Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
[include file=/StatCounter-AllPages.txt] [include file=/StatCounter-SCM.txt]
Message #3: The Blessings of Salvation
In our first message together, we considered together the theme of the book Sustaining Strength for Suffering Saints. This is an encouraging word for saints in all ages who are undergoing whatever types of affliction may come to them; and as we pointed out previously, if you have not faced afflictions and difficulties yet, if you live long enough, it is certain that you will. The course of true love never runs smooth. I have often preached from a very favorite Psalm of mine, Psalm 116, which I sometimes call the Saints Love Life. It begins with a word of delight, I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. That sounds great but you come to the very next verse in Psalm 116:3, The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell (Sheol, the place of the dead) got hold upon me, (and then this expression) I found trouble and sorrow. In the life of the child of God, in spite of what you might think, there does come trouble and sorrow. These saints to whom Peter addressed this first epistle were those who were undergoing trouble and facing sorrow and experiencing it as the children of God, and he wrote this epistle to comfort and encourage them and to stabilize them in the midst of all their suffering of distress. Indeed, his closing word so far as the actual exhortation part of the epistle over in I Peter 5:10, But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. So, to these suffering saints, He gives them words that give them sustaining strength. We just dealt yesterday morning with verses one and two of chapter one which we called the Salutation. We saw in that the destination which included the author, Peter, and those to whom it is addressed, the Jewish believers of Asia Minor. We saw something of a doctrinal delineation in verse two, the Trinity, and those who trust in the true God. Then, the delightful designation of grace unto you and peace be multiplied. Now we move into the first major section of the book which I set forth as Dealing With Salvation I Peter 1:3-2:10. The second major section covers 2:11-4:11 and I believe relates to the matter of Sanctification and then 4:12-5:11 deals with Glorification and then in the three concluding verses of chapter five a word concerning the Communication of the epistle and how it was given and to be presented to them.
We will just have time to deal with what I call The Blessings of Salvation beginning at verse three and going through verse nine and then hopefully we will be able to proceed possibly tomorrow morning with basis of salvation verses 10-12, and then subsequently with our behavior because of salvation and then the benefits of salvation chapter 2:1-10. Before we go into the passage which begins at verse three, let me just say a word about salvation. First, concerning its origin. Four os in regard to salvation. First, its origin is of the Lord. Some people have difficulty understanding or appreciating that. Jonah had to go the university of the belly of the whale or the great fish to learn that. The one great truth that Jonah learned, and its recorded in Jonah 2:9, is that salvation is of the Lord. The origin of our salvation is never with ourselves, with our scheming, with our planning, with our good works, or anything we can do. Our salvation originates and originated with the Lord.
Second, the object of our salvation or the one to whom we look for our salvation also is the Lord but not just the Lord God the Trinity. It is the Lord Jesus Christ and so you have in Acts 16:31, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. It is His Person and work that saves us, thus, the gospel is embraced in what it said in I Corinthians 15:3-4 . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. The object of our faith is the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The obtaining of our salvation is by faith alone. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Then when you come to passages like in Romans 4, our righteousness is not on the basis of what we have done but on the basis on what He has done and so it is not according to our works. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5). The obtaining of salvation is by faith alone.
The operation of salvation is that which brings forth fruit. If you study John chapter 15:1-8, you will find that the Lord Jesus had ordained that those who had believed on Him being rightly related to the vine would naturally bring forth fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. The operation of salvation in the life of the believer is to bring forth fruit.
Then fourthly, the outreach of salvation, the extensiveness of it. In Hebrews 2:3 it says, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, and salvation is a tremendous thing in its scope. It embraces what God has done for us in regard to the past, in releasing us from the penalty of sin. 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. Weve been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved right now from the very power of sin in our lives. There are some Christians who have a lot of difficulty with a verse over in Philippians 2:12, Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. They say that means you have to work out your salvation. Its up to you and God to work together to bring this to pass. This is not referring to the deliverance from the penalty of sin. This is availing yourself to the power of God to deliver you from the power of sin presently, right now in Christian experience. Work out your own salvation, and you can only work out what God has worked in as verse 13 indicates, For it is God Who worketh in you both to will and to do (literally to will and to work) of His good pleasure. Then theres the future tense of salvation, such as is expressed in the book of Hebrews chapter 9 and verse 28, So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Thats deliverance from the presence of sin in this world as we are taken out from it. Now all of these truths are found in what Peter is teaching in this section in regard to salvation. We will see something of them emerging as we proceed with the passage. Notice first in regard to the blessings of salvation. First, we bless the Lord because of our salvation.
