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self says, that he came "to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19: 10; Matt. 18:11. Not that which was in danger of being lost, nor that which was liable to be lost, but that which was already lost. In Luke 4: 18, 19, he tells us that he came to 'preach the Gospel to the poor; to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.' He also affirms that he came to do the will of God, John 6:38; and to bear witness to the truth, John 18: 37. But he nowhere informs us that he came to save any man from any danger to which he was exposed in another world.
2. The Bible nowhere informs us that salvation consists in being saved from the penalty of God's law, nor from deserved punishment, nor from a place of endless misery. On the contrary, the salvation of the gospel consists in being saved from darkness, from unbelief, from sin and all its attendant evil consequences. John 12: 46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." Gal. 1: 4, "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Titus 2: 14, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Matt. 1: 21, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins."
As mankind have mistaken the nature of salvation, so they have been mistaken in regard to the means by which it is effected. It has been supposed that this salvation is effected by Christ's suffering the penalty due to the sinner, and bearing in his own person the punishment which the guilty only were deserving of. But where could mankind learn such opinions? Certainly not from the Bible; for that nowhere informs us that Jesus suffered the penalty of any law of God whatever; nor that he suffered any punishment which was due to our sins. That Jesus suffered in consequence of our sins is undoubtedly true. But how this could exonerate us from blame, or clear us from guilt, is more than any rational man can possibly understand. How, then, is this salvation effected? Answer, by simply believing the truth. Mankind, in consequence of sin, have become "alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance which is in them" Eph. 4: 18. They are lost in the labyrinths of
sin and transgression. Luke 19: 10. They are ignorant of God, of his character, and of his purposes concerning the final destiny of the human race. 1 Cor. 1: 21. Jesus came with a message of love, of grace, and of salvation. He came to reveal the true character of God, and to make known his purposes. He came to bear witness to the truth. By believing this truth we exercise a faith which "works by love and purifies the heart," Gal. 5: 6; and we have a hope imparted to us, which enables us to "purify ourselves, even as God is pure." 1 John 3: 3. By believing this truth we come into the possession of a true knowledge of God, "whom to know is life eternal." John 17: 3. Jesus came to preach the Gospel, and those who believe this Gospel find it to be the " power of God unto silvation." Rom. 1: 16. To be saved, is to be redeemed from the bondage of sin, to be born again, and to be made free. All this is effected by the moral power and influence of divine truth. Hence, says our Saviour, John 8: 32, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Hence, Jesus prayed for his disciples, John 17: 17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17: 19, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." We learn from this that even sanctification is produced by the influence of truth upon the hearts and minds of the children of men. 1 Peter 1: 22, 23, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that love one another, with a pure heart fervently being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." 1 John 5: 1, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God."
As mankind have been mistaken in regard to the nature of salvation, and in relation to the means by which it is effected, so they have been mistaken in regard to its extent. It has been generally supposed that this salvation will be confined to a very few. But the Bible informs us that Jesus came to save the world, John 3: 17; and he is repeatedly and expressly called the "Saviour of the world." Of God it is said, 1 Tim. 4: 10, "Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe." And it is said of him, 1 Tim. 2: 4, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." We have seen that there is a moral power in truth, which renders it capable of saving all who believe it. When,
therefore, God's will is accomplished, and all men are brought to the knowledge of the truth, all men will be saved. Jesus says, in John 6: 45, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." When all are taught of God, all will be taught the truth; even that truth which maketh free; and all will be saved by its mighty power.
