The Simplicity of Salvation
"...The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach." (Romans 10:8)
How easy it is to become a Christian! Occasionally someone will say, "Brother Hyles, you make it so easy to be saved."
I always answer, "I did not make it easy; God made it easy. I simply tell you how God made it." I made this comment in a home recently: If my girl, Becky, ran away from home, I would want her back. It would be the easiest thing in this world for her to get back. All she would have to do is come and say, "Daddy, I want to come home," and she would be as good as at home. I would want her to come home as much or more than she would want to return, so I would make it very easy for her to come back home.
If one of your children got lost, you would make it easy for him to come back. You would search everywhere. You would be the aggressor. You would be more anxious, or at least as anxious, for him to come home as he would be to return home.
Our Heavenly Father is the same way. Salvation, my friend, is not hard. It is simple. Salvation is not running an obstacle course and hoping you will end up standing up someday when the judgment comes. God has made salvation so simple that the smallest child who understands right from wrong can accept it and be saved. God has made salvation so easy that anybody who knows he is a sinner and knows that by faith he can receive Christ as Saviour, can be saved. God's Part in Salvation is Big, Tremendous.
Now, to be sure, salvation is big! We stumble over its bigness in an effort to make it complicated, but bear this in mind: All the bigness of salvation is on God's part, not ours. All the immensity, all the working, all the business, all the complexity, all the theology, all the deep doctrine and all the philosophy of being saved is God's part. Our pan is so simple.
Salvation is big! Man sinned in the Garden of Eden. God made a man; He made a woman. He put them in the Garden of Eden and said, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it."
Man ate that forbidden fruit when Satan tempted, tested and deceived Eve. Eve came back and told Adam she had eaten of the fruit, that it was a tree that would make men wise, good to look upon, and it opened her eyes concerning good and evil. Man had sinned! Man was made in the image of God for fellowship with God. When man departed from God, then God made a plan to save man. Now the making of that plan was complex. The making of that plan was eternity-shaking. The making of that plan was big and magnificent, but the receiving of that plan is just as simple as taking a drink of water.
God immediately said, "I am going to make a plan." When Adam and Eve sinned, and sin came into the human race, and man departed from God, immediately God started to make a plan. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said, "Father, I will go to earth and become man. I am willing to become flesh. I will live a sinless life, a perfect life. I will go to Calvary. I will dip My own soul into Hell itself I will become sin for man. If man will simply receive Me, he can be saved." Immediately God promised that the seed of woman would bruise the head of the serpent, and the Seed of woman would, of course, someday come. Four thousand years later in Bethlehem's manger came the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan, then, set out to block the coming of the Saviour. He set out immediately to block salvation's plan. Adam and Eve had a boy they named Cain. They had another boy named Abel. There was the seed of the promised Messiah, but Cain killed Abel, and the seed-carrier was broken. God gave another son whose name was Seth. From the time Seth was born until Jesus Christ came in Bethlehem, Satan did everything he could to block the coming of the Saviour.
When Jesus' coming was finally announced, Satan tried to get Joseph to put Mary away, to stone her so the Messiah would not be born. Finally, when the Messiah came, there was no place for Him to be born, for Satan blocked any hospital, hotel or inn from the Saviour. So the Saviour was born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Then immediately Satan tried to block salvation's plan in the leading of Herod to kill all the male children two years old and under. You recall how the angel came to Joseph in a dream and said, "Flee to Egypt." Once again God had blocked Satan's plan to thwart salvation.
Satan was not finished. He took Jesus one day up to a mountain and tempted Him in the wilderness three times, hoping that somehow sin could enter in the life of Jesus Christ, for if Jesus Christ had been a sinner, He would have had to suffer for His own sin and could not suffer for my sin. However, Jesus said, "Get thee behind Me, Satan," and He took the Sword of the Spirit and three times struck the Word of God into Satan. Jesus did not yield to temptation!
