Saved By His Life
August 8th, 1954 @ 10:50 AM
SAVED BY HIS LIFE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
8-8-54 10:50 a.m.
You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. And this is the pastor, bringing the message from the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans. In our preaching through the Word, last Sunday night, we closed with the fifth verse. This morning, we begin with the sixth verse and reading through the tenth, Romans, the fifth chapter, from the sixth verse through the tenth,
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
This is a message of Christian assurance. And it is based on the text, in the last verse that we read, "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
The little summary of the thought that Paul follows here is this, our Lord Jesus was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. In the blood of Christ, the wrath of God was taken from us, turned from us and received in His own body on the tree. He died our death. He suffered our penalty. He paid our ransom. We are declared righteous, acceptable to God through the atoning death of Jesus. We are justified by His blood.
Now, what shall come of me? What shall come of me? I have been justified by the blood of Christ. I have been saved by the atoning grace of Jesus. I who at one time was an enemy to God, hostile, without hope, without inheritance, an orphan, a stranger, cast outside, condemned. Now that I am made an heir in the family. Now that I have been received into the household of God, now what shall become of me? Having been justified by the blood of Christ, and declared righteous through the atoning suffering of Jesus, now shall I at last face the possibility of falling into hell? Shall I still come short of the great day when the Lord shall gather His own in glory? Having been justified by the blood of Christ, I, who at one time was alienated from the house of God, now, having been adopted, having been accepted, shall I at last fall by the weight, and shall I fall in the power of Satan, and, ultimately, into hell? What shall become of me now that the Lord has saved me by His blood on the Cross?
For you see, for you see there is something else that I face in my own life and in our life. I found myself weak before God, and unable, perfection without blemish, without thought, without mistake to live this life. And I found myself a sinner, guilty and condemned. Then, I found the Lord Jesus, my righteousness and my Savior. And He died for me, in my stead, in my place. Now, do I have the strength in myself to run this race? Do I have what it takes for me to achieve that final goal?
I found myself unable to bear the penalty of my own sins. Then Jesus bore that penalty for me. Now, having been justified, having been forgiven, is there moral strength in me now to run this race by myself? No, sir. If it were yet up to me I’ll still fall into hell. I’d still die lost. There is still and yet not enough in me, in my strength, in my ableness someday to present myself before Gods glory before God’s heaven at the golden gate in Paradise.
But, that good Lord who died for me; the good Lord who gave His life for me, that same merciful Savior said, "Not only in your stead do I die, and not only for you do I pay the penalty of your wrong, but I swear, I have promised that I will keep and preserve and guard your life and your soul against that great and final day. I will deliver you at the gate of heaven. I will see you though.
Now, that is what Paul meant when he writes in these words, "if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, being justified by His blood, being accepted into the family of God, much more now we shall be finally saved and finally delivered." Why? How? In my strength. No. In the strength and in the pledge of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only died for our sins, but He lives for our justification! Paul said the same thing in the last verse of the fourth chapter of Romans, "Who was delivered for our offenses, He died for our sins, but he is raised again for our justification!" He lives that we might finally someday make it to the courts of glory. Brother that’s something to preach about. Amen.
So many times as we listen to a man peach about the death of Christ on the Cross – and I have left the pulpit several times the last few Sundays with the same impression – so many times as we listen to a man preaching about the death of Christ on the Cross we sort of have a lingering persuasion, or maybe it is just in my own mind, part of a lingering persuasion that this thing of Christ is an isolated historical event. It happened back there two thousand years ago, and that experience with the Lord is just there. He died for our sins, and all of our experience of Him is encompassed in that moment when He died on the Cross.
