MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (10/19/2020)

Have you ever noticed how many times the word “save” or “saved” is used in the Bible? Have you ever noticed that not every occurrence of a version of the word “saved” is talking about eternal life? In this article, written by Elder Buddy Abernathy in 2019, he deals with one or two instances of the term “saved” being used in different ways. Clearly, in rightly dividing the word of God, we must recognize that there is more than one type of salvation taught: eternal salvation, which is solely in the hands of God, and “timely” – or temporal – salvation, wherein we can “save ourselves” from the dire consequences of sin in this life.

ETERNAL VERSUS TIME (TEMPORAL) SALVATION

by Elder Buddy Abernathy (May 24, 2019)

In his communication with Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

To “rightly divide” is to literally make a straight cut. As pertaining to “the word of truth” it means to handle aright, i.e. teach the truth correctly. If we fail to “rightly divide the word of truth”, there will seem to be contradictions in the Bible. There are numerous examples, especially with regard to the subject of salvation. Consider the following:

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat. 1:21)

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Act 2:40)

We are saved by Jesus yet we are instructed to save ourselves. There are only two logical conclusions. Either there are contradictions in the Bible or Paul is referring to two kinds of salvation. To those who believe there are no contradictions in the Bible, I present the following explanation. .

If you ran into my house and shouted, “I just saved your child!”, my response would be, “Saved him from what?” Was he saved from drowning, falling from a tree, being hit by a car, being abducted, etc. Why don’t we ask this question when we read the Bible? For example, When Peter began to sink after walking on water toward Jesus, “he cried, saying, Lord save me.” (Mat. 14:30). Was Peter asking Jesus to save him from his sins or to save him from drowning? Obviously, he wanted to be saved from drowning. Many other examples could be given but this one clearly illustrates the point.

So what about the two verses above? The first is teaching that Jesus alone secured our eternal salvation. He didn’t offer salvation. He actually saved his people. According to the grammar of the verse, He saved a people that were “his” before he saved them. He came “to save that which was lost” (Mat. 18:11). All of humanity was lost as a result of Adam’s disobedience, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Rom 5:12). However, we rejoice that, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph 1:4) Jesus saved his people from their sins!

The second verse is simply teaching that we should live in such a way that we might be “saved” from the influence of this “untoward (meaning crooked or perverse) generation”. Isaiah explained it this way: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa 1:19-20) Isaiah is referring to the consequences of our sinful behavior that we reap while we are living in this world. Jesus saved us from our sins; therefore, our behavior can not “unsave” us. However, as illustrated in the life of David, our disobedience can rob us of the joy we could otherwise experience by obeying God’s word. David cried out, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psa 51:12) Notice that he was not asking God to restore salvation. He was asking Him to restore “the joy of thy salvation”. Thanks be unto God that we can not lose the eternal salvation which Jesus secured for us on the cross. Let us live in such a way that we might avoid losing the joy of it while we live in this world.

A failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” will bring much confusion to the sincere Bible student. However, when we “rightly divide” it, the Bible makes sense.