Satan wasn't through. You recall when Jesus was on the cross, people came by, looked up at Him, hissed at Him, and said, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." Satan well knew if Jesus Christ would come down from Calvary, salvation's plan would be thwarted, but Jesus did not come down!
Satan wasn't finished then. Jesus was put in a borrowed sepulcher. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus came and got His body and placed it in a borrowed tomb outside the city of Jerusalem. The Bible says that the Roman government put guards around the tomb to guard the Saviour from coming forth. Thank God, once again, on that Easter Sunday morning Jesus came forth victoriously, and the Gospel is now finished. Christ, our perfect Lamb, has been sacrificed, has been buried, rose again the third day, and we do have a Gospel!
It is complicated, to be sure. When a person is saved, he is redeemed. His sins are forgiven. His past is forgotten. He is made an heir of God, a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. He is become sanctified in the Beloved. As far as God's wrath is concerned, he is justified. He is saved from Hell, and for eternity he will live with God in Heaven to enjoy the bliss of God's prepared city forever and forever.
Complicated, isn't it! Big, isn't it'? Immense, isn't it'? Wonderful, isn't it? Hard to comprehend, isn't it? Yes, it is, but I say once again that every part of the complicated Gospel is God's part, not man's part. God has prepared a big meal, which is salvation. Jesus Christ is the bread of life. He is the living water. He is the meat of the Word. He is the milk of the Word. Jesus Christ is the great meal. Salvation has been prepared, and now God tells us, "Come, for all things are now ready "
Man Has Tried to Complicate Getting Saved.
It is so easy to be saved. Oh, complicated for God--yet so simple for man. I want to show you about the simplicity of being saved. Man has tried to complicate it. God said, "Come." Isn't that all God said to Adam and Eve? "Come." Isn't that all God said in Revelation 22:17?, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
A man made a great supper in Luke 14 (a picture of salvation), and sent his servants at suppertime to say, "Come; for all things are now ready."
I want to make one thing clear at the start: You cannot do anything to get saved except come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, how Satan has tried to complicate it! Satan has tried to make more to salvation than that. People have tried to add their own work to salvation. We want some candles in the church. We want some soft music in the background. We want to learn some confessions of faith and take a catechism. We want to do something ourselves to be saved. We want to feel something shoot in our spine and toes. We want to roll down the aisle and shout, "Whoopee! Hallelujah! I hear angel's wings flapping."
Now you may get saved by candlelight, but you won't get saved by the candles. You may get saved with soft music playing, but the soft music won't have a single thing to do with your getting saved.
You may get saved in the baptistry, but the baptistry won't have a thing to do with your getting saved.
You may get saved the moment you join the church, but the joining of the church won't have a single thing to do with your getting saved. When you get saved, you may shout, but shouting won't have anything to do with your getting saved.
When you get saved, you may cry, but crying won't have a single thing to do with your getting saved.
When you get saved, you may say, "Whoopee!" but "whoopee" won't have anything to do with your getting saved.
The way to get saved is to come to Jesus and trust Him by faith. It is the simple plan that God has made.
Now there are three things that tell us of salvation's simplicity:
I. BIBLE EXAMPLES OF CONVERSIONS SHOW THAT OUTWARD CONDITIONS AND EMOTIONS VARY WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
"Oh," you say, "The Apostle Paul." We like to take the Apostle Paul's conversion and make a big to-do about that. A light shone round about him, and Paul was thrown to his face on the Damascus road, and was blinded. All of a sudden Paul said, "Who art Thou, Lord? What wilt Thou have me to do?"
We say, "'Men we ought to have a light shine around about us." No, the light shining around Paul didn't save Paul. Paul's falling on his face didn't save him. The blinding of Paul didn't save him. Paul was saved when he received Christ as Saviour. It is not the circumstances that save; it is the will saying, "I will come to Christ," which makes one a Christian.
