Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia
Decatur , Alabama
"And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed
with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain
by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These
men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of
salvation." (Acts 16:16,17)
"...the way of salvation." Is there a way of salvation? If there is, then
is it a specific way? An exact way? Is there more than one way of salvation?
If there is a way of salvation, should not we all be interested in discovering
that way? Should not we look for such a way? Why don't men look for that
way, and why don't men find that way? Or do they?
Searching questions, aren't they? Are these questions of any concern of
yours? You who read these words - do these questions intrigue you? Do they
arouse you to look diligently for the correct answers? If so, where do
you begin your search? And how will you proceed from one inquiry to the
next? And how will you know when you have found any evidence that you are
on the right course? And how will you know when you have found the solution?
Will you be convinced of the correctness of your search?
As we begin this study and search for our answers, let us ask God for direction,
for guidance, and for success. Let us heed the counsel of our dear departed
brother, James, and listen to his Holy Spirit led instruction. "If any
of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith,
nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven
with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5,6)
James is writing to the saints of God of the twelve tribes scattered abroad.
He is writing to brethren. Brethren who are sons of God by faith. Likewise,
Paul wrote to the saints of God who were members of one of the Lord's churches
in the province of Galatia. Paul said to them, "For ye are all the children
of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:26)
The saints of God who were of the twelve tribes that were scattered abroad
were children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Even so, (in like manner)
Gentile believers in Galatia were also children of God by faith in Christ
Jesus. And you and I today who are children of God, are children of God
by faith in Christ Jesus.
Remember how Paul taught the Ephesian saints that the middle wall of partition
that had separated Jews and Gentiles in times past had been broken down?
How that we all have been made nigh by the blood of Christ? "Wherefore
remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called
Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made
by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having
no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes
were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace,
who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition
between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so
making peace;" (Ephesians. 2:11-15) All this should teach us that
God saves His elect, be they Jew or Gentile, by the work of Christ Jesus.
And we should also be taught that God, having saved His elect now invites
them to the Throne of His Grace to receive that for which they stand in
As we study, do we need the wisdom that only God can give? Can we by searching
find out God? Does intellectual achievement allow us to search for and
find truth? Does the natural man receive the things of the Spirit of God?
(c.f. I Corinthians. 2:14)
Look again at James 1:5,6. Then look at James 4:1-3. And center your attention
to the clear declarations of verse 3. "Ye ask, and receive not, because
ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Dear reader, I need knowledge of God's word and I need wisdom to rightly
divide the word of truth and to make proper application of what the word
teaches. As I offer this message, I need to have understanding. So - let
me "ask of God". Let me ask in faith, nothing wavering. Let me refrain
from asking amiss.
If I ask God for knowledge of His word in order that I might seek to show
you how smart I am, then I am asking amiss. I am asking for the wrong reason
and with the wrong motive. I am asking in order that I may consume it upon
my own lusts, to exhibit my own covetousness. And God has not promised
to give me wisdom under such circumstances. And He will not.
I must ask God. But I must ask Him for the sake of His own honor and glory.
I must ask Him in faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to
please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that
he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:1,6)
And He has promised to supply my need! And He will provide Divine enablement
so that His name will be magnified among His people as we search out "The
Way of Salvation".
I ask you now to pray and to ask God to supply your need. Ask Him to open
up your heart of understanding to receive His word. Ask Him to prepare
you to search diligently and constantly the Holy Writ, so that you may
grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him.
As we study on The Way of Salvation, I want to examine four aspects of
our subject. And I want to be enabled to present the truth in clear, simple,
and precise terms.
(1) The Way of Righteousness.
(2) The Way of Truth.
(3) The Way of Life.
(4) The Way of the Lord.
When we have looked into God's Book for instruction on these matters, I
want us all to see Christ in each of them. And I want us to see that these
are consummated in Christ Jesus, who is The Way of Salvation.