But, ah, that’s just the initial step. Having won our redemption He also guarantees our perfection. The atoning death of Christ on the cross was but an incident? It was a tremendous experience; it was a gigantic hour; it was an incomparable thing. I don’t minimize it. But it does not stop there. The experience we have in Christ is not aoristic; it is not isolated; it is not just a point; it is not just there on the cross. But the experience in Christ Jesus is dynamic; it’s life giving; it is life keeping; it is life directing. It has a sequel. It has a follow-up. It has an after. It has a story! It has a history! It has a vision! It has an outreach! It goes clear to God and for the glory and prayer for the last eon of eternity! "Having been reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved, delivered, justified fully; we will get there because of the pledge of the life of the Son of God, who lives now, who lives now."
That was what Paul meant in the sixth verse of the first chapter of Philippians, "For we are confident of this one thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Same thing Jesus meant in John 14:19, "because I live, ye shall live also." I live. You too shall live. I will see to that says the Lord Jesus.
All through this blessed Book, all through these Scriptures is the working presence of the Son of God. And he toils and he prays and He lives and He pleads and He intercedes and He works for our ultimate and final victorious deliverance. Saved by His life.
While one thing we are saved by the preexistent of the Son of God. Who He is? Who He is? He is somebody. If I should get out vernacular that isn’t beautiful and theological, describe the Lord Jesus who dies for us and who lives for us. He’s not just a hero. He’s not just a martyr. He’s not just another man. When he says we are saved by His life, that’s somebody, that’s Jehovah God, that’s the Lord Jesus pre-existent. He always was. He’s the One who said, "Before Abraham was, I am." He’s the One who said, "I and my Father are one." He’s the One about whom the John the Apostle wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, the Lord Jesus, and the Word was with God, the Lord Jesus, and the Word was God, the Lord Jesus. This same was in the beginning with God, the Lord Jesus." [John 1:1-2]
He who holds us in the palms of His hands is not just somebody ordinary, but is the Lord God of heaven. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who from eternity to eternity always was the Lord God creator omnipotent, that’s who He is! And He says, "I will see you through."
I couldn’t help but be a little amused this week in reading some of those books up there in my library. I came across a fellow who was describing an incident when the famous old, ah, lived a hundred years ago, infidel and skeptic Charles Bradlaugh was up speaking. And he was deriding the Lord Jesus Christ. And among other things he said, he said this; he said the Lord Jesus was a man, just like any other man. And he said, "Christianity is losing its power in the world!" And when he said that, a dear old sainted woman stood up, and broke in the middle of his sentence and shouted, "Thank God that’s a lie!" That just struck me as interesting. "Thank God that’s a lie, that’s a lie!"
Saved by His life, the life of somebody, God, not just a hero, not just a martyr, not just another man, "but being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, how much more, shall we be delivered bodily by his life!" Because He lives for us, the Son of God, the Lord Himself, "being reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life." That also refers to His life in the days of His flesh.
You ever sit down and think how the Lord might otherwise have died to save us? Maybe He could have come at sunrise from glory full grown. Maybe He could have died at high noon and then at sunset returned back to God. Maybe He could have, I don’t know. But aren’t you glad and thankful and grateful that He didn’t. He came down here and lived as we live in this earth. And he grew up as we grow up. And He was subject to all the whims of fortune that we are subject to. All of the bitter black dread that we are forced to partake of; He broke by our sides and shared with us. You think of how impoverished we would be had it not been for His life that He lived in the days of His flesh.
The wonderful parables that He spoke. The parable of the prodigal Son and of the good Samaritan, Think of all the wonderful feats that He did. You think of all the duty encompassed in His life. All of that would have been denied us had He died at noon-day. And John saw it at sunset, had He come into the world a full grown man at the dawning of the morning.
Ah no, no. The Lord Jesus come down into this world, and He experienced all of the vicissitudes and fortunes and exigencies of our lives. That’s the reason In the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews Apollos writes,
Therefore we have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tested as like we are, though without sin.
Therefore let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may find mercy, and grace to help in time of need.
He lived our life. He knows our ways. He experienced all of the things that crowd upon us. Suffer, says the great preacher, thus save only to the throne of grace. He understands, and He sympathizes, and He sees, and He knows, and He cares.
