“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation” (Jude 3)
The work-mongers among Primitive Baptists are constantly using the above text to substantiate their doctrine of “conditional time salvation”, but where in the above words are any conditions? In fact, what we see is something that all believers have. In natural things there is no lack of understanding of the word “common”. We all have things in common. Why should there be such a radical difference in the meaning of a word when it is used in the Bible? If, as the beginning verse of this book states, we are sanctified, preserved and called, we have a common salvation. It is something which we do possess if we have been effectually called by grace, if we have been preserved by Jesus Christ, and if we have been sanctified by God the Father; and that from all eternity.
Brethren, all God’s elect are included in this verse. Every one of Spiritual Israel which were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will be called. Those that are called will be justified. Those that are justified will be sanctified. They will bring forth fruit because they abide in the vine. The calling is by the Holy Spirit and not the preacher. The justification is by the blood of Jesus, not by any “decision” they make. The sanctification is by the Eternal God and not by any works men think they can perform.
Those which are in Christ Jesus will manifest they are God’s children by having the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and having a desire to serve Him and glorify Him in this life. This is not for any hope of reward either in this life or in the world to come, but their motivation is a knowledge of the Great God which has given them that hope.
Those who have been taught what they really are, know they cannot hope to attain anything by working. They find sin ever present in all they do. God’s supremacy and a knowledge of His absolute ordination of all things causes them to bow their heads and mourn the folly of sinful men when others boast of the great things they have done for God. Paul on this point is plain: the reward is either reckoned of grace or debt. If works give us a reward in time or eternity then there is no grace there. If the reward is of grace then there can be no room for works of any sort. All of the things here mentioned by Jude are of grace, therefore works have no place in the “common salvation” of which he writes.
October - November 1987