The Simplicity of Salvation — by Christopher Skinner
We cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath but God has provided salvation for us. It is easy to be saved.
Numbers 21:4: And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
The Lord Jesus used this as an illustration of the sacrifice of himself:
John 3:14: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Just as the Israelites had to look on the serpent to be healed, we have to look upon Christ to be healed of our sin. God’s provision requires a response – even though God had provided the remedy, it is ineffectual if it is not applied. The response is to trust in him. The gift of God’s one and only Son is sufficient to save all and effective only for those who believe.
Some Israelites may have failed to look at this provision and tried to find their own remedy. Today, many religious ignore God’s provision and focus their efforts on good works and fail to come by the means God has provided. If the Israelite failed to look at the serpent, and instead focused their attention on their wounds, they would have perished. Many believers today are likewise very introspective and focus on their sins and how to do better. This is not the solution.
Just one look was all that was required for healing. Likewise, when someone throws themselves on God’s mercy and trusts in The Lord Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away their sin, they are forgiven once and for all time. Salvation is not reversed when we take our eyes off the Lord, but we are preserved by him and disciplined by him that we may grow in grace and righteousness (John 6:47-40; Hebrews 12).
When Satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within
upward I look and see him there
who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
for God the just is satisfied
to look on him and pardon me
[Hymn: “Before the Throne of God Above”: Words and Music by Charitie Lees Bancroft and Vikki Cook]