Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


Welcome to you who are listening to this Words of Life broadcast. We are so glad you have tuned in again. Maybe you are a new listener and this will be the first experience you have had hearing the Word of God from our speaker here and from the various speakers from time to time on this broadcast. We are heard in a number of places around the country and around the world.  And we are just glad that you have tuned in today.

If you are a regular listener to the broadcast, it may be that you heard our message “The Common Salvation” that the writer Jude talks about in the third verse of his little short epistle. I would like to follow up that lesson of that common salvation, which means that we have a salvation that is available to anyone and everyone who wants that salvation.  It is a salvation that brings us together at the foot of the cross and makes a marvelous provision of all we need for this life as well as the life to come. And it is a salvation available to anyone who will appropriate it by turning to God in an obedient faith.  It is no surprise that God tells us this salvation is such a gracious and eternal salvation. It is great and it is eternal.  Think about that as we consider this lesson this morning.

And so God calls this salvation great and eternal.  Think of the greatness of the salvation. After looking long at the picture of the crucifixion, a man by the name of John Ruskin wrote these words. Remember now. He has looked, stood in front of an artist’s depiction of the crucifixion and he wrote these words, and I quote.  “We must leave it to work its will on the spectator, for it is beyond all analysis and above all praise,” end of his quote.  The salvation that comes because of Calvary and the crucifixion, Mr. Ruskin agrees, is beyond our comprehension to analyze and we cannot praise it too much.

If a picture of the crucifixion can produce such thinking, such conclusion, what would result from a serious study of this historic event of the crucifixion of the perfect Son of God?  This crucifixion reveals to us the very heart of God. It is that which procures and provides everlasting salvation for humble sinners who penitently and believingly will appropriate that salvation.

It is no wonder it is called great.  It is a two-fold greatness, as I think about it.  It is a salvation which necessitates the incarnation of Jesus, God coming in the flesh and then his humiliation coming to live as a man and work as a man and then to be hungry and thirsty, to be tested, tempted, to go through the tears and groans of the garden of Gethsemane and the shame and reproach of Calvary and the outpouring of his blood, the perfect, divine Son of God.

Oh, my friends, if it takes that to provide salvation, then it, indeed, is a great salvation.  If there had been any other way, God would never have provided it at such awful, unspeakable cost, the death, the suffering of his only Son Jesus Christ.   This is a salvation that necessitated Jesus coming and going through that terrible experience. But it is a salvation that meets my spiritual need and that of millions of others down through the centuries.  It rescues us from the torments of hell. It redeems us from the slave market of sin.  This salvation meets the legal and moral demands of the law, the law that says I must be perfect, which I cannot be. But this salvation meets that demand.
This is a salvation that delivers us from guilt, from the penalty of our many transgressions and from the wrath that is to come upon those who refuse this common salvation. There will be a great white throne judgment when God will sit on the seat of judgment, the judgment throne and people will be brought before him to give an answer as to why they did not accept this great salvation, a salvation that in its moral provision brings a regeneration by the divine Spirit of God.

I am reconciled, I am made friends with God. I receive an inward cleansing and sanctification, as the Bible calls it, set apart for the work of God.  I now have fellowship with God and with Jesus. I have a victory over my daily tendency to sin. I can defeat that sin in my life because of his power. Oh, and I have the ultimate deliverance from every trace of my inherited nature.  One of these days this nature is going to be set aside, either at death or at the coming of Jesus.  And I will not struggle with it any longer.  I have the promise of heaven. I have that perfect picture of God’s presence in my life for all of the endless ages that tare to come. Surely, then, a great salvation, a salvation which came at such cost to Jesus, to God, a salvation that meets the need of so many and does it so abundantly, it must be a great salvation.
The Hebrew writer addresses this when he says in Hebrews two verse one and following, “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest happily we drift away from them. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which, having at the first been spoken through the Lord was confirmed unto us by them that heard, God bearing witness with them by signs and wonders and manifold powers and by the gifts of the Spirit according to his own will.”

Regarding this great salvation, this reading tells us that it was spoken by the Lord.  We learned in our first lesson about the common salvation that both the Old and New Testament speak clearly of this salvation.  It has been spoken by the Lord. You can count on his Word.

It has, secondly, been confirmed by those who heard it, from the first century down through the years since that time and today. Those of us who hear the Word, who hear the good news, who respond in faith to the gospel, we confirm of the blessings that come into our lives and the joy that we experience because of the forgiveness of our sins. And this gospel was witnessed to by great power and signs and wonders through the apostles in the first century.

