|Vol. 14 No. 8 August 2012||
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Though his mind was changed, Jude’s original intent was to write to his readers concerning the common salvation. Due to problems, Jude was compelled to write about “contending for the faith.” What would Jude have written, if these problems had not existed? What would his pen have detailed regarding the common salvation? While we know not for sure what Jude would have written, we do know some things about the common salvation Christians enjoy.
Firstly, it is from a common source. The source of man’s salvation is from the benevolent hand of the Almighty Godhead. “But God commendeth his love toward us…” (Romans 5:8a). “…according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5b). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Someone has correctly observed regarding this salvation, “God the Father thought it, God the Son bought it and God the Spirit brought it.”
Secondly, it contains a common summons. All men are invited! This common salvation is for “all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “every creature” (Mark 16:15). Jesus pleads with all to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30). In fact, God’s heart will break when sinners are eternally lost (2 Peter 3:9). This common salvation is for the “Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). When that great day dawns, no one can truthfully say, “I was not invited,” because Christ calls all men to repent and be saved (Acts 17:30; 1 Timothy 2:4).
Thirdly, it divulges a common subject. From the time of man’s first transgression, God began to reveal His plan for this common salvation (Genesis 3:15). As time continued, God continued to reveal more of His plan of salvation (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 12; Zechariah 13, et al.). Then, when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth the “man” who carried the plan (Galatians 4:4). Finally, that wonderful plan was fully divulged for all humanity to see (Acts 2). One might think of the common subject of the Bible as this: Genesis-Malachi (Promise of salvation), Matthew-John (Person of Salvation), Acts (Prescription of salvation) and Romans-Revelation (Practice of salvation).
Like Jude, oft times, problems distract us from meditating on the joy of our common salvation; that’s the devil’s plan. However, our common salvation is a beautiful blessing for those who truly understand it. Relish, remember and retell the wonderful story that is ours in Christ, the story of the common salvation!
Which mountain was the tallest? It was hard to tell. They all looked like they were about the same height. I was sure I had picked out the tallest mountain the day before, but now it looked like it was about the same height (or maybe even shorter) than another one close by.
The only difference between this day and the day before was that it had been clear the day before, but it was cloudy on this particular day. I knew that the clouds made things appear a little darker and somewhat changed how the colors looked, but could clouds make the height of something appear to be different than it really was?
I found out that the answer to that question was a resounding, “Yes,” when the clouds finally moved on and uncovered the top of the tallest mountain! I had no idea that the cloud had actually obscured my vision to that extent.
I have been thinking about that experience quite a lot lately. It may be that part of our lack of understanding about a lot of things may be due to the fact that we are not seeing the entire picture.
I know that the more I read and try to understand God’s Word, the more it seems as though “clouds move on” in my understanding of His will for my life, His great plan of salvation, the marvelous church He has always had in His plans (cf. Ephesians 3:10) and a host of other things. I would not say that I am seeing the “peaks” yet. The truth is that I may still be just seeing the “foothills” of what He wants me to know and understand, but I know that what I am seeing so far is beyond description.
I have also thought about how this principle may apply to my relationship with those around me. We might all do a better job in understanding and loving one another if we would remember that what we are seeing in terms of behavior, commitment, morality, etc. may not be the complete picture. There may be some “clouds” hiding something really beautiful. I hope I am patient enough to let them go on their way and see the real picture! The view is great on a sunny day!