My Credentials for Writing Chapter Four:
Salvation and Works
One evening at home, while I was still a seminary student, my wife and I decided to read the Bible. We chose to read Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and when I read aloud the first words of greeting from Paul, I felt, as if a weight, the soberness of the holy Spirit settle upon me. I cannot say that I read the book of Galatians to Barbara; I preached it – all six chapters! But I did not preach it to her alone; I preached it to myself!
When I had completed my sermon, I could remember certain phrases I had used – I could even have written out some of the very words that came out of my mouth – but I could not have given an explanation of what those words meant if it had been demanded of me at gunpoint. I wondered at some of the things I had said, and I knew that God had visited me, but what did it all mean?
Some weeks after that precious experience, I recorded a sermon for our weekly radio program, and based my message on some of the things I remembered God had spoken through me that night at home with my wife. On the night that the program aired, I was visiting in the home of Brother Earl Pittman, who was listening intently to the message, leaning forward in his chair. At one point during the sermon, with great feeling, Brother Earl said, “Man, that is good!”
But I was sitting there, still wondering what I was talking about! I still did not understand my own message. So, I replied to Brother Earl, also with great feeling, “Well, explain it to me!”
But all Earl could do was look at me. He had been rejoicing in the message, but until that moment, when I implored him to explain it to me, I think he did not realize that he didn’t understand it either! We both could feel the liberating joy of the message; there was no doubt that God was saying something very important to us, but what was the truth God was trying to show us that gave our hearts such inexplicable joy and peace?
In about six months or so, the Lord graciously allowed me to understand the message I had preached, and it is, indeed, a message that will bring great liberty and joy to God’s people everywhere. In this chapter, I have explained in full this precious, hidden truth that is so great that it made Brother Earl, as well as my wife and I, rejoice in it before we comprehended it.