Sinners are First Saved by Christ's Death Then by His Life
"For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10.)
A popular heresy of the day holds forth to lost sinners the vain hope of salvation from the life of Jesus by following His teachings and example. Promises of God to His own people are misinterpreted and misapplied to the lost, and so millions of souls try more or less sincerely to live what they consider a Christian life: and die in their sins because they have never come to believe the gospel. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the gospel is not the life of Jesus. The gospel is the good news "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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" (I Corinthians 15:3-4.) The idea that sinful man can reform his own character, or that by a process of culture or self discipline, even by imitating to the best of his ability the life of Jesus, he can save himself from moral ruin and eternal destruction, is a snare and delusion of Satan. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness of sins)" (Hebrews 9:22.) Even so, "...we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son..." (Romans 5:10.) So much to make clear that the promise, "we shall be saved by his life," is not to lost sinners but to sinners who have already been saved by His death. A careful reading of the context will make the meaning unmistakable.
"Much More" Twice the inspired apostle declares that the future salvation of the saved is "much more" certain than their experience of salvation in the past; that the life of Christ will avail "much more" for the saved than the death of Christ for the lost. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:8-10.)
His Life as a Teacher We shall be saved by His life as our teacher and example: "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:21.) All the moral teachings and the perfect example of Jesus cannot save one lost sinner from eternal judgment, but sinners saved through faith in His blood find salvation from the power and practice of sin as they look to their living Lord and seek to follow His precepts and example.
His Life as Intercessor We shall be saved by His life as our Advocate, our High Priest, our Intercessor: "...If any man (believer) sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (I John 2: 1.) Mdd>"...He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25.)
His Life as Lord We shall be saved by His life as Lord of all creation. He rules and overrules, and His purpose of salvation in our lives cannot he defeated by men or devils: "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (I Corinthians 15:25.) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28.)
His Life in Spirit We shall be saved by His life within us, in the person of the Holy Spirit: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27.) "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20.)
His Life in Resurrection We shall be saved by His life in the resurrection of our bodies: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:25-26.) "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Romans 6:5.) "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:20-21.) ==============
[From AAB, Apri, 27, 1973. — jrd]
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