Now quit waiting for a feeling. You may not hoot and holler when you get saved. I don't know what you will do or what the emotional results of your salvation will be, but know this: The resulting feelings have nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is when a person realizes he is a sinner and Christ is the Saviour and by faith he turns to Christ for salvation. That is what being saved is. Matthew was sitting one day at the seat of customs when Jesus came in the room. Matthew just left all and followed Jesus. No light for Matthew! No falling on his face for Matthew! Now if Matthew had fallen on his face and cried and shouted and said, "0 boy! Hallelujah! I'm born again!" and hugged his neighbors and his wife and rejoiced and rolled in the aisle, he would still have been saved, not because he did those things, but because he had put his faith in Christ.
The Bible tells us that one day Zacchaeus was up a tree. Jesus was coming through the city of Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. Zacchaeus wanted to see Him, but there was a great parade coming through, and since Zacchaeus was a little short fellow and could not see Jesus coming, he climbed a tree and looked down. There came Jesus. Jesus said, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. I'm going to your house for lunch today." Jesus went home with Zacchaeus and over the supper table or dinner table, Zacchaeus trusted Him. Zacchaeus was saved.
The thief on the cross simply said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." Jesus said, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise."
The publican in Luke 18 beat on his breast and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus said, "'This man went down to his house justified."
The eunuch in Acts 8 said, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart (that Jesus is the Son of God), thou mayest." The Eunuch said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." He simply trusted Jesus for salvation, and the Bible says that they got out of the chariot and "they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him . . . and he went on his way rejoicing." The eunuch got saved by trusting Christ.
Zacchaeus got saved by trusting Christ. Matthew got saved by trusting Christ. John got saved by trusting Christ. Peter got saved by trusting Christ. There may have been different circumstances. There may have been different environments. There may have been different stimuli. There may have been different emotional responses. There may have been different atmospheres, but salvation is wrapped up in one thing, and that is, "Come, for all things are now ready!" Just come to Christ--that is salvation!
II. NEW TESTAMENT FIGURES OF SPEECH SHOW THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION.
Not only are there many Bible examples of the simplicity of salvation, but let us notice New Testament comparisons. All the way through the Bible we have figures of speech. The New Testament figures of speech show the simplicity of being saved. Oh, a lot of you would be saved, but you want a light to strike you in the spine! You want a hypodermic needle to hit you. You want to wiggle and roll down the aisle and feel something coming out of your ears and have springs coming out of your head. You want to have something about which God says nothing!
Now when you get saved, you may have springs coming out of your ears, but you are not saved because you have springs coming out of your ears! You may shout when you get saved, but that will not save you. Salvation is by faith in Christ.
Now listen to me! Anybody who knows he is a sinner and knows that he is condemned before God to die and knows that Jesus Christ on the cross suffered for sinners, and will simply come to God and say, "Dear Lord, forgive my sins and save my soul today," can be saved.
You may shout, but the shouting will not save you. For example, on Sunday we have many different types of conversions in people who come down the aisles. One person may come down the aisle saying, "Oh, I want to be saved," crying all the time. Last Sunday night we almost had to mop the altar when a lady got through. Here comes another fellow who says, "I want to be saved," smiling real big. Here comes someone else who says, "I want to be saved," with remorse. Here comes another one who says, "I want to be saved," very straight-faced.
Now is it the smile? No. The tears? No. The stimuli? No. Remorse? No. The thing is, they want to be saved. That is it! It is not how they act; it is what they do. If by faith you say, "Yes" to Christ, that settles that!
Now let's notice comparisons
1. The New Testament compares salvation to letting someone in the door. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." There are two young people here to whom I talked yesterday about Christ and they both were saved. I explained to them, as I have done so often, that salvation is a matter of Jesus knocking at the heart and you opening the door and letting Jesus come in. It is very simple to open the door. If a friend came to see me and rang the bell or knocked on the door, would I say, "Whoopee! Come in"? I wouldn't put it that way at all. Now it is a very simple thing--"Would you come in, please?" Then he comes in.
