By Joseph L. Watkins
Often, we have endeavored to set forth the truth that a true story of the word of God is a study of “the words of God” - yes, His words - the words of His own choosing; those holy and whole sanctified words that He has set forth to best express his own desires and purpose. Read Psalms 12: 6, 7.
The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. “Thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever - amen and amen.”
King David, the writer of this Psalm, I am sure had his own “evil” generation in view as he penned these words. However, this present generation of men that are now handling this holy word is by far even seven times more “unholy and evil” than David’s generation ever could have been. But, oh yes, be sure He is still the one purifying one, and His words are both “holy and pure” words. And yes, they are the words of His own choosing.
Now, we are not talking about the words that we find in the King James translation, but the Hebrew and Greek texts are what we have in view; the very words that the Lord used to set forth and express His truths. So yes, we must study and know “His words” as best we can, that we might have the truth of His word.
This statement was never more true and needful than as we consider the great subject of salvation - yes, the salvation o God, in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word soeteria (#4991) is the noun form of the adjective soterios (#4992); these two are the only Greek words that have been rendered using our English word salvation, which denotes both deliverance from, and preservation unto, both that which is temporal and also material and may hold in view both that which is personal and/or national. See Vine’s Expository Dictionary, page 545; the New Thayer’s Greek/English Lexicon, page 612-A; and the Kittel Theological Dictionary of The New Testament Words, vol. 7, page 965.
At the heart of these words we find the idea of “to save” and/or “being saved” - both from some-thing and unto something, so we must keep in view the past, the present and the future. Salvation from death unto life without end, in Christ Jesus, is a past action with a present working, with the future always in view, so we should always hold in view the divine reason and purpose of the action in the first place.
Each time I have been involved in studying this great subject, I seem to become somewhat disappointed, discouraged, and even disgusted. Yes, very disgusted with these three men, for all three men are most scholarly and very knowledgeable, and to my own shame, I have at times even been envious of such intelligence, and their ability in these three languages. However, they have done, even as most men do, only and always having in their view salvation as it pertains to men finding life in Christ Jesus. Oh yes, this great truth is perhaps the greatest good news we know of, but there is so much more. Life in Christ Jesus is just the beginning, there is so very much more that we have from our great and all-wise Creator.
Please, dear reader, read and study each of the 48 occasions we find these words in our Bible. We want to consider only two, in Acts 28:28. We have the word soterios (#4992) and it should be rendered salvation bringing, that which is to bring into view the salvation. In Luke 2:30 and 3:6, we find that it was Christ Jesus that was seen as the One to bring salvation to
In Eph. 1:13, we have the Greek word soteaia (#4991) and this is the most important and critical occasion of this word; it is the most misunderstood and wrongly misused of all. Almost all men can see nothing but salvation unto life, they say the words “the gospel of your salvation” can only be referring to life in Christ Jesus. The word gospel means good news, and we all need to understand that we find a lot of good news in the word of God besides life in Christ Jesus. Here, the good news message that is in view is the message that Paul was given to be the minister of in Eph. 3:7, the message he says is “the unsearchable riches of Christ” in Eph. 3:8, and yes, the message that we all are “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery” (Eph. 3:9).
Now we ask that one who could say in all truthfulness that here the truth of the Gospel of Life in Christ Jesus is, or was ever said of God to be “a mystery message.”