The Fourfold Gospel, Rev. A. B. Simpson
I. CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR.
“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, salvation to our God which sitteth upon the
throne, and unto the Lamb.” Rev. vii. 10.
This is the cry of the ransomed around the throne when the universe is dissolving in
wreck, and terror is filling the hearts of men. It is the first cry of the ransomed after they
reach their home and have seen all that it means to be lost and to be saved, while the earth
is reeling, and the elements are melting, and all things are quaking and trembling in the
first approaches of the great catastrophe. They see behind them all the way through which
the Lord has led them; down that long vista they behold the toils they have come through
and the perils they have escaped, and they recognize how tenderly the grace of God has
led them on and kept them safe. They see the robes and crowns that are prepared for
them, and all the joy of the eternal future which is opening before them. They see all this,
and then they behold Him whose hand has kept it all safely for them, and whose heart has
chosen it for them. They look back upon all the past; they look forward into all the future;
they look up into the face of Him to whom it was all due, and then they lift up their
voices in one glad exultant cry, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and
unto the Lamb.” This is what salvation means; this is what they have believed for; this is
what He died to give them. They have it all. They are saved, and the full realization of it
has come home to their heart at last.
Let us look a little at what it means to be saved. It is not at all a little thing. We
sometimes hear that certain Christians are only justified. It is a mighty thing to be
justified. It is a glorious thing to be born again. Christ said it was greater to have one’s
name written in heaven than to be able to cast out devils. What does salvation mean?
I. WHAT IT SAVES US FROM.
1. It takes away the guilt of sin. It frees us from all liability and punishment for past
offences. Sin deserves punishment. Salvation takes this all away. Is it not glorious
to be saved?
2. Salvation saves us from the wrath of God. God hates evil and must punish it
somehow. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness
of men. But from this salvation delivers us.
3. Salvation delivers us from the curse of the law. We can recall the terrors of its
revealing, the lightnings and thunder that surrounded the mountain, and the terror
of Israel before it was given at all. They could not bear that God should speak to
them thus, and they entreated Moses, “Speak thou with us and we will hear; but
let not God speak with us, lest we die.” But if the giving of the law was terrible,
more terrible was the breaking. It is perilous to break the law of the land. The
most tender appeal of affection did not avail to save those condemned anarchists
in Chicago recently. The ‘hand of the law was on their throats, and to the gallows
they must go. I remember the days when the assassin of President Lincoln was
stalking through the land. The law would have searched the world to find him out.
How terrible it must have been for him to feel that the eye of justice was looking
for him, and sooner or later would surely find him! The circle narrowed and
narrowed around him, till at last he was grasped in the cordon. So the cordon of
law tightens around the sinner who is under its power. Salvation delivers us from
this curse through Him who was made a curse for us.
4. It delivers us also from our evil conscience. There is always a shadow left on our
hearts by sin, and a feeling of remorse. It is the black wing of the raven, and its
hoarse voice is ever whispering of despair. The memory of past guilt will follow
people so that after many years they tell of crimes committed, the punishment for
which they escaped, but the burden never left their conscience. Sometimes it
seemed to slumber for a while, and at last it sprang upon them like a lion.
Salvation delivers from our evil conscience. It takes the shadow from the heart
and the stinging memory of sin from the soul.
5. It delivers from an evil heart, which is the source of all the sin in the life. It is
natural for men to sin even while they hate it. The tendency to evil is in every
nature, chained to it like a body of death, so that when we would do good evil is
present with us. It takes possession of the will and heart like a living death. It is
offensive, it smells of the sepulchre, it is full of the poison of asps, it putrefies the
whole moral being and bears it, too, down to death. Salvation frees us from its
power and gives us a new nature.
6. It frees us from the fear of death. It takes away the sting of that last enemy,
through fear of whom we would otherwise all our lifetime be subject to bondage.
I remember when I was a child what a shock a funeral bell would give me. I could
not bear to hear of some one being dead. The love of Christ has taken this all
away. The death-bed of God’s children is to them the portal of heaven.
7. Salvation delivers us from Satan’s power and kingdom. God hath “delivered us
from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
We are saved from the ills and the serpent and the bonds of sin, and the devil is
for us a conquered foe. Salvation delivers us from much sorrow and distress in
life. It brings a glorious sunlight into the life and drives away those clouds of
depression and gloom which overwhelm us.
