Fragments: The Common Salvation
Written by Silas Durand
This expression is used by Jude, and does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures, This inspired writer addresses his epistle "to them that are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." To them he says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." There is but one salvation that can be called common, that is, common to all the sanctified, or elect, of God, and that is the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, that salvation from sin and death unto eternal life, which is the theme of all the inspired writers. That this is that salvation which the apostle designates as "the common salvation," is clearly evident by the reason which he gives for the necessity of writing to them about it.
"The faith which was once delivered unto the saints," is not that grace of faith which "is the fruit of the Spirit," but that doctrine and order of the gospel in which the salvation of God is made known to the saints in the world. This is that "mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, but now is made manifest unto his saints," and this mystery "is Christ in them the hope of glory." (Eph. iii. 5; Col. i. 26, 27.) This doctrine of salvation by grace, and the order of the gospel, was delivered unto the saints on the day of Pentecost, when the gospel church was established. The apostles were charged with the authority to teach it to the saints, and to set all the commands of Jesus concerning the church in order, as judges sitting upon thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. All this gospel system is made known to the faith of God's people. It is not understood by the natural mind, but by an understanding especially given for this purpose. (1 John v. 20; Eph. i. 17-23.) This doctrine of God is spoken of as "the faith of the gospel." Paul uses the word faith in this sense, as a system of faith, in Romans i. 5; xvi. 26; Gal. i. 23, and in other places. This faith, or doctrine, in which the eternal salvation of the saints is declared and made manifest in the world, is of the utmost importance and value to the saints. It is more than all the world to them. It sets forth and declares "the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory."--I Cor. ii. 7. It declares the ways and wisdom of God in salvation, as contrasted with the ways and wisdom of men. It was once delivered unto the saints in the morning of the gospel dispensation, and it is needful that they earnestly contend for it, for the whole world, and all the influences of the world, are opposed to it.
I have said that there is no other salvation which is common, either to all men naturally or to the saints. Natural salvation, as salvation from wounds or death in battle, from shipwreck, from loss or destruction by earthquake, fire, flood or disease, from misfortune or affliction of any kind, cannot be called a common salvation, for all are not saved from these things. Nor can that salvation of the Lord's people from error, from a fleshly walk and the loss or death that results from it, from stripes on account of transgression, which may be called a time salvation, be called common, for all are not saved in this sense. Some do walk after the flesh and die; some do transgress, and are visited with the rod. This liability to wander from the right way, and yield to temptation in some of its many forms, and so suffer, is referred to by all the apostles, and is made the subject of faithful, earnest and tender admonition and exhortation. But some do yield to the temptation for a time, and suffer the sad consequences. There is an experience of the weakness of the flesh on the part of all of the saints in some measure, so that every one who is received is scourged and chastised. (Heb. xii. 6.) All must learn that they are dependent entirely upon the care and grace of God for the orderly walk which shall secure to them this time salvation, so that they shall not depend upon themselves, i as Peter did, but upon the Lord. They must learn that "we have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead." Some, through the faithful of brethren,' are saved from death. (James v. 19, a0.) Ministers, faithful labor in the gospel, save themselves and them that hear from false doctrine and practice. (1 Tim. iv. 16.) All this is the work of grace. But some are left to see more fully, and more deeply, the corruption, depravity and untrustworthiness of flesh, even going so far in an ungodly walk that they are "deliver unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
All for whom Jesus died are saved with an everlasting salvation and shall finally be restored from all their wanderings, healed from their backslidings, and brought home to glory, to the praise of the riches of God's grace. This everlasting salvation is common to those who are sanctified, set apart, chosen, by God the Father. These who are the elect are preserved or saved in Jesus Christ, as the eight souls were saved in the ark. In him they were buried by baptism death, and so satisfied the law. In him they were raised up from death and so death has no more dominion over them. In God's own appointed time each one of them is called by grace to a knowledge of this salvation, which is wrought in them.
A common inheritance, or an inheritance in common, is one in which each heir has an undivided part of the whole. It cannot be divided it; it all belongs to each one. It may be illustrated by the light in a room full of people; the whole light belongs to each one in the room. No one can have a right to more than another, though one may be in a condition to enjoy more than another. So with this salvation, one of those who are called has a right to all of it. It is the common salvation, common to the whole family of God. They are joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ to this inheritance, and shall finally, all them, be conformed to his image, and enter upon the full realization of this common inheritance in glory.
But the enjoyment of this common light, this common salvation, while here in the flesh, is more in some than in others. To enjoy an inheritance which cannot be divided the heirs must be as one, must be of one mind and one soul. And so it is with the Lord's people when they are in the Spirit. Then they dwell together in unity, the unity of the Spirit, and find how good and how pleasant it is. (Psalm cxxxiii.) But when the flesh prevails in the case of any, and they strive to walk by sight instead of faith, then their right to that salvation is not fully enjoyed. Sometimes their birthright is sold for some fleshly good, and they are deprived for a season of the light and comfort. But they cannot dispose of their inheritance, though they suffer loss in their daily experience. It was needful for them, therefore, that the apostle should exhort them to contend earnestly in their daily life, in their walk and conversation, for that faith, that doctrine and order of the gospel church, unto the obedience of which they have been called, and that they attend with care to all that pertains to the church of the living God, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, above all worldly things. The grace which brought them salvation taught them all this proper gospel walk. (Titus ii. 11, 12.)
The salvation which is eternal, and the salvations of various kinds which are experienced by the saints in time, bear the same relation to each other which the sun in the heavens and his beams upon the earth bear to each other. We know nothing of the Sun till his light falls upon us; we know nothing of Jesus, who is our salvation, and the Sun of Righteousness to us, till his healing beams are felt in our souls. "In thy light shall we see light." It is by and in our daily experience that we learn all that we can know here in time of our eternal salvation. In every experience of suffering, of tribulation, of stripes, and of salvation from these evils, we learn more of this salvation, and only in tribulation do we learn anything concerning it. Whatever Jesus tells us is told us in the darkness, but we speak it in the light. Jesus is our salvation here in time, and to eternal days.