The World Tomorrow

Salvation - Part 2

by Herbert W Armstrong


Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

My friends, why do you read over here in I Peter the second chapter: "Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation?" "...that by it you may grow up to salvation;" (I Peter 2:2 RSV)

Now why would that be in the Bible if anyone already has salvation, and the salvation process is all completed just the minute that they make the decision for Christ? Or the moment that they profess Christ, or receive Christ, or are baptized, or the minute they weep tears at the altar? Or whatever the process may be according to whatever denomination, or doctrinal teaching you've been following.

Why is it now that we read that: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous?" (Psalm 34:19)? And why do we have to go "...through much tribulation [to] enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), even after we've professed Christ? Why is it that; "...all [who] will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12).? Why do you read in the New Testament that you must; " out your own salvation with fear and trembling?" (Philippians 2:12)?

Why do you read things like that in the Bible? When people say that; "Well there's no works to salvation, you're already saved the minute you profess Christ. Just; "...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). That's what they quote, and indeed that's what Paul said to the Philippian jailer. That's in your Bible and it means what it says. In fact all these things mean what they say. Trouble is, most people think that what Paul meant was just believe that Christ existed, and that isn't what he said and that isn't what he meant at all.

Now here again we read in I Peter 4, the twelveth verse: "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you." (I Peter 4:12 RSV)

Now that'll happen to anyone that is a real Christian. Frankly I doubt, my friends, whether that happens to a lot of people that have just, as they say; 'made the decision for Christ,' or people that have just, as they say; 'received Christ,' or something of that sort.

I was describing in the broadcast not too long ago, about what that condition is like. I gave you a sort of a comparison. It's really like the dog, the faithful dog, that thinks his master is pretty wonderful. And he wags his tail, and he likes to get up close to his master, and just look at his master and think how great his master is. But of course he is a dog and he'll always be a dog, he can never be anything else.

But if you'll take it all as it is, you'll find that a lot of people are going around who seem to have joy in their hearts, and who do have smiles on their faces, and can put on a very sanctimonious appearance - who don't have any real salvation at all, and don't even know what salvation is, and don't know how to obtain it, and how it works.

Now we're going to see if we can get through this third chapter of Hebrews in this broadcast and get on into the fourth. It's very, very important. We're seeing here what is the purpose of the Christian life, and why it is that God doesn't just take you away.

You know people believe you profess Christ, you receive Christ, you make your decision for Christ, or whatever it is, and you're automatically completely saved right then and there. Now a lot of people also believe that once you're in grace you're always in grace. You couldn't get out of it, you can't ever be lost, it's all settled.

In other words, I have explained it like the switch in the track at the end of the line, which is the end of this life. You're on a train going to the end of the line on a trip, that's this life, this life's journey. And the track is automatically switched to turn you downward and send you down to hell. That is you were born that way, they believe, because of the fall of man, or Adam's sin. But the minute that you profess Christ, or make your decision for Christ, or that you're baptized, or shed some tears at the altar, or sign a card, or whatever it might be, in whatever denomination I say that you've been following. Whenever you do some of those things, that they seem to believe is something like this. I don't think they thought of it in this way of course, but this is just my way of stating it, that throws the switch at the end of the line and now when you get there you'll just go up to heaven.

Now in the meantime, why do you have to go on living? Why do you? Why? Why doesn't it just shoot you up to heaven immediately if that's where you're going to go? Why do you have to stay on in this life and suffer? And they don't see any purpose in the Christian life at all. It is just a case of waiting it out now until you get to that time. And your life's going to be pretty miserable because; "Many are the afflictions of the righteous..." (Psalm 34:19) and "...all [who] will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (II Timothy 3:12) And, as Peter says " don't think it strange, like something new, different and strange thing has happened." (I Peter 4:12 paraphrased) And such things will begin to happen if you are really a Christian.

