What was Biblical salvation through the Gospel of Jesus?
Was salvation the escape from the wrath of Rome in Jerusalem in 70AD?
Or was salvation eternal life and immortality?
Let’s assume that salvation was the escape from the wrath of Rome in 70AD:
We know that the unbelieving Jews who perished in the fire of 70AD died a horrible brutal death. The survivors were taken as captives all over the Roman Empire as slaves/prisoners.
But we also know that a great number of Christians died as martyrs facing horrific persecution before 70AD.
So then the Christians also died horrible deaths.
Therefore the Biblical salvation in Christ was not the escape from horrible physical death.
The Biblical salvation was immortality – the resurrection to be with God and Christ in heaven.
Paul describes this here:
2 Timothy 1
“This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and IMMORTALITY to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.”
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Eternal life was the opposite of perishing.
What did Paul say happened to unbelievers?
1 Thessalonians 4
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
The unbelievers perished and had no hope beyond death.
It was because of Adam’s sin that resulted in physical death.
Genesis 3 “for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Paul said ONLY the believers had the hope of the resurrection and immortality with Jesus.
The salvation was not simply about escaping the wrath of Rome in 70AD because Daniel and all the patriarchs were looking forward to the resurrection and entrance into the heavenly city. They had nothing to do with escaping the Roman wrath of 70AD because they were already dead long before that event.
Daniel 12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the DUST of the earth will AWAKE: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt”
It was about being resurrected to join Abraham and the patriarchs in the kingdom of heaven.
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a HEAVENLY one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better RESURRECTION.”
Paul and all the Old Testament prophets were expecting the literal resurrection of the saints when Christ would return in the 2nd coming.
15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
It was the same hope of the resurrection of Jesus.
1 Peter 1
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Adam’s sin had led to physical death / perishing.
So then Jesus who never sinned, died on the cross
and was raised from the dead – proving that He is the Son of God or Messiah of the world.
through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord
That was the sign and hope of the resurrection of the saints.
10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
The same Holy Spirit who lived in Christ raised Him from the dead – would also raise the saints from the dead in 70AD.
Paul was expecting that resurrection:
1 Thessalonians 4
“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will RISE first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up TOGETHER with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the RESURRECTION of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But EACH in TURN: Christ, the firstfruits; THEN, when he comes, those who BELONG to him.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
When Jesus died on the cross, His resurrection was salvation from death. He offered the same salvation by resurrecting those who believed in him.
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could SAVE HIM from DEATH, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal SALVATION for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
This is why the Gospel was about immortality/resurrection.
Those who perished in 70AD and those who were taken alive as captives by the Romans, did not attain immortality. They perished in their sins.
The 2nd coming of. Christ in 70AD brought the resurrection of the dead and the end of the old covenant / old jerusalem / old heaven and earth.
The saints entered the New Jerusalem / new heaven and earth through the resurrection to be immortal where there is no more death/sorrow/curse.
The event of 70AD was the end of Old Covenant Israel.
The salvation for Israel came to an end because it was the last days of their covenant.
But as you know from Romans 4, Abraham was made righteous before he was circumcised. Abraham was imputed righteousness by faith before the law came. This is why Paul said that salvation was not tied to Israel or their Law.
This is why Paul said that Gentiles not under the Law, were also saved by faith in Christ.
If Abraham was righteous by faith before the law came, then surely righteousness is still being given by faith even after the law ended in 70AD. It’s because faith did not end with the law. The faith was required much before the law and ALSO after the law ended.
The kingdom is everlasting and the Gospel is also everlasting.
70AD was the end of the Mosaic age.
But the Gospel was not only for Israel but for all men.
People still die after 70AD and return to the dust like Adam.
Therefore we all need eternal life through faith in Christ.
The New Jerusalem is the body of Christ (the spiritual city).
The glory of the nations on earth are entering the city through the gates by washing their robes by faith in Christ. (Revelation 21)
We receive eternal life only when we believe in Christ.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
When a believer dies, he is instantly resurrected into the presence of God and Jesus.
This is why salvation did not end in 70AD.
Salvation is an ongoing free gift for all men to freely take by faith in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The same Gospel preached before 70AD is still preached today.
“Believe in the Lord JESUS and you will be SAVED”
Believing in Jesus is not a “religion”. It is believing in God’s unconditional love.
Does God save all people automatically?
1st Timothy 4:10 “God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
Was Paul preaching universal salvation?
The answer is a very clear “NO”.
God wants ALL people to be saved – ESPECIALLY those who BELIEVE.
Let us read the CONTEXT:
1 Timothy 4 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Paul warned Timothy that people would abandon the faith being deceived. If all are saved, then why would Paul warn them about it?
Paul exhorted Timothy to LABOR and STRIVE to preach the Gospel in season and out of season.
Why? To SAVE himself AND the hearers of the Gospel.
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.
10 That is why we LABOR and STRIVE, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and ESPECIALLY of those who BELIEVE.”
15 Be DILIGENT in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. PERSEVERE in them, because if you do, you will SAVE both YOURSELF and your HEARERS.”
Paul did everything possible to SAVE people by the Gospel. If all are automatically saved, then Paul would not have needed to face intense tribulation and be so adaptable to every Jew and Gentile to save them.
1 Corinthians 9 “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
He commanded Timothy to do the same
2 Timothy 4
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
If everyone is automatically saved, then Paul, the Apostles and Christ’s words are useless. There was no need to preach the gospel for the last 2000 years. There was no need for martyrs or tribulation in the 1st Century.
There was no need for missionaries, evangelists or persecution in the last 2000 years. It was all a waste of time.
But the Bible is very consistent: salvation has always been by grace through personal faith and never automatic.
God wants everyone to be saved and does not want anyone to perish.
2nd Peter 3
“not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
But He has given us free will
Salvation is only by personal faith in Christ.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
What is Faith?
Faith is not an effort.
Faith is our acknowledgment that Jesus did what we cannot do.
Faith is the easiest thing when we have nothing left to offer.
Unbelief is to say that we can do it instead of Jesus.
The thief on the cross, could do nothing because he was nailed and almost dead….
but simply looked at Jesus and said He is Lord.
Abraham was unable to have children and Sarah’s womb was barren. They had no ability at all.
Their “faith” was to TRUST in God’s power and faithfulness.
That’s why Paul said in Romans 4
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
This is the Gospel.
For those who know that they cannot do anything to be saved…Jesus died for your sins and was raised by God from the dead…that everyone who believes in Him receives the forgiveness of sins and eternal life forever with God.
Faith did not end in 70AD
Abraham was declared righteous by faith before the Law was given to Israel.
We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”
If Abraham was made righteous by faith before the law came to Israel.
Then surely salvation was not tied to the law of Israel
and did not end in 70AD when the law ended.
People are still made righteous by faith in Christ even after 70AD.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
They killed Jesus by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”