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Written by J.H. Purifoy   

PREFACE.

This pamphlet is humbly put forth with the desire that it may be edifying and comforting to the people of God, and that it may be found worthy of being preserved, even to coming generations, to bear testimony to the doctrine of God our Saviour when the writer is numbered with the pale nations of the dead; showing also what he loves and teaches as a living witness of the truth, and what Primitive Baptists believe and delight in. To them and all who love God, this pamphlet is most lovingly dedicated. 

J. H. PUREFOY
Furman, Ala.
 
The Power of God unto Eternal Salvation

This power consists of and embraces His choice, will purpose, mercy, love, predestination, the atonement, regeneration, everlasting preservation and the resurrection. This is the GOOD NEWS to dying men and women who have been made to hope and believe that God for Christ sake has forgiven their sins, and is what Paul called the gospel, which he preached and of which he was not ashamed. It is not the preaching of God’s saving power that does the saving eternally, not the belief of it. The preaching of it is the Lord’s way of showing how he saves lost sinners and the believing of it with the heart is the sign and effect of eternal salvation, and not the cause of it. The cause of eternal salvation and that which saves the sinner is the power of God, as already stated.  The Bible clearly proves this as follows:

1. THE SAVING POWER OF GOD’S CHOICE.

“Blessed is the man whom thou chooseth and causeth to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.” Ps. 65i: 4.

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord; because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” 2 Thess. 2: 13.

“According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the word.” Eph. 1: 4.

“Ye are a chosen generation.” 1 Pet. 2: 9.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” John 15: 16.


2. THE SAVING POWER OF GOD’S WILL.

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” Rom. 9: 15, 16.

“Of His own will begat he us with the word of truth.” Jas. 1: 18.
“Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2: 4.

The all men here embraces all that were chosen in Christ before the world began, both of Jews and Gentiles, and that eternal salvation is not confined to the Jews, but reaches out to all the elect of God in every nation of people on earth. The apostle Peter presented the same truth in speaking of the promise of salvation. “For the promise is unto you and to your children, (the Jews) and to all that are afar off, (of the Gentiles) even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39.

Jesus came down from heaven to do the will of the Father; “And this is the Father’s will * * * that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Jno 6: 40.


3. THE SAVING POWER OF GOD’S PURPOSE.

“Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ before the world began.” 2 Tim. 1: 9.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Rom. 8:28.


4. THE SAYING POWER OF GOD’S MERCY.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3: 5. See also Rom. 9: 15, 16.


5. THE SAVING POWER OF GOD’S LOVE.

“But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” Eph. 2:4-7.

“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5: 25-27.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, hut have everlasting life.” Jno. 3: 16.
All in the world of every nation who are embraced in God’s love and were chosen in Christ before the world began, is meant in the expression, “God so loved the world,” for whom God loves he can never hate, his love is an everlasting love, and “Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:39.

Therefore all whom God loves cannot be finally lost. God does not love the sins of his people, therefore he saves them from and not in their sins, but their sins did not prevent God from loving them while dead in sin, and enemies to God. Well did the apostle John say, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God” I Jno. 3: 1. See also Rom. 5:8.


6. THE SAVING POWER IN GOD’S PREDESTINATION.

God’s predestination, like his love, has never been, and never will be the cause of damnation to any of God’s sinful creatures. Death came by sin and not by predestination, and sin came by man and not by predestination, but it came in perfect keeping with God’s foreknowledge, which embraces all events, both good and bad that come to pass. Predestination is causative in it nature, while foreknowledge is not causative in its nature.

“By the disobedience of one man many were made sinners.”

So sin is the cause of damnation, but predestination belonging to the saving power of God, is the cause of eternal salvation. The elect of God were “Predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ.” Eph. 1:5.  But in order to make their predestinated adoption lawful and binding, so they would become the lawful heirs, the demands of the law must be complied with on their behalf, which Jesus did fully and completely. In the eternal salvation of the elect, God also predestinated that they should be conformed to the image of Jesus in soul and body. Regeneration confirms the soul to the image of Jesus, while the resurrection conforms the body to the image of his glorious body. After regeneration the elect are the heirs of God in a two fold sense, viz: by adoption and regeneration.


