We live in a unique time in history when salvation can be explained.
The explanation does not come from science, linguistics, or philosophy. It is the result of God revealing the mystery of the gospel, the secret to our salvation.
It was not always this way. God had offered salvation and forgiveness since the world began, but it was not known how a just God could save sinners. Explaining salvation was a mystery.
Job asked, “How should man be just with God?” Job 9:2
David pleaded for lovingkindness and mercy when he sinned: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
Why should a just God give a murderer and an adulterer forgiveness?
David later wrote: “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Psa 143:2)
But how could a just God not mark iniquities? The only defense David had was, “we are all sinners”.
Solomon, blessed with God’s wisdom, did not know how God could save either. He recognized that “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
His advice was to “fear God, and keep his commandments”.
Besides, “who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9)
No one could tell. Salvation was a mystery. God was merciful, he was forgiving, he offered salvation, but no one could explain how a just God could justify sinners who had nothing but faith.
Many people who want to be saved today know that salvation is needed and that God can provide it, but are ignorant of the gospel of salvation.
Salvation was a mystery, and it will remain a mystery until people acknowledge the message revealed to the apostle Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace.
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” – 1 Tim 1:16
Salvation was part of God’s purpose kept secret since the world began, hidden wisdom from before the world, that was revealed to Paul to teach and preach to the world.
“Who hath saved us … according to his own purpose… but now is made manifest… whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle…” – 2 Tim 1:9-11
2 Tim 3:15 says the scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, but we do not see salvation understood throughout the scriptures. It is not until the final scriptures were written by the apostle to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul, that we can explain the manifold wisdom of God to bring salvation to all (Eph 3:9-11).
Salvation was a mystery. The mystery has now been revealed. How could a just God justify sinners? On what basis?
“…God hath set forth [Christ Jesus] to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” – Rom 3:25-26
It is now known to be by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ to all that believe:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” – Titus 2:11