The Salvation of the Soul
with thanks to Raymond Kelcy; almost his sermon totally
By Paul Robison

1 Peter 1:8-12 declares: “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.  Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.  To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.”  Peter wants these Christians to realize the gospel privileges which they enjoy and the exceeding value of their great salvation.  In one of the most wonderful passages of the New Testament, and with the end in view of making Christians more conscious of the glories of the salvation of their souls, Peter sets forth six great truths.
 
The first truth is: Christ implemented God's great salvation.  “The salvation of the soul of each person is the crowning work of God.  The object of Jewish hope had been earthly and bodily deliverance.  But Christ came to save the soul from the yoke of sin” (Kelcy).  Now turn to Isaiah 53.  God takes the initiative and provides mankind with a Savior.  God's initiation led eventually to Christ's implementation.  God's great plan for mankind's salvation is predicted so beautifully about 750 years before Jesus comes into this world to make it a reality!  It describes one who is called God's Servant.  Let's begin reading in verse 5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah predicts that, through the Servant's death, we can have peace and spiritual healing.  Now listen how the apostle Peter shows that Jesus fulfilled this great prophecy in 1 Peter 2:24: “... who Himself [i.e. Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”  Now go back to Isaiah and verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,”  Isaiah predicts that the Servant would be punished by God because of our sins.  The apostle Paul shows how that prediction is fulfilled in Jesus in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  Now look again in Isaiah verse 7: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”  Look now at Matthew 27:13: “Then Pilate said to Him: 'Do you not hear how many things they testify against You!'  But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.”  Now let's return to Isaiah 53:8: “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgression of My people, He was stricken.”  Now turn to Acts 8:32 where you will find someone reading this very passage, and that person asks: “Is the prophet talking about himself or some other man?”  Verse 35 gives the reply: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.”  Now look again in Isaiah at verse 9: “And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.”  Peter quotes this very passage in 1 Peter 2:22 to show once again that Jesus' death was the fulfillment of this prophecy!  As we read these predictions and fulfillments, we see more clearly Jesus' implementation of God's great salvation for mankind.  Now return to verse 10 in Isaiah: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.  When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.  Now look at Acts 2:24: “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”  God prolonged Jesus' days with 40 more after His resurrection!  Verse 11 states: “He shall see the labors of His soul, and be satisfied.  By His knowledge, My righteous Servant will justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.”  Now look at Paul's words in Romans 5:18-19: “Therefore, as through one man's offense, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.  For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so also by one man's obedience, many will be made righteous.”  Jesus fulfills Isaiah's prediction that God's Servant would justify many.  Now return to Isaiah and note verse 12: “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”  Now look at Mark 15:27 where Jesus' death between two robbers is interpreted as a fulfillment of this prediction.  Do we see God's hand and wisdom in all these predictions for mankind's salvation?  Now we have seen just eight of the sixty major prophecies made in the Old Testament about Jesus.  Someone might say, “Well, aren't all those prophecies made about Jesus in Isaiah 53 just mere coincidence?”  No way!  The probability of this being coincidental has been calculated and illustrated in this way: Take one quadrili of quarters, that’s a 1 with 17 zeros behind it, and lay them all out across an area the size of Texas.  This would stack up to about two feet.  Then put a red dot on one of the quarters, and then shuffle all of them up.  What chance would a person have of locating the marked quarter?  Answer: “Just the same that the prophet would have had in writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in one man” (McDowell quoting Stoner).  Christ's implementation of our salvation is indeed remarkable!
 
The next truth is: The prophets examined God's great salvation.  Peter declared: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you ...”  “The Incarnation, [Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf as the Lamb of God], and the glories of the Gospel Age are the substance of prophecy.  The prophets foretold that someday there should arise a Person in whom the longings of man would be satisfied and in whom the promises of God would be accomplished. ... The prophets, priests, kings, and institutions of Judaism were all witness of the [Messiah] to come.  The entire [Mosaic] system had a forward look.  The apostle Peter also preached these words in Acts 3:18, 22, And 24: 'But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Messiah would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. ... For Moses truly said to the fathers: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren.”  Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.'  On another occasion, Peter also preached in Acts 10:43: 'To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.'  Yes, prophets heralded His coming [and His salvation].  This is a vital point so often asserted in the New Testament ... But while the prophetic declaration of 'these days' was real, it was not complete nor distinct in detail. ... But [the old prophets] could see that there were glories so magnificent to contemplate and blessings so superior to those of the Mosaic law that they had an earnest longing to know more about this wondrous display of God's love and mercy.  [This is what prompted and drove the prophets' examination.]  So they concentrated their attention upon the great theme of human [salvation], and they exercised their mental energies in diligent study and inquiry about it.  They longed to know when the prophecies would be fulfilled and just what was involved in their fulfillment.  “Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”  They sought diligently for the answers as if they were miners in quest of precious ore.  Jesus one time spoke of the prophets' longings in these words: 'For assuredly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it' (Matthew 13:17).  But the great things God had in store for us and which He has revealed to this age were never imagined in the hearts of the prophets, nor was anything comparable to them ever seen by human eye or heard by human ear.  'But God has revealed [these unknown things] to us through His Spirit' (1 Corinthians 2:10).  If we can imagine for a moment that all we know of Christ is that which is found in the Old Testament, we can better appreciate the incompleteness of the understanding of the prophets. ... They were given to know that the glories of which they wrote were future.  They spoke of blessings that WE [experience], and this means that the most humble Christian can now see what the most distinguished prophet NEVER saw.  The mystery which had been hidden from times eternal has now been made known to [mankind]” (Kelcy).  The great salvation which they examined is now the great salvation that we enjoy.  Forgiveness of sin, Jesus' church, and eternal life are all realities that all people can now experience!  God's great salvation included the prophets' examination.
 
