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Might Be Saved
Gen. Jim Green
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved" (Romans 10:1).
W E'VE ALREADY touched on this Jew/Israel subject, but for the sake of the word "saved," I want to explore this very important word. One ought to look up the definitions of the word "save"/"saving" (verb, the noun, and the prepositions). Two words (as verbs) can be found: 1) sozo (αώζω, Strong’s #G4982) and 2) diasozo (διααώζω, Strong’s #G1295). They basically mean “deliverance from danger, preserve, deliver from the bondage of sin, to bring safely through, make whole, escape, to grind/keep/preserve etc., etc.” The noun peripoiesis (περιποίησις, Strong’s #G4047) simply means “preservation (salvation in its completeness).” The preposition, parektos (παρεκτός, Strong’s #G3924) denotes "saving" (in connection with the above is the word “Saviour," soter (σωτήρ, Strong’s #G4990), “a saviour, deliverer, preserver (God/Christ).”
When Paul used the word "saved" (Rom. 10:1), he had in mind what the Greek words convey. Paul was into "soul-saving;" a "soul-winner." Soul-saving is not sentimentalism, but "man-restoring." SINCE SIN MARS ALL MEN, SALVATION RESTORES ALL MEN (those who REPENT of their sins and BELIEVE in Christ Jesus).
No man/woman, boy/girl can be "saved" without them personally being aware of their "lost" condition. If we want to be delivered from wickedness, we must know that that wickedness has a hold on us. Giving our hearts to God just for a better life in the flesh is altogether the wrong motive.
Paul being a converted Jew, wanted the Jewish nation to experience what he had experienced—salvation through the name of Jesus Christ the Lord…having their sins forgiven, justified (counted as "clean"). You see, the racial Jews were very "religious," but not "righteous."
If only we Christians had what Paul had—"heart's desire and prayer to God" to see souls, ALL souls, saved. Paul's tautology (a statement that includes all logical possibilities, and is therefore true) was genuine. The possibility of salvation was wide open to Israel. This open invitation for salvation was and still is indisputable. Paul chose words that were "etymologically correct." But in today's church, ministers are more concerned that words are "politically correct." No wonder men/women, boys/girls are not receiving genuine salvation. Many, too many, have tossed the Cross in the trash pile…forever.
The Jews, Paul claims, have accused God of failing to fulfill His promise; but they are at fault, not Paul, nor God. They were guilty of "going about establishing their own righteousness..." (Rom. 10:3). He goes on to say that they "have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (v. 3).
Chapter 11 asks, "Hath God cast away His people?" Paul makes his point that NO!—some will be saved. Jewish apostasy is not final (11:1-32). I'll leave this chapter for you folks to study for yourselves.
IT IS A FACT THAT GOD SAVES NO ONE WHO DOES NOT SEE HIS/HER NEED FOR THE SAME. When the church becomes so bent on doing things its way, inseparable from perversity, one can lose his/her salvation and not know it. This fact should not be evaded nor ignored. The Jews believed that they were all right, but they were LOST. Having great religious/church zeal does not imply we have Biblical salvation; the Jews had this (10:2). Look at all the churchy activities going on today. Yet we see almost ZERO righteousness/fruitfulness.
The Jews had a zeal for God, but it was not enlightened. Paul grants their good qualities, but their enthusiasm was not regulated by adequate knowledge.
Jesus also points out their good qualities in some of the (7) Ekklesias in Rev. 2:1-3:22. If we study these seven Ekklesias, we see that Christ praises, rewards, condemns, punishes, and reveals their sinfulness and spiritual stagnation. One theologian had it right when he said, "all religious effort grows ineffective and subsides into flabby ineptitude." As a rule, we do not suffer from the effects of excessive enthusiasm; the danger lies more in a tepid Laodiceanism. But both are condemned. We know after years and years of "kingdom" / queendom" building (mega-church-land), how easily undirected zeal degenerates into fanaticism. It is good to be full of zeal IF directed in the right way/for the right motives. Undirected zeal becomes quite incompatible with humble trust and grateful dependence.
The Jews' missionary zeal was of no account. Jesus rebuked them for compassing sea and land that they might make Gentile proselytes. This same "religious"/"zealous" spirit is at work in many "Christian" denominations/organization. They go about bringing in souls to enlarge their churches; not because they care for the lost per se.
And, much of today's philanthropy is misdirected/misapplied…done to be seen and heard by the world. It is not enough, dear people, to be zealots, to pride yourselves on your organizations, cathedrals, temples, degrees, popular ministers, music etc., etc.: we must have a genuine burden to see souls SAVED! Our lack of concern for souls has been codified into church law. We've lost sight of logos, Spirit, genius, flame that burns, sword that cuts, and eternity. We've become fascinated with the world, with its darkness, its devices…souls are left to rot. Zealots are good if directed by the Holy Spirit.
