Many people suppose that salvation is God’s reward to those who do their best to live good lives. This is not so, for God’s Word says of those who are saved:
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9).
Referring to this “salvation which is in Christ Jesus,” St. Paul says:
“It is a faithful saying, for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (II Tim. 2:10,11).
In other words: The believer, viewing Calvary aright, has “died with Christ.” Viewing the Cross, he has said: “This is not Christ’s death. He was no sinner. He had no death to die. He is dying my death!” And so by faith he is “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). The penalty for all his sins has been fully paid, for he died — in Christ, and thus has also risen with Christ “to walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3,4).
This is all God’s doing, and only now is the believer in a position to do good works that will please God. Thus the Apostle writes of believers, in II Tim. 2: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us” (Ver. 12). When the believer’s service for Christ is reviewed some, indeed, will “receive a reward,” but others will “suffer loss,” though they themselves will “be saved, yet so as by fire” (I Cor. 3:14,15).
It will be deeply embarrassing, in that day, for unfaithful Christians to face empty-handed the One who gave His all, Himself, to save them. Yet salvation is by grace, thus the Apostle hastens to conclude his statement in II Timothy 2, with the words:
“If we are unfaithful, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (Ver. 13)
Thus our rewards as believers depend upon our faithfulness, but our salvation, thank God, on His!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.