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Message #6: “The Benefits of Salvation”

We will be dealing with chapter two this evening. We have been dealing with the first major section of the book which I entitle Salvation which begins in 1:3 and continues through 2:10. We saw first in this section the blessings of salvation, that which we have because we have been saved by grace through faith in what God has done for us through His Son. The Blessings of Salvation 1:3-9. Then we saw something of the Basis of Salvation in verses 10-12 of chapter one, and then yesterday morning we considered together our Behavior because of Salvation, verses 13-25 of chapter one.
This evening we are going to be going into chapter two in the last section of this portion dealing with salvation, and I call this The Benefits of Salvation. In this portion, there are recorded three benefits. The first is in verse one and that I call the benefit of purification. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” Before you can have the growth that is referred to in the following verses, there must be removed the impurities so that that growth can be effected. We had dinner this afternoon with the Chairman of our Deacon Board at our church, as we’ve been hearing a possible candidate for the pulpit, and he was telling us how that he had gotten some topsoil from his son-in-law so that he could put it in his back yard and grow some very nice grass. One thing he failed to find out was that his son-in-law had very thoroughly sprayed that topsoil with a very strong weed removing substance; so that when he planted grass in this topsoil the grass did not grow. The ground was filled with impurities so far as the growing of grass was concerned. He showed it to us afterwards— very, very thin. He has worked with it, and he has put lime into it and other things like this; but he said, “They tell me that it will take two years to work the impurities out of that topsoil so I can begin to get grass to really grow in my backyard.” You know folks, exactly the same thing is true of you and of me. If we allow these impurities of malice, guile, hypocrisy, envies, evil speakings, and these I believe are just illustrative of many others, whatever impurity you have allowed to come into your heart to be harbored there, these will hinder the growing process in your life. One of the benefits you have in being saved is that you can have these impurities removed. There are two agents for the removing of impurities from the life of a believer. One is the agency of the Word of God. If you turn to Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” Taking heed to the Word of God is a basic requirement for purification in the life of the believer. The Lord Jesus said essentially the same thing and possibly even more forcefully in His prayer to His heavenly Father in John chapter 17 beginning at verse 14, “I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil (the impurities of the world). They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.” There is a purifying process that begins with the Word of God coming into the life of the believer and thereby revealing the impurities that are there and letting you know by the Spirit of God using the Word of God that you have sin within you. Thus, in the sense of I John 1:8, 10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Now many indicate that this “no sin” refers to the sin nature, and I do believe that we do clearly have a sin nature within us, and that demands a purging process of confronting that with the Word of God wherein is found our victory as well as our cleansing. “If we say that we have not sinned (that is the actual activity of sin and the committing of sin), we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” Then if you work that back going to verse 9, “If we confess our sins (not just in a general sense but specifically naming and Acknowledging Our Sin), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But upon what basis? Verse 7. It’s upon the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will use the Word of God to reveal sin in the child of God so that He will use the blood of Christ for cleansing. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light”— Here the light from the Word of God reveals sin. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son (God’s Son), cleanseth us (literally keeps on continually cleansing us) from all sin.” One of the tremendous benefits of salvation is the continuous cleansing process of the blood of Jesus Christ for purification. Without that, you could not have edification, you could not have building up, you could not have growth, unless and until there is first purification, the cleansing away of all these things that defile in the life of the believer. In Romans 13:12 it says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Put off those things that are sinful and defiling, acknowledging your sin to the Lord. Receive the cleansing of the blood of Christ and avail yourself of the perpetual care of the Person of our Savior. We put on the Lord Jesus as we study His Word and acknowledge our sin to Him.