I have made some visits this week in the homes of some of our people. And as I listen to them, ah, the prayers they pray and the burdens upon their hearts. Thank God, thank God that He who dwells on the throne of the highest heaven knows and understands. I feel so weak and so helpless, somehow not ever equal to those things of sorrow and tears and crying and heartache and weeping. But there is Someone, there is Someone who tasted our death, who suffered like we suffer who knows all of the care and burden and trials of our lives.
We have a great high priest who also was moved, and knows our infirmities. He understands. He sympathizes. And it is He who said, "I will see you through." Kept, guarded, saved, because He lives, because He lives. It refers to the life of Christ, the indwelling life, in our hearts, in our souls, in the inner man.
It is a beautiful thing, this prayer of Paul, in the third chapter of Ephesians. He says,
I am bowing my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
[Ephesians 3:14, 16-17]
Where is the citadel of the Christian faith? Where is the garrison that Satan can never break through? Where is it? In the fourth verse of the first chapter of Hebrews, the author – whom I think is Apollos, the eloquent preacher – he says the angels of God are "ministering spirits guarding and keeping the saints." And there are people who believe in guardian angels that God has around us angels that keep us and war for us. Sort of like that story back in Elisha when Elisha prayed Lord open the eyes of the young man, he is scared to death. The Lord opened his eyes and the whole mountains around were filled with balls of fire, guarding and keeping Elisha.
There are people who believe like that. I kind of think of it too though I can’t inter into it in understanding. It’s beyond me. But God says those ministering spirits, the angels of heaven, guiding, keep the lives of his children. Is our great citadel in them? No. It is not in the angels. Well preacher is it in the great encouragement of the Church? The church against which Satan could never prevail. And in the encouragement and inspiration we have in one another. Is that the great citadel of the Christian faith, the Christian heart? No!
Well then, where is it? This is it. The citadel of the Christian heart and faith is on the inside of a man’s soul. And on the inside of that man’s soul is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That you might be strengthened by might with His Spirit in the inner man that Christ would dwell in your heart by faith.
Will the Devil get us? Will he cast us into hell? Then He will have to over come the living Lord Christ! He will have to do that first! He will have to break into that garrison where Christ dwells and destroy Christ first! And if he is able to do that he can destroy us. Our citadel, our garrison is the indwelling Christ, the Christ that lives on the inside. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?
The Christian religion is not an organization, it’s not a plan. It’s the Lord. The Christian religion is not a system, is not a program; it’s the Lord! Christianity is not a doctrine of forgiveness. It’s Jesus who forgives. The Christian faith is not a doctrine of salvation. It’s the Lord Jesus who saves you. Christian religion is not a doctrine of substitution, substitutionary atonement, all of those theological things they write about in propitiation, expiation in just multiplied books. It’s not a doctrine of substitution. It’s the Lord Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. That’s the Christian faith. That’s the heart of it, and in the center of it is the Unmoving. He lives in your heart and in your soul.
So many of us, the windows covered raising those soffits of that. So many of think of Christ as though He was a picture in a stained glass window and He never stepped out of the frame. We come down here on Sundays and we look at the Lord in the window. And then we leave Him here in His frame until the next Lord’s Day we come and see Him again.
Ah, He’s not like that, not the Lord. When you go to bed at night, there He is. When you rise the next day there He is. When you walk down to your car, make your way to the office, there He is. In the tasks of the day, there He is. He’s by your side: your friend, your worrier, your savior, your keeper, your preserver, "if being reconciled to God by the death of His son, how much more shall we be saved by His life," just sleeping, hours, there with you, in you, on the inside, the Lord that lives.
