The Gospels
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Six Principles of Salvation

A Royal Air Force search and rescue Sea King helicopter comes to the aid of the French Fishing vessel Alf (LS683637) during a storm in the Irish Sea. The helicopter crew rushed to the aid of an injured fisherman trapped by bad weather on the Irish Sea. The Royal Navy Hydrographic survey vessel HMS Echo was carrying out maritime security operations when she received a request for assistance from Milford Haven Coastguard. The coastguard had already scrambled both an RAF search and rescue helicopter and an RNLI lifeboat to rescue the fisherman, but weather conditions were deteriorating fast. The 5 metre high swell meant it was not possible to lower a winchman safely onto the French vessel’s deck and assist the fisherman who was showing signs of hypothermia. Once Echo was called in, the 3,500 tonne ship attempted to provide some shelter for the RNLI lifeboat to get alongside the French fishing vessel, Alf, but once again the weather prevented a rescue. This left them with no choice but to escort the fishing vessel closer inland before the helicopter was able to winch the injured fisherman to safety.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” ~ John 6:44

Our text is a magnificent verse of scripture.  Jesus spoke these words in response to some of His followers who doubted Him (John 6:37-40) after He had revealed that He was the Messiah, The Sent One from Heaven (John 6:41-42). In His answer, Jesus defines six (6) key principles of the Gospel message:

  1. Man’s Dilemma
    • Man’s Incapacity
    • Man’s Depravity
    • God’s Sovereignty
  2. God’s Love
  3. God’s Grace and Mercy
  4. Salvation in Jesus
  5. Urgency of Decision
  6. Salvation Culmination

1. Man’s Dilemma: “No man can come”

Jesus succinctly describes man’s problem as: “No man can come”. Our inborn tendency to sin, to rebel against God, means that we have no natural inclination to seek Him out. We have no inherent desire to reach out for Him. Our natural inclination is to seek our own way instead.

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” ~ Romans 3:11

flood roof hurricane-katrina

“I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” ~ Psalm 69:2

Rather than moving toward God, we move away from Him. Rather than serving Him, we determine to serve ourselves.

“No man can come”, because no man has an unprompted, self-originating, desire to seek God out.

Man has a second problem: God is holy. Our sinful state disqualifies us from entering into God’s presence. God cannot tolerate man’s sin. Unless our sin is removed, we cannot, safely, enter into God’s presence (Isaiah 6:1-7, Zechariah 3:1-5).

“No man can come”, because no man is sinless, no man is holy.

Man has a third problem: God is sovereign. Man cannot come to God, man cannot “show up on God’s doorstep”, uninvited. We see practical examples of this in Scripture:

  • Like the rest of his subjects, Queen Esther knew that she was forbidden to approach (her husband) King Ahasuerus uninvited; if she did, she could lose her life (Esther 4:10-17).
  • God invited Moses to come up to meet with Him on Mt. Sinai, but warned that if anyone else even touched the mountain they would be executed (Exodus 19:10-25).

“No man can come”, because no man has the authority to approach The Holy and Sovereign God.

2. God’s Love: “except”

rescue-1

“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.” ~ Psalm 18:16

Man had no means to come to God, no means to reconcile with God, no means to escape God’s judgment. Therefore, God’s love had to make “a way out of no way”. God’s love is expressed in the simple word “except”. The exception God made for mankind was established BECAUSE of His love for us:

“For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16

Except for God’s love, man has no hope.

3. God’s Grace and Mercy: “the Father which hath sent me draw[s] him”

The penalty for our sin is eternal torment. However, God has chosen to show us mercy. Rather than give us the punishment we deserve, God offers us forgiveness and reconciliation.

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“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” ~ Psalm 69:1

However, since we are unable to come to God, God draws us, God invites us: This is God’s grace. To overcome our incapacity, our depravity and our impotence, God must use His infinite capacity, His singular purity and His almighty power to draw us to Himself.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3

4. Salvation in Jesus: “to me [Jesus]”

Note here that the Father is drawing men to Jesus. The reconciliation between God and man must come through Jesus. There is no other way:

“Jesus saith… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ~ John 14:6

Peter sinking in the sea

In John 1:1-3 we learn that Jesus is The Word. Specifically, Jesus is how God expresses Himself. God expresses Himself to the universe in Jesus.

When God expressed His creativity (“And God said…”), Jesus created the universe (John 1:1-3).

When God expressed His love for man, Jesus took on the form of a man, and was crucified for the sins of man (Philippians 2:5-11).

And when God is ready to judge the world and satan and his hosts, Jesus will lead an righteous army to exact vengeance, Revelation 19:11-21.

Hence, there is no way into God’s presence, there is no way into a right relationship with God, except through The Expression of God’s love: Jesus.

5. Urgency of Decision: “the Father… draw[s]”

Since it is God, The Almighty, that draws us, it makes sense that we answer His call: that we respond positively to His pull on our hearts.

When a parent calls a child, the child that honors his/her parent answers the parent’s call and goes to his/her parent. Similarly, when a king/leader summons a citizen, it is expected that the citizen answers that call.

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." ~Proverbs 28:13

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” ~Proverbs 28:13

Sadly, is far too easy for us to forget/ignore God’s sovereignty. If for no other reason, we should respond positively to God, because He is our creator and Lord of the universe.

Accordingly, there is a related reason we must respond to God’s gentle pull: God will not draw us forever. God is merciful and patient, longsuffering; but He will not call us forever.

“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh…” ~ Genesis 6:3a

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened… Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts…” ~ Romans 1:21, 24a

If we refuse to come to God, then God will stop drawing us to Himself. He will let us go our own way, which is the way to perdition.

Each man has but a window of opportunity to heed God’s call. And when that window closes, there is no longer a way in. When God stops drawing us to Jesus, we have no way of “drawing” ourselves to Him. Only the souls on the “ark of salvation” will be spared God’s wrath.

“…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2b

6. Salvation Culmination: “I will raise him up at the last day.”

bonding

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

The world is moving inexorably to the final day of God’s judgment. A penalty must be paid for sin. Those who have rejected Jesus’ offer of salvation will have to pay the penalty for sin themselves. Stained with sin, they will be cast out of God’s presence.

However, those who have accepted Jesus offer of salvation will be “raised up”, taken out of the masses bowed before God’s throne. Jesus raises up those who are marked by His blood, those who belong to Him and He presents them holy and approved before God the Father.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” ~ Matthew 25:34

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