This is the path we will seek to follow as we study. This is the announced
goal of our study: that we may be enabled to see that Christ Jesus is The
Way of Salvation. And He is. There is no
In Acts 16, where we began, a young woman who was demon possessed was in
the employ of certain soothsayers. And being demon possessed, I am sure
that she did not know, nor have understanding of what she said or did.
She spoke as she was moved to speak, or as she was impressed upon to speak.
And most likely, her normal actions and words were not the same as on this
God overrules in the affairs of His creatures as it pleases Him to overrule.
And on this occasion, He would have His sent ones, Paul and his companions,
to be identified. He would have their message to be publicly declared,
even among those who were His enemies. And He did so. He did not consult.
He just did so.
Listen to the words of this damsel. "These men are the servants of the
most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." That is what she
said. Clearly and plainly. Precisely and exactly. That is what she said.
And all who are familiar with the teaching of the Bible will acknowledge
that the entire message that the Apostle Paul preached, as pertains to
salvation, was Christ Jesus. The message never wavered - never varied,
as to its content. It was always Christ Jesus. It was never anything else.
And it's our message.
Let us now begin our study concerning
The Way of Righteousness
An expression found in Matthew 21 :32 tells us something of this
subject, yet not all. "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness,
and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him:
and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe
Our dear Lord is here speaking to "the chief priests and the elders of
the people". (Matthew 21:23) They challenged Him and His authority
and demanded of Him an explanation of His actions. He refused to tell them
all, but spoke to them in parables.
In this parable He spoke of a man who had two sons. The man commanded the
first son to go into his vineyard and work. The first son refused to go.
Later, he repented and went as he was bidden. The man then commanded the
second son, go and labor. The second son said that he would obey, but he
Now, Jesus asks the priests and elders, "which of these two did the will
of the father?" Why, the first, they agreed. Jesus tells them, "the publicans
and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." In their unrepentant
state, they go not into the kingdom of God. But when the publicans and
the harlots, being convinced of the way of righteousness that John the
Baptist preached were led to repentance, and were enabled to enter in.
But not so these.
John insisted that apart from repentance, there would be no entering in
to God's kingdom. He thundered out God's message, "Repent ye, for the kingdom
of heaven is at hand." His message was, the way of righteousness is God's
demand. He insisted upon "fruits meet for repentance"; upon right actions.
As John's ministry was continued, on a certain day came Jesus to Jordan
to receive heaven's baptism at the hands of God's baptiser. And John, seeing
God's Righteousness, cried out, "Behold, the lamb of God!" To those who
were there, he proclaimed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Righteousness
of God, Personified. He declared that those who would come to God would
come in righteousness, but that righteousness would be on the merit of
Listen also as the Apostle Paul speaks of his brethren, according to the
flesh. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that
they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God,
but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the
law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." (Romans 10:1-4)
The religious Jews knew of righteousness. They knew there must be a way
of righteousness. But they imagined that that way would be found in their
accomplishments. Thus, they being ignorant (unlearned) of God's righteousness,
were going about to establish their own righteousness. And they did not
submit to God's Righteousness.
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom,
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That as it is written,
He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (I Corinthians 1:30,31)
Not seeking to ignore, nor to minimize the value of wisdom, or sanctification,
or redemption, let us look only at righteousness for this study. It is
of God that Christ Jesus is made unto the saints of God, "righteousness".
You see, it is not of our own righteousness. It is His! It is His righteousness
(right actions) that is laid up to our account. It is His righteousness
that becomes ours by imputation, and then, in us produces right actions
Listen once more to Paul as he writes to the Corinthian saints in his second
epistle to them. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. For he hath
made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness
of God in him." (II Corinthians 5:17,21)
God the Father has made His son to be sin for us, His elect. He has made
Him to stand in our room and in our stead before the bar of divine justice.
He has made Him to meet all the righteous demands of this divine justice
and hear the sentence of death as it is pronounced upon Him.
