"For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). The word Paul used to convey to the Corinthian church his resolve to preach the gospel of substitution is a highly instructive one. "Determined" is a forensic word that has to do with making a judgment. It presents the idea of issuing an informed opinion, rendering a verdict, or delivering a ruling after much deliberation. The apostle is saying that he had made a judgment as to the only subject that is of vital importance. He had considered the matter carefully and prayerfully. This had not been a hasty decision nor had his conclusion been reached without painstaking investigation into the Word of God. After a great deal of serious thought and thorough study, after making a complete investigation he arrived at a judgment or determination as to the only subject that he would declare. He deemed "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" the only message worth preaching and the only knowledge worth knowing. He reached this verdict because this message glorified both the justice of God in punishing the sins of His people and the love of God which led to the death of Christ in the stead of His chosen ones. He believed this was the message that would be effectually used by God the Holy Spirit to bring Christ’s lost sheep into the fold of salvation. This was that gospel of glad tidings that through "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified," the law had been satisfied, transgressions had been finished, sins had been made an end of, reconciliation had been made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness had been brought in, all the prophesies of the Old Testament concerning Messiah and His work of redemption had been fulfilled and every stipulation of the covenant of grace had been accomplished by the Surety and Mediator of that Covenant. This is the gospel that the guilty need to hear by which they learn how God can be just and justify the ungodly. He determined that this message would give believers peace and comfort in this life and enable them to face death and eternity with hope and confidence. After thorough investigation, he reached this verdict that with plainness of speech, his only subject would be the person and substitutionary work of Jesus Christ the Lord.
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
BEWARE OF EXPERIENCE-BASED SALVATION
Our salvation as it is applied to us in time is a wonderful, miraculous, powerful and real experience within our very souls. It is a new birth where the Holy Spirit literally raises us from the dead and gives us new hearts, new minds, new knowledge and convictions, new motives, desires, and goals. There is no salvation without this experience. However, we must beware of a common deception among professing Christians today – experience-based salvation. This is an assurance of salvation based on what I experience rather than based solely upon God’s Word as it reveals the Lord Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for His people on the cross of Calvary to put away their sins and establish the only righteousness whereby God could be just to justify the ungodly. The difference between experience-based salvation and the real experience of true salvation can be described as follows:
Experience-based salvation says, “I know I’m saved because I FEEL it,” or “because this or that happened to me,” or “I just know it in my heart,” or “I started doing this and stopped doing that.”
The experience of true salvation says, “I know I’m saved because I have no hope of salvation, forgiveness of my sins, righteousness before God, eternal life and glory, but by Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12), or “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
Experiences and feelings are important, but do not base your salvation on these. The question we must always consider is, “Are we resting in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross for our whole salvation?” This is true salvation, and it stands up to all challenges and tests, no matter what we experience or how we feel.