Notice verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It begins with an exaltation and honoring and appreciation of our eternal Father in heaven. I suppose if there is one thing that disturbs me in our current sociological order is the lack of honor and reverence and respect that is accorded to fathers in the home. I was raised in a home where we were taught from earliest infancy to respect and honor our fathers. I am the last of thirteen children, and if we hadnt had some sort of top command in our battalion we would have had some real problems. We always knew who the commander-in-chief was at home, and we always respected Dad. I must say that when I grew to maturity Dad only came up to about my shoulder; and Dad only had five grades of schooling, while Ive had more than twenty years of schooling. I say it reverently and respectfully, all the years of my fathers life I looked up to him. I think it made me a better person. I want to say spiritually, folks, that if you look up to your Heavenly Father and accord Him the right place that He deserves, its going to make you a better son of God, a better child of God. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This relates to our position by faith, children of the Heavenly Father. We are His and He is ours. I must confess that I used to wish that my father was more wealthy than he was. My dad wasnt a well-to-do man in the things of this world. He was for the most part of his life just a common day laborer. I often wished that he had been president of General Motors or something like that, because we never had an automobile and I always had a tremendous longing to have one. Ive gotten over that in recent years. Ive had a number of lemons, and so that has delivered me from that delight. I am grateful that Dad had some heavenly resources of practical piety and consistency of life that has been a tremendous heritage to me.
Our Heavenly Father has all the resources of eternity and of all the universe at His disposal, and He is our Father. No wonder Peter says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us, weve been born into the family of God. I am glad that my father and mother didnt practice family planning too closely, or I would never have gotten here, being number thirteen as I was. The Lord only saw fit to give us two children, and we are grateful for each of them. Our Heavenly Father has a large family. I was born into a large family the first time and born into a larger family the second time. This past Monday, August 11, it was 36 years ago that I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and Im glad to be a part of the family of God.
There are two terms in the Word of God that relate to us as being those within the family. Unfortunately, the King James Bible translators were not accurate in translating these words. In fact, more often than not, they translated them just in reverse of what they are in the actual Greek Scriptures. An example is found in I John 3, a very precious portion of the Word of God. If you have an old Scofield Bible, it has the original King James translation. If you have a new one, they have the correction here. If you have an American Standard Version or newer translation, they have the correction as well. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called (and in the old King James, its the sons of God but its not really that. Its the Greek word teknon which is a word that means the born one of God thus, as you have translated in the more modern translation in the new Scofield) the children of God (the born ones of God); therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we (and here it is again and should be translated) the born ones of God, the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure. There is a precious truth, and John emphasizes it more than any other New Testament writer, namely, that we are born into the family of God, regenerated, made children of God. It is a blessed truth to know that by faith alone you have entered into Gods family and have become His child. Paul introduces a truth into the Word of God and its another word, the Greek word teknon which is a word son. Here again the King James, unfortunately, in passages such as Galatians 3:26 translates it just the other way around. For ye are all (and here it has the children but again it should be) the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Whats the difference here? The Greek word for son, huios meant one who had attained to a position where he had the right and privileges of maturity.
In my particular case, this came along when I was about fifteen years old. I remember up until that time my parents kept very, very close tabs on me; but when I became fifteen, my brother who was two years older than I, was seventeen. That was significant, because he was old enough to drive a car and I wasnt. That was the year that we went through thirteen automobiles in one year. We had never had any before, and it was a very significant year. I must say that I think one reason that my parents allowed me a real degree of freedom when I turned fifteen is that almost invariably my brother, who was seventeen, stayed with me and kept an eye on me. By the way, thats what happens to you when youre born into the family of God. Youre born with a maturity. Thats a tremendous truth. The only reason you have it, is because you have the Holy Spirit with you and in you to keep an eye on you as I had a brother to keep an eye on me. We are both sons; that is, we are mature. That doesnt mean that we have reached full maturity but we have the rights and privileges of maturity. The basis of that, however, is that we have been born into the family of God, born and placed as sons within the family. It is a tremendous thing to know that you belong to the family of God. I like that song we sing now, Im so glad Im a part of the family of God. I belong. Pastor Stoll used to say, If you can say I believe, you can also say I belong. I belong to the family of God.
