The opening of Pandora’s box in Greek mythology signaled the introduction of all sorts of evil and error into the earth. When once that box was opened it could never be closed again. All that is recorded in the pages of the Bible is completely without error, being the verbally inspired word of GOD. When the writers of the NT wrote the clear and unadulterated word of GOD in letters and historical documents, they did so in a relative state of purity insofar as the introduction of some of the false doctrine that has gained widespread acceptance in the present day is concerned.
Many of the letters of Paul are written to combat errors which had arisen in the very earliest days of the NT church, because wherever you find fallible men you will always find some sort of error. While there has never been an age when evil and error have not abounded, the days since the delivery of the scriptures to us in what we call the Bible have witnessed the opening of Pandora’s box, with so many distortions and deceptions that often men have made the truth to appear to be error and error to be the truth. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20)
This sort of error begins as a slight aberration or distortion of the truth in its earliest forms, but in time, due to the innate propensity of men to entertain and be deceived by error and the machinations of the powers of darkness to send forth its “angels of light” (see 2 Corinthians 11:14) this false doctrine takes on a life of its own and sometimes even becomes the predominant teaching among those who call themselves Christians of one stripe or another.
If you should enquire of most church going folks in our day as to how a man gains salvation most would speak of a cooperative effort between GOD and men, with GOD doing all HE can to save everybody and leaving the outcome of whether or not any are saved up to men. They say that GOD has done all HE can and now it’s up to men to make a free will decision to believe what HE has said; thus completing the transaction of salvation and bringing them into its possession. There is no greater or deadly error that has ever been set forth than this one.
There is but one salvation spoken of in the scriptures. It involves no cooperative effort between the SAVIOR and the saved. “Salvation is of the LORD”. The only folks who are in doubt about that are those who have never been acquainted with their own lost and undone condition. A man who knows himself to be truly lost cannot find any comfort at all in some cooperative plan but knows that unless the LORD shows mercy on him he is done for.
Nothing but the revelation of the HOLY GHOST, in causing men to see the error and outright deception of “decisional regeneration”, can they ever be delivered from it. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Pro 16:25) In all ages GOD has caused HIS elect to cry out, (when awakened to their certain doom), “LORD save or we perish.” They find themselves without strength and have no confidence in their ability to repent, believe, or in any wise lay hold upon this salvation through their own effort.
Salvation is spoken of in the scriptures in three aspects, all of which are the sole work of GOD in the behalf of HIS people. The salvation of the sons of GOD has been decreed in times past according to HIS purpose and the basis upon which it rests is finished by the work of CHRIST in living, dying, and rising again from the dead in their behalf. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thes 5:9) The salvation of the sons of GOD is being manifest in the present time as HE is pleased to give them the gift of faith and to cause HIS SPIRIT to dwell in them. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph 1:13) The salvation of the sons of GOD shall yet be shown complete in the future when the glorified sons of GOD are displayed for all of creation to see in the final day. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom 13:11)
Since salvation is the work of GOD in the behalf of HIS people it follows that when HE is pleased to manifest that salvation to HIS children, that HE will accompany it with proofs which cannot be overturned. “For we are his workmanship” (Eph 2:10) These are the things spoken of that “accompany salvation”:
A love of the truth and way of GOD. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:33)
A love for the people of GOD. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1John 3:14)
A manifestation of good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)
A contrite spirit. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”(1Pet 3:4) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psa 51:17)
The fruit of the SPIRIT. HE is the producer of all fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)
A desire to honor and exalt CHRIST alone. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14)
Steadfastness or perseverance in the faith. HE is “able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)
A separation from the world. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
1 Jesus is our great salvation, Worthy of our best esteem;
He has saved his favourite nation; Join to sing aloud of him.
He has saved us! Christ alone could us redeem.
2 When involved in sin and ruin, And no helper there was found,
Jesus our distress was viewing; Grace did more than sin abound.
He has called us, With salvation in the sound.
3 [Let us never, Lord, forget thee; Make us walk as children here.
We will give thee all the glory Of that love that brought us near.
Bid us praise thee, And rejoice with holy fear.]
4 Free election, known by calling, Is a privilege divine;
Saints are kept from final falling; All the glory, Lord, be thine!
All the glory, All the glory, Lord, is thine!