Let's face the truth head on: the church is degraded and depleted of the highest unction to be righteous and holy. IT HAS BECOME SIN-LOVING RATHER THAN SIN-HATING. She delights in speculativeness, but disdains absolutes. When one dares to point all this out, a whole troupe of interrogators arise (all part of their liberal education!).
Romans 10, verse 9 tells us how to be saved, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Of course this is only one place. Other places tell us to repent (this is why we must compare Scripture with Scripture). This particular form of v. 10, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," must be thought of as determined by rhetorical considerations. Paul surely does not mean to separate in this way justification and salvation, making one of them dependent upon "believing" and the other upon "confessing." Confessing Christ is as truly indispensable as believing in Him.
Ah, here we are—“WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH.” The invitation for salvation is already in place. To receive it, we must personally ask, repent, believe. Vv. 11-13 speaks of the gift (of salvation) that if for “ALL” (literally, in the absolute sense; not limited to a handful of the "elect" as Calvinism teaches). The quotation in v. 11 serves both to recapitulate what the apostle has already said about righteousness, which comes by faith, and to introduce the new theme—the proclamation of a universal grace which is inherent in the Gospel. No hint of "predestination," e.g., some souls saved, others damned by God's decree.
I like the RSV better, "The Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’" The emphasis clearly falls on the words "NO ONE." Salvation is for ALL, but ALL will never receive it. Jews/Gentiles are ALL welcome. The choice is theirs/ours. Verses 11 and 13 are taken from Isa. 28:16 and Joel 2:32 "Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic];" "And whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered and saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the remnant [of survivors] shall be those whom the Lord calls" (Amp.). Romans 9:33 comes form Isaiah 28:16. Scholars point out that once the divine title "Lord" for "Jesus" had become established; and we know this happened soon after the Resurrection; those believers who used the LXX (Gk. OT) were likely to see in the many appearances of the same term in their Scriptures (where it was employed to translate God's name, Yahweh) anticipatory allusions to Christ Jesus. So, the apostle had no hesitancy in interpreting the Old Testament term in that way, and does so here.
Call Upon Jesus
Verse 13 uses the word "whosoever" again: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). Another way of putting this is, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). Going on to v. 38, we find the word REPENT. So, dear Calvinists, we find both Paul and Peter believing in a universal salvation, practically effective for any and all who want to be saved—not elected only.
Peter, in Acts 2:39 says that "the promise is unto you (Jews), and to your children, and to all that are afar off (Gentiles), even as many as the Lord our God shall call." The Lord knows that not all will respond. Salvation/Baptism in the Holy Ghost was not just for the day of Pentecost people, but to all and for all who would BELIEVE in Christ, throughout this age: "unto you"—Peter's audience; "Your children"—next generation; "to all that are afar off"—the 3rd and subsequent generations of both Jew and Gentile.
We all have a part to play in God's plan of salvation (see vv. 14, 15). Verse 15, "…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!," a quote from Isa. 52:7. We, dear believers in Christ, must not neglect our commission to persuasively present, to the lost, Jesus the Savior.
Verse 16 makes salvation limited to some, not all (in an absolute sense): "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel…" Both Jew and Gentile cannot blame their heedlessness on anyone; they just decline to give salvation any attention.
In today's church, especially here in the west, unnumbered people grow up (in church) with nothing more than a nodding acquaintance with the Christian faith. NO repentance, no forgiveness. Period! They know churchy vocabulary only well enough to misunderstand its central affirmations. THEY HAVE ENOUGH FAMILIARITY WITH ITS TEACHINGS TO CONCEDE THEM IN A VAGUE RESPECT, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO PERMIT ITS TRUTHS TO MODIFY THEIR LIVES (as one minister once wrote).
What do you think will happen to any civilization which disregards its essential spiritual heritage? Look no further than good ol’ USA: impoverished spiritually, obese physically. Americans are deliberately sacrificing their spiritual lives for goings in the world.
THIS OUGHT TO MAKE US CRY OUT FOR REPENTANCE REVOLUTION!!
James says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Reverse that, "Appease the devil and he will capture you." We must hatefully resist the devil/evil; we must cordially, heartily, rapturously, passionately embrace Christ. We will remain SAVED neither by opinions nor by observances, but totally, wholly, holy living the life. If you lack the burden to see souls saved, ask God to give it to you. Remember, this Jesus gave His earthly life to see the lost saved. OUR JOB HAS JUST BEGAN—LET'S GET TO WORK!