The Knowledge of Salvation

In studying such a subject as salvation it is helpful to begin with the first mention or illustration of it in Scripture because the earliest references to any subject often contain the key to it. Noah is the first man with whom salvation is connected in the Bible. He "prepared an ark to the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7).

He doubtless stands as a type of Israel who will pass through the great tribulation and enter into blessing on the other side of it, when "all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26), but his case would prove that while he was in process of being saved he possessed the knowledge of being safe. His salvation was not full and complete until he stood by his altar of sacrifice with the bow arched in the heavens above his head, nor will ours be until we are like Christ in the glory of God, yet he knew God, his Saviour, whose word he had heard, believed and obeyed, and whose hand had shut him into the ark before the flood of great waters destroyed the world, and he would have no fear. The point I would stress is that he was safe and he knew it, for if God has spoken, faith counts it as good as though it were already done. And so abiding in the ark and believing God, he was a confident and a saved man.

I should use this story of the salvation of Noah to illustrate our place as being justified in Christ. Noah was accounted righteous and shut into the ark by God, as we are justified and safe in Christ; and we read, "Being now justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:9). It may be said that that looks on to the future, and so it does, but we have the assurance that it shall be, for being justified by His blood we are cleared from everything that the wrath could have to say to. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

The case of Joseph and his brethren comes next. Joseph was the great saviour of Old Testament days, one of the chiefest of the types of our Lord Jesus. The name given to him by Pharaoh, when he exalted him to be lord of all Egypt, carries the meaning of "the Saviour" and in revealing himself to his brethren he laboured to assure them that God had raised him up to save them "God sent me. . . to save your lives by a great deliverance" (Gen. 45:7). By the wisdom given to him of God he became the source and centre of salvation to the whole world. At once Acts 4:12 comes to the mind. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

It is important, I think to associate salvation with the Lord Himself. We have it in present and enjoyed possession when we have Him. This is surely taught in the words of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus is his arms and said, "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." And again in the Lord's words to Zaccheus, "This day is salvation come to this house." He was there and He was salvation. I advise young Christians to spell salvation "H.I.M." and not "I.T." It was only as the brethren of Joseph were dependent on him and were attached to him in Egypt that they enjoyed the salvation that he had secured for them. They doubted him and so were not fully happy, but when they poured out their fears to him, he assured them that he was their salvation. He was in the place of God to save much people alive.

Thus does the New Testament present our Lord to us He has been raised up from among the dead and made both LORD and Christ, and the grace of God that bringeth salvation is all stored up in Him, whether that salvation be considered as future or present. We have been concerned about the future, but thank God, we now know Jesus as our Deliverer from the wrath to come. That matter concerns us no longer except to bless and adore Him for giving us peace and assurance about it all. But the present is a totally different matter, we need salvation every day, and if we are concerned about this, as we ought to be, our Lord is the answer to all our fears. "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" (Heb. 7:25).

This is the testimony that the Word of God bears to Him for our encouragement, but we have His own words also, often quoted, but of no use to us unless proved in practical, daily experience, "My grace is sufficient for thee." The corn in Joseph's store houses was sufficient for his brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for us, and thus we are "saved by His life" now, as we shall be "saved from wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:9-10). But on our side we must "cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart." Then shall we sing,

"No fear of foes prevailing
I triumph, Lord, in Thee.
O, Jesus, Friend unfailing,
How dear art Thou to me."

The case of Israel pursued by Pharaoh follows. They had to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; but when the mighty work was done and their enemies were all covered by the mighty sea and they stood on the wilderness side of it, they sang, "The Lord is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation" (Ex. 15:2). They were a saved people and in that hour of glorious triumph they knew it, and long after Moses in his farewell song to them said, "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency!" (Deut. 33:29).

There is a great thrill in this beautiful type. God had claimed these people as His, and He undertook to save them from all their foes and bring them to Himself. Let us only realize the teaching of this and we shall have no more fears, for no longer have we to measure our strength and match it against the foe. We stand still and let God do the fighting, and we sing, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Yes, if we know the Saviour who once suffered for sins, "the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, " we are saved and we know it, for God "hath saved us, called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9), and we have this salvation in "our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." We have the knowledge of salvation by the remission of our sins.