Summary: Secular salvation gets nobody into heaven, but it is often the stepping-stone on the way to eternal salvation. Every time we experience secular salvation we are given the opportunity to do for Christ what we could not do if we were not so spared
My father used to say that he had a piece of meat that was so tough it was like trying to eat shoe
leather. I doubt that he ever knew that there was a time when Americans actually ate shoe leather. It
was back in the year 1610 in the first English settlement called the Virginia Colony. The experiment
had gone from bad to worse and the people had consumed all of their hogs, sheep, goats, and the few
horses they had. Next went the dogs, cats, and even the rats and field mice. It is surprising how
starvation cures the fussy eater. They dug up roots and everything eatable, and finally they came to
the end of the line. There was nothing left but their shoes, belts, straps and leather covers of their
books. These were boiled and eaten.
Obviously such a diet left them weak and some of them just froze to death as they lay in their
beds. In nine months they went from a population of 480 down to just 60. You can imagine the thrill
that came to those 60 starving people when they saw a ship on the horizon. The ship was aptly named
Deliverance, for had it not arrived when it did all would have been dead in just a few more days. This
deliverance of the people of Jamestown was a turning point for the colony, and it went on to play role
in our nation's history. These people were saved, not for eternity, but for time, and this becomes an
example of secular salvation. Secular means pertaining to time and flesh in this world. It is in
contrast to that which is eternal and spiritual.
We may not think that secular salvation is of any great importance because it is only temporal
and does not settle our eternal destiny. But the Bible makes a great deal of secular salvation. Paul
was one of the major benefactors of God's providential secular deliverance. Paul was saved by Jesus
forever, but he was saved by Roman soldiers for time, and this secular salvation was vital to God's
total plan of eternal salvation. By means of these soldiers Paul's life was spared so that he could
witness to leaders all the way up to Caesar in Rome. Because he lived he was able to write letters,
which have carried the Gospel of eternal salvation into all the world. Because Paul experienced secular
salvation, millions have experienced sacred salvation of their eternal souls by means of his letters.
Secular salvation is not small part of God's purpose in history. It runs all through the Bible, and
yet we seldom think of it. The result is that we fail to see the hand of God in the secular world, and
we miss much for which we should be grateful. In this message we want to focus on two aspects of
this theme. First let's look at-
I. INSTRUMENT OF SECULAR SALVATION.
The instrument of sacred and eternal salvation is Jesus Christ. There is no other name under
heaven whereby we must be saved. No man comes to the Father but by Him. Jesus is the sole
instrument by which any person can be saved eternally. But when it comes to the level of secular
salvation God uses some surprising instruments.
In Paul's case he was a Christian being saved from death by a non-Christian. It was the Romans
to the rescue, and this word rescue is a key Bible word for secular salvation. The Greek word isexaireo,
and it was used by the Roman Commander who saved Paul from being beaten to death. In
Acts 23:27 this commander used the word in a letter he wrote to Governor Felix explaining what
happened. He wrote, "This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came
with my troops and rescued him.."
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who carried the message of salvation in Christ to them is now
being saved on the secular level by a Gentile. From this point on in his life Paul is dependent upon
Gentiles for his survival. Felix, Festus, or Agrippa could have turned him over to the Jews and he
would have been immediately executed, but they spared him. On his way to Rome another Roman
soldier spared Paul's life. Paul was only saved for eternity once, but he was saved for time over and
over again. In Acts 28 a poisonous viper bite Paul and everyone expected him to die, but he
experienced another example of secular salvation. Paul was being saved over and over by
government officials and the providence of God.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Prisoners Of The Land tells of his ill-fated flight from Paris to
Saigon in 1935. They crashed in the Libyon Desert of North Africa. He and his mechanics survived,