Jesus Is Joined to Salvation - Part 1
We have already seen that God has joined Himself to this universe, that God is the creator of all things. We have seen that God has joined Himself to the Bible, that God is the author of this book, and the evidences are overwhelming to show that this is the case. And, we have seen that God has joined Himself to Jesus, that God and Jesus are one. In John 10:30, Jesus said that He and the Father are one; they are one in nature, one in purpose, one in doctrine. No man can come to God except through Jesus Christ.
Now, that leads us logically to the lesson today: “God Has Joined Jesus to Salvation.” There can be no salvation from our sins except through Jesus Christ. He is the author of salvation, and, if any man comes to God, he must come to God through Jesus Christ and through no other. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
In Matthew 1:21-23, Matthew speaks of the birth of Jesus Christ and relates His birth (and His life, of course) to salvation from sin. In Matthew 1, beginning with verse 21, we read, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew is quoting, of course, from the prophecy of Isaiah as recorded in Isaiah 7:14, speaking of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Notice, he says that his name shall be called “Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus is the Savior of all men, of mankind. He is not the Savior of all men unconditionally. His purpose was not to save men despite their disobedience to His will, but Jesus is to save all men only as all men will come to Him.
We know that His purpose in coming to earth was to bring about salvation. Another passage in Luke 19:10 tells us, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In Acts 4:12, we have these words recorded: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We can be saved in and through no other name than the name of Christ. And “by that name” is meant by the authority of Christ, By obedience to His will, by submission to His authority may we have eternal life.
In the latter part of Revelation 2:10, Jesus says, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Jesus is the author of eternal salvation. God has joined Jesus to salvation. In Hebrews 5:8-9, the writer tells us, “Though he were a Son [that is Christ], yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He became the author of eternal salvation. To whom? To all who will obey Him. “I will give thee a crown of life,” He said—that is, life as our crown. Eternal life that will be the crown for those who are obedient.
How do we achieve the crown? “Be thou faithful.” Faithful in what? Well, in our lives, of course. But, before the crown must come the cross. And before the crown must also come the church.
How has God joined Jesus to salvation? By the cross. The cross is involved in salvation. It is the very center of salvation. Jesus made it so, and in John 3:14-17, we have these words: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Then John 3:16, which we call sometimes the golden text of the Bible, tells 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.” Verse 17 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved.”
In John 3:14, Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” That refers to Numbers 21, when the brazen serpent was erected in the wilderness after God sent fiery serpents among the people after they rebelled and murmured against God and Moses. Many of them were bitten, and they turned back to God in obedience at that point, and cried out for help. God instructed Moses to build the brazen serpent, and He said those who would look upon it would be saved. That was simply a type of the lifting up of Christ ultimately upon the cross, and Jesus made reference to it in John 3:14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Those who come to me through the cross will be saved is the point Jesus is making.
He said in John 12:32 He would draw all men unto Himself through the cross. The preaching of the cross, according to the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:18, “is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The terms of the cross, or the Gospel, the good news of the cross, is found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, where there the apostle Paul writes of the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blood that was shed on the cross brings forgiveness of sins.
Ephesians 2:12-6 is a very critical passage along this line: “That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
God hath made both Jew and Gentile one in Christ, in one body, through the cross, by the shedding of the blood of Christ. That one body is the church. But, one must be added to the church, or reconciled to God through the cross, by the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross.
How does one contact the blood that was shed on the cross? That blood was shed in the death of Christ. In John 19:34, we read that the soldiers came to break the legs of Christ and those who were crucified with Him, to hasten their death, so they could take them down from the cross before the Jewish Sabbath came into effect. When they came to Christ, however, they found He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. But, in John 19:34, we read that a soldier with a spear pierced the side of Christ and “forthwith came there out blood and water.” Where was that blood then shed? Where did it flow from the side of Christ? It was in His death, was it not?
The Scriptures teach that we contact the saving blood of Christ in the likeness of His death, which is baptism, burial in water, where not the water but the blood of Christ is applied from Heaven itself, to cleanse us from all sin. That’s exactly what the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6, beginning in verse one. In verses 3 and 4 he said we are buried with Christ through baptism, raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. We’re buried with Him, we're raised with Him, and the walk in newness of life begins on the other side of the watery grave of baptism.
Paul makes clear that same point in Colossians 2:12,13, where he says that we’re buried with Christ, we’re raised with Christ, we’re made alive together with Him. Paul says we’re made alive spiritually together with Christ. When was Christ made alive physically from the dead? Was it while He was still hanging on the cross that He came back to life? No, He was in the tomb, wasn’t He? Paul says we are made alive together with Him. Therefore, where is it that we're made alive together with Him? It is in the tomb. What tomb? The tomb of baptism, the watery burial. How much clearer could it be that spiritual life cannot begin until we are buried with Christ in the likeness of His death, that watery tomb, where not the water but the blood of Christ is applied? That’s where God promised to meet us, so to speak, in Christ, and to apply His saving blood. It must be applied somewhere, mustn’t it? It’s not applied universally to all men who have ever lived without their obedience to the will of God through Christ as seen in the Gospel. But it’s applied as we are willing to be buried with Him in baptism for the forgiveness of sins. That’s where we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, buried with Him and raised with Him, made alive together with Him.
So many stumble at the point of baptism in God’s plan for saving man through Jesus Christ. Now, if God has joined Jesus to salvation, then, obviously, we must be joined with Him in obedience to His will.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
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