This sermon is going to show you what is salvation in Christianity and we are going to focus on the kind of law that brings salvation.
To understad how salvation is made possible in Christianity through the law, we are going to look at the following points:
- Why God gave the law
- Adam and Eve could not keep the law.
- The Jewish law.
- All the laws was meant for the good of hman beings.
- Why the Jewish law could not bring salvation.
- The law that brings salvation.
Why God gave the law.
After God created the heaven and earth i.e. the sky, the land, vegetation and animals.
He is supposed to have withdrawn on the last day of creation; in order to rest at where He will be far removed from all His creatures.
But upon realizing that among all the things He created, none was capable of taking proper care of each other.
Coupled with the fact that they were of different species and kinds, it would be hard for all of them to co-habitat.
So He finally decided to create human in His own image and likeness and give them the power to control every other creatures. Genesis 1:26-28.
And further realizing that even though He has given man the power to dominate every other creatures, there are yet other creatures which are not good and would be harmful to man.
I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.(Isaiah 45:7)
He had to leave a guiding principle, rules, or a form of instruction, which will help to point out those things that are not good for man so that he can avoid them and be free from danger.
And then came ‘THE LAW’.
But this first law was never the law that will bring salvation until Christianity comes in.
Adam and Eve could not keep God’s law.
First He tested the law with the first two human beings, Adam and Eve.
He showed them one of the trees in the garden that was deadly because it contained a slow poison, and instructed them not to eat it lest it kills them. Genesis 2:16-17
But Adam and Eve did not realize that God gave them the above instruction for their own good.
And keeping or breaking it will never affect God in any way, they allowed themselves to be deceived by a mere creature, lesser than themselves – a serpent – to break that single law.
Then came the consequence ‘death’; not only on them alone but on their whole generation, as recorded in Genesis chapter 3.
The Jewish law.
And so when man began to be fruitful and multiply as God intended, there needed to be more than a single law.
Because man, aside from knowing the things that will harm him and so avoid it must also know the things that if he does, will affect a fellow human being.
In other words, God gave us the laws so that we would know the things in creation that will harm us; and other human beings and thereby avoid them.
And we must also understand that whatever we chose to do will never harm or hurt God in anyway rather it is us and our fellow human beings that will suffer the consequences. That is why the scripture says:
If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him? Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? Or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects a man such as you, and your righteousness a son of man.Job 35:6-8.
That is why if you review the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God as outlined below you will discover that there is none of those commandments that does any good to God.
The 10 commandments.
Let us try to prove that fact by first outlining the Ten Commandments and afterwards analyze how they were supposed to be interpreted.
1. You shall have no other Gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Now the last six commandments i.e. from number 5 to 10 clearly indicates our actions towards each other.
But confusion always arises in the first four commandments which tends to relate to God. Therefore let us try to give them their rightful interpretations.
Interpreting the first 4 commandments.
First and second commandments.
For the first and second commandments which involve idolatry.
The reason God gave those two commands was that, worshipping of other gods will put them in a position to go against the laws given to them by God.
For instance, when you survey the story of the gold bull calf in Exodus chapter 32, where Moses spent forty days in the wilderness and the Israelites complained to Aaron to make a god for them to worship. You will discover that they engaged in drinking alcohol and sexual activities which went against the seventh commandment ‘you shall not commit adultery’.
For the third commandments, whenever we give to God or render any service on His behalf, we must recognize that whatever comes out of those good actions will in the long run benefit a fellow human being.
For instance, if you go to Numbers chapter 18, you will discover that the duties of the priests and Levites were for the common good of all and also the offerings and tithes the Israelites paid were allotted to the priests and Levites by God.
Therefore, it was wrong for one to vow that he was going to serve in the temple or give anything to God and at the end of the day fail to do so.
That was why Moses rightly interpreted that commandment in Leviticus19:12:
‘And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
And the preacher in Ecclesiastes concurred:
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay.(Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
For the fourth commandment, Jesus tried to make the Jews understand that the Sabbath day was the day that God restores whatever was spoilt , as well as seeks and find whatever was lost in His creation.
In other words the Sabbath was supposed to be a day of healing those who were sick as well as making new converts into Judaism, and latter into Christendom.
You can read Mathew 12:9-13 and Mark 2:23-28 to examine two of such incidences to understand that this commandments well.
For the very reason of the law being made for the good of man, Jesus summed the whole commandments in the golden law.
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.Mathew 7:12.
And when asked by the Pharisee which is the greatest commandment in the law He responded:
”you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. ‘And the second is like it: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.(Mathew 22:36-40).
And afterwards revealed to Paul that it is in keeping this very law that one will not break the rest of the laws, no matter how numerous they may be. Romans 13:8-10.
All the Jewish laws was meant for the good of human beings.
Now when you study the last four books of the Pentateuch i.e. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, you will discover that Moses expanded the Ten Commandments until we had about six hundred and something laws.
And studying them all closely, you will discover that they are all meant for the good of human beings.
But the reason these laws tended to destroy rather than save was because the Jews lacked the understanding we discovered above.
In other words, the Jews thought the laws intended for the good of God rather than human beings.
That was why even when Jesus tried to make them realize this truth through the teachings and miracles He performed; they still sought for ways to kill Him because they thought He was going against their laws.
A good analysis of this fact can be found in the parable of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:25-37.
Our focus on this parable will be on the priest and Levite who couldn’t render a helping hand to the man even though their duties was to bring men to God.
How the Jewish law could not bring salvation.
Now it wasn’t as if the priest and Levite were heartless or lacked human sympathy, but rather it was the law that forbidden contact with blood spilled on the ground that restricted them.
Thus having found the man bleeding from his wounds, there was no way they could break the Jewish law by trying to save the victims life.
And since the focus of the law was shifted from human beings to God by the Jews, there was no way salvation could come to mankind through the Jewish law.
Therefore, such laws have to be done away with for the most perfect law to stand as Jesus confirms:
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. “You are My friend if you do whatever I command you. “These things I command you, that you love one another.John 15:12-14 and 17.
The law that brings salvation in Christianity.
And since man was created in the image of God, as we saw earlier in this sermon, Jesus went on to show us in the last judgement of Mathew 25:31-45 that whatsoever we end up doing to our fellow human beings we do it for God:
And on this single law – love for one another – hang all the law and prophets and the nature of the last judgment.
So if we obey this single law as we have seen in this sermon, it means we have fulfilled every law that He gave to us. And so will be able to attain salvation in Christianity.
Conclusion: Salvation in Christianity.
But this does not mean that there is nothing in the whole wide world we can do directly to God that does not favor our fellow human beings.
Beloved, what we can do directly to God is to look upon Him as a Father figure i.e. depend on Him for everything and allow Him the chance to take the lead and decide for us in our daily living.
Worship Him through thanksgiving and praises and generally show appreciation for all that happens to us in life, whether good or bad, for the scripture says:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:18.
May God help us keep this law that brings salvation in Christianity: “Love one another”
Please share this sermon to help a fellow believer know more about salvation in Christianity.