The following is another portion of a chapter begun yesterday from a book by Dr. Harry Ironside, Great Words of the Gospel
REDEEMED, BUT DISOBEDIENT
When we turn to the Epistle to Titus, we have another aspect of redemption. In chapter 2, verses 11-14, we read:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world: looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
It cannot be too often insisted that salvation is not of works, that no works of ours could avail for our redemption; but here in this message we have another side of the truth emphasized, and that is that our blessed Lord not only died to redeem us from the judgment due to our sins, but He died to redeem us from all iniquity, that is, from all lawlessness. And sin is lawlessness. He died, as Mrs. Alexander’s beautiful old hymn put it, not only to save our souls, but “He died to make us good.” The Gospel has not accomplished its purpose if it only frees people from judgment. It has not completed its work until it presents every believer in the glory, fully conformed to the image of God’s blessed Son.
We have been called to holiness, to purity of life, to uprightness of behavior, and if any of us who profess the name of Christ are playing fast and loose with unholy things with worldliness, with carnality, with impurity, with things that defile these temples of the living God, these bodies in which the Holy Spirit dwells; if we are in any way living so as to bring dishonor upon the name of the One who died to save us, we are just to that extent thwarting one of the purposes for which Christ died. He died to redeem us from all iniquity. Here the word “redemption” is used in the sense of deliverance. He died to deliver us from all iniquity, to draw us away from evil things that peril our Christian experience and that would wreck and ruin our lives.
Redemption was illustrated in a stirring news article that appeared in our daily papers recently. Many read the story of those men shipwrecked in the South Pacific in connection with the world war. A number of them were huddled upon a raft and only one of them was able to swim, and he a big, burly black man. When those sailors saw nothing but death and despair before them, this black man sprang into the sea and towed that raft as he swam for over six miles through shark-infested waters, until he brought them all to a place of safety. That was redemption, and that man was a redeemer.
WHAT OF GOOD WORKS?
Our Lord Jesus not only risked His life but gave His life, not only to save us from judgment, but also to “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Dear young Christian, I beg of you, do not allow yourself to be careless as to this aspect of redemption. Do not be content to know that you have trusted Christ as your Savior from hell, and forget that you are called upon to live a heavenly life here upon this earth. Do not be content to say that at a given time or at a certain meeting you went into an inquiry room and told the Lord Jesus you would trust Him not only as the Savior of your soul but as the One who is to be Lord of your life, the One who died to redeem you from everything that is unholy.
We read, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Do not let it ever be said of you that you are not concerned about good works, and do not ever tell people that because salvation is not works, it does not matter what kind of lives they live. Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” They cannot see your faith, but they can see your works, and if your life is not in accordance with your faith, they will soon realize it and will put you down as a fraud and a hypocrite, and instead of your influence being for good, it will be for evil.
“THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING”
James says in his Epistle, “Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” You cannot show your faith without works, and so in that sense faith without works is dead. Justification is by faith, absolutely without works, but the same scripture that tells us that, puts emphasis on our works as the evidence of our salvation. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 2, we read: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” But Paul immediately adds, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This is our practical redemption. If one Scripture tells me that “this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” another Scripture says, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” Our Lord Jesus, the living Savior, has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, in order that as we walk in the Spirit we may find this practical redemption from the power of evil in the life.
[Tomorrow I plan to post the remainder of the chapter from Dr. Ironside’s book.]
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine . . .