"Salvation is of the Lord." Jonah 2:9
Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom, until first he has been tried; since there are many things to be learned in the depths which we can never know in the heights.
First, then, to begin by explanation, let us EXPOUND THIS DOCTRINE the doctrine that salvation is of the Lord, or of Jehovah. We are to understand by this, that the whole of the work whereby men are saved from their natural estate of sin and ruin, and are translated into the kingdom of God and made heirs of eternal happiness, is of God, and of him only. “Salvation is of the Lord.”
To begin, then, at the beginning, the plan of salvation is entirely of God. No human intellect and no created intelligence assisted God in the planning of salvation; he contrived the way, even as he himself carried it out. The plan of salvation was devised before the existence of angels.
The banquet of mercy is served up by one host, that host is he to whom the cattle on a thousand hills belong. But none have contributed any dainties to that royal banquet; he hath done it all himself.
No blood of martyrs mingleth with that stream; no blood of noble confessors and of heroes of the cross entered into the river of atonement; that is filled from the veins of Christ, and from nowhere else beside He hath done it wholly.
Atonement is the unaided work of Jesus.
So far we are all agreed, but now we shall have to separate a bit. “Salvation is of the Lord,” in the application of it. “No,” says the Arminian, “it is not; salvation is of the Lord, inasmuch as he does all for man that he can do; but there is something that man must do, which if he does not do, he must perish.” That is the Arminian way of salvation.
If God had provided every means of escape, and only required him to get out of his dungeon, he would have remained there to all eternity. Why, is not the sinner by nature dead in sin? And if God requires him to make himself alive, and then afterwards he will do the rest for him, then verily, my friends, we are not so much obliged to God as we had thought for; for if he require so much as that of us, and we can do it, we can do the rest without his assistance.
The power must be given to him of the Spirit. He lieth dead in sin; the Spirit must quicken him. He is bound hand and foot and fettered by transgression; the Spirit must cut his bonds, and then he will leap to liberty.
When I enter my pulpit am I to believe that these men are to do something before God's Spirit will operate upon them? If so, I should go there with a faint heart, feeling that I never could induce them to do the first part. But now I come to my pulpit with a sure confidence God the Holy Spirit will meet with these men this morning. They are as bad as they can be; he will put a new thought into their hearts, he will give them new wishes, he will give them new wills, and those who hated Christ will desire to love him; those who once loved sin will, by God's divine Spirit, be made to hate it, and here is my confidence, that what they cannot do, in that they are weak through the flesh, God sending his Spirit into their hearts will do for them, and in them, and so they shall be saved.
My business, as I have often said in this place before, is not to prove to you the reasonableness of any truth, nor to defend any truth from its consequences, all I do here and I mean to keep to it is just to assert the truth, because it is in the Bible; then, if you do not like it, you must settle the quarrel with my Master, and if you think it unreasonable you must quarrel with the Bible. Let others defend Scripture and prove it to be true; they can do their work better than I could, mine is just the mere work of proclaiming. I am the messenger; I tell the Master's message; if you do not like the message quarrel with the Bible, not with me.
The Lord has to apply it, to make the unwilling willing, to make the ungodly godly, and bring the vile rebel to the feet of Jesus, or else salvation will never be accomplished.
And now on the next point we shall a little disagree again. “Salvation is of the Lord,” as to the sustaining of the work in any mans heart. When a man is made a child of God he does not have a stock of grace given to him with which to go on for ever, but he has grace for that day; and he must have grace for the next day and grace for the next, and grace for the next, until days shall end, or else the beginning shall be of no avail. As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so. He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength, he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.
There may be Arminians here, but they will not be Arminians there; they may here say, “It is of the will of the flesh,” but in heaven they shall not think so. Here they may ascribe some little to the creature; but there they shall cast their crowns at the Redeemers feet, and acknowledge that he did it all. Here they may sometimes look a little at themselves, and boast somewhat of their own strength; but there, “Not unto us, not unto us,” shall be sung with deeper sincerity and with more profound emphasis than they have ever sung it here below. In heaven, when grace shall have done its work, this truth shall stand out in blazing letters of gold, “Salvation is of the Lord.”
You must be round in the faith if you have learned to spell this sentence “Salvation is of the Lord;” and if you feel it in your soul you will not be proud; you cannot be; you will cast everything at his feet, confessing that you have done nothing, save what he has helped you to do, and therefore the glory must be where the salvation is.
And now in concluding let me just tell you WHAT IS THE OBVERSE OF THIS TRUTH. Salvation is of God: then damnation is of man. If any of you are damned, you will have no one to blame but yourselves; if any of you perish, the blame will not lie at God's door; if you are lost and cast away, you will have to bear all the blame and all the tortures of conscience yourself, you will lie for ever in perdition, and reflect, “I have destroyed myself; I have made a suicide of my soul; I have been my own destroyer; I can lay no blame to God.”
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible