Oswald Chambers, Early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist Evangelist and one of the most quoted theologians in history once said, “Today, Jesus Christ is being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere example. He is that, but he is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God.” Jesus is salvation. A high calling to be sure. But what did Chambers mean by that? To fully understand we have to define the word salvation.
In Christian theology, it is defined as “the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). In other words, the act of saving us from the curses of sin and death by preserving our souls from destruction.
We can see in Oswald’s quote that not much has changed for the better since the early twentieth century. Jesus is still seen by many today as one example among many, of religion. He has been dispatched by many as just a wise man who said some wise things and claimed to be God. His influence has continued to take a backseat to worldliness and self-glorification. Yet, it is as true today as it was on the day of the fall of mankind that He is our only salvation, our only path to heaven.
And all of this was given to us by God, not out of any kind of worthiness on our own, but because His love was so very great for us. It was a love that was grand enough that He thought it best to send His only Son to pay with His own precious life, the penalty for the sins of mankind. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
And all God asks in return for this salvation is that we believe, “Because., if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
God would have that all would come to such a knowledge of Him that it would produce a faith untarnished by the world. He would have that all would place their hope and trust in His Son Jesus Christ because, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). When Oswald said that Jesus was Salvation itself, he was speaking truth and there was no hyperbole involved. If not for Christ, we would all still be lost in our sins, holding the whole weight of the law on our shoulders.
But because Christ loved us enough to take upon Himself that weight, we are assured of salvation, redeemed children of God and fellow inheritors with the Savior. No one else could have done this because only the very Son of God could serve as the perfect substitution. He was the sinless, spotless lamb required for the sacrifice.
As fellow people who have been saved by the blood of this lamb, then, we honor this sacrifice in faith, becoming His hands, feet and mouthpieces to the lost, the lonely and the hurting. Faith is required for salvation and this kind of faith will be shown in the sacrifices we make for others. Matthew 7:21 reminds us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
To God, faith is an action word because true faith can’t help but lead to good works. Salvation requires a surrender of oneself. Not that we be perfect, but that we be willing. Salvation is promised to all who are faithful to the will of God, even if it means we must make sacrifices on our own to realize them.
Psalm 37:39 says, “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble.” Is he your stronghold? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to be our Salvation. Work in our hearts to produce a faith that leads to action and encourage us by Your Word to spread the promise of salvation to all who will listen. Amen.