The Way, Wonder and Wealth of Salvation
Sermon by - Rev. Thomas Murray
(Markethill Free Presbyterian Church)
Text: Romans 10:13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. .
As we come into this chapter we find the apostle Paul gazing into the hearts of his fellow countrymen. Looking beyond their outward prejudices he saw there a great zeal for the cause of God.
Indeed, so zealous were they that they had sought even to improve the very law of God. Taking up their pens they had added to it their own standards and traditions. Attaching a further 613 precepts they drove out every semblance of idolatry. Seeing in the preaching of the apostle Paul a threat to their religion and way of life they hated him with a terrible and vicious hatred. Driving him out of their synagogues they beat with rods and stoned him with stones. They even stirred the gentiles up against him and had him charged with disturbing the peace. Seeking by their zeal to establish their own righteousness Paul now reminded them that they were only making things worse. They were rejecting the righteousness of Christ. As such they were only bringing upon themselves an even greater condemnation.
While man can believe himself into heaven he cannot behave himself into heaven. Salvation is through the work of the Saviour and not through the works of the sinner. Indeed, telling the Philippians that he was an Hebrew of Hebrews he reminded them that he had been circumcised on the 8th day. Giving himself to the religion of his fathers he had kept the law in every detail. Yet reckoning it all up he said in Philippians 3:7 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ". Taking all his deeds and efforts off the profit side of the ledger he put them on the debit or the loss side. Instead of benefiting him they were a loss. Salvation is not by the merit of man but through the mercy of God. It cannot be earned by our works. You take a wrong road and it doesn't matter how hard you run you will not draw closer but further and further away from your desired destination. It doesn't matter how hard you work or pray your works being the wrong road they are only taking you further from God.
1. THE WAY OF SALVATION: Having earlier set forth the great doctrines of the gospel Paul now comes to its application. Showing them how man who is born of a woman can be made clean he reminded that there needed to be:-
a) A Beseeching Of Christ: Setting forth their responsibilities we read in v13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.. These words are taken from the prophesy of Joel. When we go back into the Old Testament we find that before the caller could come into the courts of God he had to choose out a lamb. Bringing it to the brazen altar and binding it to its four brazen horns shed its blood. As such in taking them back into the Old Testament he was reminding that if they were to be saved they needed to come by the blood sprinkled way.
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission. It alone opens the gates of heaven carrying away our guilt. Indeed, learning this the hard way we read concerning Cain in Genesis 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. I have no doubt that Cain was a good farmer. Coming he brought the very best mother earth could offer. I don't know if you have ever heard the expression "you can't get blood out of a turnip". It may well have originated here. There being no blood his sacrifice was rejected. Again Nadab and Abihu coming to the altar without the blood they were devoured by hell fire.
There is a biblical principal here. Without a resting on Christ's work you will never be redeemed from your works. Many years ago a great parliament of all religions was held in Chicago. During one of the session Dr. Joseph Cook getting up introduced them to a certain woman. Pointing out that she had on her hands the blood of murder he then asked them was there anything in their religions that could remove her sin and give peace. A great hush falling upon the gathering and the delegate looking hopelessly at another Dr. Cook then cried out "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin". You say 'I call on him everyday'. But are you resting his atoning work? There must be a claiming of the blood.
b) A Believing On Christ: Coming on the grounds of the shed blood we read in v11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.. The word "believeth" here means much more than to merely acknowledge to be true. It literally means to trust in the sense of having confidence in. Rather than placing their confidence in just anything it was to be placed upon the Lord. They were to be resting alone on him.
Faith is no better than its object. Unless placed on Christ it will collapse. Remember, the woman and how being taking with an issue of blood she spent all she had on seeking a cure. In handing over great sums of money to many doctors she had great faith in them. However, while her faith was great we read Mark 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. It was not until her faith was placed in Christ and on Christ alone that she was suddenly made whole.
The essential thing concerning faith is not its strength but its subject. Unless placed on the Saviour it will not save. John G. Patton going to the South Sea Islands sought to give the people the Bible in their own language. When he came to the word believe he couldn't find an equivalent. He searched for many months and then one day a messenger came in. There was a big chair there and being out of breathe he sat down in the chair and leaned back. Patton looking at him he said, "What did you do to that chair?" The man answering nothing. He said "No. I mean that when you sat down in that chair you threw your whole weight upon trusting it to carry you". He said "what is the word for that". That's the word he used for faith. Faith is not an intellectual belief. It is a resting on Christ. Many and they have faith in mankind and religion but unless you are putting your weight on Christ you will never be saved.
c) A Bowing Before Christ: Setting before them his majesty we read in v9 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.. In the originally it is slightly different. It literally reads "thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus, Lord". They were to declare him as Lord or master. Indeed, emphasising that he told them in v13 they were to call upon him not as Saviour but as their Lord.