Then having fully met all that was demanded of Him, in our stead, He now
is able to satisfy every jot and tittle that was against us. And He has
done so. He has borne our guilt and the corresponding penalty and has set
us free. Set us free from sin's hold upon us and from Satan's ruler ship
over us. He has set us free! We are never to be reclaimed by Satan. We
But there is more. We are now made to be the righteousness of God in Him.
We are enabled to stand before God, having been clothed upon with a righteousness
that we did not produce. One that we did not attain unto by our effort
or merit is ours. It is ours for He has provided it. "...and what hast
thou that thou didst not receive?" (I Corinthians. 4:7)
The Way of Truth
"My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make
me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous
works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto
thy word. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I
have stuck unto thy testimonies: 0 LORD, put me not to shame. I will run
the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." (Psalms
The Psalmist is led to make some inquiries and some declarations concerning
his own frailties and God's enablements. He acknowledges that he has no
capacity to act right and pleasingly apart from the provision that God
makes for him. And so should you and I. So should every child of God make
He declares that he is weakened and needs to have his life enriched and
nurtured. And this quickening and nurturing is of the Lord - for he says,
"...quicken me according to thy word." Provide not only life, but abundant
life. Increase my faith. Build me up. I am insufficient - but Thou are
able to make of me a vessel that will serve and honor Thee.
There are two situations that we must face, as the Psalmist here was led
to face. First, we must be made to recognize that our own ways are contrary
to God's ways. We must be brought to acknowledge that we have declared
our ways, and have found them to be faulty, and even sinful. Our ways do
not bring honor, glory, or even recognition to God. Our ways seek to claim
honor, glory, and recognition for ourselves. Our ways are lying ways.
As we are pressed down into the dust, as David was, we come to see somewhat
of ourselves. And being born of God, we see our sins, and we loathe ourselves.
We confess our sins, and plead for God's mercies and His grace. We admit
that we are sinful beings and petition our God for our great needs. (Luke
Our needs are many. But one paramount need is to be taught God's ways so
that our ways can be flayed and crucified. "Teach me thy statutes," is
the petition cry of David, and of you and I. My ways have proven to be
faulty, Lord. I need thy ways to take hold of my life and to have mastery
What a great blessing this is. In fact, it is but the beginning of many
blessings. To be brought to the end of ourselves and to be enabled to see
the utter foolishness in declaring our ways is the opening up of a great
sea of blessings that will follow. When we acknowledge that our foolish
hearts have devised many ways - ways of lying, ways of deceit, ways of
covetousness, ways of belittling God - we are bowed down in remorse and
shame before our Master.
Then, the second aspect of this matter becomes active as God works in us,
"both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) God
first works in us (that is, in His people) the will to see ourselves as
He declares us to be. Then, He begins that work in us, (the same people
in whom He worked the will) that teaches us, directs us, and leads us to
do His will. And the honor and glory for it all is His alone! Praise God
- He gets the Glory.
Take note of verses 29 and 30 of Psalms 119 again. " Remove from me
way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the
way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me."
When God removes from His people the way of lying that is the product of
their sinful nature, He then grants to that same people His law. And He
does so graciously. He does so because it is His intention to conform His
people to the moral likeness and image of His dear Son and their only Savior.
He has explicitly said that that is His determined will in regards to them.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that
he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:28,29)
Also, be assured that when God grants unto us His law, He does so graciously.
He is not compelled, constrained, nor influenced to so grant. Rather, He
does so graciously, because He wants to. He does so by the use of His chosen
means. And that is by the meritorious work of Jesus Christ who acted for
us, and died for us, and gives unto us His life. Truly then, we declare
that "grace and truth" came by Jesus Christ. Grace and Truth. These twins
are inseparable from each other and from Jesus Christ.