Jesus said that salvation is like that. He is out of your life. He is not your Saviour. You have lived without Him. You have never trusted Him. Now you simply say, "Dear Jesus, come in." God says that is salvation.
2. Getting saved is like taking a drink of water. In John 4:14 Jesus said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Now it is very simple to take a drink of water. Some people get so thirsty that when they take a drink of water they go "Whoooo." Some people say, "Ahhh-hh-h." Some just swallow it, and that is it. Now who gets the most water? How it makes you feet doesn't have a thing to do with it! Jesus said getting saved is like taking a drink of water. Are you thirsty? Do you know you are lost? Do you know you need Christ? He is the One Who is the water! You take a drink and He comes in. That is what salvation is like, He says.
3. Getting saved is receiving a gift. Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Ephesians 2:8, 9, "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." I give a person a gift. He takes it. Is it his? Absolutely! What if he doesn't feel good? The gift Is still his. What if he doesn't shout? It is still his. What if he doesn't cry? It is still his. It is very simple to accept a gift. All you do is reach out and take it and believe it is yours.
Now salvation is that way, the Bible says. Jesus is God's "unspeakable gift." Eternal life is God's gift to man. Anybody who will say, "I am willing to receive the gift," can very simply receive the gift from God.
4. Getting saved is going through a door. In John 10:9 Jesus said, "I am the door," and in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Is it very complicated to go through a door? No. When I leave the service I most always go through this door. I will walk over there, turn the doorknob, walk through the door, and go down the stairs. Is that very complicated? I probably won't shout. I doubt if I'll cry or holler. I doubt if I'll laugh, but I will go through the door.
Jesus said that on one side is eternal life; on the other side is eternal death. The difference is a door. Everybody in this house this morning who realizes he is unsaved, realizes that Christ will give him eternal life, and will say, "Dear Lord, I do accept You and come through the door of Jesus to salvation"--that minute God makes you His child!
5. Salvation is compared with coming home. This is very interesting. Here is a boy in Luke 15 who decides to leave his father and go to a far country. He takes all of his goods, goes to a far country, gets in trouble, looks for a job, can't find a job, finds a job feeding the hogs out in the hogpen, and finally he starts feeding himself the husks off the corn that the swine would not eat-the cornhusks, if you please. He eats the cornhusks. Finally he says, "The servants back home have more than this. Why, the servants back home have some good bread and potatoes and meat and beans, and here I am eating the cornhusks. I will arise and go to my father." He comes back to the father, and the father receives him.
Salvation is just going home. How many of you ever go home to see your father?
Let's say a family is having a reunion. Here are some children coming home. One child says, "Oh, it's so good to be home," in tears. Another says, "BOY, IT'S GOOD TO BE HOME"' Still another says, "Brother, it's wonderful to be home," very sincerely Another says, "Hello, Mother, How have you been?" Now who is the nearest home? It doesn't make any difference if one cries, one shouts, one laughs, one feels good, one sighs-they are all home! The Lord never did say that salvation is like a fellow who cries his way home or shouts his way home. It is like coming home!
Maybe you are lost from God. You are away from God. Jesus Christ is salvation. You need only to say, "Lord, I'm coming home."
"I've wandered far away from God. Now I'm coming home;
The paths of sin too long I've trod, Lord, I'm coming home."
6. Salvation is compared to saying "yes" to a proposal. How many of you married ladies remember very distinctly when you said "yes" to a proposal? Remember when he said, "Will you?" Was it very complicated? How many of you cried when your husband asked, "Will you marry me?" How many of you laughed when you said it? How many of you in your heart felt wonderful, but you didn't show a lot of emotion?
Here is a proposal: I am on my knees, and I say, "Beverly, would you make me the happiest man in all the world? Would you be mine?" She says, "OH, WONDERFUL! YES!" Now she said "yes" to my proposal, but she may just say, "Oh, (sob) yes!" She is Just as hooked as she was the other way! Or she may just say, "Um-hum." No matter how she may say it, she still has done the same thing.