And there is one other. "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son much more being reconciled we shall be saved, delivered, finally make it to glory by His life,"
This last word; His life of intercession in heaven, in glory; did you ever hear a sweeter verse in God’s Book than Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore, He is able, He is able to save them unto the uttermost!" He is able to save them to the uttermost! Don’t care what’s along the way! Don’t care who’s against us! Don’t care what principalities and powers raise the war against us! Don’t care into whatever we may fall or whatever we may do! I don’t care what tomorrow may bring or the night if you are next. Therefore He is able to save them to the uttermost! Why, why "He ever liveth to make intercession for them." There at the right hand of the throne of God the Savior lives, lives, lives. "Able to save and to keep to the uttermost because He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Saved by His life, making intercession for us. How long has that been? One thousand nine hundred fifty-four years our Lord at the right hand of God making intercession for us, praying for us.
In the Bible in the New Testament we don’t have very many of the prayers of the Lord Jesus. Of the prayers that we do have are for the most part very very brief. But when you turn to the pages of the Gospels and read the prayers and the intercessions of the Lord Jesus, you will get a wonderful idea of the range of His sympathy, at most somewhat and somehow what He prayed for as He intercedes in our behalf, at the right hand of the throne of grace. Here are some of the things that Jesus prayed for. He prayed for little children. Of the first one that comes to my mind. He prayed for little children. "And they brought unto to Him little children that He might put His hands on them and pray." Ever liveth to make intercession for us.
You go back and look at the nursery and at the children’s department in this church. You will not find a finer sight in this earth than those little children filling those nurseries and the Lord in heaven prays for every one of them, every one of them. Making intercession for us.
I remember another prayer of the Lord Jesus. There came to him a man who wanted to be healed. And the Bible says that the Lord lifted up His face to heaven. And in His intercession, He’d sigh, the burden He felt for His own spirit. And they quoted, Matthew did, the word form Isaiah, "Himself took our infirmities and carried our diseases." I cannot explain the mystery of suffering in this world. I cannot do it. But I do know that in the days of His flesh the Lord Jesus bore in His own Spirit our infirmities and our diseases. And He prayed for the sick. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. Somehow in glory He prayed for our sick.
Our Lord prayed for His disciples. "Simon, Simon Satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you like wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou are converted, when you come back, [I must] strengthen thy brethren. [Luke 22:31-32] I have prayed for thee. And that’s you; that’s me; that’s the thone in glory. He prayed for us, and he prayed for all who would ever believe on Him for all time.
In the high priestly prayer of the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus said, "I pray for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on Me through them." [Verse 20] Our Lord prayed for all who would place their trust in Him, through the generation, through the day, through the time through the centuries, to this precious precious hour our Lord prayed in glory. "Wherefore, He is able to save them to the uttermost. But come unto God by Him saying, He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son much more being reconciled we will make it to glory, we will be there some of these days. We will be delivered by the life, by the indwelling life, by the able life, by the intercessory life, by the grand life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not let us fail. He will not let us fall. He will not let us slip through His finger.
I give unto them eternal life, they are my sheep and they will never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of My hand.
My Father who gave them Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.
I and My Father are one!"
Kept, guarded, delivered by the living Christ! Nobody could ever take us away.
Ah, must go, must go. Once I trusted the Lord Jesus. Once I yielded my spirit to Him. Once I took Him as my Savior. Oh Lord, life may be full of many things, but I know, I know by the word and promise and life of the Lord Jesus some of these days I will be in glory. Some of these days we’ll make it, we’ll make it, we’ll make it. Have a lot of hardship have a lot of experiences, have a lot of trials, have a lot of tribulation, but we will make it; He said so, and He lives, keeps that promise too.
Well we have to sing our song. And while we sing it, while we sin, somebody you, give your life to the Lord, come into the fellowship of His church. In the balcony around, from side to side, by your radio as you listen to the appeal of this day and the preaching of the Word, where you sit by the radio would you yield the issue of your life to the Lord Jesus. "Lord in Thy hand in Thy hand." And in this throng this morning, "Pastor today I will take Him as my savior and keeper, I’ll do it now." Some of you into the fellowship of this church. However God shall make the appeal and say the word. Would you come? A family of you, a one somebody you while we sing make it now. Come down and stand by me, while we stand and while we sing.