Because God has led us to confess that our ways are lying ways, and has
granted unto us His law, we now have "chosen the way of truth". (verse
30) We have chosen. We have made the choice that God had purposed that
we make. We have made the choice that God has worked in us both to will
to make and to make. ( Philippians 2:13)
He, having regenerated us, has placed in us anew heart that is now subject
to His will and His ways. And from that moment of our birth unto His family,
with His nature, we have begun to act like His children. We have not learned
His ways perfectly, but we have begun. We have not attained, but we have
been enabled to press toward the mark. We have been led to choose His ways
over our old ways.
All who profess Him do not possess Him, however. As the Apostle Peter has
written in his second epistle, we see these false professors as Peter presents
them. Read all of II Peter, Chapter 2 for full context please. But for
now, just verses 1 and 2. "But there were false prophets also among the
people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall
bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and
bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious
ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
Every false way and every lying way that Satan devises and his emissaries
propagate denies the way of truth. All the false religions of men present
a way of salvation that is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. And it
matters little how they differ from each other, for they all differ from
God's Way. They all, each and every one, deny the sufficiency of the Blood
of Christ. Without exception.
The way of truth was made known to the king of Babylon one time. Hear Nebuchadnezzar
as he speaks in Daniel 4:37. "Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol
and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment:
and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." Yes, even once proud
and haughty and God defying human monarchs are led to acknowledge that
all the works and ways of God are correct.
It is also a joy to proclaim that some men do believe God and that some
men do find that His ways are the ways of truth. Hear the apostle as he
writes in II John 4. "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children
walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father." And
again in III John 3:4. "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren
came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in
truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
I am sure that these words that John wrote can be said to be the joy of
all God's men everywhere. What greater joy could there be than this when
speaking in the human realm concerning a preacher and those for whom he
is charged to proclaim the truth to?
To see the truth take hold of the lives of God's children is indeed joyous.
When practical Christianity manifests itself in the lives and fruitfulness
of those to whom you are privileged to minister, it is the verification
of other truths, and there is great joy to be experienced.
When doctrinal truth is proclaimed, and God opens the hearts of His people
to receive it, they become anchored and settled in the truth. There is
strength and stability added to their lives and they are not so prone to
be carried about by divers and strange doctrines. They know whom they have
believed. They know Jesus Christ.
Then, these doctrinal truths lead them to separate that which is mere form
and ceremony and ritualistic from that which is lasting and enduring and
vibrant and genders spiritual growth and development. Thus, sound doctrine
produces practical godliness in the lives of God's people.
God's people do follow Him. They do the works that please Him. Hear Jesus
as He declares in John 8:31,32 - "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed
on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Apart from study and prayer and continued meditation upon the things of
God, one cannot lay hold upon the truth of the teaching of God's word.
Therefore, it behooves every child of God to seek diligently the truths
of the Bible so as to be enriched. "Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word
of truth." (II Timothy 2:16)
The Way of Life
"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know
good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the
tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him
forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden
Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of
the tree of life." (Genesis 3:22-24).
"...to keep the way of the tree of life."
How final this action that was taken by the LORD God appears! And how awesome
to contemplate that this action is justified. Adam is a sinner. He does
not deserve access to the tree of life, so his way is denied - his path
is blocked by the flaming sword of God that turned every way. Clearly,
this is a guarantee that the only way back into God's favor is upon the
basis of death.
Not only is Adam barred from the way to the tree of life, he is also required
to till the ground from whence God had taken him. His life is now totally
different from what it had been before sin had separated him from his Maker.
Before this spiritual death had claimed him, he had not been separated
from the fellowship and communion with God.
What price sin? For his willful act of disobedience Adam is constituted
and judged to be a sinner. And thus, he is separated from his Holy Creator.
He is dead spiritually. He is totally inactive, spiritually. He is dead!
