The Salvation Ready to be Revealed in the Last Time
By Al Stoner
“Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!” (Ps. 31:19).
In the text shown above David saw something that other men of his day did not see. He knew and was persuaded of the goodness and mercy of the Lord that would follow him all the days of his life (Ps. 23:6), even through “the valley of the shadow of death”. He knew that, after being young when he had advanced into old age, he had not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Ps. 37:25). The man after God’s own heart confessed his persuasion that even if his father and mother would forsake him, then the Lord would take him up (Ps. 27:10).
But here in the Psalm 31 text we see that God had given David a foretaste of the joy and blessedness that was laid up for the people of the saints of the most High God. With Abraham David rejoiced to see Christ’s day, and he saw it and was made glad (cf. Jn. 8:56). Not only was there a goodness that was enjoyed now in the present time, but much more than this there is also a goodness that is laid up for them that possess a reverential fear of God, and who trust in Him before the sons of men. That goodness, or blessedness of which David spoke is yet today being reserved and kept in store for those who are waiting for God's salvation. David was given to see this in his day. May God give us grace to ever walk, by faith, in the blessed awareness of, and confidence in, the fullness of salvation that is hastening towards us at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, even the “salvation” which is “ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:5).
An Everlasting Salvation. “But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Isa. 45:17). Some may ask the question, what does this have to do with us who are Gentiles? The answer is this. We, by God's grace, have been grafted into their olive tree (cf. Rom. 11:16-24). Incidentally, Israel, itself, is not the olive tree, but rather the olive tree is theirs by promise made to Abraham. They are "the natural branches." And we, with them, have been made partakers "of the root and fatness of the olive tree." In God’s eternal purpose in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles have been made partakers of Christ, and the salvation that is in Him.
Let us here encourage one another that we that are in Christ have been appointed to an everlasting salvation. When Israel was delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians, it was not long after that until they needed to be delivered again. And after David was delivered from the lion, and the bear, and from the Philistine, it was not long after that until he had to be delivered again. The basking and exultation in any glory that was associated with these deliverances was short lived. Likewise, the memory of each temporal victory and deliverance eventually faded as a leaf.
But those who are accounted worthy to be partakers of this everlasting salvation in Christ Jesus shall never need to be delivered again! All the enemies shall be cast into the lake of fire, including the last enemy, death (I Cor. 15:26). It appears that in that world there shall be an everlasting memorial to this great and final deliverance from sin, from the course of this world, and from the wrath to come. In the Revelation, John beheld, and “lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6). At least 22 times we read of “the Lamb” in the Revelation. His Person is the central focus at every significant event recorded there. Throughout the endless ages to come each of the numberless redeemed personalities will walk in constant and acute awareness of their great indebtedness to “the Lamb”, the Lord Jesus Christ, for their being present there and for the unspeakably great favor that has been shown unto them.
This is an everlasting salvation! The redeemed shall forever bask and exult in the glory of this deliverance. It shall never become old to them and it shall never take the place of secondary importance.” Blessedly happy shall they be who are saved with an everlasting salvation! All such ones shall not be ashamed. We are speaking here of that which the partakers of this everlasting salvation shall be delivered from. Those who are not partakers of God's salvation are destined to be forever ashamed and confounded. Theirs will be the unbearable torments of the lake of fire. The personalities that are there shall be made the objects of everlasting shame and contempt (cf. Dan. 12:1-2). The haughty rejecters of this eternal salvation shall be forever confounded. Their high looks shall be brought low and their boasting tongues shall be forever silenced! They shall be put to confusion, and be forever subject to hurt, and reproach.
A Prepared Blessedness. “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him” (Isa. 64:4). With the exception of the holy Prophets, from the time of Adam to Moses, and from the time of Moses to Christ, those who had understanding of what God was working salvationally were few and far between. Many were given to behold some of God's mighty acts and deliverances, but they were not given to consider those workings as being related to an eternal purpose and with a specific direction in which God was leading men.
God has prepared unspeakably wonderful things for men, but they did not perceive it. The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent. He commands them to repent so that they may receive the great and blessed salvation that He has prepared before the face of all people.
A Coming Final Deliverance. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Mt. 6:13). Throughout our sojourn through this world we find ourselves continually in need of offering up this petition. We are delivered from evil and from the evil one, only to find ourselves in need of deliverance again. But the day is coming when we shall be forever delivered from evil. The evil one shall be banished to the lake of fire and we shall put off the body of this death. The world with all its accursed associations shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.
In the present time there evil men with wicked devices to be delivered from. There are the evil inclinations of the heart and evil concupiscence to be delivered from. There is an evil conscience and an evil heart of unbelief to be delivered from. There are evil thoughts, evil rejoicings, evil surmisings, and evil speakings to be avoided at all cost. There are evil works and evil workers to be delivered from. We stand daily in need of deliverance from the evil one. O Heavenly Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!
The fact that the Lord Jesus taught us to pray this prayer, teaches us that God is fully set to deliver us from all these things as they arise in this life until the final deliverance shall come in the world to come. The day is coming when we shall forever be delivered world without end! We shall bid farewell to an evil heart, to evil men and to the wicked one, and we shall have no more to do with them at all.
All of our present troubles proceed from this triumvirate of evil: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Presently, there is constantly a cause for asking for deliverance: because the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to God! The personalities that create the need for our being delivered are set in opposition to God's dominion and glory.
The Salvation to Be Seen by All. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk. 3:5-6). Right now all men are given to behold the first fruits of salvation. But in that day they shall be given to see the fullness of salvation. Some will joyfully behold as partakers of the great salvation, and others will painfully behold it as rejecters thereof.
This is the long-awaited deliverance from the curse, from the course of this world, and from the wrath to come. All prior deliverances will seem as the dust of the balance when compared with this one. In this salvation redeemed men shall be the head, and not the tail. They shall have joy unspeakable and full of glory. They shall leave off and forget sorrow and crying. They shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. They shall forever be in full possession of the crown of life (Jas. 1:12), the crown of glory (I Pet. 5:4), and the crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8). The effects of this deliverance shall never fade away. It shall forever be characterized by newness, by everlasting strength, and by blessedness. All flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Deliverance from the Body of this Death. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). It appears that this question kept coming up again and again with the Apostle Paul until the day that he put off this earthly tabernacle. Then and only then was he completely delivered from the body of this death. We find ourselves daily being opposed by our own body with its carnal mind and sinful flesh. It opposes us in our service rendered to the Father and the Son. It opposes us in the keeping of God's commandments. It resists us in our being joyful in the God of our salvation. The flesh is constantly rising up to oppose our entrance into the world to come.
The Coming Adoption. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). Let us give thanks for the prospect of the redemption of our body. We shall put off this mortal body, and put on immortality! We shall put off this corruptible, and put on incorruption. We shall put off the vileness, and in in its stead put on holiness. We shall put off weakness, and put on everlasting strength!
Right now we are in a state of humiliation because of the “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), and “the body of this death” (7:24). Some translations call the “vile body” (Phil. 3:21) the body of our humiliation, or “our lowly body” (RSV). But at the redemption of our body, we shall forever be in a state of exaltation and glory, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. A very vital part of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus is the redemption of our body. By this means we shall serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear throughout the ages to come. We shall never again meet with any opposition or hindrance from our vile and lowly bodies. Our new bodies shall forever be as a blessed “help meet” (Gen. 3:18) for us in our service to the Lord and to His Christ.