Idea Of Salvation, As Presented In The New Testament -- By: Frank Churchill Woods

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:224 (Oct 1899)
Article: Idea Of Salvation, As Presented In The New Testament
Author: Frank Churchill Woods


Idea Of Salvation, As Presented In The New Testament

Rev. Frank Churchill Woods

That there is something to be saved from, is the testimony of each soul. Every man is conscious, that many of his deeds are misdeeds; that he has failed in diverse respects to conform with the law of his normal being; that his present condition is not the highest to which he may attain, nor to which he might even have already attained. Every man has felt within him an energy or impulse constraining to do that which is contrary to his own welfare, as also the welfare of others; a passion to a performance against which judgment and conscience protest, and to which he consents in some fashion he knows not how. The consent and ill conduct are explained by many in the words of Dante,

“The stormy blast of hell,
With restless fury, drives the spirits on.”

Others explain in the language of Paul, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Others dismiss the strange problem as too subtle for solution. However careful the sowing, whatever the quality of the seed, tares appear in the field. The question presses, Whence come these? All alike are aware that they are in need of salvation. As the trump of God at last shall awake the dead, so this clarion note at present arouses the spiritually dead.

At the beginning of the mission of Jesus of Nazareth,

this note was heard. Ere he had appeared at Bethlehem the nature of his spirit and of his mission was announced. The angel of the Lord informed Joseph concerning the supernatural conception of the child, and said, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” In these words there is the ground of appeal that the Christ was to make to men, a prophecy of his accomplishment, and a comprehensive statement of the doctrine of salvation. As a guide and a means to the understanding of this doctrine in the New Testament, the prophecy of the angel should be given prominent place in mind. In the present discussion, attention will be given: (i) to what salvation is; (2) to the time of its realization; (3) to its relation to Christianity.

What Is Salvation?

The words already quoted from the angel are succinct reply: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus [i.e. Saviour], for he shall save his people from their sins.” Throughout the rest of the New Testament, the changes are rung upon this brief statement. The purpose of salvation is not that men may find entrance into heaven. There is an ancient fiction, latent in the minds of not a few, that heaven is like a great and gorgeous house, in w...

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