8. Beyond all else, salvation delivers us from eternal death. We are not going down
into outer darkness and the depths of woe. Christ has unlocked the fetters of the
pit and saved us from endless death. We are delivered from that terrible agony
which the kindest lips that ever spoke has called “the worm that dieth not and the
fire that is not quenched.”
These are some of the things that salvation has delivered us from. Is it not indeed glad
II. WHAT SALVATION BRINGS TO US.
It brings the forgiveness of all our sins and entirely removes them. They are blotted out as
completely as though we had paid all that was due for them, and they can never appear
against us again.
1. It brings us justification in the sight of God, so that we stand before Him as
righteous beings. We are accepted as though we had done everything He had
commanded, and had perfectly kept the law in every particular. With one stroke
of the pen He erases the account that was against us; with another stroke He puts
there all the righteousness of Christ. We must take both sides of this. The
spotlessness of Jesus is put to your account as if it were your own. All His
obedience to the Father is yours. All His patience and gentleness are yours. Every
service that He has rendered to bless others is put to your account as if you had
done it all. Every good thing you can discover in Him is yours, and every evil
thing in you is His. That is salvation. Is it not wonderful?
2. It brings us into the favor and love of God, and secures us full acceptance in the
person of Jesus. He loves us as He loves His only begotten Son. The moment we
are presented in the arms of Christ, we are accepted in Him. Dr. Currie, a brilliant
writer connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, has left a beautiful
incident in his own life. He was the editor of one of the best journals of his
church, and in many ways he was closely connected with its work. He dreamed
one night, a little before his recent death, that he died and went up to the gate of
heaven. There he met an angel and asked to be allowed to enter. The angel asked
him who he was. He answered: “I am Dr. Currie, the editor of the Quarterly Review
of the Methodist Episcopal Church.” The angel answered: “I don’t know
you, I never heard of you before.” Soon he met another angel and told ‘him the
same story, and received the same answer: “I don’t know you.” At last one of the
angels said: “Let us go to the Judge and see if He will know you.” He went before
the throne and told the Judge about his life and the ‘work he had done for the
church, but received the answer from the Judge: “I don’t know you at all.” His
heart was beginning to gather the blackness of despair, when suddenly there was
One at his side with a crown of thorns upon His head, who said: “Father, I know
him. I will answer for him.” And instantly all the harps of heaven began to sing:
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,” and he was ushered into all the glory of the
celestial world. Not all the preaching we have done, or all the service we have
rendered will amount to anything there. We must be identified with the Man who
wore the thorns; we must be accepted in the Beloved, and then the Father will
love us even as He loves His Son. We shall stand with Him even as Christ does.
3. Salvation gives us a new heart. It brings to us regeneration of the soul. Every
spark of life from the old polluted nature is worthless, and the divine nature is
born in us as a part of our very being.
4. Salvation gives us grace to live day by day. A man may be pardoned and so get
out of prison, and yet have no money to supply his needs. He is pardoned, yet he
is starving. Salvation takes us out of prison, and provides for all our needs
besides. It enables us to rejoice in the glory of God, which is “able to keep us
from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with
5. It brings to us the help of the Holy Spirit, who is ever at our side as a gentle
mother, helping our infirmities and bringing grace for every time of need.
6. It brings to us the care of God’s providence, causing all things, to work together
for our good. This is never true until we are saved; but when we are the children
of God all things in earth and in heaven are on our side.
7. Salvation opens the way for all the blessings that follow it. It is the steppingstone
to sanctification and healing, and the peace that passeth understanding. From this
first gateway the prospect opens out boundlessly to all the good land we may go
on to possess.
8. Salvation brings to us eternal life. It is, of course, only the beginning, but the
heavenly, land has its portals open even here, and when we at last reach the throne
and look out and see all the possibilities that yet lie before us, we shall sing with
the ransomed, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the
III. THE PROCESS BY WHICH THESE BLESSINGS COME.
1. They come through the mercy and grace of God. “God so loved the world that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.”