The Bible Defines God's Law (PLAY FROM 05:56)

Do you realize, my friends, that along life's journey there is a real reason for it after you are converted, after you have really repented of sin. And your Bible says: "...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4)

Did you know that? A lot of you don't know what your own Bible says. Well that's in your Bible, and you can't find anything in your Bible that refutes it, or is contrary. You'll find the same thing stated in other words. Now, for instance, you'll find – I think it's James that says that: {1}

"All unrighteousness is sin..." (I John 5:17)

Yes that's true, but that just saying the same thing in another way because what is unrighteousness? Now you turn back to the one hundred nineteenth Psalm, the one hundred seventy-second verse and you want the Bible definition. Of course if you're going to read your own meaning into it, you'll get something else, but if you let the Bible interpret the Bible and take your Bible definitions, there you find:

"...all thy commandments are righteousness." (Psalm 119:172)

So, breaking the commandments is sin, "...sin is the transgression of [God's] law" (I John 3:4). Paul says in the seventh chapter and the seventh verse of Romans, that; "without the law he wouldn't have known what sin was, because he knows what it is by the law." (Romans 7:7 paraphrased) The knowledge of sin comes by the law. And he mentioned the law that says thou shalt not lust or covet, which is the Ten Commandments, that's the last of the Ten Commandments. And then in the, let's see, it's in the fourteenth verse there in the seventh chapter of Romans he says that:

"...the law is [a] spiritual [law]..." (Romans 7:14)

Not a moral law but a spiritual law. I don't know why it is you never hear anybody mention that. Well that's in the Bible. You can't find any place in the Bible that the law is a moral law, and yet a lot of people go around calling the Ten Commandments a moral law. Well that's not very scriptural. But Paul said it was spiritual, it's a spiritual law, it takes a spiritual love, "...the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit..." (Romans 5:5 paraphrased) to fulfill that law. And you have to go to God to get it. And you have to really repent of your rebellion against God, your transgression of Him, and His law, and His rule, His government.

And He governs by laws. What would you think, my friends, of a kingdom or a government, or let's say, that we had a man running for President of the United States now on a new ticket, or a new party of some kind; and he's running on the idea that he's going to administer government without any laws? He's going to do away with all the laws that Congress ever made. He's going to say, "I'm not going to have you under law, I'm going to put you under grace. I'm going to let all the criminals and all the crooks free from the prisons. I'm going to put them all under grace, no more law whatsoever."

Well of course that's the idea most people have about law and grace. That isn't really the right understanding of it, but that's about the idea people have. They think that God rules, perhaps, and God governs but not by law. Oh no, law is a terrible thing. They think law is an awful thing. How are you going to have any kind of order and peace without law?

Did you ever see these wild west movies that show how the wild west was before law and order came? And law and order merely means the enforcement of law, that's all. Now the thing you don't realize that in those days it took a sheriff and a police department and things that had to move out into that wild west to begin to enforce the laws, and a judge and one thing and another, before the laws meant anything.

And what you don't seem to realize is that God's laws are in motion, they are spiritual, they are moving, they are inexorable, you couldn't change them, God won't, they are there forever. And my friends, they're automatic, and they enforce themselves automatically. You don't need a policeman around to catch you at it. You begin breaking God's laws and they're going to begin breaking you that same instant, and you can't get away from it.

Now God gave us His laws to make us happy, to bring us peace. In a society we want law, and enforcement of law which is another word for order. Well God has given us His laws and His laws are spiritual laws that regulate our relationship to Him. And because we don't do it we've been cut off from Him, and we don't have the blessings that could come from God. We have the curses that we bring on ourselves.

The Law of Death Rules Over Us (PLAY FROM 10:35)

Well let's get into this third chapter of Hebrews now. Here in the first chapter it's been telling us how great Christ is. In the second chapter how lowly man is, what is man, why God should be concerned about us. Nevertheless He is and "...he's put all things under our feet, but we don't yet see everything actually under our feet" (Hebrews 2:8 paraphrased). Because my friends, the process has not yet changed, and there is a reason for this Christian life. There is a reason why after you've repented of sin, after you have repented of rebellion against God and you become willing to let God rule you and to really quit transgressing His laws. You know actually, it isn't a choice between being under grace or obeying law, the Bible doesn't say anything about that.