As well as calling upon Christ there must be a crowning of him. A submitting to his sceptre. Indeed, showing the multitude at Pentecost how they could be saved Peter said Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.. It is interesting to note that while the book of Acts refers to him 92 times as Lord it refers to him only twice as Saviour. In calling upon him for salvation they were to call upon him as Lord.
While salvation is free it is not cheap. It will cost you everything. There must be a bowing before his authority. How many and they want the peace and the pardon of God but they do not want his law. They want to continue in their sin. But until you crown him king you will never be a subject of his kingdom.
2. THE WEALTH OF SALVATION: In Roman times not to acknowledge Caesar as Lord was a serious crime. It meant the dungeon and even death yet calling upon the Lord for salvation Paul reminded them that there was:-
a) No Disappointment In Christ: Coming to the cross he said in v11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. The word "ashamed" here means to be disappointed or put to shame. It has within it the idea of being in a hurry to get away from. While they formerly worshipping Bacchus the god of wine had often the next morning been disappointed Paul was assuring that in coming to Christ they would not want to run away. Their expectations no matter how great would be fulfilled.
Christ is no disappointment. Rather than failing he fills the soul. Indeed, As well as being greater than he ever imagined Paul pointing to the future said in Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.. While the Roman Catholic at best has nothing to look forward to but the fires of purgatory and the atheist nothing but death Paul said that even dying they wouldn't be disappointed.
While Christ delivers he never disappoints. Thrilling the soul he continues to thrill it. For many years John Newton lived only for this world. Drinking of its pleasures to the full and then coming to Christ he said "There is many a thing which the world calls disappointment but there is no such word in the dictionary of faith". Living by faith Isaac Watts cried out:-
"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend his cause;
Maintain the honour of his word,
The glory of his cross".
If you come to Christ you will not be disappointed. If you are ashamed then there is something wrong because there is no disappointment in Christ. He is better felt than telt.
b) No Deprivation In Christ: Calling and believing we read in v12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Drawing their eyes upwards he reminded them that Christ was Lord over all. He possesses not only the cattle on a thousand hills but the mines of gold and silver. As well as being rich he is rich unto those who call upon his name. As Phillips puts it his "boundless resources are available to all who call upon him".
Christ is not only great but generous. He giveth all unto his people. Indeed, reminding the Ephesians of this Paul said in Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:. Unlike Herod who offered his daughter up to half his kingdom Christ holds back nothing. He gave them all the riches of heaven
In Christ there is not only forgiveness but a fortune. All that is his becomes ours. It is estimated that Bill Gates value increases by $2 million everyday and by $5.1 billion every year. The Sultan of Brunei is said to be the richest man in the world with an estimated 37 billion dollars. But in comparison to the Christian they are paupers. You do not lose lose by becoming a Christian but gain Christ and heaven.
c) No Danger In Christ: v13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.. The word 'saved' is 'sozo'. It literally means 'to keep safe or sound'. He would keep them saved.
Christ not only saves but secures the soul. A sceptic one day asked a little Christian boy was he not afraid of slipping through the fingers of Christ. "Slipping" he said "No I am one of his fingers".
3. THE WONDER OF SALVATION: It's greatness is seen not only in its cost and consequence but also:
a) In It's Scope: v13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Many years ago travellers in Switzerland used to find many gates stretched across their paths. But as we come into this verse there are no barriers. Stating there was no difference between Jew and Greek he was offering this salvation unto the whosoever.
The call of the gospel is without limitation. You say 'but I am afraid I may have committed the unpardonable sin'. Anyone who wants to be saved can be saved. The reason the person who has committed the unpardonable sin can't be saved is because he doesn't want to be saved. You say 'but I might not be one of the elect". The elect are the whosoever will. It is to you. Will you call upon him even now.
b) In It's Situation: v8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. In the previous verses we find him telling them they did not need to go up into heaven or down into the grave or the deep to find him. Why? Because he had already come down from heaven and risen from the dead. As such he was beside them.
Salvation is near. There are no mountains to be scaled or oceans to be crossed. Just as the cities of refuge were so situated to be within easy reach of the people so Christ is closer than even hands and feet. All you have to do is step into him. He is so close that even if you whisper he will hear you now.
c) In It's Shout: v9 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. Not being ashamed they were unable to be silent. Believing the word which had been placed in their hearts they confessed that which had been placed in their mouths.
God's salvation cannot be hidden but must be heralded. If you are ashamed of being a Christian then you have not got what Paul had. I trust you will call upon him while he is near and experience his so great salvation and shout it from the mountain tops.
If God has spoken to yo through these words or if you have been blessed by them then we would be glad to hear from you. EMail Thomas Murray