By Elizabeth Prata
A friend asked me that the other day. She asked, ‘What scriptures would you take someone to if they asked what we are saved from?’ Such a great question.
I remember wondering that myself prior to my salvation. Why do I need to be saved? What is this ‘saving’ all about?
RC Sproul said in one of his books about an incident from his early days. He was teaching at a Christian College walking across the quad back to his room, and a young man approached him. He asked RC, “Are you saved?” RC was, but he replied back to the young man, ‘What do I need to be saved from?’ The young man wasn’t expecting that question. He had the lingo but not the biblical concepts to truly do open air evangelism well. It made an impression on RC and he resolved to always be as clear as possible himself.
The immediate answer to the question ‘what are we saved from?’ is that when we repent of our sins to God we are saved from God. It sounds weird saved FROM God, but what we are saved from is His wrath. His wrath hangs over each and every person on earth-
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (Romans 1:18-19).
This is general revelation. It means every person can plainly see the world exists, humans exist, and that it had to have come from somewhere. God made it all. But people suppress that truth in their unrighteousness. People are unrighteous because we all sin. (Romans 3:10). Every human has a sin nature.
There are many verses in the New Testament that refer to God’s wrath upon wrongdoers. I specifically say the New Testament because so many people believe wrongly that the “Old Testament God” is different in character or nature than the “New Testament God”. Not so. They are the same.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6).
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience Colossians 3:6.
but to those who are self-serving and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, He will give wrath and indignation. (Romans 2:8).
how you turned to God from idols to serve [e]a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is, Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10).
Also this one from the Psalms,
Your hand will find all your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate you. You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; The LORD will swallow them up in His wrath, And fire will devour them. (Psalm 21:8,9).
The first thing we read in scripture that John the Baptist preached was about the wrath of God.
So he was saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luke 3:7)
Matthew Henry says of the Luke verse above,
The guilty, corrupted race of mankind is become a generation of vipers; hateful to God, and hating one another. There is no way of fleeing from the wrath to come, but by repentance; and by the change of our way the change of our mind must be shown.
What men are saved from is the wrath of God. His wrath is defined:
The free, subjective and holy response of God to sin and to the evil and wickedness exhibited by creatures in opposition to God. Grenz, S., Pocket dictionary of theological terms
God’s wrath is also known in the Bible as anger, and indignation, and fury. God’s wrath hangs over every human. Jonathan Edwards preached on it in his famous sermon Sinners in the hands of an Angry God: based on the verse “Their foot shall slide in due time” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Edwards explained the foot sliding,
It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18, 19. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!”
What are we saved from? Wrath, as mentioned. What IS that wrath? Can man slough it off? Can man withstand it? Is God’s wrath a worrisome thing? Is God just a little irritated, like a wife when husband fails to put away the dishes or a husband when his son leaves his bike in the driveway again? Is God’s wrath any great thing?
YES. God’s wrath is a very great thing. Edwards again, describing the wrath, which really, no man can understand the magnitude and severity of-
There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. …. It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For “who knows the power of God’s anger?” How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again…JEdwards.
God’s wrath is manifested in terrors. The very earth becomes still when God’s wrath is aroused!
Psalm 76:6–8, At Your rebuke, God of Jacob, Both rider and horse were cast into a dead sleep. You, You indeed are to be feared, And who may stand in Your presence, once You are angry? You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still.
The earth trembles at His wrath! Jeremiah 10:10, But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. The earth quakes at His wrath, And the nations cannot endure His indignation
No one escapes this fearsome wrath! Lamentations 2:22, You called as on the day of an appointed feast My terrors on every side; And there was no one who survived or escaped On the day of the LORD’S anger.
God’s wrath is a big subject in scripture. But so is His mercy! Every person needs to be saved FROM God’s wrath. And, we CAN BE! God sent His Son Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the door of entry to God’s holy habitation, which is heaven. Not a blot, not a shadow, not a sin-darkening molecule exists there. It is pure and holy. We can become pure and holy too, upon our death and dwell with God forever. On earth in this life, we can walk toward holiness and grow in it every day. How? Repent of our sins. Be truly sorry for the things we have said, thought, and did against God while in this body. Repent to Jesus, believe in His atoning sacrifice of Himself on behalf of us. God will send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to aid is in resisting sin and purifying our souls as we walk in sanctifying grace.
Jesus died on the cross, was buried, but rose again on the third day. He ascended to heaven and is interceding for His sheep at this moment. His sheep are those who believe in Him and have repented.
God’s wrath is averted by Christ. Luke 2:11, 14. Romans 5:9 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19, Ephesians 2:14, 17, Colossians 1:20, 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
God’s wrath is averted from them that believe. John 3:14–18,,Romans 3:25. Romans 5:1.
God’s wrath is averted upon confession of sin and repentance. Job 33:27, 28, Psalm 106:43–45 Jeremiah 3:12, 13, Jeremiah 18:7, 8, Jeremiah 31:18–20, Joel 2:12–14, Luke 15:18–20.
Source for above underlined list: Torrey, R. A. (1897). The New Topical Text Book: A Scripture Text Book for the Use of Ministers, Teachers, and All Christian Workers.
Jonathan Edwards concludes his sermon,
And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God
Rejoice sinner! If you have repented you have been saved FROM God, FOR God, TO God, BY God. For His wrath is a fearsome thing, but in His wrath, He remembers mercy.