The Bible says now: "...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4) And: "What...then? Shall we continue in sin [that is, shall we continue to transgress the law because we're not under the law but under grace]? God forbid..." (Romans 6:1-2). Read that in the sixth chapter of Romans in your Bible. Why Paul says: "God forbid [that we should do such a thing]. How shall we, that [have turned away from transgression and from disobeying God, how we continue] any longer therein?" (Romans 6:2)

Listen, the law has a penalty. It wouldn't be a law without a penalty, and the penalty of that law is death. And when you've broken the law, the law claims your life. It owns you now and you belong to the law and it's going to take your life in death. And it's death eternal, the second death from which there will never be a resurrection. Death is the punishment and it is for everlasting time, it is everlasting punishment. It's for all eternity. It isn't 'punish-ing' forever, it is punishment and it's forever and ever.

Now the law has a claim on your life because you've transgressed it, every one of you has transgressed it. Only one man ever lived who never did and that's Jesus Christ. You have transgressed that law and so you are under the law, the law is over you. The law holds a claim on your life because you transgressed it. The law is going to take your life unless you realize that Jesus Christ put Himself under the law in your place and He took your guilt on Him and let the law take His life.

You've heard just the opposite. Why, my friends, do they try to pervert and distort the Holy Word of God and turn the Bible upside down? They tell you that Jesus Christ did away with the law. It's just the other way around, the law did away with Jesus Christ. It's because the law had a claim on your life, and on my life, because we've been under the law. And Jesus Christ put Himself under it in your stead and mine, and the law took His life instead of yours.

But you can be released from having the law take your life so you can get out from being under the law any longer and be put under grace, which is pardon. It's about time we get this thing straightened out a little bit. But oh, how we've become warped and twisted and perverted. And how men have been deceived and embraced fables in the place of the truth. But it's time that we get back and "...contend [earnestly] for the faith...once delivered unto the saints" (Jude verse 3). Well some of them have come around, and tried to twist that all around. It's very plain in your Bible, will you just believe what you see there?

Mankind Chose to Reject God's Law (PLAY FROM 14:15)

Now, listen:

"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, [Jesus Christ];" (Hebrews 3:1)

And then we come down here to verse seven:

"Wherefore [and then he goes back in parenthesis here] (as the Holy Spirit [had said by David], To day if [you] will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts..." (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Like they did back in the days of Moses, when they hardened their hearts and they didn't believe. Because why? They lacked faith. By miracles they had seen His works, and by miracles God had brought them out of Egypt. By a miracle He had sent them manna to eat and water to drink. He had healed them when they were sick.

"Wherefore [God says] I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways." (Hebrews 3:10)

Now let's get this again. The land of Canaan, in Palestine, was the type of the spiritual rest that lies ahead of us if we will forsake transgressing God's laws. God set before us life and death. On the one hand is blessing, on the other hand is cursing. Blessing comes by obeying the laws of God, cursing by rebelling and disobeying. And so my friends, man has chosen the cursings and the death.

That's all the reason we need a Savior. If we hadn't broken the laws of God we wouldn't need a Savior. He didn't nail the law to the cross, it nailed Him to the cross. You know they've got this thing all wrong. You can't read any place in your Bible that the Ten Commandments, the spiritual law, was nailed to the cross. It was Christ that was nailed to the cross. Yes, let's get that straight.

Now of course, because there were some animal sacrifices, meat and drink offerings, and carnal ordinances, and some physical rituals given to the Church under the Levitical priesthood in the days of Moses, that were just a substitute for Christ till He came. They were nailed to the cross with Him that's true. But not the spiritual law. There is a great difference between a spiritual law and those physical laws of Moses.

Now, they did not want to go God's way. God told them the way, and the way was obedience. But what did they do? They griped and they grumbled and they complained and they made idols and began to worship a golden calf they made, instead of worshiping God and obeying God. And then finally they wanted to turn back and go the other way. And that's just what people are doing today. They're walking as fast as they can walk right away from blessings and from happiness and eternal life while they profess Christ, while they worship Him in vain. Jesus says:

" vain they do worship me, teaching [as] doctrines the commandments [the traditions] of men." (Matthew 15:9)

"...Full well [He says, do you] reject the commandment of God, that [you] may hold to your own tradition." (Mark 7:9)

My friends, that's what this whole world is doing today. We're going the way that they went. Now David in his day said - here was the way that God had given those ancient Israelites under Moses to get into the land of rest and peace, the land that was flowing with milk and honey. Of course it was all physical in those days, but God gave them a way to go and they wouldn't go that way. And so none of that generation got in there. None of them got the reward. None of them had the blessings because they have not know His ways.