Then, there is set forth the second benefit of salvation. It is The Benefit of Edification, of being built up. In this particular passage edification is referred to under two figures. First, under a physical edification. That is of a physical body being built up and then of a structural edification. The physical is in verses 2 and 3. The structural begins in verse 4 and goes through verse 8. Let’s look first at the physical. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” You see purification taking place first and then growth following. “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” You see, one of the things they are trying to do with the radiation in the body of our daughter is that they are trying to get rid of those impurities. They are trying to get rid of that which is building up on her body. That’s why we have to avail ourselves of the light of the Word of God and the cleansing of the blood of Christ, but then we have to desire the milk of the Word as a feeding thing. Now, please understand the emphasis of verses 2 and 3. The emphasis is not that you should be a baby. In fact, Paul elsewhere in the New Testament for example in I Corinthians 3:2 refers derogatorily to those who are babes in Christ. In fact, someone has pointed out that the term babes in Christ is not a chronological one in the New Testament. It is a contradictory one. It’s one in which somebody is something they ought not to be, a babe in Christ. Now the emphasis here is upon desire and the sense of this is just as a newborn baby desires the sincere milk of the Word in the same way you should desire the milk of the Word. It’s upon the fact that a baby when it wants its milk, it wants its milk. It doesn’t matter whether it is 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. or whatever. It has got to have it. It has that intense, unquenchable desire that will never be satisfied unless and until it gets what it wants which is namely milk. I wish that more Christians had this kind of a desire, that we really would desire the milk of the Word, just as a baby desires its physical milk in order that we might grow thereby. Turn to Psalm 19. There is teaching in this passage both concerning the revelation of God in nature verses 1-6 and then beginning in verse 7 there is the revelation of God in His written Word (Psalm 19:7), “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever (Notice there is that cleansing aspect of the Word.); the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Follow that with Jeremiah 15:16 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” Then if you go back to Job 23:12, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (On occasion I have counseled with students at our school who have, for one reason or another, discontinued having their daily devotions, their daily quiet time and study of the Word. Many times when I ask them why, they will say, “Well, it just wasn’t very interesting.” or “I had times that I didn’t get anything out of it.” I almost invariably ask them at that point, “Have you quit eating three meals a day?” Sometimes some of them eat more than that. Not one of them have I found that have quit eating three meals a day. I say, “Do you get a blessing out of every meal you eat? Do you enjoy every meal you eat?” At least, on our campus, there are some meals they don’t enjoy. Our food isn’t always quite as good as Sandy Cove, but they haven’t quit eating. I tell them, “Don’t be so stupid. Maybe you won’t enjoy every time you have your devotions, but just like eating do it anyway.”) In fact, consider the taking in of the Word more necessary than your necessary food as Job indicates there. I think that we ought to look upon the Word of God as that which is more necessary than the food that we eat. That, I am sure is what is in view here in I Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk,” so you desire the sincere milk of the Word, “that you may grow thereby.” I have never known a Christian to grow apart from the Word of God. The Word of God is essential to your spiritual growth. Then it says, “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” This is an expression that comes from Psalm 34 and I believe it is verse 8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” When you have tasted you will see that the Lord is good; therefore, trust in Him, feed upon His Word and thereby feed upon His faithfulness.
Next we come to the structural analogy of edification. “To whom, coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” There are four things to see here. First there is the chosen Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone, as verses six and seven indicate. “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you, therefore, who believe He is precious.” So there is the chosen Person, the Lord Jesus. Then in relation to Him there are His chosen people, the children of God. In the building of this house there is a chosen process. The process is that the structure is built in relation to the corner stone. We no longer build buildings the way they did years ago when this was written, because in those days the very first thing that was laid was the foundation with the cornerstone. The cornerstone had to be square and plum and level. If it wasn’t then all the rest of the building would be out of shape. They always got the cornerstone just right. Then the rest of the building, the stones of the building, were laid in relation to that cornerstone. Now that’s the way we ought to be in the building of God. The primary concern of each believer ought to be his right, his correct relationship to Jesus Christ. Keeping in line with Him as we ought to be.
Years ago I heard Dr. Peter Eldersvelt of the Back to God Hour talk about one-eyed men, and he was talking about if your eye be single then your whole body was full of light; and he was pointing out how that concentrating and especially concentrating with an eye single to the Lord Jesus. He talked about a piano tuner that came in and banged on one key and just kept banging on that and banging on it. Dr. Eldersvelt got so exasperated that he finally went down and said, “Man don’t you realize that there are 87 other keys on this piano. Why don’t you start banging on one of the others.” The piano tuner said, “I am working on middle C. When I get that just right, then all the rest will be properly related to that.” Dr. Eldersvelt pointed out that Christ is the middle C of a Christian’s life. When He is where He ought to be then everything else can be properly related to Him. That’s the way it is with the cornerstone in the building. We as individual living stones are to be rightly related to Him.
