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Part #1 “The Common Salvation”

by Julius Hovan

Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

Welcome to this broadcast of Words of Life. We are so glad you have tuned in.  Maybe you are a regular listener and you are eagerly anticipating the blessing that God is going to bring through the words that we share. Thank you for being a faithful listener.  Maybe you are one of those who has just tuned in for the very first time. You came upon us by accident. Whatever it is, we are glad you are listening and we hope that you will stay tuned and share with us the blessing that God is going to give.

It is our desire that we learn about the marvelous grace of God, the future that we have for those that call themselves Christians to enjoy the blessing of salvation as we think of that.

From the announcement of the birth of Jesus in the New Testament the rest of that New Testament is full of references to salvation. We know what that means to be saved.  The angel announced, “Unto you has been born a Savior.”

Simeon, the old man upon holding in his arms the babe Jesus said, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
As you read, then, through the New Testament you will see words like these, references to the way of salvation or confession made unto salvation. For neither is there salvation in any other name. Or you will hear the words the gospel of your salvation or the hope of salvation or the fact that the grace of God brings salvation.

My friends, the New Testament is a book about salvation, about being in a good and right standing with a holy God.

I would like to just center our attention upon one brief verse in the shortest book of the Bible today and that is found in the book of Jude and verse three. Listen to the writer as he says this. “Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.”

He has given diligence, this writer says, to bring unto them a common salvation. By that it means it can belong to several. It is not just for one race of people. It didn’t belong to just the writer of the book of Jude. It didn’t belong to Jude. It didn’t belong to Jews or to Gentiles or to the black or the white or the Asian or the Hispanic. But this is a salvation that can be available and is, indeed, available to all who will receive it.

Blazoned near the entrance into this relationship with a holy God is the word, “Whosoever.” That is you, my friend.  It doesn’t give my name or your name, but that word whosoever includes every individual. There is nothing secret or shadowy or cloistered about this great gift of God’s salvation.  This possession of this great salvation brings with it the deepest of all human fellowship, the highest fellowship of all. We can be in fellowship with a holy God. It is an open and inviting invitation to all who will receive it.  No discrimination in its welcome.  Jesus said, “If any will come unto me they will be welcomed.”

Here, then is this common salvation. I suggest to you it is a common salvation because it is the agreement or testimony of the testaments, that is the Old and New Testament. You are likely aware that the Bible is divided into two main parts, the Old Testament, the history of the nation of Israel beginning with the creation of the world and the fall into sin, the tower of Babel and the flood of Noah and the call of Abraham.  And that is the Old Testament.  But with it many promises that were fulfilled in the New Testament, the second part of our Bible and they just fit together like hand in glove.  And both of them present the same testimony of the same gospel, the law of Moses, the Sinai covenant, the lofty ethics of the prophets, all of these were in the Old Testament. And the Old Testament distinguishes that present old law and while the later writings in the New Testament are called new. It is a new testament of what God wants to do.

Now the book of Acts the writer says in chapter 10 and verse 43, “To him gave all the prophets witness that through his name whosoever,” there is our word again, that is you. “Whosoever believes on him shall receive remission of sins.”  Here is the provision, then, through the name of Jesus of this gift of salvation found in the gospel message. He is the one Savior that provides this common salvation available to whosoever. Do you have it?  Are you aware of your need for that? Ah, that which is anticipated in the Old Testament, they wrote about it and talked about it, is accomplished in the New Testament. You can read passages like Isaiah chapter 53 that picture the suffering Savior and many other passages that tell us specifically, literally dozens of things that Jesus fulfilled when he came. And they provide for us a clear picture of the one Jesus who would come to provide salvation for all.

 

And so I say to you regarding salvation, it is the testimony, it is the agreement of both Old and New Testaments that salvation is available to any who will come.

It would not be a surprise to us, then, that it is also the agreement of the apostles. They are the ones who we find in the New Testament. They are the writers of the New Testament coming from varied backgrounds with various educational experiences, some of them with little education, others well educated. We see the differences in their vocabulary and their writing style. We see the difference in their attitude and their understanding. But they are all unashamed regarding the basic facts and the cardinal truths about Jesus and the salvation that he provides.  Every one of the apostles that wrote in the New Testament, that preached the gospel message, they all are in agreement.

They might have some disagreement over other matters of tradition or some custom, but they were in agreement regarding fulfilling of God’s promised deliverance, God’s salvation for whosoever, whosoever would accept this common gift of salvation. Even when it appeared that James and Paul had some disagreement, you can look at their writing and they reveal exactly the same and arrive in exactly the same conclusion regarding the gospel and salvation.  Paul speaks of salvation by faith, that which justifies man before God. James presents the proof before man that one who has indeed professed a saving faith he will have a justifying works to prove that.

