Salvation is placed within the attainment of every individual of the human family. God, who gave us existence, designed that existence as a blessing, and He grants every degree of power and instruction necessary to enable us to obtain the reward of our virtuous efforts.
By the mediation and ministry of Jesus, everything has been accomplished for our salvation which is consistent with our intellectual and moral natures.
Some in the state of probation wisely improve their knowledge, piety, and virtue, and thereby qualify themselves for the happiness of heaven; others pass the period of their probation without improvement, and in the day of account they will be found destitute of the qualifications of Christian character.
We, in different proportions, possess the powers of intellectual and free agents; and hereafter an account will be required of the way in which each of our talents has been managed.
We are accountable for what we have and have not done. Our future rewards will be proportioned to what we’ve done under our various circumstances. To all observations of this nature, some may reply, "Moral preparations are indeed absolutely requisite for salvation."
No one will be admitted to heaven, who in the present world is not conformed to the image of God. We must become the children, before they can be made the heirs, of God.
The very question is: Can we of ourselves acquire the necessary qualifications for heaven? Can we, in our own power, form in their souls the image of their Creator?
I answer: We possess nothing which we did not receive; and if we received all our powers from God, why should we glory as though we haven’t received them?
Our Maker formed us as free moral agents and has appointed the way by which the true end of our existence may be obtained. God has fitted the earth to yield its increase for the present support of humanity, and we plow the ground with our labors. But those who don’t work won’t harvest.
God in mercy has, by Jesus, promised eternal life to all who by a patient continuance in the ways of well doing, seek for glory, honor and immortality.
The Gospel is altogether calculated for us with our present powers of action; and we are capable of complying with its demands.
The idea that humanity is unable to comply with the conditions of acceptance with our Maker reflects the highest dishonor on the wisdom, benevolence, and justice of God.
When we represent the Gospel as being adapted to human capacity, and requiring from us a service we possess the power to perform – when we state that God grants all the well-disposed subjects of His government the assistance which is suited to the capacity of an accountable being, and at the same time requires them to co-operate with Him, by the proper exercise of the strength he has given them – we attribute to God the glory of an affectionate parent, the glory of a merciful and benevolent governor, and a just and righteous judge.
The works of each person, God will render unto them, and cause everyone to be rewarded according to their ways.
Christianity places all people in a state of salvation; but it does no violence to our moral ability. It suits its requirements to the present abilities of human nature; and it makes human endeavors necessary to qualify us for the enjoyment of its final rewards.
The gracious provisions of the Gospel fully show the goodness and mercy of our God; and they furnish the highest motives for gratitude, love and obedience in us. God is the parent of our lives, and the author of all our blessings.
God bestows His favors in the most disinterested way, and with the same parental regard beholds all the members of the human family.
By His son Jesus He has provided a remedy for the pollutions of guilt, instructed us in the duties of life, and promised to support his dutiful children under all the trials of the world; and to conduct them to honor, glory, and immortality in heaven.
These blessings, when realized, must move the hearts of all who seriously reflect on them.
When we diligently study the Gospel, we find that it’s fitted to kindle the flame of gratitude and devotion in our hearts, and lead us to a life of piety, righteousness and sobriety.
So, let’s not satisfy ourselves with the words, “Lord, Lord,” but let’s be careful to do the things Jesus has commanded us to do. Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, let us live soberly, righteously and piously in this present world.
(Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Aaron Bancroft, 1822)