There is the chosen Person, the Lord Jesus, Who is the chief cornerstone. The chosen people are the living stones within that. There is the chosen process, which is our relationship to Him, and then finally there will be the completed product when Jesus Christ Himself finishes His church. He says, “I will build my church.” The one thing I always point out to people, “Don’t forget that we are still in a building process and the building isn’t finished yet. Whenever you come into a building that isn’t finished yet, you are liable to stumble over things and you’ll find things that aren’t in place; but one day that building is going to be finished.” A little over a week ago I had two Mormon elders come to my home, and they were telling me how we had to have apostles and prophets. I told them that that was for the foundation. I said that the foundation was laid long ago. I said that the superstructure is in process now. In fact, I said that I think that we are about ready to have the roof put on, and here you fellows are still trying to lay a foundation. I am convinced that the Lord Jesus is about ready to come and put the roof on and finish this building of which we are a part, the very purpose of the building; but we won’t labor this. Notice it is in verse 5, “. . . a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
In Hebrews 13 there are two kinds of sacrifices that are very appropriate in the Age of Grace. It is in 13:15,16, “By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.” One verse that the Lord has been laying upon our hearts in these recent days since we have heard of the illness of our daughter is I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We have come to a place where we have thanked God even for the illness of our daughter, because we believe that somehow God is going to be glorified in this. This is one of the sacrifices that we can offer, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, to God continually. Then of thanksliving, in Hebrews 13:16, “But to do good and to communicate forget not.” To do good and to share— I guess that one of the most precious experiences we have sensed as we have been going through this time of suffering is the sharing with God’s people as they have gathered around us literally, as Becky has received hundreds of cards, and as people have called, and as we have known they are praying. Sharing is a tremendous blessing that we can be to one another in the matter of thanksliving as well as thanksgiving to communicate, to share, forget not. “. . . for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The world stumbles at this stone. By the way, there is a tremendous note in the Scofield Bible on Christ as being the Stone, and I don’t have time to share that, but if you don’t have a Scofield Bible, get one and read that. There is a good note on that word “stone” in I Peter 2, verse 8. “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.”
Very quickly I must conclude and I take the third benefit. I love this one. It is the benefit not only of purification and edification, but of identification. “But ye are a chosen generation (one of the translations is an elect race. What is your ethnic background, what is your pedigree? We belong to the race of the children of God), a royal priesthood (or a kingdom of priests and we saw the privilege of the sacrifices we can give as we saw there in Hebrews 13), an holy nation (This I believe can relate to our new patriotism, because we are citizens of a new country as Paul says in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ Who will change our vile body, that it may be transformed like unto His glorious body.”), a peculiar people (Many people have misunderstood and misinterpreted that phrase. In the original Greek it simply means “a people surrounded.” I remember when my Greek professor taught that to us, he said, “Have you ever seen a child playing with his toys and another child comes into the room? Did you ever notice instinctively what the first child does? He surrounds his toys and by that very act he is saying clearly and distinctly, ‘These belong exclusively to me, keep your hands off.’” That is exactly what this Greek word is here. It’s the Greek word “surrounded.” That’s why in the revisions it reads “a people for God’s own possession.” That’s a precious truth to me— to know that we belong exclusively to Him. We are His unique people. This relates back to what we saw in I Peter 2:9, “. . . that you should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” You see, in this passage there is our position as His people; our privilege, the showing forth of His praise; our plight, He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. “Who in time past were not a people.” Then our provision, “But are now the people of God; who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Because of all that God has done for us and all that He has made us to be because we are His, we have as Peter later refers in his second epistle, we have all things that are necessary for life and godliness. II Peter 1:3, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” How tremendous to be a part of the family of God. To know that we having believed we do belong and because we belong we have been vested with all the provisions of God for time and for eternity.
I have had some people say to me during these recent days, “How have you been able to face this?” The things we have found as a family is that God doesn’t give dying grace until you are dying. He doesn’t give sustaining grace for illness until the illness comes. I tell you that as we have gone through this experience, we have sensed the grace of God just pouring in upon us. The reason is that we belong to Him. We’ve identified, we’re His. We make no apology for that nor do we boast in the strength that we have. Becky a few weeks ago wrote to a friend of hers who is working in another camp somewhere (We’ll call it Brand X), but this young lady has gotten very homesick; and Becky wrote to encourage her. Since it was on a postcard and I was mailing the mail, I wasn’t snooping too much when I read the side of the card. Becky said, “Remember our strength is in the Lord.” That is our provision because we belong to Him. You and I can draw upon that strength. That is sufficient strength for suffering saints, because He is the God of eternity, the infinite God, the God of grace and the God of all comfort. Glory to His Name.

As it was delivered at
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 17, 1975

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