Are You Saved? No. 2

Philippians 2:12  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
" The question would be misleading. It would—nay, it does—naturally lead men to think that the work is done, whereas it is only just begun. Why, not even Christ's work for our salvation is finished, for ‘he ever liveth to make intercession for us;' nor is the Holy Spirit's work accomplished; much less our work done. We must work out our salvation.' (Phil. 2:1212Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12).)"
Here we have a direct attack on the truth of the finished work of Christ on the cross, as the sure foundation of our eternal salvation. Such a question as Are you saved? would imply that a sufficient work had been done by Him to save you. That is how it would be misleading! And this, not by an open infidel, but by a churchman!
Let us take an illustration. Here is a sailor seated at a supper provided, who yesterday was on a wreck going to pieces. The lifeboat put out and took him off. There are present with him a friend, and also this churchman. His friend says to him, " Are you the man that was saved from that wreck yesterday?" " Hold," says the churchman, " that is a misleading question. It will lead this man to conclude naturally that his salvation from that wreck is completed; that the captain of the lifeboat has actually finished the work he went out to do. He has only just begun to get him off the wreck, to save him. It will not do to give the captain all the credit of saving him. It is commonly believed in these parts, that I have a large share to do by my sacraments in saving shipwrecked sailors. And if you tell him it is done, where am I? Besides it is our doctrine, that he himself has a great deal to do, to save himself."
But the friend who has listened to all this says, " The man is saved, he is in this chair, he is mating his supper." " He is not," says the churchman, instead of eating the supper you have spread before him, we must, I tell you, take a pair of oars, and pull, he must work out his salvation. He must save himself by his own works." You will say no person could be so ignorant as to talk in that way. But does it not truthfully illustrate our subject. Did not the Lord Jesus come from heaven and go to the cross to bear our iniquities? Was He not raised from the dead for our justification? Does not God say, " Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things." (Acts 13:3838Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (Acts 13:38).) Yes, through the mighty principle of faith, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely they rest—for they now enter into rest—yes, their rest, and peace, and joy in God is as real, as the sailor's rest in his chair. It is absurd to tell him to pull at the oars to save himself, as he sits in the chair, in a house on land. He may eat the supper with real thankfulness that he is saved from the wreck. It is equally absurd to tell a saved sinner to save himself. He now has peace with God; he cannot seek to get peace. He is now accounted righteous. God is righteous in so accounting him righteous, through the finished work of Christ. Christ is made his righteousness; and he in Him is made the righteousness of God. How then can he want the churchman to help him to acquire righteousness, or salvation, when he is saved, and is clothed with the very best robe, the righteousness provided and given to him by God his Father?
The churchman dares to deny that Christ has finished the work. Think of that work: " Lo, I come to do thy will." He says, " Why not even Christ's work for our salvation is finished, for He ever liveth to make intercession for us." The priestly intercession of Christ is thus perverted in order to deny His finished atoning work which He came to accomplish for our salvation. Now for whom does He intercede? Let John 17 answer that question. It is for true believers only, who are saved, who have eternal life, and. he says, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me." Read the whole chapter in proof. If we look at the type, priesthood was not to save them out of Egypt. The blood of the lamb must be shed for that. Priesthood was instituted for a people already redeemed, to sustain them in worship. The priesthood, and intercession of our great High Priest, is for those only who are already saved, who have redemption through His blood. It is not to save them in that sense; but to keep them when saved. And, precious truth, He is able thus to keep them saved even to the very end, to preserve them, and restore them, to wash their feet. And even should they fail or sin, they are restored to repentance and communion, through His intercession as their Advocate. (See John 13; Hebrews, and 1 John 2:1, 21My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1‑2).)
Neither in scripture is the work of the Spirit in us the ground of our salvation. He testifies of Christ and His finished work for us. The sailor had not to pull to save himself from the wreck as he sat in the chair. The Philippians were all "saints in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1:11Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (Philippians 1:1).) Therefore they could not have to work for their salvation, or to get to be saints in Christ Jesus. The context plainly shows they were to work, and work now Paul was away, to show they were saints, or holy ones, in Christ Jesus.
The sailor had not to eat his supper as a means of helping him to get off the wreck. He could
C. S.