"So [God says] I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.)" (Hebrews 3:11)

And that generation didn't. Joshua and Caleb got in and that was all of that generation and it was just the children of those people that went in to Canaan. Well when they got into the land of Palestine they didn't do much better, did they?

The Need to Believe and Obey God (PLAY FROM 18:14)

Now, here it comes in verse twelve:

"Take heed, brethren [that's to us now in this time, take heed], lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12)

God isn't a dead God, He is a living God. Christ is not a dead Christ hanging on a cross. He's a living Christ. Resurrected and at the right hand of God as your High Priest, and mine, on the job night and day for you now, because there's a great purpose in the Christian life.

We're on the way into spiritual rest. We're on the way to salvation, and being changed from mortal to immortal, from human to divine. From mortal flesh into spirit, from matter into spirit. Now you have to go God's way or you're never going to get there. You'll have to go His ways, which they refused to do, or you are never going to arrive. That is the real salvation.

"...he that endureth [unto] the end the same shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

So said Jesus, that's what Jesus said. Now there are plenty that will come up and and try to tell and say; "Oh no, no, no, now don't you listen to this man Armstrong, and don't you listen to Jesus Christ." Well my friends, your eternity is at stake, you'd better be very careful and read your Bible and believe what you see there with your own eyes.

So, "Take heed, brethren..." (Hebrews 3:12). Now the brethren are those in Christ, these are those that have made their decision for Christ. These are the ones that have repented. These are the ones that have also received the Spirit of God, or they wouldn't really be called "brethren" in the Bible. So he says:

"Take heed [brethren], lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief [so that could come to a converted person couldn't it?], in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day..." (Hebrews 3:12-13)

Now you see in David's day he said; "...To day if [you] will hear his voice" (Psalm 95:7). That was in the day of David a few hundred years after Moses. Now in that day of Moses, that was 'today' for them, and He said; "Today, if you people will do what I tell you I will take you into the land of Palestine." Well they didn't and they didn't get to go. Then in David's day, David said:

"...To day, if [you] will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Hebrews 4:7)

And now here's the apostle Paul saying to us in our time:

"But exhort one another daily, while it is call To day [it's 'today' now for us and we're having our call now]; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. [What's sin? The transgression of God's law, not knowing God's ways, going the other way] For we are made..." (Hebrews 3:13-14)

He says, and that's us now. And that includes us down here in this twentieth century just as well as those that Paul is writing to in the first century. This is the Word of God and it's for our time now.

"For we [that's we people now today in the twentieth century] are made partakers of Christ, if [oh, there's that great big little two letter word 'IF' - if] we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day [now you see it is today for us now, while it is said today] if [you] will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation [that's as in the day of Moses]. For some, when they had heard, did provoke..." (Hebrews 3:14-16)

Now I'd like to read that sixteenth verse in the more modern translation because there is a little mistranslation there in the King James from that time on. Who were they? Here's the correct translation:

"Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious..." (Hebrews 3:16 RSV)

Now that's of course speaking back in the days of Moses. "Who were they back there that heard..." (Hebrews 3:16 RSV) They heard of the salvation - physical salvation of course, that was offered them at that time from the slavery of sin in Egypt, and being taken over to Palestine:

"...Was it not all of those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?" (Hebrews 3:16 RSV)

Surely they are the ones that heard that they were going to be delivered from this physical slavery and taken over to be a nation of their own and they had the promise they would become; "...not the tail, but the head..." (Deuteronomy 28:13 paraphrased), nation of the world. They would become the greatest nation on earth, and the most prosperous, the most powerful nation if they would obey God. Now that was the promise for them.

"Was it not all of those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?" (Hebrews 3:16)

You see now that's a type of our conversion under Christ. But we're not just going out of some physical slavery into a land to be a great nation in this time on this earth. We're going out of spiritual slavery to sin, that has brought curses on us. Headaches, and empty lives and heartaches, and fears, and worries, and all kinds of troubles and suffering. That's what it's brought on us.