2. Salvation comes to us by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He perfectly fulfilled
for us every requirement of the law. Had He faltered in one temptation we could
not have been saved. Think of that when you are tempted to speak a hasty word,
and you almost give way for a moment. Suppose Jesus had done so, we should
have been lost forever. Every moment He held steadfastly in the path of
obedience, and His perfect grace and obedience are the price of your salvation.
3. Salvation comes to us through the death of Christ. His obedience is not enough.
He must die. His crucifixion is the atonement for our sins.
4. Salvation comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which
was God’s seal of His accomplished work and the pledge of our pardon.
5. Salvation comes through the intercession of Jesus at the right hand of the Father.
He is our Great High Priest there, where He ever liveth to make intercession for
us, and thus keeps us in continual acceptance.
6. Salvation comes through the grace of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God is sent
down, through the intercession of Christ, to carry out in our hearts and lives His
work. He keeps our feet in the way, and He will never leave His work until He
has put us forever into the bosom of Jesus.
7. Salvation comes to us by the Gospel. It is presented to us through this message,
and our refusal to accept it, or our neglect to do so, fixes irrevocably, by our own
act, our eternal condition. If we are saved, we become so by accepting the Gospel,
which is, therefore, called “the Gospel of your salvation.”
IV. THE STEPS BY WHICH IT IS RECEIVED.
1. Conviction of sin. We must first see our need and our danger before we can be
saved. The Holy Ghost brings this to our heart and conscience. Until there is this
knowledge of the need of Christ, He cannot of course be received; but when the
heart is deeply impressed under a sense of sin, Christ is precious indeed.
2. There must be next an apprehension of Jesus as our Saviour. The soul must see
Him as both able and willing to save. It will not do merely to feel and confess
your guilt. What is needed is to get the eye on Jesus. So Christ says to every
seeking soul, “Look! Look! Look unto Me and be saved !” “Every one which
seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.”
3. Salvation comes by repentance. There must be a turning from sin. This does not
consist in mere emotional feeling, necessarily, but it does mean to have the whole
will and purpose of heart turned from sin to God.
4. Salvation comes by coming to Jesus. The soul must not only turn away from sin.
That alone will not save it. Lot’s wife turned away from Sodom-but she was not in
Zoar. There must be a turning to Jesus as well as a turning from sin.
5. Salvation comes by accepting Jesus as a Saviour. This does not mean merely
crying out to Him to save, but claiming Him as the Saviour, embracing the
promises He has given, and so believing that He is your personal Redeemer.
6. Salvation comes by believing that Christ has accepted us, and counting Him
faithful who has promised. This will bring the sweetness of assurance and peace,
and as we believe the promise the Spirit will seal it to the heart and witness that
we are the children of God.
7. Salvation comes by confessing Christ as the Saviour. This is a necessary step. It is
like the ratification of a deed or the celebration of a marriage, and stamps and
seals our act of committal.
8. Salvation involves our abiding in Jesus. Having taken it for granted, once for all,
that you are saved, never do the work over again. “As ye have, therefore, received
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.”
V. THINGS THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SALVATION.
1. It is called God’s salvation. It was not invented by man. God alone is the author of
it, and He is the only Saviour.
2. It is also called “your own salvation,” because you yourself must appropriate it.
3. It is called “the common salvation,” because it is free to all who will accept it.
4. It is called a “great salvation,” because it is full and infinite in its provisions. It is
large enough for all your needs.
5. Christ is called the “mighty to save,” because no matter how weak or how wicked
the sinner may be, He is able to save him to the uttermost.
6. It is called a near salvation. “Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven?
(that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, who shall descend into the deep?
(that is, to bring Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The Word is nigh
thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is, the Word of Faith which we
preach: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” We
do not have to get up into some exalted state to find Christ, nor down into some
profound and terrible experience, but we can find Him everywhere we are.
Salvation is at our door. We can take it as we find Him very near to us. No steps
were allowed to God’s ancient altar, for then some poor sinner might not be able
to get up to it. Jesus is on the very plane where you are this moment. You can take
His salvation here now. Take Him as you are, and lie will lead you into all the
experiences you need.
