MAN persists in believing that salvation, whether it be individual, national or universal, can be achieved by human effort. With regard to personal salvation, he frequently declares that, so long as he does his best and leads a good life, all will be well; and consequently he sets out to earn acceptance with God, and thereby obtain salvation and eternal life. He maintains that national salvation is to be secured through the election to power of one or other political party, or by the acceptance of some human ideology or philosophy; while, in the realm of international and world affairs, he continues to place his confidence in man-made pacts and organizations.
The Bible declares the utter impossibility of attaining such salvation by mere human effort; and history assuredly demonstrates the truth of its declarations. Indeed, the Bible proclaims not only the absolute inability of man to obtain personal salvation by his own efforts, but it asserts the essential wickedness of man: `There is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ So wrote the inspired Psalmist, and the same words were quoted by the great Apostle Paul.
The Holy Scriptures teach that the intervention of God is necessary if man is to be saved at all; and both the Bible and history declare that God has so intervened. Old Testament writers foretold this Divine Intervention: the New Testament records its accomplishment in history — ‘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.’ The Bible likewise assures us that this intervention is still being perpetuated for man’s salvation by the Holy Spirit, Who convicts of sin, and leads the sinner to trust in Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour; all that is required on man’s part being the simple acceptance by faith of God’s offer of salvation.
Old Testament history provides a continuous demonstration of the fact that human effort, whether political or otherwise, cannot bring national salvation. It was Divine Intervention alone which saved Israel from annihilation at the hands of the Egyptians; gave the land of Canaan into their hands; delivered them from the power of the Moabites, Canaanites, Ammonites, Philistines and other enemies, and protected the city of Jerusalem against the Assyrian forces of Sennacherib. And it was the intervention of God which brought back the remnant of the House of Judah to Palestine in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Likewise it has been the intervention of God, not human or political effort, however important these may appear, which has preserved the peoples of the Northern House of Israel throughout the ages, whether in Palestine before the time of its captivity in Assyria, or, as many believe, in the Isles of the West, whether that intervention be of a physical or spiritual nature. For it should be remembered that the religious revivals of the Elizabethen, the Puritan and the Victorian eras, and the deliverances from the Spanish Armada and from the Germans at Dunkirk, were alike miracles of divine intervention; while each spiritual revival resulted in a great period of blessing and progress.
In the realm of international and world affairs man is impotent to save the world from warfare, chaos and disaster, the appalling nature of which has only been revealed in the light of nuclear physics and the development of the atom and hydrogen bombs. It should be obvious at this juncture in history that man-made pacts and alliances cannot bring international peace and salvation. The Word of God envisages the advent of these blessings only through a further divine intervention in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall ‘judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’.
Although knowing `neither the day nor the hour’ of His Coming, we eagerly await that glorious event, being assured by the many signs which Jesus Himself foretold, and of which history is in our days recording the fulfilment, that it is no longer a far off event, when the Lord God will give to Jesus Christ `the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever’