Jude 5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
There is prevalent an attitude regarding being saved that assumes that being saved is like signing an insurance policy, paying the premium, and that’s it. The reality is that Jesus Christ saves us by our association with Him, The One Whom to know is eternal life.
There are many steps and stages to our salvation, like the salvation of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
We could say that this salvation of Israel out of slavery began with God calling to Moses out of the burning bush and sending him to the Israelites with the message of their deliverance. It continued with Moses’ dealings with Pharaoh and the miracle plagues.
The exit from Egypt was accomplished by the angel being sent to kill all the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt when Israel was saved from this destruction by observing the Passover as commanded via Moses. Israel then fled from Egypt till they came to the Red Sea. They had been saved out of Egypt but now Pharaoh and his army were coming after them to slaughter them. They were then saved from Egypt through crossing the Red Sea, being as it were, baptised to Moses, with the water on each side and the cloud above. The waters destroyed all the army of Pharaoh leaving Israel without any pursuers. I’m sure they felt saved when they reached the other side!
In the wilderness of Shur they went three days with no water until they came to Marah, where the only water was bitter and undrinkable. The people did not feel saved now and let their feelings be known to Moses! By another miracle of a tree being cast into these bitter waters the water became sweet and drinkable. Saved from dying of thirst.
Six weeks after fleeing Egypt the people had ran out of food and believed they would die of hunger. In response to their complaints God sent quails in the evening and Manna from Heaven in the morning. The people were saved from starvation.
Soon after this, the people ran out of water again and God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his rod and water came out. Saved again from dying of thirst.
Six months after leaving Egypt Moses was commanded to send spies to Canaan, the land promised to Abraham. When they came back the people baulked at the reality of the task of taking the land from its formidable inhabitants. They refused to go ahead and take the land because they did not believe that God would hand it to them. Unbelief took hold. Had they not disbelieved and rebelled but had had faith and obeyed they would have been saved from dying in the wilderness. Only two of the men aged above twenty years at this time were saved to enter into the promised rest, the land of Canaan. They were Joshua and Caleb, spies who did not let the obstacles they saw in the land undermine their faith in the God Who had brought them this far with His mighty outstretched arm.
The history of the Israelites journey from slavery in Egypt to falling dead in the wilderness is the story of the trial of their faith. Sadly they were tested and were found wanting in faith.
They started off by being saved, were continually saved at each trial, but were ultimately lost when they refused to continue by faith.
All these things are recorded for our instruction.
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Who is Jesus addressing here? Those who had followed Him, His disciples. Love that has never been hot cannot grow cold.
Luke 8:12 “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Today there are many who have heard and received the word – the message of repentance and remission of sins through faith in the name of Jesus – who believed for a while and would have said that they were ‘saved’. Yet when temptation came they fell away.
Some heard and kept hold of the word, but the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, money, has choked the word so no fruit is bourn to maturity.
Others though have kept the word with patience, bearing fruit. When we continue believing the word we received with endurance, hope and patience, we do bear fruit.
Luke 13:23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
What we know from this passage is that entry into the kingdom of God – the ultimate meaning of salvation – is not easy. It is hard. It is not accomplished by being familiar with the proximity of Christ, but by actually striving to know Him and be with Him day by day.
Luke 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Again, entering the kingdom of God is equated with salvation, eternal life. Leaving all to follow Jesus the anointed king is the way into this kingdom, to eternal life.
John 3:13 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
This believing on the Son of God is not a one off event. It is a continuous believing on the Son of God. We should notice the word ‘should’ rather than ‘would’ or ‘will’; also the word ‘might be saved’; as it is a wonderful opportunity, not a throw-away offer.
John 5:34 “Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
Faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the word of/from God – not the religious theories of men. This faith with a foundation saves.
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’
One could be forgiven for taking this quote of the prophet Joel to mean we just need to call out on the name of Jesus once and that would be all the was needed to live in the kingdom of God. The reality shown in the book of Acts and elsewhere is that the disciples of Jesus Christ were continually calling on the name of the Lord, Jesus. ‘In His name shall the gentiles trust’.
Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, even in fellowship (community), in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the assembly daily those who were being saved.
Here they heard the word of God, the message of repentance and remission of sins by the name of Jesus. They obeyed this word by faith, calling on the name of the Lord – Jesus - in being baptized in His name for the remission of their sins. And most importantly, they continued in the commands of Jesus as instructed by the Apostles.
And the Lord added to them daily those who were being saved. Salvation is a continuous experience of the presence of Jesus Christ, listening to Him and obeying Him through faith that comes from hearing His word.
This was the bringing to pass what Jesus had spoken in [
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Acts 4:10 “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Can salvation be in a name? Many would say that salvation is by believing certain events and facts about Jesus. Salvation by doing stuff. Yet God has chosen that to those who receive Him – Jesus – even to those who believe on His name, He has given them authority to become the sons of God.
Acts 11:13 “And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’
Faith that saves comes by hearing, and by hearing the word of/from/sent by God.
Acts 15:1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Words that come from another source, other than God, can have the opposite affect and undermine faith in the message received from God via His servants.
Acts 15:11 “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
Those disciples that held on to the message originally received that came from God maintained their faith in that message, that by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ they would be saved.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Paul here states that reconciliation with God has been achieved and that salvation from the wrath of God is a promised future certainty.
Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Here we see that we were saved in the hope of the redemption of the body. Hope is continuous, to be a real hope rather than a passing optimistic thought.
Confessing with mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in the heart that God has raised Him from the dead results in a future salvation – you will be saved. This hope and faith however will be tested, and those who endure in faith and hope to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (that message).
Continuing belief in the message of repentance and remission of sins through the name of Jesus Christ results in being saved; present and continuing salvation.
1 Corinthians 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Here Paul is discussing a disciple of Jesus Christ, a brother who has believed and been baptised, who through sin has put his salvation in grave jeopardy. Indeed if he does not repent and make things right he is facing being cast into outer darkness. For this reason Paul delivers this person to Satan for the destruction of the flesh to bring him to his senses.
1Corinthiams 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
By now it has become apparent that many who had believed the message of Christ preached in power by Paul had turned away from the truth. A common trait in fickle mankind. Though they may have believed at first and some today would have said that they were saved; Paul declares that they are saved only if they hold fast that word – gospel message. That they had received.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
Here we see that at any given moment there are those who are being saved and those who are perishing. But that does not preclude those perishing at that moment from hearing the word of God, receiving it with faith, repenting and being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We who have been made alive together with Christ owe this fact to the grace – free gift – of God. It is the beginning of the transformation that God plans for us.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Here Paul is discussing the conversion experience that normally followed the hearing of the message of repentance and remission of sins through the name of Jesus Christ. Being saved from past sins by being baptized in water in His name and being made righteous by the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jude 5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
This where we came in. If we continue in Christ, daily taking up our cross, dying to our flesh and denying our own souls, He will lead us daily into the experience of the kingdom of God, which is eternal life.
Some of us may need to take stock, count the cost and see if we are prepared for the long haul, if need be, of following Jesus Christ in reality, not theory.
God gives grace to the humble. It is His will that we continue in His grace, by faith, by hope and by love.
If you’d like to discuss please email me in the first instance.
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.