Salvation by the life of Christ
In Romans 5:10 we read that there is more to salvation than reconciliation through Jesus’ death. How are we saved by His life?
Romans 5:10: Salvation after reconciliation
There is a salvation to gain after we have been saved. Romans 5:10 says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
In the first salvation we receive forgiveness for committed sins. The second salvation comes by walking in obedience to the faith, because it is written: Walk in the light while you have the light, that you may become sons of light. In the light is life, and in the light was life, and life is the light of man. Being a child of the light is the same as being a child of life. Jesus Christ is a Prince in the light; He is the Prince of life. Satan is the prince of darkness; he has the power of death.
Made alive by the Spirit
The salvation that comes through Christ’s life is that He, by His Spirit and through His light and life, makes us alive. He yearns jealously for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us, but He gives more grace. As the light increases, the darkness decreases. Light brings life, and as the darkness decreases, it takes death with it. He who had the power of death—the devil—is also destroyed. Paul had not yet attained to a perfected salvation through the life of Christ, but he pressed on to attain it. (Philippians 3:12.) We, too, must press on toward this goal in this salvation. It is an unspeakably high goal within the perfect law of liberty.
In the first salvation Jesus became our sin offering. In the second salvation He is our High Priest and Advocate. He is the Mediator of a new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15.)
Judgment brings salvation
Peter also speaks of salvation through Christ’s life in 1 Peter 4:17: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’”
Judgment begins at the house of God, that is, with us. This is the judgment, that light has come into the world. We experience this judgment when God shines His light on us. In this light we know that we must put things in order. That is the only way we can be faithful to the light and become children of the light. Precisely because the light brings judgment, people despise it. If everything in a person’s heart were in perfect order, the light would bring him infinite joy, and he would rejoice in the light. However, we are inherently evil, we are utter darkness and we have committed many works of darkness, which need to be cleansed through light and judgment. Therefore, the light causes sorrow rather than joy. The rich, young ruler went away sorrowful, and most people today do the same when the light of the Word strikes their heart. The Scriptures have foreseen this, and that is why it is written, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-8.
Salvation by the life of Christ
What happens if we do not harden our hearts? We will go from light to light. We come to understand that judgment returns to righteousness, with the result that we are not quite so fearful of judging ourselves and agreeing with the light. This becomes easier and easier for us, because when we continue to walk in the light, we become more aware of how wretched we are according to the flesh. This produces a strong hatred for our self-life, which enables us to pass the test that Christ requires of those who want to be His disciples. The glory will increase, since sufferings in the flesh keep darkness and wickedness in subjection. We become more aware of the inheritance in the light. Brotherly fellowship increases and becomes more fervent. The blood cleanses away all sin, and our closeness and communion with the Father become greater than ever before. Our service in the Spirit becomes more valuable, and more and more people will hate us and cast out our name as evil.
Jesus was heard because of His godly fear. By walking in the light, we show our true godly fear, and we become increasingly assured that God hears our prayers. All these things are part of the salvation which comes through the life of Christ. This salvation can only begin to work after a death has taken place to redeem us from the sins we committed under the first covenant.
This article has been translated from Norwegian and was first published in BCC’s periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in October 1920.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.