Adam exercised his free will, and he chose to hearken to the voice and
the action of the woman that God had made to be to him a help- meet. Rather
than to obey his God, he voluntarily chose, or elected to continue with
the woman, his wife Eve that God had given him. He loved her, and he ought
to have loved her. But he is obligated to love God supremely. And he did
When he sinned, he not only forfeited his life, he also forfeited dominion
over the creation that God had given under his ruler ship. He relinquished
his claim upon his day today benefits and also the privilege of being able
to live peaceably with his God. He is now, as soon as he sinned, at enmity
with God. He is opposed to God's ways and to the way of life.
But God has provided for this seeming calamity. Omniscient Wisdom had purposed
to deliver His people from His wrath against their sin. God has by His
own determinate counsel delivered His Son, His only Begotten Son, His Beloved
Son to judgment in the stead of the elect sinner. Christ, the Anointed
of God, has stood as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And
that is Adam's Hope. That is our Hope.
Take note, and take courage. God has shown, in type, the delivering up
of His Son to judgment. And he has done this before He banished Adam from
the way of the tree of life. Read of this in Genesis 3, as God preached
the "Proto-evangelia", i.e., the gospel of the grace of God to Adam, to
Eve, and to the serpent in verses 14 through 19, especially verse 15.
Here in verse 15, God said, "And I will put enmity between thee (Satan)
and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed (Christ); it (He) shall
bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This is the gospel! This
is the pronouncement by God of what He would do. It is not what man must
do. It is what God has said He would do.
Then note also that God made provision to cover their nakedness by clothing
them. And it was not physical nakedness alone that God made provision for.
In fact, that was the lesser of the covering benefits. The great provision
is that their exposure to the judgment and wrath of a Holy God against
sin is now covered. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make
coats of skins, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21).
Cain also sought to do things his own way. Having been taught the necessity
of a sacrificial offering, he decided to bring forth as an offering, the
very best produce that he had harvested from the ground that he tilled.
He was positive that it being his best, God would surely find it pleasing.
And would not his darkened mind so reason? Do not men of darkened minds
so reason today?
But hear the preacher declare in Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a way
which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
0 that men might know that the thoughts and imaginations of his heart is
only evil continually. Not the way of life at all, but rather, the way
of death. Man imagines life, but reaps instead death.
Hear the preacher again in Proverbs 10:17 - "He is in the way of
life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth." And
in Proverbs 12:28 - "In the way of righteousness is life; and in
the pathway thereof there is no death." And in Proverbs 6:23 - "For
the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction
are the way of life."
The way of life is the way that the LORD God has prescribed. It is the
way that men must be brought to, for they cannot find the correct way so
long as their minds are darkened and their path is in the opposite direction.
Because their mind is darkened they cannot grope to any degree of success.
And groping is all that they are capable of doing. They cannot see; they
cannot reason; they cannot find the way.
Jesus clearly laid out before men the exact situation. When He spoke in
7:13,14, He said correctly: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide
is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many
there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is
the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
These words were not spoken that the darkened mind might be comforted.
Nor were they spoken to encourage a false hope among those religionists
of self-righteousness then, or now. Rather they were spoken to confirm
the foolishness of self-righteousness, and to confirm also the wisdom that
comes to those who are brought to see the narrow way. Jesus assures those
who are enabled to see that some men indeed do find the narrow way - the
way of life. Many do not. But some do.
There is a further joy that can accrue to the one who has been enabled
to have access to the way of life. To all those who have by grace been
brought back into God's favor, there is abundance of life to be had. There
is an ongoing and increasing sweet fellowship to be enjoyed. And there
is the promise and assurance that this state of happiness and bliss will
never, never, ever cease. It is eternal. It is without duration.
Meditate upon the vastness and upon the greatness that is promised to God's
people as the Psalmist declared in Psalms 36:6-10. "Thy righteousness
is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: 0 LORD, thou
preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving kindness, 0 God!
therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou
shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the
fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. 0 continue thy lovingkindness
unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart."
