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Is Salvation Only Forgiveness?


William Law (1686-1761)
 Our friend, Leonard Ravenhill, said that to be forgiven was to be half-saved.  I would add that to be half-saved is to be totally lost. Bible salvation means not only to be forgiven, but to be transformed into a new creation that loves righteousness and hates sin. From the first half of the 18th Century come these words from William Law…

But you will say, “Do not all Christians desire to have Christ to be their Savior?” Yes. But here is the deceit; all would have Christ to be their Savior in the next world and to help them into Heaven when they die, by His power and merits with God. But this is not willing Christ to be your Savior. For His salvation, if it is had, must be had in this world; if He saves you, it must be done in this life by changing and altering all that is within you, by helping you to a new heart, as He helped the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dumb to speak.

 For to have salvation from Christ is nothing else but to be made like unto Him; it is to have His humility and meekness, His mortification and self-denial, His renunciation of the spirit, wisdom, and honors of this world, His love of God, His desire of doing God’s Will and seeking only His honor. To have these tempers (archaic… qualities) formed and begotten in your heart is to have salvation from Christ. But if you will not have tempers  (again… qualities) brought forth in you, if your faith and desire does not seek and cry to Christ for them in the same reality as the lame asked to walk and the blind to see, then you must be said to be unwilling to have Christ to be your Savior.

Consider, how was it that the carnal Jew, the deep-read Scribe, the learned Rabbi, and the religious Pharisee not only did not receive, but crucified their Savior? It was because they willed and desired no such Savior as He was, no such inward salvation as He offered to them. They desired no change of their own nature, no inward destruction of their own natural tempers (self-qualities or self-righteousness), no deliverance from the love of themselves and the enjoyments of their passions. They liked their state, the gratifications of their old man, their long robes, their broad phylacteries and greetings in the markets. They wanted not to have their pride and self-love dethroned, their covetousness and sensuality to be subdued by a new nature from Heaven derived into them. Their only desire was the success of Judaism, to have an outward savior, a temporal prince, that should establish their law and ceremonies over all the Earth. And therefore they crucified their dear Redeemer, and would have none of His salvation, because it all consisted in a change of their nature, in a new birth from above and a Kingdom of Heaven to be opened within them by the Spirit of God.

Oh Christendom, look not only at the old Jews, but see yourself in this glass. For at this day (oh, sad truth to be told!) a Christ within us, an inward Savior raising a birth of His own nature, life, and spirit within us, is rejected as gross enthusiasm; the learned Rabbi’s take counsel against it. The propagation of property, the propagation of Protestantism, the success of some particular church is the salvation which priests and people are chiefly concerned about today.


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