The next truth is: The apostles proclaimed God's great salvation.  “The apostles preached as fulfilled the great truths which the prophets foretold as future.  Remember what Peter said: 'To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you?'  Rays [of truth] which were [separated] in prophetic utterances are united [now] in apostolic messages.  It has been said that 'Prophecy is condensed Gospel, and the Gospel is expanded prophecy.'  Jesus and His cross, the themes of prophecy, have become the themes of apostolic preaching.  [Teachings], which human sight had not perceived and which human ears had not heard, are now clearly perceived, being declared [and written] to us by Jesus' apostles.  Life and immortality have been brought to light through the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:10)” (Kelcy)!  This was the apostles' proclamation!
 
The next truth is: The Holy Spirit revealed God's great salvation.  How did the apostles know what to preach?  Peter states: “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.”  “The same Spirit [Who] spoke through the apostles [had] formerly spoken through the prophets.  The prophets 'were ministering,' that is, they were instruments through which the Holy Spirit spoke, and the apostles are 'ministers of the new covenant' (2 Corinthians 3:6).  They are ministers through which God speaks in these last days.  The Author of the Old Covenant is likewise the Author of the New Covenant.  Both testaments bear witness to the fact that they came from a common Source.  The thoughtful student of the Bible is impressed by the unity and harmony that pervade the sixty-six books, and he or she is convinced that the Bible is ONE book produced by ONE mind” (Kelcy)  Jesus told His apostles in John 16:13-14: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”  God's great salvation has become known by the Holy Spirit's revelation!
 
The next truth is: The angels considered God's great salvation.  Notice how Peter adds at the close of verse 12: “things which angels desire to look into.”  “The original language suggests [that the angels were] stooping over to look down into something with rapt and eager attention.  Yes, being of greater intelligence than the prophets, angels were also concerned about the theme of salvation.  Angels were students of the divine plan.  It was a matter of angelic research, even though the angels are not subject to the plan of salvation.  'God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels ...' (1 Timothy 3:16).  'The principalities and powers in the heavenly places' behold the wisdom of God as revealed through the church (Ephesians 3:10)” (Kelcy).  Even though the angels were curious about the great salvation that we now enjoy, they did not know all its blessings.  As a side note, our ladies' Bible class on Tuesdays is doing an in depth study on angels, just in case you might be interested.  God's salvation stirred the angels' consideration.
 
The next truth is: Humans should receive and appreciate God's great salvation.  Peter says in verse 8:  “receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”  “Angels behold the wonders of human salvation, but they do not experience it.  And while they were students of God's salvation, still it is chiefly for mankind's benefit.  'For indeed He [God] does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham' (Hebrews 2:10).  Christ' death was for all people.  'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son ...'  (John 3:16).  His salvation was and is for US ... Jesus' death and resurrection are the events around which all ages revolve, towards which all eyes turn, and about which all revelation speaks.  This salvation event binds heaven and earth in united interest.  Men of all ages past were stirred by the descriptions of human salvation given to them in prospect.  Angels have considered it a theme of interest and wonder, but people are the recipients of it. ... God's [great] salvation is spiritual, not physical.  It is the salvation of the soul from sin and from eternal death, which is the wages of sin.  It is a salvation from Hell and unto Heaven.  Such salvation should be something sacred and precious to us.  So often, we are indifferent toward this great salvation.  The hearts of God's people are at times dull and cold, and they show no appreciation for what they have received.  Nor do they show any concern about telling others of the great things that God has done for them.  On one occasion, Jesus healed two blind men and charged them to tell nobody about it.  'But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country' (Matthew 9:31).  That same Jesus saved us from our sins and told us to tell others about it.  And yet we are often so careless and lazy about doing that.  What is the chief difference between those men who were healed of blindness and us?  It's very obvious: they appreciated what Jesus had done for them so much that they were overflowing with joy, and telling others was a spontaneous expression of their grateful hearts.  Maybe one reason we do not tell others of the great things God has done for us is that we fail to appreciate God's [great] salvation.  Now if prophets and angels have found God's salvation a matter of such delightful contemplation, how could we be so indifferent towards it?  The very thought of eternal salvation should set our hearts to singing and to giving praise!  It should make so grateful that we would feel that we are debtors to those who do not know the joys of this great salvation!  It should cause us to arise and go to work [in sharing this great news of forgiveness, fellowship, holiness, and eternal life]” (Kelcy)!
 
The great salvation of our souls began with God's initiation.  The prophets examined it, and the angels considered it.  When Jesus came into this world, He worked diligently, painfully, and triumphantly and implemented it.  The Holy Spirit clearly revealed that this salvation is for all people!  “In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation who ever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. ... And we are witnesses of these things which Jesus did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. ... And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:34-35, 39-43, 48)!  People are the recipients of God's salvation.  Will you receive it?  Will you experience the forgiveness of all your past sins?  Will you be baptized into Jesus' name?  The biggest mistake you will ever make in your life is rejecting God's great salvation!  Be saved and start your journey to heaven!