The grace of God hath power to bring salvation to all men, and if a man is unsaved it is because he wants to work it out; he wants to receive salvation in some other way than God's way; but we are told that "he that climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber."
When Christ was on the earth there was a woman in the temple who was bowed almost to the ground with sin. Satan had bound her for eighteen years; but after all these years of bondage Christ delivered her. He spoke one word and she was free. She got up and walked home. How astonished those at home must have been to see her walking in.
Do you believe that He would send those men out to preach the gospel to every creature unless he wanted every creature to be saved? Do you believe He would tell them to preach it to people without giving people the power to accept it? Do you believe the God of heaven is mocking men by offering them his gospel and not giving them the power to take hold of it? Do you believe He will not give men power to accept this salvation as a gift? Man might do that, but God never mocks men. And when he says "Preach the gospel to every creature," every creature can be saved if he will.
Look at Him at Gethsemane, sweating as it were great drops of blood; look at Him on the cross, crucified between two thieves; hear that piercing cry, "Father, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." And as you look into that face, as you look into those wounds on His feet or His hands, will you say He has not the power to save you? Will you say He has not the power so redeem you?
Except a mineral be born "from above"--from the Kingdom just ABOVE it--it cannot enter the Kingdom just above it. And except a man be born "from above," by the same law, he cannot enter the Kingdom just above him.
Each man, in the silence of his own soul, must work out this salvation for himself with fear and trembling--with fear, realizing the momentous issues of his task; with trembling, lest, before the tardy work be done, the voice of Death should summon him to stop.
Just because God worketh in him, as the evidence and triumph of it, the true child of God works out his own salvation--works it out having really received it--not as a light thing, a superfluous labour, but with fear and trembling as a reasonable and indispensable service.
Salvation is a definite process. If a man refuse to submit himself to that process, clearly he cannot have the benefits of it. "As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God." He does not avail himself of this power. It may be mere carelessness or apathy. Nevertheless the neglect is fatal. He cannot escape because he will not.
It is not right to credit salvation to good works. It is right and necessary, however, to expect good works to follow salvation. Salvation is not the result of good works, but good works are the result of salvation.
Author: Tom Wells Source: Christian: Take Heart! 1987, p. 149.