Some of you folks are trying to get married just like everybody else got married. It isn't how you respond; it is the response. Jesus said, "Will you be married? Will you come to Me? Will you trust Me?" If You say, "Yes," you are saved! If you say, "No," you are lost! The way You respond has nothing to do with your eternal soul. Jesus compares salvation with a proposal.
7. Jesus compares salvation with accepting an invitation. Jesus told the parable of a man who "made a great supper and bade many." Jesus says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). I ask a friend, "Will you come over to my house to eat?" Now if he hasn't eaten for a week, he may say, "BROTHER, WILL I? SURE!" Let us suppose he is so full he doesn't want to eat a bite today. "Yes, I'll come." Let us suppose we are having broiled T-bone steak: "Boy, I'll come!" Or, let us suppose he has been wanting to come to our house for a long time and we haven't spoken in a year, and finally he realizes that we're going to speak again. He says, "Oh, I sure will come!"
Now let me ask you, will he be any more invited either way he answers? Not a bit! The way he would do it matters not; he simply accepts the invitation.
Now God says, "I have made a great banquet feast. I have prepared salvation. It is a gift. Would you come? Come."
Now then, somebody will say, "You bet I'll come. I'm so far in sin, I'll come"--weeping.
Somebody else says, "Yes, I need the Lord, I'll come"-very serious.
Somebody else says, "A BANQUET? I'LL COME! "--rejoicing. Somebody else says, "Whoopee! --shouting.
No matter how you act, you will not get any more to eat. The thing that makes you come is when you say, "Yes," to the invitation. Some folks want to get a candle, walk down the aisle with a long flowing robe and say, "I come." Some want to do cartwheels and flop down the aisle and say, "I come." Some want to cry, "I come." Well, any way is all right with me, as long as you don't trust that candle, or those cartwheels, or that feeling, or those tears, or that joy, to save you. As long as you trust the eternal Word of God and what He said, you have salvation! Would to God folks could understand it! God simply said, "Come." Man has been trying to make religions, to major on the minors, and major on the sidetracks, and major on the sidelines, when the truth is, all you have to do to be saved is just come to the Lord Jesus Christ.
8. He compares salvation with taking a bath. In Titus 3:5 He says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration." In John 13 Jesus said, "You have already bathed once; now wash your feet." Salvation is compared to taking a bath. Remember. Jesus is the One Who bathes you, makes you clean.
Many of you take a bath once a week whether you need it or not! It is not a big chore to take a bath. There have been times when I have been real hot, I mean on a hot blistering Texas day with the temperature at 109 degrees. I recall it was 111 degrees and I laid oak floor all day long. I almost died. I got home and said, "Honey, I want a cold bath." We turned on the cool water, and I jumped in. As I jumped in, I said, "Whew-ew!" Now there are other times when I have to take a bath real quickly; so I just rush in and rush out, but I am just as clean either way. You see, it doesn't matter whether you say, "Whew-ew" or not. If you want to say, "Whew-ew," that's all right, but you don't have to say it to take a bath. Taking a bath is very simple. You know you are dirty; Jesus has the soap. You get in; He bathes you. Now the sidelines may be different. The effect may be different. The outward results may be different, but the bath is the same. You get in and take the bath. Jesus said that salvation is that way. He cleanses all who come for "the washing of regeneration."
Some of you are so dirty and you have been so far into sin, that when you jump into salvation you are going to realize that you are clean, and you are going to say, "Whoopee! I'm clean!" Some are going to say, "I have been so dirty; it's so good to be clean"--crying all the time. Some are going to say, "I'm so glad to be saved." Some, "Yes, it's good to be a Christian." Now it all depends on how dirty you were. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW HOT IT HAS BEEN. It depends on how much you need the bath, but the salvation is not the whoopee or the whew-ew or the joy or the thrill or the tears. It is getting in the tub and taking the bath.