7. GOD’S SAVING POWER IN THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST.

By the atonement the elect of God are fully, completely and forever justified from all the sins of this life, past, present and future. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” —Rom 5:9. Then their reconciliation to God is as full and complete as their justification, and that forever, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life,”-Rom 5:10. Then their cleansing from all sin by the atoning blood of Jesus is full and complete forever. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. 1 Jno. 1:7. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”—Heb, 9:12. “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”—Rev. 1:5-6; also see Rev. 5: 9-10.

By the atonement is the forgiveness of sins, and without it there could have been no forgiveness or remission of sins. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”—Eph. 1:7; Col. 1: 14. “And without shedding of blood is no remission.”—Heb. 9: 22. Last of all, under this head, we have atonement perfection presented, “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”—Heb. 10:14. To sanctify is to set apart. The elect of God were set apart therefore to be made perfect, and that forever, by the atonement, and this kind of perfection is what the sinner needs and must have for eternal salvation. Atonement perfection consists of perfect justification, perfect reconciliation, perfect cleansing from all sin, and perfect remission of sins, perfect freedom from condemnation, and a perfect standing in the righteousness of Jesus, and all this atonement perfection is forever. Is not this good news to the poor sin-sick soul, fearing, trembling, yet hoping alone in God for mercy?

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow

The more we understand the saving power of the atonement, the more joyous and comforting it becomes to the children of God. I think the apostle Paul saw it just the way I have presented it, only in a clearer or fuller sense of it than I see it in my imperfect way. Be that as it may, his view of it filled him with rapture and delight. Hear him: “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Rom. 5:11.


8. GOD’S SAVING POWER AS SEEN IN REGENERATION.

In the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration we have quickening, repentance, faith, the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is the workmanship of God by which sinners are created new creatures, created in Christ, unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should, as new creatures, walk in them. Such are born again, born of God, born of incorruptible seed . “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To be born again means that the sinner, male and female, must be regenerated, must be made a new creature, new and spiritual. Regeneration makes the sinner a new creature in soul, but not in body. It is in the resurrection that the regenerated sinner is made a new creature in body. The bodies of the saints are all regenerated and made new and spiritual and glorious in the resurrection and not before. Let it never be forgotten that the work of regeneration does not end till the mortal bodies of the saints are regenerated in the resurrection, and fashioned like unto the glorious body of Jesus. Quickening, or the imparting of eternal life to the sinner, is the first step, so to speak, in the work of regeneration. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Eph. 2:1. Then comes godly sorrow for sin that “worketh repentance unto salvation;” then faith, hope and love, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration makes the heart pure, and none but the pure in heart or soul shall see God.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” If the heart (soul) is not made pure before death there is no hope for it after death. “As the tress falls, so shalt it be. Regeneration of soul therefore is absolutely necessary to eternal salvation, and in this the saving power of God is as clearly seen as it is in all that has been said before in this article. Regeneration is not only necessary for eternal salvation, but is also necessary to the enjoyment of eternal salvation, and for the enjoyment of heaven and immortal glory. Regeneration fits the soul for heaven, just as the resurrection fits and prepares the body for that blessed abode. Regeneration also brings the sinner into spiritual existence in soul, while the resurrection is absolutely necessary to bring the body into spiritual existence. The spiritual change that must take place in the sinner, both in soul and body, in order to his eternal salvation and preparation for a home in heaven, begins with quickening and ends with the resurrection. Quickening makes the sinner spiritually alive, to God in soul and the soul is made a partaker in the divine life and nature. On the other hand the resurrection makes the sinner spiritually alive to God in body, and makes the body a1 partaker of the divine life and nature. The saved sinner is not a perfect and complete spiritual being in both soul and body till alter the resurrection of the body. Then in the reunion of soul and body we have the glorified saint in the likeness of Jesus, both in soul and body. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Rom. 8:10.


