By Not Known
Two preachers were talking. They had disagreed on a theological matter, but were confident of each other’s salvation. One asked the other: John, when you get to heaven, who will you thank for your salvation? The reply was instant and decisive: God!
God saves. This teaching is at the heart of the Christian message. We do not save ourselves. Nor can we, for the Bible pictures people as dead in their sins, until touched by grace (Eph. 2: 1). Dead people don’t help or save themselves because they cannot.
A number of Bible passage emphasise that God doesn’t leave anything to chance in the work of salvation. Rather, his saving love is so complete that he does all necessary to ensure our forgiveness and eternal life. This is good news!
Ephesians 1: 3- 14 is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his salvation. Its language gives credit to God for the whole process. He chose and predestined us for salvation (vs 4, 5, 11). He freely give the grace that saves in Jesus and his blood (vs 6, 7). He made his saving will known to us (vs 9). Finally, he gives his indwelling Spirit as a down-payment and guarantee of heaven (vs 14). None of this should surprise us, for the same passage speaks of how God works out everything in accordance with his plans (vs 11).
The teaching that God saves has some very practical applications:
We should always be careful to give God the credit through our words, prayers and hymns of praise. We have nothing to boast about in ourselves and the Christian is no more deserving than the unsaved person.
We should be confident in telling the good news of Jesus to everyone. No one is outside of God’s ability to save and therefore no one should be excluded from hearing the gospel.
We should be confident. Our place in eternity is secure because God has made it so. This is an important assurance in our times of anxiety.
All these themes are very present in the hymn “Rock of Ages“. The author (Toplady) was well familiar with the theology that God saves. He puts it in words addressed to our hearts: Thou must save and thou alone.