9. Salvation is compared to putting money in the bank. 2nd Timothy 1:12b, "I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed (or deposited) unto Him against that day." You take some money and put it in the bank. Now, two fellows go to the bank and each one puts in $100.00. One says, "0 boy! 0 BOY! I saved $100.00." The other quietly says, "Me too." Now which one has saved $100.00? Both have! You mean how happy you get about the money doesn't mean who has the $100.00 in the bank? That Is right. The question is not, did you shout to the teller, or cry to the teller, or hit the teller? The question is, Did you give the money to the teller?
A lot of folks say, "I'm saved because I shouted and felt it al I over." That is not why you are saved. You are saved because you put your soul in the hands of Jesus. You say, "I was there when it happened and I ought to know." Pretty song, but it isn't enough. Sure you were there when it happened and you ought to know, but you are not saved because you were there when it happened. You are saved because you trusted Jesus. You are saved because you said, "Yes," to Calvary and said, "I will deposit my soul to Jesus' keeping."
10. Getting saved is like eating a meal. The Bible says, "Come, all things are now ready" When we get home some little boy is going to say, "Mom, is dinner ready?" "Yes, son." My little boy, David, only hits the floor about twice. He dives in. "0 boy, Mom! 0 boy! Got some gravy!" I walk in, look, and say, "Gravy again." We eat the same gravy No difference at all. Same thing.
Becky might say, "Hot dog!" David might say, "Whoopee!"
I might say, "I'm so hungry, I've got to get to the food," but we each eat the same food. How we eat it has nothing to do with it. Some fellow can sop it; another can eat it with a spoon. Some fellow can lick it up; another can eat it with a fork. Some fellow can put it on toast; another can put his biscuits in it, but it is the same gravy I'm saying, it isn't what happened when you got saved-the experience, etc. It is, did you trust Jesus and did He save you?
III. OLD TESTAMENT TYPES SHOW THE SIMPLICITY OF GETTING SAVED.
Not only do Bible examples and New Testament comparisons show the simplicity of salvation, but the Old Testament types show us this also.
A coat of skins God offered Adam and Eve. What did they do? They took it, that is all.
A brazen serpent was placed on the pole, as we read in Numbers. Those bitten could only look at that brazen serpent and be saved. An ark was built 'In Noah's day. What did they have to do'? Come
inside the ark. That's all--just come inside.
The little lamb was slain. What did a Jew have to do? Put his hand on the head of the lamb.
The Old Testament types show how simple it is on our part to be saved. To be sure, when you come to Christ your sins are forgiven, you are made a new creature, the Holy Spirit comes in to live, you become one of God's children, and you will go to Heaven. A BIG THING. Oh, yes! Immense! But God does all the big work! All you do is take it by faith!
Recently in visitation I went to the home of a lady who is here this morning. We knelt and prayed and she said, "Yes, I know I ought to do it. I know I ought to do it."
I said, "Will you do it?"
"Yes," she said, "I will." We knelt to pray. I think with some emotion in her heart but not much in her voice, she said, "Dear Lord, I confess my sins. I pray You will forgive me. I receive You as my Saviour now." She received Christ.
I went down the street a little further. There I met two young people who are here this morning. I explained salvation to them. One teenage girl would not look at me, but kept looking down. I told her how to be saved, how she would not have to worry any more about going to Hell. Finally she prayed. Afterward I said, "Now are you saved?"
"Oh, yes," she said.
That girl who hesitated to decide and then timidly turned to Jesus in her heart was saved.
The other girl was joyful, immediately happy, but both girls were saved just alike the moment they put their trust in Jesus.
It is simple to receive Christ. You can open the door and Jesus will come in. You can simply receive salvation as a gift. You can accept the sweet invitation. Jesus said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37b). If you realize that you are a lost sinner who needs saving, and if you are tired of sin and want forgiveness, then I beg you here and now say "yes" to Jesus in your heart, turn your case over to Him and depend on Him to do the saving which He promised. Will you do that today?