9. GOD’S SAVING POWER MADE MANIFEST IN THE EVERLASTING PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS.

To my mind, everlasting preservation is a more thoroughly Scriptural expression than the “final perseverance” of the saints. If our eternal salvation at last depends on our “final perseverance,” what are we to persevere in? Are we to persevere in grace, or faithfulness to God, His cause and each other, or persevere in obedience to God? It is admitted that christians are in duty bound, and it is their reasonable service to persevere in obedience to God and persevere in faithfulness to His cause and each other and all mankind, but do they do it? When they have done all they can they are still unprofitable servants and they keenly feel their unprofitableness and deplore it. I am sure that God’s grace will persevere always in His people, but I am not sure that they will persevere in any thing than they ought to persevere in. I have failed in it so often myself, and have seen so much of it on every hand that I would like to see the expression “final perseverance of the saints,” completely stricken out of our articles of faith, and instead say we believe in the EVERLASTING PRESERVATION of the saints, for our eternal salvation does depend on that, if we are what we profess to be. Without God’s everlasting care for, and the preservation of his people, and they were left to shift for themselves and get home to heaven at last by their perseverance, I feel sure that this last one of them would sink down to endless woe and misery. But thanks be to God, they are not left to their efforts in any shape or form for their eternal salvation! The “Everlasting arms are underneath them,” and “No weapon that is formed against them shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth up in judgment against them shall be condemned;” “For the Lord loveth judgment and forsaketh not his Saints, they are preserved forever.” Psa. 37: 28. “The Lord is thy keeper. * * * He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. * * * The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.--Psa 121; see also Deut. 33: 27, arid Isa. 54: 17. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, amid I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my band. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”—Jno. 10: 27 29 “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”——1st. Peter 1: 5.


10. THE DISPLAY OF GOD’S SAVING POWER IN THE RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVE.

No resurrection, no salvation! This, in short, is what the Apostle Paul argues. “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then them also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. * * * But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.” 1 Cor. 15:16-20.

When God gave his elect to Christ to save them from their sins it was to save their bodies as well as their souls. They belong to Christ in soul and body. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? * * * the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?” 1 Cor. 6: 15, 19, 20.

While the whole man is redeemed from iniquity by the blood of Christ, yet in the work of regeneration there is no change from natural to spiritual made in the mortal bodies of the saints. That important and necessary event is reserved for the resurrection. If regeneration made a  man spiritual in body as well as in soul then there could be no warfare between the flesh and the Spirit. There would be then a complete harmony and oneness between them, resulting in sinless perfection he flesh, and if such a being could remain on earth “rending unto Caesar” would be forever done with, and the whole time, night and day, would be taken up in the worship and service of God. God has therefore wisely reserved the time for sinless perfection in the flesh to the resurrection, when the resurrected saints will be as the “angels of God in heaven and fashioned in body like the glorious body of Jesus.” Mt. 22: 30; Mark 12: 25; Phil. 3: 21.

The resurrection of the dead is one of the symbols of water baptism which the apostle Paul unanswerably wet the non-resurrectionists of apostolic times. He said, “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” 1 Cor. 15:29. Why represent in baptism, and teach by it, the resurrection of the dead if there be no resurrection? It seems that even the non- resurrectionists believed in baptism and understood that it not only symbolized the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the head of the church, but also the resurrection of the church, His body, from the grave, that as the head rose from the grave so must the body also rise. As Christ is the head of the church and the church is his body, and as the head and the body are one, the grave could not give up the head and hold the body. Both must come forth, or both remain, in the grave, but the non-resurrectionists, it seems, admitted that Christ was raised from the dead. So Paul’s argument caught them in their own trap. With wondrous power and glory the salvation of God shines bright and clear in the resurrection of the sainted dead from the grave. It is the crowning work of salvation and full preparation for heaven and immortal glory. The bodies of the saints go down into the grave in corruption, but they are raised in incorruption. Sown in dishonor, but raised in glory, sown in weakness, but raised in power; sown a natural body but raised a spiritual body. “Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall all not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.”—See 15th. chapter of 1st Corinthians.


CONCLUSION

In presenting God’s power in this article in the eternal salvation of sinners, I have done so under ten heads or divisions; not meaning that God’s saving power in himself is divided, for it is not, but it is one grand oneness, as a unit of power, infinite, and is incomprehensible to the dead in sin. Nothing but the written Word and the preaching of it is gospel to those who are in nature’s night, even for eternal salvation of sinners. Preaching is teaching, and teaching has no life-giving power in it. It develops life and draws out the faculties of the mind, and saves from much ignorance, many errors and delusions. No one for a moment thinks of sending his children to school to have life imparted to them by the teacher and thus become the children of the parents who sent them. The parent has them taught because they are already his children, not to make them his. So with our heavenly Father. He has His children instructed by preaching, not to make them His, but to train them and teach them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus has commanded them to do, and save them from error and every false way. God gives his ministering servants to-day, as He once gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; ‘till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in weight to deceive.”—Eph. 4: 11: 14.

J. H. PUREFOY,
Furman, Ala.

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