Faith brings that salvation and our good lives and good works show to those around us that we, indeed, have that salvation.  God sees and knows of our faith and man sees our works.  And Jesus put it this way. “They will see your good works and glorify your Father who art in heaven.”  And so both of these, having salvation by faith through grace and having the life of justifying good works, are both aspects of the common salvation. And the apostles agree with that.

I think you would agree with me as well, if you were familiar with it that the characteristic of Christians is likewise in agreement. We are aware that there are in the world today a multitude of denominational churches calling themselves Christians.  We are aware that there some peculiar traditions among them, that there is the difference of opinion over many different doctrines and practices. We recognize names that are given to various groups, to various churches to identify their particular position or their particular Bible belief.

Now we fool ourselves to think that these differences even major ones do not exist now and did not exist in the first century.  They were a problem in the New Testament Church very early.  The epistles, the books written by Paul and Peter and John and others, they were written to clarify this position about a common salvation. They didn’t clear up all the arguments, because we still have some today, but one thing is very clear. All who are loyal to the Bible will come to the same essential position regarding the gospel as the way of salvation.  In spite of our imperfections, our errors, our prejudices, all who have been born again can sing together of this marvelous saving grace and mercy of God.

We are not divided, the New Testament says.  We are one body, one in faith and doctrine and one in charity or love. That is the appeal that has come out of what I called the restoration movement here in America.  When certain individuals came from the countries of Europe and came to this country and in studying their Bible decided they wanted to be simple New Testament Christians and they would accept what the Bible said and they did regarding this common salvation and how we might obtain it.

And so this common salvation brings with it a promise, a promised provision that is available to all who exercise faith to receive it.  It is not just forced upon us, not dumped upon us, but we have faith. We come to a faith decision and that allows my mind and heart and will to function together and I extend myself to receive the gift of this salvation. This promised provision includes a sense of forgiveness.  Oh, to go to bed at night and know we have been forgiven of every sin.  It is a provision or reconciliation with God. He and I were enemies. The great God of the universe was an enemy of mine and me of him.  But now we are together and we are reconciled.

I now have been justified and made right with God and I have peace from God and peace with God. I have a new life by being regenerated, that is, made anew. The scriptural term is we are born again.   I have a Savior indwelling me. How to understand that is beyond my feeble mind, but it is the promise of Jesus. I can now have fellowship with God the Father and with his Son through the indwelling Holy Spirit. I can experience the joy of answered prayer. I can see the wonder of the divine promises that come above my asking or thinking, the Bible says. I can experience the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells me to live a life of victory, a life that pleases God.   And so for all who believe this promised provision is this experience of a present salvation, the enjoyment of spiritual privileges and great hope for the future.

Now we must bring this to a conclusion and wrap it up with an application in your life and mine.  The good news is that this common salvation is appearing to all. It may be appropriated by anyone. It matters not what your social standing is, rich or poor, your education position, educated or not, how financially strong you may be or not.  It matters not the degree of your sinfulness. You may be like Paul having to admit you are the chief of sinners.  None of those things matter.  This common salvation is available to those on skid row, as we call it, those in the state capital, in the national capitals of our world and our nations and in the throne rooms of all around.  All have a common need and it is fully met by a common salvation.

Have you turned and listened to what we have tried to share with you this morning?   Has there begun to come into your life a realization of a need that you cannot find the answer to in yourself? A common salvation, both Old and New Testament Scriptures testify and are in agreement regarding the need of every person for this salvation and that it is available through God, from God as a gift by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostles all agreed regarding this life and this life changing truth of the gospel.  It brings all who hold a like view regarding salvation. We are then all brought together into the fullness of God’s great promise.  We may appropriate it by any and all who will come. It will be appropriated if you will reach out a hand of faith.   It is only our will that prevents God’s miraculous work in our individual hearts and lives.  Your will can stand in the way of the most marvel experience of all.

Someone has said that the devil has voted that we not accept Jesus. Jesus has voted that we would accept him. The deciding vote, my friend, is mine and yours. You decide by an act of your will that you will accept this common salvation.  It is a privileged salvation. It is common to all, but, oh, with it there is the common responsibility of living as a Christian. And, as Christians we are responsible to preserve it, to propagate it. As the writer in Jude said, it is a salvation that we want to protect and keep pure and holy.

If you are not a Christian, it is your responsibility to appropriate at once this common salvation that is so abundant and brings with it the gracious provision of God.  The question that we answer today was a question answered centuries ago. What must I do to be saved? Read about it in the second chapter of Acts. You can receive it.  You can enjoy this common salvation.
What did Peter say?  “Repent you and be baptized every one of you,” whosoever will, in other words, “In the name of Jesus Christ of the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  To be baptized in the name of Jesus means I have put my trust in what he did at Calvary. I have faith in what he promised and my belief will continue to trust in him for my salvation, a salvation that is common, that is, available to all, my friends, available to you.

 

Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10