By nature we are sinners. We sinned in our first father : by his disobedience we were made sinners, and by his transgression judgment came upon us to condemnation and death. Our nature was poisoned in the fountain and cursed in the root. Our progenitor chose sin, and it compassed him about like a garment; and entered into his bowels like water. It ran through his veins, contaminated his blood, polluted every member of his body, and defiled every faculty of his soul. Thus he became a complete mass of moral corruption ; and we, his children, inherit his depravity. We are shapen in iniquity, and in sin did our mother conceive us. Being conceived and born in sin, we have conceived mischief, brought, forth falsehood, and added sin to sin, till the number of our crimes exceeds all calculation, and our amazing guilt has reached unto the heavens. We are criminals, deserving ten thousand deaths, and to death eternal, the righteous law, which we have transgressed in every point, has justly condemned us; nor is it possible that it should administer anything to us but death and damnation. Yet, under these awful circumstances, we need not abandon ourselves to despair: life, eternal life, is proclaimed; a covenant of life was made by the eternal three and it’s promise of life was given long before sin entered into the world, and death passed upon man. 'The second person of the holy trinity was ordained by the first, with his own free and full consent, to assume human nature and take it into personal union with himself; and become God-Man. As such in the divine purpose, he was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, as the head of the body, the church, and the saviour of all his members; and it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. All the fulness of the elect was chosen in him by a sovereign, act of stupendous matchless grace, and fixed in him, never to be separated from him: it is, I think, with respect to this, that the apostle calls the church "the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
As God, this glorious head of all principalities and powers, has life eternal dwelling essentially in himself; as God-Man, and the head of the church, he has everlasting life given him by the Father for all his people. This we learn from his Own; gracious mouth. The words are these: ''As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself:" "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." Indissoluble union to Jesus is the ground on which we partake of eternal life. Being chosen in him, made one with him, and immutably fixed in him, by an eternal act of the divine mind, we are made partakers of his life and of all his fulness. Our title to life, spiritual and eternal, is indisputable. It was freely granted, and made absolutely certain in that covenant which is ordered in all things and sure. These ancient counsels, and these acts of grace; Oh! how glorious! how precious! The eternal God freely gives eternal life, by an eternal act of his own will, in an eternal testament, to be enjoyed by all the objects of his eternal love, through an eternal union with Jehovah Jesus, and all this is confirmed by his oath: " Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.'' This has, at once, raised our title to everlasting life, far above every idea of human merit, and placed it infinitely beyond the influence of the caprice of mortals, and the fictitious power of chance.
--- Job Hupton
Excerpts from:THE ABSOLUTE SAVIOR
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12
Since we believe that the Bible is the “verbally inspired” word of GOD, then we believe every word in it must be considered important. There is no part of the scriptures which is superfluous or unnecessary. We may not “understand” the purpose and import of every word and we might from time to time misapply those words by misreading or ignoring the context in which they are spoken but this does not change the veracity or necessity of each one.
It is a sign of poor scholarship to overlook various words or to take them out of the proper context in which they are presented, but it is downright shameful and dishonest to try to seek to “wrest” or change their meanings or their order to fit our theological bent. The Bible always means what it means, even when those truths are inconvenient to our established dogmas.
When Peter “explained” the authority that they had been given to heal the lame man, he presented the LORD JESUS CHRIST as the Absolute SAVIOR by two related phrases, “none other name” and “we must be saved”. These are “absolute” statements of fact which must not be ignored or else one is in peril of misrepresenting the nature of the salvation which is wrought by the work of HIM who is indeed the one and only SAVIOR.
In the religious tradition in which I was raised there was great emphasis placed on CHRIST as being the “only” SAVIOR but there was no consideration at all given to the fact that those for whom HE is the SAVIOR “must” be saved. The word “must” was ignored and generally treated as though it meant “might”. “Must” is a word which carries the import of something which cannot fail to occur. “Might” on the other hand is a word which is not absolute but rather sets forth the notion that there can be mitigating circumstances which would prevent that salvation from occurring, and merely denotes a possibility of salvation rather than a certainty.
The prevailing notion about salvation which one hears proclaimed all across our land and even around the world is that CHRIST is an “available” savior. We are told that each and every individual on the planet can have salvation if they will just comply with a few conditions. Salvation is presented as an equation which has a “part” which CHRIST has performed and a “part” which is left up to men to perform in order to complete the equation and bring about the desired result.
This is of course a mere exercise of man’s grandiose consideration of his ability to determine his own destiny and is a disregard of the fact that salvation is a gift of GOD’s grace rather than a reward for meeting certain conditions. This concept presents a savior who does not actually save anyone but rather only makes salvation a possibility for everyone. This sacrosanct ship of free will sails proudly across the ocean of man’s self esteem but runs aground on the words “must” and “shall”, and is destroyed upon that STONE, “which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” (Acts4:11) who is the same ONE who says “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” (Rom 9:15-16)