Is it Easier to be Saved or Lost - Part 1

Scripture: Romans 1:16, Romans 3:24-26, Titus 2:11
If the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, then church members should be filled with the Lord's power in their lives. But that is probably not the case. Why? Do people truly believe what they profess?
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It seems very appropriate that the word "dynamite" is a transliteration of the Greek word "dunamis," which means power. The word is not a stranger to those who are students of the Scriptures. It is one of the colorful adjectives used in the Bible to describe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power (dunamis) of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16.

How few Christians have a true understanding of the explosive power they so lightly profess! If Paul's words are true, then everyone who possesses the gospel should also be filled with tremendous power. But is that the case? Unfortunately, the lives of countless church members are flaccid, bland, and miserably compromised. Instead of vibrant power there seems to be discouragement and defeat. What is wrong? Do these people really believe the gospel or not? And why is the dynamite so obviously missing in their lives?

The answer must be that many do not truly believe what they profess. Or else they have been taught a counterfeit gospel. Some of the greatest spiritual problems of today are rooted in a misunderstanding of the gospel. The sad fact is that millions have no true comprehension of what is afforded through the gospel, and what it is supposed to do for them. Unaware of its full provisions, they stumble along, claiming only what their weak faith is able to encompass. Instead of feasting at the banquet table of the Lord, these people gather crumbs from under the table, which barely provides enough strength to survive.

They are very much like the "missing heirs" we have heard so much about. All across America millions of dollars are stacked up in banks waiting for the true owners to take possession of the money. In most cases the heirs are unaware of the wealth which rightfully belongs to them, and which only awaits their demand and reception. But these millions are nothing compared to the spiritual riches which still lie untapped by those Christians who fail to recognize their own unlimited affluence. For no reason except their own abysmal failure to claim their true possessions, most professed Christians are living in wretched poverty and weakness.

Do you know why these millionaires are living like paupers? Because they have allowed the devil to intimidate them. He has lied to them about one of their most basic privileges. We need to unmask the evil one and expose the false claims he makes concerning his authority. Satan would like for us to believe that he has unlimited control over this world and all its people. That is not true. He is not the master of God's children, and has no power at all over the saints. Where Christ lives and reigns, Satan trembles and flees for his life. God is stronger than Satan. This glorious truth must fill our minds with constant assurance.

Don't misunderstand me. Satan is powerful. We have all seen the incredible, enslaving influence that he exercises in the life of a sinner. But when Christ banishes the devil from that sinner and controls his life, the power for good is far greater than the evil. If there is more power in Christ than there is in Satan, then there is more power in grace than there is in sin. Jesus is not just as strong as the devil, else the warfare between them might end in a draw or a standoff. But, thank God, Christ has already won the battle and Satan is a defeated foe right now.

This leads us to the joyful conclusion that the Christian has somebody stronger helping him to follow Jesus than the sinner has helping him to follow Satan. Therefore we must also conclude that it is easier to be saved than to be lost! Perhaps that is a shocking thought to some who have been taught the opposite from childhood. The common view is that the Christian life is a hard road of sacrifice and self-denial. The old song, "It's Not an Easy Road," expresses the popular sentiment of millions who struggle to do what is right. Dare we challenge the accepted traditional view? We dare not do otherwise in the light of Christ's clear teaching on the subject. How could so many overlook the words of the Master: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.

Jesus specifically declared that it was easy to follow Him. He did not suggest that people would be unhappy because of the heavy load of restrictions connected with the Christian life. On the contrary, He promised that the way would be easy and light. When Jesus met Saul on the road to Damascus, He said, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." The meaning of these words is obvious. He was telling Saul that it was hard to resist the Holy Spirit. The misery and struggle lay in the path of disobedience. The way of the transgressor is hard; not the way of the obedient.

We must stop allowing Satan to brainwash us with the exaggerated claims of his authority. It is true that under the reign of sin it is easier to do wrong than it is to do right, but it is also true that under the reign of grace it is easier to do right than it is to do wrong. Why should we not assert the prerogatives that belong to us as the children of God? The Bible writers did not hesitate to challenge the limited authority of Satan, and neither should we. Paul wrote: "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:20,21.

Note the expression, "as sin hath reigned." How did sin reign? As a controlling power, did it not? Driving back every spiritual impulse, the carnal nature overpowered all the efforts of grace to enter the heart. But notice that grace abounds "much more" than sin, and "as sin hath reigned. . . even so might grace reign"! Obviously, grace will also be a controlling power which can overpower all the efforts of sin to enter the life. Isn't that a fantastic assurance? The devil has no dynamite that compares with the shattering dynamite of the gospel in a surrendered life.

So we are brought back to the question again: Is it harder to serve Jesus or Satan? It is undeniable that we have access to more good power than bad. If God be for us, who can be against us? Someone might answer, "Satan." And I say, "So wl:at? He flees at the very name of Jesus." Of course, he wants you to be lost, but God wants you to be saved. You can win every time by being on the side of the stronger. Jesus referred to His mastery of devils in these words: "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils." Luke 11:21,22.

The strong man referred to is Satan, of course. He is stronger than the wisest man who ever lived (Solomon), and the strongest man who ever lived (Samson), and the most perfect man who ever lived (Adam). But he is not stronger than Jesus. Christ is that stronger one who "overcame him" and delivers the captives out of his hands. What an exciting reality! He that is for us is greater than he which is against us.

Not only does God have the power to save us, but He has the desire to do it. It is His will that all should come to repentance and be saved. What produces repentance in the life? Paul assures us that "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Romans 2:4. How many does He lead toward repentance? Everyone, of course, since it is His will to save all. Christ said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32. His love does not appeal to a select few only, but to all men. His goodness leads every soul to repent, and His love draws all men to the cross. If this is true, why are not all men saved? Because they fight and struggle against being saved. No one can be lost unless he resists the sweet drawing influence of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus told Saul, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

What a thought! The difficult thing to do is to fight against salvation. Unless we resist, God will have His way and draw us to Himself. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." Titus 2:11. To how many men? All men! Hebrews 2:9 says that Jesus tasted death "for every man." Again, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19. The only reason all the world is not saved is simply because the great majority resist God's provision of saving, sanctifying grace.

The Bible teaches that "as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Romans 5:18. How significant are those words, "came upon all." Through Christ provision has been made for the justification of every soul who has ever been born into this world. His death was sufficient to redeem a million worlds. Through the cross a legal, forensic justification "came upon all" as a glorious provision of salvation.

But there is a difference between this justification of the cross and justification by faith. Justification of the cross is a general provision of saving power which must be personally perceived and accepted by faith before it becomes justification by faith. In other words, there must be faith on the part of the person who is justified. The Bible speaks of "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Romans 3:24-26.

Please notice that only those who "believe in Jesus" will be justified, even though the cross provides it for everyone. The text says there must be "faith in his blood." The utility company provides abundant power and light to my home, but I receive no benefit whatever unless I push the switches in my home. All of God's saving, cleansing, justifying power is to no benefit to me unless I accept it in a personal way.

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