The very first thing here that we see in the blessings of salvation for us is our position by faith. Children, begotten of the Father but also sons of God with the rights and privileges of maturity. Second, also in verse three in the latter part, our possessions by faith. Our position by faith, begotten of the Father as children and sons, our possessions, a living hope and a limitless inheritance. Begotten us again unto a (and here again the King James is a little bit archaic) lively (When I think lively, I think of something jumping around like lively limes or something of that nature, but the better translation here is) a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The great truth is that the child of God always has something to look forward to. Indeed, for us the best is always yet to come. The best is always ahead for the child of God. We have a living hope. Its a life-giving hope, an encouraging hope, a hope that gives vitality to us. In Romans 8, Paul recognizing that in the face of suffering, verse 18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Then verse 23, And not only they (that is not only the creation), but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, (Thats the son placing; and we still have much yet to receive, because we are the sons of God. Weve been placed with a position of maturity.) to wit, the redemption of our body (And here I believe the word saved would be better translated delivered) For we are delivered by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. We who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ have a living hopethat which we can look forward to and its on the basis of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When the Lord takes a loved one, in Christ, in death, there are some who would ask, How do you know that he is going to be raised? The only answer that we know that we are going to be raised from the dead and have this living hope is because the Word of God tells us that Jesus rose from the dead. Its by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We have this living hope, and we look forward to a limitless inheritance. Sometimes when I come to this passage, I ask people, How many of you have ever received an inheritance? I found out that people hesitate to put up their hands because they think Ill be around to them later and get them into an annuity plan or something of that sort. Sometimes Ive asked, How many of you expect to get an inheritance? Ive quit having people raise their hands here, because they get a little embarrassed about it. I dont know whether youve ever received an inheritance or whether you ever expect to receive an inheritance. I know at the College we are written into the wills of a number of people; and some of them think we are getting something but till its all finished, till all the expenses are paid, there is virtually nothing left, sometimes nothing left. It begins to fade away, by the time you get all the expenses paid, its gone. Peter says that we have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. This Bible is Gods last will and testament to us. Its the Old Testament and the New Testament. Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. There are three things about this inheritance and its even stronger in the Greek than you have it here. First, this word incorruptible means literally that it cannot be destroyed. For example, you could have material wealth on earth: stocks, bonds, property that could be destroyed, and youd never get the inheritance. Thats not true in regard to what you have in heaven. It is incorruptible. It cannot be destroyed. Second, this word undefiled means even more strongly than that. It means that it cannot be defiled. An inheritance can be defiled in a number of ways. It can be defiled in the way it is obtained. Some inheritances are whiskey and gambling and this sort of thing. That defiles it by the way it is obtained. It can also be defiled by the way it is distributed. A lot of people get defiled in that way, because they have a family fight over the inheritance; or it can be defiled by the way it is used after you receive it. This inheritance which is reserved for us cannot be defiled in any way, by obtaining, by receiving, or by using. Then, I like this. It says that fadeth not away, it cannot be diminished. Our heavenly inheritance keeps on building for us in heaven. What a blessed thing to anticipate that which awaits us in glory, because we belong to the heavenly Father and are in the blood line.
The third thing is the promise of faith which is a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. We are kept by the power of God for this very salvation that awaits us when our Lord Jesus returns. God keeps us until He receives us. Ephesians 4:30 indicates that we are sealed by the Spirit of God unto the day of redemption. The cap is put on when we believe and until our Savior comes we are secure, and when He comes we have the eternal security in Him because we are His. The promise of faith, keeping now, removed then.
The proof of faith is testings, trials, and triumphs. Notice verse 6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice (the anticipation of what is ours), though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations (or testings) that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Notice how Peter keeps before these suffering saints the prospect of the return of Jesus Christ at His appearing. In spite of the testing, in spite of the trials that we undergo now, we know that one day everything is going to be right; because we are going to be with our Savior, and were going to be with our heavenly Father.
The Lord Jesus, verse 8, Whom, having not seen, ye love. Heres the perspective of our faith. We havent yet seen Him with the physical eyes that we have, but by faith weve seen Him. Whom, having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing (having confidence in Him), ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, Receiving the end (or the issue) of your faith even the salvation (and here I personally believe this is the present aspect of salvation, the deliverance) of your souls. In the midst of your trials, God gives a perspective of deliverance to the child of God so that he can even rejoice in the face of distressing circumstances, knowing that God will keep him unto that day. God will preserve him through the trials that come, and one day He will present us faultless before His eternal glory with unspeakable joy. Im glad that Im a Christian.
Im glad that Im part of the family of God. In fact, I dont know what we would do at this time as a family, if we didnt know the Lord, if we didnt know the sufficiency of His grace for us now and for future days. We receive the issues of our faith, the deliverance of our souls so that we can accept what God sends knowing that He does all things well. In the midst of all things, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
As it was delivered at
SANDY COVE BIBLE CONFERENCE
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 14, 1975