This abundance of life that is the portion of God's children is promised
by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He put forth the great discourse of the
work and benefits of the Good Shepherd in John, chapter 10,
He specifically made the promise. Hear Him as He speaks in verse 10
- "... I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more
Since the language of the Bible is the language of God, we are enabled
to see that it is restrictive, explicit, and exact. Therefore, Jesus said,
"I am come that THEY might have life and that THEY may have it more abundantly."
He said that particular individuals may have life eternal. Not all - but
some: THEY. They who are believers have life. Unbelievers do not have life.
And who believes? Those who have been begotten of God have life, and as
a consequence, believe. They believe BECAUSE they have been given life.
Then, having been made alive, and having manifested that they are in possession
of life, they believe and openly produce evidence that they are alive.
They live and move and have being because they have life.
And Jesus said that they who have life may now have it more abundantly.
Not just being in mere possession of life, but having that life to be made
to expand and continue. To reap greater benefit and blessing. To be enabled
and caused to be of greater service. To have that life to be useful in
the hand of the one and only Master and to be at His disposal and call.
The Apostle Paul spoke of the abundance of God's provision for His people
when he wrote to Titus. Take note of this in Titus 3:4-7 - "But
after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his
mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to
the hope of eternal life."
The mercies of God are abundantly shed on us. And these mercies are of
uncharted value as to quality, quantity, and duration. His mercies are
like nothing that man can produce. They are beyond the scope of human understanding,
and surely beyond the capability of duplicating. And in Psalm 136,
we are assured that the duration of God's mercies are eternal. Here in
these twenty-six verses of Scripture, we are told twenty-six times that
"...his mercy endureth for ever".
This tells us that the life that is ours, by the grace and mercies of God
is indeed abundant life. And it ought to produce in us a joy that is nowhere
matched. And it does produce such a joy. God's people are a people of joy,
and they express that joy. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy
presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
And take note of the word that is delivered to the Philippian saints. "If
there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if
any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy,
that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one
mind." (Philippians 2:1,2).
The way of life. What is it? It is Jesus Christ. It is Him who is the Eternal
God. For creatures, it is to be made anew, in His moral image and likeness.
It is to have a new heart implanted and a new nature given. It is to be
begotten again unto a lively hope. It is to be born of God. "For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift
of God." (Ephesians 2:8).
The Way of The Lord
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a
buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save the LORD? and
who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh
my way perfect." (II Samuel 22:31-33).
Surely, the way of the Lord is the perfect way. There could never be a
more perfect way, for the Lord's way is the Lord Himself. The Person of
God as He presents Himself in Jesus Christ is now, and forever shall remain
Perfection. He is God, and as God He can never improve nor diminish. He
cannot become more, or less than He is. Of Himself, He said "I AM", and
thus it is properly expressed and forever settled.
Concerning those actions that he has taken, we can but say that all that
He has done has been well done. "And God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the
sixth day." (Genesis 1:31). Creation, being entirely the work of
God, is most wonderfully a perfect work. He has looked over His work and
pronounced it to be "very good".
And further, the works that He is now doing in regard to His creation is
also well done. He sustains each segment and particle of the whole, and
it is undeniably under His absolute control and sway. There are no emergencies
encountered in the operation of the entire realm of creation. All works
smoothly and precisely. All is on schedule. All is in perfect harmony and
alignment. There is not a portion that runs amiss of its design and function.
Concerning the ways of the Lord as to His precepts, statutes, commandments,
and edicts, all here is found to be sure, steadfast, and unchanging. It
is perfect, and therefore need not change for improvement, and cannot change
for worsening. God, the Omniscient Lawgiver, has correctly purposed all
things and has placed them into operation with Infinite Wisdom directing.
Nothing is out of order and there are no conflicting laws, precepts, or
Legislatively, God has purposed a perfect system of law that is expressive
of His perfect nature. He has commanded according to His perfect laws.
He has issued His edicts as befits Himself. No improvement required, for
there is no flaw in any of the ways of the Lord.
