Salvation and the Word of God
“The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD”

By Jon W. Quinn
King Josiah illustrates well the power of the word of God to convict honest and seeking hearts. The Scriptures say, “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.” (2 Kings 22:11). His nation had fallen from grace. Judah had forgotten God and His law and his people had become a lost generation. Josiah meant to lead them back to God and had ordered that the old temple be cleaned out and fixed up. During this process the workmen had found the book of the Law of God. It was read for the first time in their generation and Josiah sorrowfully realized how much had been lost. It was past time to return to the Lord.

We see here the power of the Word of God to change lives and focus and purpose. To give hope and blessing. To convince the seeker of truth that he or she needs God and salvation. An indispensable first step in eternal salvation is discovering the information made available to us by God through the Scriptures. It was so with Josiah. It is so with us today as well. Though it may be somewhat controversial to say in today's lax cultural climate, it is still true. Without the proper knowledge of and respect for the Word of God, one simply cannot be saved. In fact, one will likely deny his or her need to be saved at all (Romans 3:20; 7:7).

It is Through the Scriptures That One Comes To Understand Salvation

Timothy's mother and grandmother loved him enough to make sure he knew the Scriptures as they hoped and watched for the end result: his salvation. (2 Timothy 3:14, 15). This is why Timothy was so prepared to obey the gospel when Paul came preaching it in his hometown of Lystra. He was able to recognize the truth of Jesus' identity because of this knowledge of the Scriptures. (1 John 5:11,12).

Jesus came to save us from our sins and to give us hope in eternity. The Scriptures introduce us to Jesus the Savior. But this does not do us much good if we ignore or neglect the message about Him (John 5:39-40). We must put our faith in Him of whom the prophets wrote (Acts 10:43; 11:13,14). Understand this: There is no other Savior than Jesus. There is no hope beyond this world than that which is found in Him. And there is no other way to understand it except through the Scriptures.

It is Through the Scriptures That One Comes to Faith
Faith come by hearing the Word of God. I must be aware of something before I can put my faith in it. I must be aware of Jesus and His salvation before I can put my faith in Him. (Romans 10:12-14; 17). So without the Scriptures, I cannot come to saving faith. And without faith, I cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Some say,
"Just give me a special sign." For what kind of sign do they wish? Will one find faith in a sign rather than in the word of the gospel? Ought not the resurrection of Jesus be a good enough sign (1 Corinthians 1:21-23)?

The rich man in Hades was concerned about his faithless brothers still in the world of the living. He requested a special sign for them; someone returning from the dead to warn them. The response: They have the Scriptures o warn them (Luke 16:29-31).

Are you persuaded that this is so? Would someone coming back from the dead really make so little difference to these and other stubborn unbelievers? We do not have to guess! Jesus came back from the dead and it makes little difference to so very many. The Scriptures will be adequate for the honest and seeking heart. Signs would be inadequate without integrity of heart in those who saw them.

It is Through the Scriptures That One is Begotten of God
The agency through which God, in the Holy Spirit, works on our hearts to convict us (that it, to convince us to come to Him by faith) is the word of truth, the gospel. (James 1:17,18);
"Brought us forth" (NASB; NKJV; ASV; RSV) "begat He us" (KJV) "give us birth" (NIV).

Peter says this new birth process is by
"imperishable seed". Where do you find such seed? Peter explains that this seed is the Word of God and that he calls it "imperishable seed" because it is living and enduring (1 Peter 1:23) and that it endures forever (1 Peter 1:25).

The response of faith is to give oneself unto God. This is what Josiah did:
“The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.” (2 Kings 23:3). That is, in effect, what we are doing when we respond to the gospel. We do not just go through the motions, but we intend on being buried with Christ in baptism and rising with Him to walk in a new life. Like Josiah, we are “making a covenant" or "making a promise" to the Lord (Romans 6:3-4; 13-14) The end result of this is that we have eternal life (v. 22-23). But remember: the process of being begotten began with the Word of Truth!

Certainly it is because of the absolutely necessary role of the Word of God in salvation that some of Paul's final words of admonition is to
"Preach the Word!" This is an especially serious command because there will be a judgment and its outcome being favorable for me depends on what effect the Scriptures have had on my heart and life (2 Timothy 4:1,2). So important is this that Paul continues by saying that we simply cannot allow this message to change if it becomes unpopular. Love your neighbors, your family and friends, and even your enemies enough to speak and live the truth.

1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

2 Timothy 4:1-2

From The Bradley Banner 8/21/2011
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
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