What about our responsibility to this?  This passage gets very serious. There is no escaping our just recompense. If we have sinned, if we have broken God’s law, if we are out of fellowship with him, if we neglect to respond to such a provision of salvation, we will receive a reward. The wages of sin is death and it pays fully and pays completely.

My friends, I would remind you that the place called hell is not fiction. It is a literal place for those who refuse the grace and mercy of God.  Our need is to let the terrible nature of sin and its eternal consequences move us to the tender, marvelous love of God and his dear Son the Lord Jesus.  So great a salvation.

They hymn writer puts it this way.

Oh, love, thou bottomless abyss,

My sins are swallowed up in thee.
Covered is my unrighteousness,

Nor spot of guilt remains in me.

While Jesus’ blood in earth and skies,

Mercy free, boundless mercy cries.

Do you see how great is this salvation that God has provided through the Lord Jesus?

God calls this great salvation an eternal salvation.  In Hebrews chapter five verses eight and nine, “For though he was a Son,” that is Jesus, “though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things that he suffered and having been made perfect he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation.”

Think about it. Here is a common salvation available to all. It is a salvation which unquestionably is described as a great salvation because of what it cost God in sending Jesus and what results when we accept it. And then this salvation lasts forever. It is an eternal salvation.

Notice the author. He is the author of eternal salvation.  It is the Son, the Son of God, God who came down in the flesh, lived as a common man in the land of Israel and there gave his life. He was obedient, we are told, even unto death, the death of the cross.  What obedience this great writer, we might call him this author, the obedient Son of God. He suffered, we are then told, in our place for our sins.

Would you think about that? Surely, surely you would say as you look at your life when you recognize the laws of God, the laws of the land, the people that you have hurt, the sins that you have committed, that you deserve judgment of some kind.  And if the Bible be true—and we believe it is—that judgment is a terrible judgment of separation from God for eternity. And then to realize that Jesus took your place, my place, my sins sent him there. Think about it. If I were the only sinner, it still would have taken the death of Jesus to provide my salvation.  If I were guilty of but one sin, that is enough to condemn me. It would take the death of Jesus, the suffering of Jesus in my place for that one sin for me to receive this great common, eternal salvation.  This eternal salvation is available nowhere else, except from this eternal God.

And so there then needs to be the appropriators of eternal salvation.  Who is it that is able to obtain this salvation? This passage in Hebrews five refers to those who are obedient to him, those who obey him, who are submissive to his authority and to his commands.  We listen. We recognize our position, our need. We are under condemnation. We heed the call and we respond in a simple, humble, child like, obedient repentance.


Now the obedience is necessary, but it is the grace, it is the faith in what Jesus did that provides the salvation. This hearing of the Word of God and then this common salvation that comes, this great eternal salvation produces a belief in my heart and mind. If I am a true seeker, if I really want to know what is true, if I look at the facts, I will understand them in my mind. I will transpose them to my heart and conviction will come and my will will operate in regards to the truth and I will hear the words, “Except you repent you shall perish.” And so then I do what?   I turn from self and Satan and sin and I turn to this holy God, to his precious Son who gave his life for me.  We claim the promises that if we confess him before men, he will confess us before the Father in heaven.   We confess who he is and we confess that we put our trust in him.

In Romans, the apostle Paul tells us we confess Jesus as Lord. We want him to be the Lord of our lives as well as Savior. And I suggest to you it is unlikely that he can be your Savior if you do not want him to be the Lord in your life.

Our faith, then, once we have assimilated the knowledge, the truth, when we have heard the truth about our condition and God’s supply of a great eternal salvation, it brings immediate obedience. A saving faith always does that. And we obey the command to come, to confess Christ, to be baptized into him.   This immersion not only symbolically washes away our sins, but that which the blood of Christ really does, it is the blood and it is the symbol of my death to self, my death to sin. I am brought up out of that watery grave, as it is called, and raised to walk in newness of life.

And so as we close with this serious admonition, what will you do? How will you respond with so great an eternal salvation available to you?  Hebrews 2:2.  “If the word spoken through angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape?”
If God has brought judgment upon nations, upon individuals, upon cities in the past because of their sin, how will I escape? How will you escape if we neglect this great salvation? How can we of all people who know the truth, who have heard the truth, expect to escape? What escape can there be?  What makes us think we can escape from this holy, powerful God? May God convict each of us today regarding our need for this great eternal salvation, a salvation common to all who need it—and that is everybody—and common to all who will receive it.

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