Administratively, God is also upon His Throne still. When we view the chaos
and turmoil among men and governments of men, it does not appear that God
is at all involved in the events that go on and in the affairs of men.
But He is. He holds absolute dominion over all, and is now bringing all
matters to the purposed end that He has in all eternity determined.
We are hard pressed to come to grips with the realities of this. But it's
true none-the-less. What effect does our failure to comprehend have upon
the outcome? None at all, we must confess. Even though we may prove to
be of little faith, yet He abideth faithful. He will be true and faithful
to Himself. He will do His will. Do you understand this? I don't. But by
God-given faith I believe it.
The way of the Lord in His dealing with His Blood bought children is marvelous
to behold. Much that shall yet be made known is but for the moment just
bound up in the promises of God. All is not yet manifested, but all is
assured. All is to be brought to final fruition as God works His will and
purpose to perfection - to the desired end that He has eternally had in
He dealt with His people in the matter of the deliverance from sin and
its curse by dealing with their Surety. His Christ bore the burden of guilt
and of penalty for each and every one of their sins. He put those sins
away, by putting them under the judgment that he brought to bear upon His
But was this always the Lord's intended way of dealing with the sins of
His elect? Is it, as some would affirm, that God only sent His Son into
the sin cursed world after all else had failed? How absurd to imagine that
such is the case. And yet, religious hordes think so. Millions think so
and their blind leaders feed them this evil and diabolical portion at every
setting of their religious feast.
But, it is declared unto you that the way of the Lord in dealing with sin
is now, and ever has been centered in the Person and Work of God the Son
as Surety. No stop-gap measures with God. No contingency plans in the strategic
or tactical counsel of the Holy God. "Known unto God are all his works
from the beginning of the world." (Acts 15:18). "And I beheld, and,
lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst
of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain ..." (Revelation 5:6).
This Lamb is He whom the Baptist pointed out in John 1:36, "And
looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"
Having put away the sins; all the sins of His elect; all the elect, each
and every one, God does now deal with them as a loving Father and no longer
as their Judge. He has already dealt in that way, and now deals as a loving
and wonder working Heavenly Father.
He chastises and corrects the misbehavior of His children, and He does
it in order to His intentions, conforming them to the moral image and likeness
of His dear Son. This is His expressed purpose. It is now, and has ever
been His will that each of His purchased children be fashioned like His
Son. And He is presently working that purpose out to His desired end. "For
whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image
of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them
he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans
Surely as the purging and refining fires of chastening works its will upon
sinning Sons of God, they are improved. Surely as the fuller's soap does
its work, God's children are corrected in their conduct. And it has ever
been the Lord's way to bring about this great refining and purifying.
As children, we sometimes fail to grasp the value of God dealing with us
as He does. We sometimes murmur and complain as God brings to us the circumstances
that make us to become more suited vessels for His service. Our short-sightedness
is a hindrance to us, and we fail in laying hold upon all the blessings
that God delivers to us in this way.
It is too often true that we want to have the right disposition and attitude,
but are unwilling to be taught about these attributes that identify us
as a developing and growing child. We want what we want and do not know
what we ought to want. Putting the matter bluntly, we do not know what
is best for us. But God knows. And He knows exactly how to bring to pass
that which He uses to make of us what He will.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace
wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only
so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh
patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh
not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the
Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:1-5).
You see, God's elect do not reach their promised glorified state apart
from God having predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His
Son and then calling them, and justifying them. (Romans 8:29,30). Neither
do they, as children, reach their state of suitability to be vessels that
are meet for the Master's use apart from the means that God has ordained
to bring them to that state.
And God brings all this about by working hope in them through having already
worked experience in them. And that by working patience in them. And that
by bringing trials, testing, and purifications upon them so that they are
literally molded, shaped, and fashioned. Just as the earthly potter works
his will upon the clay, our Eternal Potter works His will upon us who are
likened to clay. He makes of us that which seems good to Him. And is this
not best for us? Is it not better than anything we might seek to be, in
and of ourselves?
