God, and not a fear of punishment.
The sorrow of the world works death. There is no repentance or desire to change. It is only seeking to escape from the consequences of sin.
Godly sorrow works, or causes, repentance. It is repentance unto salvation. It brings us to Christ for mercy and salvation. It is not to be repented of. It causes a permanent change by the work of the Holy Spirit
In conclusion, Jesus came the first time to save the world. The sad thing is that most of the world remains unsaved because of two things. The first is their love of their sin (men love darkness rather than light). The second is that we, true Christians, are not telling them of their guilt before a holy God and their need of salvation. We need to get them to understand that God is the Righteous Judge of the universe, and that all are guilty before Him. They must then turn from their own efforts (works) to earn Heaven. They must come to Christ with a broken and contrite heart. The very simplicity of God’s plan is what makes it so hard for some. They are like Naaman, the Syrian captain who wanted some hard thing to do so he could boast of what he had done.
God’s plan is summed up in Ephesians where it says:
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
If you are without Christ, won’t you repent and come to Him today?
Christian, won’t you make faithfulness to God the goal of your life?
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved