Acts 28:28: Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
The theme of salvation is something that we need to continue to explore. It is captured in various analogy in the bible. It is seen as a well water; name of a person.
The bible says that with joy we will draw water from the well of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). A well has water and water quenches thirst.
In the book of Isaiah we are told to come, everyone who thirsts, come and buy milk and honey, without money (Isaiah 55:1). The point being made is that salvation is free.
But water cannot come into you by itself, you have to take it in, you have to recognise your need and go for it.
Jesus says that he is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), but until you recognise him as such you will not be able to take advantage of the possibilities he offers for a brand new relationship with God. You will remain thirsty and die from it.
Let’s say that there is somebody who is not aware of his thirst, has no sense of thirst, then death is inevitable. It means he does not know he has a problem and he would die from it, from thirst.
That is why for us to embrace salvation, we needed to see our need, we need conviction. After Peter rose up in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts to address a crowd of thousands, at the end of it, the bible says their hearts were pricked and they cried: what shall we do (Acts 2:37)?
The Holy Spirit had gone to work on the heart of the people. They saw their need, realised their thirst and they cried out for water. They realised they needed water that will quench their thirst for a relationship with God, the need to have peace with God, realising they lacked it and their religion was not enough to give it.
The Samaritan woman whom Jesus spoke with beside a well obviously had a thirst for God (John 4:1-31), which she tried to meet in various men. Jesus told her: the water I will give you will be in you a well of living water springing up into eternal life, and you will never thirst again. She knew she was thirsty, but did not realised where or who the lasting water is, as he comes day by day to the limited water which was symbolised by the well by which Jesus met her.
The bible says that there is no salvation in other, and there is no name given under heaven by which we might be saved, but the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Our salvation is in his very name which means saviour (Matthew 1:29). He was so named because he will save his people from their sins. There is no solution to sin in another, there is no forgiveness in any other.
What’s in a name? The name of Jesus is different. By his death, resurrection and ascension, by his obedience to God, he was given a name that is above every other name (Philippians 2:5-11). The bible says he who calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
When you come to him, his name becomes your identity, as he becomes your saviour. When we believe, we embrace the fact that when Jesus died, you died in him; that means you were judged in him, and therefore have passed from condemnation to justification, all on the basis of a name, the name of Jesus, the saviour.
The Hebrew meaning of Jesus is Joshua, and Joshua brought the people of Israel into their inheritance. And Paul said that he commits the church in Ephesus to the word of God’s grace which is able to save us and give us an inheritance among those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). These words (word, grace, inheritance, sanctify) captures the dynamics of salvation.
The word is the divine encoding. When God made man he gave him commandments, told him what to desire, what to eat, what not to do.
The challenge of the deception of the devil was to attack belief in the word of God (Genesis 3). Now in Jesus we have the word of God coming again, and the same challenge has been put before humanity. Now whoever believes in Jesus would not have to perish as we have everlasting life, but to not believe is to be condemned to death (John 3:18).
Adam and Eve perished for not believing God, but they believed in the devil when he said that they will not die if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). Now we get to have life in us, as we eat the flesh of Jesus, as we believe in him (John 6:51).
Just as salvation has to do with believing the word of God, it also have to do with receiving the grace of God. That we receive grace means we have realised that we need help. And that is our ongoing experience of the salvation provided in Jesus. We need him daily to receive grace from him. He is our saviour not just in an historic sense, but also in an ongoing sense. The bible says that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him (Hebrews 7:25).
When we hear the word, we are saved, and we come to the experience of the grace of God, and the transformative grace, and we also experience the grace of service.
The bible says that we ought to think of ourselves soberly because God has given us a measure of faith, adding that we have gifts which differs based on the grace of God given to us, and we are supposed to bless others with it.
From the application of that grace, the flow of that grace through us, we serve God’s kingdom. And as we serve we get to grow in grace (1Peter 4:10-11).
When you are saved, you take your place in the body of Christ (Romans 12:1-7). Our inheritance is in heaven, but on earth we get to be faithful over little to qualify for ruling over much there (Luke 16:19).
Your inheritance today is your place or service, contribution and reward in the kingdom of God. It is the sphere of your dominion, and the expression of your divine gifting.
Sanctification is about what your relationship should now be with the world, it is about a journey of personal transformation. Paul wrote that we all should know how we ought to keep our vessel (spirit soul and body) in holiness (1Thessalonians 4:3-5). Sanctification has to do with your dedication to the cause of God, and moving away from the love of the world. The bible says that we should keep our garments unspotted from the world. That is the call of sanctification, which is part of salvation, i.e. in an ongoing sense. Then we are in pursuit of the holiness of God. We are told that we are to be holy as the lord our God is holy (1Peter 1:15-16).