‘Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ 2 Timothy 1:9
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 2:11–22
To say that we save ourselves is to utter a manifest absurdity. We are called in Scripture ‘a temple’—a holy temple in the Lord. But shall any one assert that the stones of the edifice were their own architect? Shall it be said that the stones of the building in which we are now assembled cut themselves into their present shape, and then spontaneously came together, and piled this spacious edifice? Should anyone assert such a foolish thing, we should be disposed to doubt his sanity; much more may we suspect the spiritual sanity of any man who should venture to affirm that the great temple of the church of God designed and erected itself.
No: we believe that God the Father was the architect, sketched the plan, supplies the materials, and will complete the work. Shall it be also said that those who are redeemed have redeemed themselves? That slaves of Satan break their own fetters? Then why was a Redeemer needed at all? How should there be any need for Jesus to descend into the world to redeem those who could redeem themselves? Do you believe that the sheep of God, whom he has taken from between the jaws of the lion, could have rescued themselves? It were a strange thing if such were the case. We cannot believe that Christ came to do what the sinners might have done themselves. No. ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me;’ and the redemption of his people shall give glory unto himself only. Shall it be asserted that those who were once dead have spiritually quickened themselves? Can the dead make themselves alive?
For meditation: The Greek usually translated ‘save yourselves’ in Acts 2:40 should be translated ‘be saved’ as found in other places in the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:21,47; 4:12; 16:30–31; Ephesians 2:8). Have you been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19) and built into God’s church (Ephesians 2:22; 1 Peter 2:5)?
Sermon no. 703
25 July (Preached 29 July 1866)