VI. WHY IT IS CALLED THE GOSPEL OF GOOD NEWS.
1. Because of its value. It comes laden With blessings to him who receives it.
2. Because of its freedom. It may be taken without money and without price.
3. Because of its availableness. It is easy of access, being on the level of the worst
4. Because of its universality. Whosoever will may take it and live.
5. Because of the security of its blessings. They are given forevermore. “Verily,
verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent
Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not perish.”
6. Because of the eternity of its blessings. The sun will have burnt itself into ashes,
the earth will have been destroyed by volcanic heat, the heavens will be changed
When salvation has only begun. Then thousand times ten thousand years shall
pass away, and we shall have only begun a little to understand what salvation
means. Blessed be God for the Gospel of Christ’s salvation.
VII. CONSIDERATIONS WHICH SHOULD URGE US
TO TAKE AND GIVE OUT THIS SALVATION.
1. Because of the fact that every man’s salvation is hinged upon his own choice and
free will. It is an awful thing to have the power to take salvation and to throw it
away. And yet it is left to our choice. We are not forced to take it. We must
voluntarily choose it or reject it.
2. Because of the tremendous responsibility to which we are held accountable for the
salvation of our soul. God has put it into our hands as a jewel of inestimable
value, and He will hold us to a strict account for the way we treat this precious
thing. If we destroy it, how fearful will be our doom when we meet the Judge of
all the earth, and hear the stern question from His lips, “Where is thy soul?”
3. Because of the guilt which will rest upon us for neglecting and despising the
precious blood of Christ, which was shed for our salvation. To neglect it is to
throw it away. He has provided a great salvation. If it is worth so much to man, if
it has cost God so much to provide it, what can be thought of him who makes
little of it? Jesus suffered intensely to bring it to us, and shall we stumble
carelessly over it? Oh, let us be more concerned than we are, both for the
salvation of our own souls and for those around us who are not saved.
4. Because the little word “now” is always linked with it. It must be taken now or
never. The cycle of life is very narrow. We do not know how soon it will end.
“Behold now is the day of salvation.”
5. Because its issues are for eternity. The decisions there are not reversible. The soul
cannot come back when once it has left the body, and have another chance to
secure its salvation. When once the Master has risen up and shut the door, the soul
will find it has been left out for ever. The cry will then be, “I have lost my chance;
it is too late.” God’s Word holds out no second chance to any human soul.
6. Because if salvation is missed there will be no excuse for it. Not one thing has
been left undone in presenting it to men. God’s best thought and Christ’s best love
have been given to it. All has been done that could be done. Salvation has been
brought down to man’s level. It has been placed where he can reach it. God has
provided all the resources, even the grace, repentance and faith, if man will take
them. If you lack anything, God will put His arms around you and lift you up to
Him, breathing His faith into you, and carrying you Himself until you are able to
walk. Salvation is brought to every sinner. If the soul is lost it is because it has
neglected and defied God’s love.
I am glad to bring you this salvation, but eternity will be too short to tell it all. Take it and
then go out and gather others in to share it. You will receive a glorious crown, but the
best of it all will be that men will be saved.
In this city there is a picture hung up in a parlor and expensively framed. It is a very
simple picture. It has just one word on it. On a little bit of paper-a telegraph form-is the
It was framed by the lady of that mansion, and is dearer to her than all her works of art.
One day when the awful news came to her through the papers that the ship on which her
husband had sailed was a perfect wreck, that little telegram came to her door and saved
her from despair.
It came across the sea. It was the message of that rescued man by the electric wire, and it
meant to two hearts all that life is worth.
Oh, let such a message go up to-day to yonder shore. The Holy Ghost will flash it hence
while I am drawing the next breath. The angels will echo it over heaven, and there are
dear friends there to whom it will mean as much as their own very heaven.
I have seen another short sentence in a picture, too.
It came from one who had been rescued from a ship where friends and family had all
perished. Those dear little ones were in the slimy caves of the cruel sea. Those beloved
faces had gone down forever, but he was saved, and from yonder shore he sent back this
sad and weary message:
So I can imagine a selfish Christian entering yonder portals. They meet him at the gates,
“Where are your dear ones?” “Where are your friends?” “Where is your crown?”
“Alas, I am saved alone.” God help you, reader, to so receive and give, that you shall save
yourself and others also.
“Must I go, and empty handed,
Must I thus my Saviour meet,
Not one soul with which to greet Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?”