Summary: A consideration of what our Savior says about the salvation provided thorugh His death and resurrection.
Some refer to our Lord’s prayer recorded in John 17 as His “high priestly prayer,” because of our Savior’s intercession for His disciples. This prayer is in three sections: 1) Jesus prays for Himself (vs.1-5); then 2) Jesus prays for His disciples (vs. 6-19); then 3) Jesus prays for all believers (including us) (vs. 20-26).
Today, let’s focus in on what our Lord prayed for Himself. As He prays for Himself, He prays about His glorification. The Lord mentions five “glories” - 1) The glory of His sacrificial death (v. 1a); 2) The glory of the Father’s redemptive plan (v. 1b); 3) The glory of His obedient life (v. 4); 4) The glory of His victorious resurrection (v. 5a); and 5) The glory of His exalted divinity (v. 5b).
In Scripture, we see the all three persons of the Trinity at work in our salvation: 1) The Father devised the plan for our salvation; 2) The Son accomplished the provision for our salvation; and 3) The Spirit brings the person to salvation.
The work of the Father and the Son are highlighted in our Savior’s high priestly prayer. In verses 2 and 3, our Savior speaks of the salvation provided by means of His obedient life; His sacrificial death; His victorious resurrection; and His wonderful exaltation.
Let’s notice what He tells us about our glorious salvation.
1. The mystery of salvation – Salvation is by God’s grace.
“for you granted”
Salvation is something that has been provided completely by God’s initiative and power; and it is something that I am blessed to receive and experience, also only by virtue of God’s initiative and power.
Jesus emphasized again and again that salvation is totally the work of God. For example, in Mark 10:23-27, when our Savior challenged the prevailing idea that those who were rich were rich because of God’s favor, and were, therefore, the ones in society most likely to be saved, His disciples, said, “If the wealthy have a difficult time being saved, then who can be saved?”
To which Jesus responded by saying, “With man it is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” When it comes to salvation, if we look to man, we get what man can do, which is nothing; but when we look to God, we get what God can do, which is everything!
Longfellow could take a worthless piece of paper, write a poem on it, and make it worth $6,000 - that is genius. Rockefeller could sign his name to a piece of paper and make it worth millions - that is capital. Uncle Sam can take paper, stamp an image on it and make it worth $100 - that is money. An artist can take a $5 piece of canvas, paint a picture on it, and make it worth $1,000 - that is art. A mechanic can take material worth $5 and make a part worth $50 - that is skill. But only God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His Spirit in it, and make it a blessing to humanity - that is salvation.
This is why salvation is by faith. Faith is our choosing to trust God for salvation. Faith is “Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” Salvation is not a question of “achieving” but a question of “receiving.”
2. The manner of salvation – Salvation is God’s gift.
“that he might give”
“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]” - Ephesians 2:8-9 (Amplified)
Taking credit for accepting the gift of salvation through faith in Christ is kind of like a guy taking credit for choosing to accept a gift of 10 million dollars. I mean, that isn’t a decision that anybody deserves to take any credit for because anyone with half a brain would accept.
“On the one hand, Christianity is the most exclusive religion imaginable. It insists that belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation. Jesus is the only way. You must go to Him to get eternal life. On the other hand, Christianity is the most inclusive religion possible because it makes salvation accessible to everyone. Salvation is offered for all people through one Person. Whoever believes in Him will not perish. Anyone who receives or believes in Jesus will live forever with God. There are no racial, social, intellectual, or economic criteria that prevent anyone from joining God’s family. One of the problems with the other religions of the world is that they all smack of elitism… Only Christianity offers salvation to everyone as a free gift.” - Philip Graham Ryken