But, although God is the prospective Saviour of all men, yet he is the special Saviour of those that believe now. The difference between the believer and the unbeliever is simply this: the believer is saved; the unbeliever is to be saved. God is the special Saviour of believers because believers are saved now. They enjoy a salvation which the unbelievers know not of. Hence, they are spoken of in the Bible as being already saved. Luke 7:50, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." Rom. 8:24, "For we are saved by hope." 1 Cor. 1: 18, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God." 1 Cor. 15: 2, "By which [the Gospel] also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you." 2 Cor. 2: 15, "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish." Eph. 2: 5, "By grace ye are saved." Eph. 2: 8, "For by grace are ye saved." Titus 3: 5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." 2 Tim. 1: 9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling." Eph. 1: 11,
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance," &c. Eph. 1: 3, "Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.' Eph. 2: 1, And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Eph. 2: 6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Rev. 21: 24, And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it" [the holy city, by which is signified the Gospel dispensation]. 1 Peter 1: 9, Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." Gal. 3: 9, "They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Heb. 4: 3, "We which have believed do enter into rest." In John 5: 24, believers are said to be in the possession of everlasting life; and in Rom 8: 1, it is said, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." In Rom. 8: 2, believers are said
to be "free from the law of sin and death;" and in Col. 1: 13, they are said to be "delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son." On the other hand, unbelievers are said to be " condemned," to be "dead in trespasses and sins," and to be "without hope, and without God in the world;" as we shall now show.
II. OF DAMNATION. - Damnation is supposed by many to consist in being sent to a place of misery after death, called hell. But to this opinion we object as follows:
1. The Bible nowhere gives any such definition of the word damnation. The original word rendered damnation is in many places rendered judge, judged, punishment, condemn, condemned, and condemnation. It occurs frequently in the New Testament, but is not used in a single instance to signify punishment in another world.
2. It is contrary to the definition which the scripture writers themselves give of this term. Paul says, Rom. 5: 18, “Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." The word which is here rendered condemnation is the same that is rendered damnation in every instance where that word occurs in the New Testament. Now, Paul says, in this text, that damnation had actually come on all men; but certainly all men had not gone to a place of endless misery, called hell. On the contrary, millions of the human race were at that very time alive, and on the earth. If, therefore, they were damned at all, it must have been here, in this present world. Again, if Paul used the word condemnation here to signify endless misery, then he represents that this misery had come upon all men. But this was contrary to fact. Besides, if endless misery had come on all men. how could it be followed by the free gift of justification unto life? Certainly there would be no room for it. And as Paul says this free gift came after the condemnation, hence, he did not use the original word which is rendered damnation in the New Testament, to signify endless damnation, nor any other damnation than that which is experienced in this life. Our Saviour frequently used the words condemnation and damnation; but he nowhere says that any man, or any set of men, would be damned in a future state of existence. On the contrary, he defines the word thus: John 3: 19,
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." And of the unbeliever he affirms, John 3: 18, "He that believeth not is condemned already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Again he says, John 9: 39, "For judgment am I come into the world," and in John 12: 31, "Now is the judgment of this world." Peter says, 1 Pet. 4: 17, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." John the Revelator says, Rev. 14: 6, 7, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come." The word which in these texts is rendered judgment is the same that is rendered damned and damnation in the New Testament. Jesus came into the world, then, to execute damnation ; not in another world, but here. The hour of damnation had come in the days of John. The damnation of the world commenced eighteen hundred years ago, and first began at the house of God. Paul speaks of damnation in this world, but says not a word about damnation anywhere else. He speaks of some "whose damnation is just." Rom. 3: 8. Of some who ate and drank damnation. 1 Cor. 11: 29. Of some who were experiencing damnation. 1 Tim 5: 12. Jude speaks of some who were ordained to experience the condemnation they were then in. Jude 1: 4. And Peter speaks of some "whose damnation slumbered not." 2 Peter 2: 3.
Mark 16: 16, has long been considered a standing proof of the doctrine of damnation in a future world. We will now close with an examination of this text, trusting that our remarks on it will make the Bible doctrine of damnation perfectly plain. This text reads thus:
Mark 16: 16, "He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
The questions to be considered are: 1. What is it that we are required to believe, the belief of which is necessary to salvation? 2. What is the nature of the salvation promised to the believer and where is it to be experienced? 3. What is the nature of the damnation threatened to the unbeliever, and where is it to be experienced, and how long?
1. What must we believe? Ask the Calvinist, the Arminian