Is Salvation More Than Forgiveness?

Of First Importance –


Rm. 1:16

            Again, when you go to 1 Corinthians 15: 3 & 4, you will see that Paul himself said, of first importance is this death, burial and resurrection. There is no reign of God in our heart without our death and burial with Him, our entering into His death, burial and resurrection. It’s of first importance.

Mt. 24:14

            There is no power of God unto salvation without entering into His death, burial and resurrection. I’m in no way belittling His death, burial and resurrection. I’m just saying to you that the disciples could preach for three and one half years and continue to preach a gospel that is the power of God unto salvation and is a gospel Jesus said must be preached as a witness to all the nations before the end can come, and still know nothing about the death, burial and resurrection. Can you?


The Power of God Unto Salvation –


Gal. 2:20

            We’re going to spend some time looking at this Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. What does that mean? It means the power of God to live a life that is not our own; the power of God to live the God life, the Christ life. Is that too bold? Can we come to a place where we can say, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me?” Can we believe that the Book ends with the Bride coming forth as the dwelling place of God in the earth (see Revelation 20 & 21)? That’s been God’s intent from the beginning; not just to have creatures who could worship Him; He has myriads and myriads of those who do that. Yes, He’s wanting our worship and our praise. He intends to erect His throne upon them. He intends to set up His dwelling place in the midst of our very being. That’s the promise. This is the gospel. What does it mean?

In Luke 18:18 His question is all about the rich young ruler’s eternal life. Isn’t eternal life what we’ve all been taught salvation is all about? As a matter of fact, Jesus in His last prayer in John 17, verse 3, prays, “Father, I pray that they might know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” “And this is eternal life,” He says, “This is eternal life that they might know You.”


What is Lacking? –


            And here in the passage in Luke 18 the rich young ruler is asking a question,


“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”


            Let me tell you something about what is going on here. Jesus, tongue-in-cheek, plays with this young man. This is a rich young ruler, a ruler in Israel, which means he was a lawyer, scribe, Sadducee, or Pharisee. He had to know, to be a ruler, every jot and tittle of the law. And the law said you can call no man good, because only God is good and that is how Jesus replied. Jesus, tongue-in-cheek says, “Don’t you know that only God is good?” This rich young ruler knew that. Jesus knows that this rich young ruler is asking Him for eternal life, and refers to Him as good. What’s happening? This rich young ruler sees in Jesus what he is asking for, and he knows it. To the Jew, in the Hebrew mind, eternal did not mean so much the duration or length. To the Hebrew mind, eternal means as much or more the quality of life – God like life – quality.

You know the issue with you and me is not duration, it’s the quality of our duration. Can you not see that? Heaven or hell. Life or death. A living death, a continuing death. And so this rich young ruler says,


   “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”


            That’s the law. 


   “You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”


            And Jesus does not argue with this. This is a man who is keeping the letter of the law and yet he knows he does not have what he is asking for: “What must I do to have what I see in You – A God kind of life?”


   When Jesus heard this He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”


            Whew! What if He said that to you? What if that was added to what’s required of you? Well, He’s speaking specifically to this rich young ruler. “One thing you lack.” What is it that he lacked? He lacked what he saw in Jesus – God reigning in a man’s heart – that’s what he lacked. But, I want you to continue here. We’re not done with this yet. Verse 23:


   But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”


            Now, note this. The rich young ruler calls it “eternal life.” Jesus calls it “entering into the kingdom of God.”


   “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “then who can be saved?”


            Now, you’ve got to see this. There are three phrases here in this passage that are used synonymously. The rich young ruler says, “What can I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who are rich to enter into the kingdom of God.” The disciples say, “Then who can be saved?”

            So in this text, salvation, entering the kingdom, eternal life is all the same.


Salvation More Than Forgiveness –


            But if eternal life has been to us just to have our sins covered, we’ve been deceived, because it’s more than just having one’s sins covered; it’s more than being forgiven.

            Now think about it. Before Adam and Eve ever sinned, did they have a need for forgiveness? Were they as good as having been completely forgiven? The answer is yes – but they still didn’t have the Life. Salvation is more than being forgiven.

            I have wanted more than forgiveness. I was tired of being forgiven but not having the power to keep from sinning. It is this gospel that is the power of God unto salvation, eternal life, entering into the kingdom. It is the rest of the gospel: the reign of God in the heart of man that man might be the man that God created him to be.


4 Responses to “Is Salvation More Than Forgiveness?”

  1. timbob Says:

    Good morning (check the clock-yep-its morning. lol) I was in John 10:10 earlier where Jesus tells how the thief comes to steal and destroy but he comes that we might have live more abundantly. Abundant life, victory over the sin that once drove us. I know that some look at the verse with a “get more stuff” mentality, but it’s far deeper than that. The fellowship with the Lord is so sweet and authentic that the carnal elements just fall away.

    The story of the rich young ruler is fascinating and shows the dangers of loving this world. This guy was sincerely asking “what lack I yet” and when jesus revealed this certain stumbling block, his zeal couldn’t overcome his love for the stuff. (stuff that he let go of two thouseand years ago)

    Great post full of things to ponder. Have a blessed day in Jesus.


  2. Jerald Says:

    I’ll be heading off in a minute or two myself. The thief also comes to ‘replace’ too. Stuff replaces authentic relationship – with our spouses, children, and God.
    I think that when we’re living that “life of Another” people will see the same thing in us that the young ruler saw in Jesus.

    Have a blessed day of praise and worship of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

  3. brotherjohnny Says:

    Just wanted to drop in for a minute (on lunch break).
    I’ll try to do a better job of tracking more closely to what you post up here rather than just rattling off what floats around in my head.

    It would seem as if most Christians today get hung up in the area of the blood of Christ, and how it removes ‘sins’. It would seem as if very little is known, in our modern American culture anyway, about the cross of Christ and how it deals with ‘self’.

    Most believers, I think, fail to see both aspects, so that it’s all about ‘forgiveness’ (as extremely important as that is).
    It’s about replacement, really.

  4. Jerald Says:

    When we die to self, whether you call it being crucified daily or not, you replace yourself with His life just as Jesus said that He did in John 12:45 and in several other places.
    You are right Johnny, it’s living the life of Another that makes us the man or woman that God created us to be in the first place.

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