The Old Self Has To Die (PLAY FROM 23:17)

And we're to be released from that and have the way of God's blessings. Let me tell you, my friends, if you will really surrender to God and understand that Jesus Christ is the Mediator between you and God, the Father. And that He kept God's commandments and set you an example that you should follow His steps. And if you really regard Him as your High Priest, and come to Him daily on that throne of grace, and live by every word of God, go the ways of God, you are going to have blessings that you don't dream of.

Now I know, I'm speaking by experience. I started out on that trail years ago, and I want to tell you, that God Almighty gives us every blessing there is for this life. I know what it is, because I've been reaping those blessings and I wouldn't trade the life that God has given me. He had to beat me down, He had to make me suffer, He had to pound out of me the vanity and the greed and everything that I had in those days way back there until I would give myself to Him. Yeah and that was tough. You have to die to live. I didn't want to die either, but the self had to die. But now I've begun to really live, and I know what it is to have every spiritual blessing that just surpasses imagination. Well, that's for you too, God's no respecter of persons, but you'll have to go that way to get it.

Now listen. It was those that came out under Moses that heard, and yet were rebellious, rebellious! Their lack of faith was disobedience:

"And with whom was he [God] provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned [and sin is the transgression of God's law, refusing to go God's way and wanting to go your own human way. Was it not those that sinned], whose bodies fell in the wilderness?" (Hebrews 3:17 RSV)

Now they fell physically, and you're going to fall spiritually, my friends, and you'll never get the salvation you thought was coming. You're going to fall in your spiritual wilderness if you don't go the way of God. That's what this is trying to tell you here.

"And [verse eighteen] to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest [that is they wouldn't get into this physical rest of Palestine, just as you won't get into the spiritual rest of God's Kingdom and immortal life. To whom he did swear they should never enter his rest], but to those who were disobedient?"(Hebrews 3:18 RSV)

Notice it, disobedient, and that's the correct translation, not just those that didn't have faith and believing in the fact of Christ or something. It's the kind of living faith that obeys, and that's what they lacked. They were disobedient. Now the word 'rest' here comes from the Greek word - that I don't know how to pronounce it actually, but it's pronounced like it was 'katapausis' and it means a spiritual rest from sin. Or it could mean a physical rest, but it means in a spiritual sense:

"So we see that they were unable to enter [in] because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:19 RSV)

Now you see unbelief and disobedience are synonymous. Those who were disobedient and they couldn't enter in because of unbelief. Now we come to the fourth chapter. I'll only get a chance to start it but I just wish we could go right on now:

"Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest [and there's that Greek word 'katapausis' or spiritual rest] remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it." (Hebrews 4:1 RSV)

And 'you' means Christians that have already been converted, already in Christ, that have already received the Holy Spirit. What does that do your, 'once in grace, always in grace' theory? That's in your Bible.

"Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains [and it remains for you, my friends], let us [in this twentieth century now] fear lest any of you [you that call yourselves Christians] be judged to have failed to reach it [that's in your Bible]. For good news came [or the gospel, or good news came] to us just as to them [only ours is a spiritual good news of salvation, and theirs was the physical good news of getting to have a nation in Palestine instead of being slaves in Egypt. For the good news came to us just as to them]; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers." (Hebrews 4:1-2 RSV)

They weren't obedient, they didn't know God's ways. Now what about you? Are you going to be obedient? Are you going to have that faith that makes it possible to obey God?

"...we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, 'As I swore in my wrath, They shall never enter my rest,' although his works were finished from the [beginning]." (Hebrews 4:3 RSV)

And so on, well I haven't time to go on. It does show here that God rested on the seventh day from His works, and later, that:

"...there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God;" (Hebrews 4:9 RSV)

And that is not 'katapausis', that is not a spiritual rest, but 'sabbatismos' which is the literal keeping of the Sabbath. And that's right there in the fourth chapter too. And I'll come to that and explain that in the next program on this series.

Now just time for a word. Let me again mention this book on 'What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation?' You can be saved by faith, just believe and thou shalt be saved, but it is a living and not a dead faith. And most of you my friends, have been trusting in a dead faith, because you didn't know what kind of a faith could save you, there's no charge.

Until next tomorrow then, goodbye friends.


{1} The scripture Mr Armstrong was referring to is I John 5:17.