Note again Romans 5:1-5. In verse 1, the Scriptures speak to those
who "have been" justified by the faith which is in Christ Jesus. And only
saved sinners can here be seen. Those who have been justified. Then, God
continues the work that He has begun in behalf of these saved sinners,
by working all aspects of their salvation. Not just the beginning, or regeneration
of them into new beings, but salvation in its entirety.
He teaches them of His precepts, His statutes, and His laws. Precepts,
so that they may know who He is. Statutes, that they may know what He demands.
Laws, that they may know how to meet His demands.
Who can know God - except He reveal Himself, and teach His creatures of
His Being and Nature?
Who can know God's demands - except He declare His Righteousness? His statutes
exhibit His Righteousness, and each and every one is a fuller and more
complete revelation of Agape love, to His elect from before their creation.
Before there was a creation, there in solemn solitude and majesty, the
Triune God set His love upon a people. He entered into covenant with Himself
to undertake for them, when as yet, they were not and needed none to see
to their problems. He loved them, though they were not yet created.
At God's own point of good desire, He went about His work of creation and
brought all things that ever shall be into existence. And included in the
created masses were His chosen ones on whom His love already resided. He
permitted His chosen ones to fall with all the rest, for they all fell
But God, in infinite wisdom, determined to get glory to Himself from the
entirety of His creation. Even from His chosen ones who sinned with all
the rest of Adam's race. And some were His own and others were passed by.
But all were sinners. It was sovereignty that determined.
God had covenanted to send forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the
law, to deliver His people from their sins. And all this was purposed by
God before there was a creation. For indeed Christ stood as a Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world. But it was to this very end that He came.
It was to deliver his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21).
Upon examination now of this stupendous subject of the Way of Salvation,
let me remind each of us that Jesus Christ is that Way. He is the Way of
Righteousness, for Romans 10:1-4 makes this declaration - "Brethren,
my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israelis, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according
to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going
about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves
unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness
to everyone that believeth."
He is the Way of Truth, for the Psalmist was led to proclaim, "Remove from
me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the
way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me." (Psalms 119:29,30).
is led to acknowledge that he has chosen the way of truth because the way
of lying has been removed from him.
As the result of God having set His love upon His people, He has acted
in their behalf. God removed from them that which had separated them from
Himself, and that is sin and all its ramifications. The darkened mind and
alienated heart are because of sin. And God has removed that sin, and consequently
has removed the darkness and alienation so that the now quickened sinner
can lay hold, by faith, of the way of truth. And it's all of God.
He is the Way of Life, for He, being the eternal God is the source of all
life. The life that a creature now possesses is that which has been given
from God, the Source.
When Adam was created, he was formed and fashioned from the inanimate dust
of the created earth. He had form, body, and substance. But he had no being
as yet. He remained inanimate until God breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life. And that life was of and from God. Then Adam became a living
soul. (Genesis 2:7).
Can any successfully deny that all life originates with God? None can.
Many try, but none can succeed, for God is Eternal. The Life of God is
Eternal. But all creatures had a beginning of form and of life and being.
Not so with God, but true of all creatures.
Now, in the matter of God produced spiritual life in His creatures, that
life also must come from God. There is no other source. There is no other
possibility. So all the spiritual life that exists in creatures is given
them of God. It is God having breathed life into an otherwise dead creature.
Clearly then, the Bible presents wondrous truth concerning the Way of Salvation
in each of these ways in which we have examined in this study. The word
of God has clearly set forth the subject and has spoken the mind of God
on the matter.
Our Dear Lord Jesus has uttered these wonderful words for the edification
and comfort of all His children. He has spoken in intimate terms to us
and has said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).
The Way of Salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Baptist Herald - March / April, 1990)
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