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THE SALVATION OF A NATION
by Dr. Jack Hyles
First Electronic Printing in August, 1994, by FFEP Originally published in 1985 This sermon is public domain text. Permission has been given by the author to distribute freely.
Please upload this sermon to as many BBS’s, forums, online services, and Internet locations as you can. Help us to get the word out! Dr. Jack Hyles is pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (America’s largest church). He started pastoring at the age of 19 in Texas and in 1959, moved to Hammond to pastor the First Baptist Church. Dr. Hyles with the help of the LORD, has seen the church grow to where it is now America’s largest church. Several Sundays, this church has seen over 3,000 walk the aisles, professing faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Dr. Hyles also is Founder-Chancellor of Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. Hyles-Anderson College is the nation’s premier training ground for Baptist preachers, evangelists, missionaries and Christian workers.
THE SALVATION OF A NATION
II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Leviticus 2:13, “And every oblation of thy meat-offering shall thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Numbers 18:19, “All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.” II Chronicles 13:5, “Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” Just exactly how are nations saved? This does not deal with all the people of a nation coming to Christ but rather how a nation can be saved from destruction and from God’s total disfavor so that our sins can be forgiven and our land can be healed.
To understand this properly we turn to the phrase, “the covenant of salt.” II Chronicles 13:5, “Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” A covenant of salt was a covenant made between individuals pledging an unbreakable friendship. They vowed that strong friendship to each other, and as a symbol of that covenant, they ate bread and salt together. The bread symbolized the nourishment of the friendship and the salt with its savoring capacity emphasized the durability of the friendship. Salt had an important part to play in religious ceremony and sacrifices in the Word of God. For example, salt had to be in every sacrifice. Leviticus 2:13, “And every oblation of thy meat-offering shall thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” The Christian is called the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Christ is called the Bread of Life. John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”
The conclusion is, Christ will enter into a covenant with His people—a covenant that will not be broken. However, God will not enter into a covenant with a nation unless there is enough salt for the preservation of that nation. Since Christians are called the salt of the earth, there are two requirements for this covenant before God will enter into such an agreement: First, there must be enough salt in that nation. Second, that salt must have not lost its savour. God is looking for enough salt that is savoured in a nation so He can spare that nation from destruction. Note what this salt is. Salt represents the righteousness of Christ. Savoured salt represents personal righteousness. These two forms of righteousness are mentioned in Romans 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
Abraham came to God and begged for the salvation of Sodom. His nephew, Lot, was there, and Abraham did not want Lot and his family destroyed. He asked God that if he could find 50 righteous people, would God spare the city? God agreed to do so. Abraham could not find 50, so he pleaded for the salvation of Sodom if he could find 40. Again he failed. Then he asked if the quota could be lowered to 30. It was. He failed again and requested the quota be lowered to 20. Again he failed to find 20 righteous people. Finally God agreed that He would save Sodom for 10 righteous people!
Now it must be understood that these ten righteous people must have both imputed righteousness and personal righteousness. They must be salt and they must be savoured salt. This was the only hope for the city. Genesis 19:1, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” Notice that Lot was at the gate of the city. Some have suggested that he was an alderman. Others have with justification, supposed that he was the mayor, for at the gate of the city sat the judges, magistrates and city leaders. The business of the city was done at the gate, much as it is done at city hall today. At least we know one thing—Lot was a city official. Neither cities nor nations are saved because the right officials are elected! The soul winner does more for the salvation of his nation than does the precinct captain. The answer for America is not excessive political involvement on the part of God’s people, but it is the excessive soul winning on the part of God’s people and the excessive preaching of righteousness, separation and standards in our pulpits and in our homes!
I believe that God has a quota set for America—a quota of righteous people who are possessed with the imputed righteousness of Christ in response to their faith and with the personal righteousness of a holy life! I do not know what that quota is. In Sodom it was ten, but I believe with all my heart that God has placed a number of people as a quota for the salvation of this land, and that God will enter into a covenant of salt with us if we can find sufficient salt that has not lost its savour! The answer for America is not in a generation of preachers who leave their pulpits and leave their soul winning to enter politics. Of course, we should vote. Of course, we should pray for our elected officials. Of course, as citizens we should have some participation influencing others to vote properly, but this should be minute in comparison with the gathering of salt. This nation and every other nation will be spared only by direct intervention from God Almighty! I am talking about the walls of Jericho crumbling. I am talking about the drying of the Red Sea. I am talking about the sun standing still for Joshua. The only hope for America is for soul winners to get busy winning souls and for leaders to get busy preaching personal holiness so that God will enter with us into a covenant of salt and will spare our land! Now notice Genesis 19:26, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Why was Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt? There was not enough salt in the city to cause a covenant of salt. When a city is taken in battle, its destruction was finalized when the conqueror would sow it with savourless salt. What a symbol this is! Savourless salt will not spare a nation; it causes its destruction!
What then brings the salvation of a nation? II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” A nation is not saved because the homosexuals straighten up or because the drunkards sober up. A nation is saved when there are enough Christians to form enough salt with savour so God will make with that nation a covenant of salt! Those Christians must needs be separated and holy in their living. For many years this has been my goal in my ministry. I have gone day and night for years. The thrust of my ministry has been twofold—soul winning and separation, for I believe with all my heart that if we can get enough people saved and possess the imputed righteousness of Christ and then get those people holy so they will possess personal righteousness, God will look down from Heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land. Notice again the words in II Chronicles 7:14, as follows:
1. “If My people, which are called by My name.” There you have the salt.
2. “Shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways.” There you have the salt with savour.
3. “Then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Here you have the salvation of the nation. The answer, therefore, is in building soul-winning churches over the length and breadth of this nation and in preaching of separation and personal holiness in those churches. The answer is not in the White House; it is in the church house. It is not house-to-house registering of voters; it is house-to-house preaching Christ. I have four children and nine grandchildren. I have lived a lot of years. At this writing I am 58 years of age. I have preached over 41,500 sermons. I have flown nearly five million miles on airplanes. I have watched this nation deteriorate. Every patriotic American longs to see our nation spared. Some fell that its sparing is in political reform. Some feel that the nation can be spared if conservatives stay in the White House and Senate. I believe that America can be spared only by Divine intervention! It will take a miracle akin to that of the crossing of the Red Sea or of the crumbling of the walls of Jericho. I believe that God must intervene. He will not intervene until we have won enough people to Christ and made enough of them holy so that God, Who is the Bread of Life, can meet with His holy people, who are the salt of the earth, and that salt and bread can be mingled into a covenant of salt so that God says to a nation, “I will enter into an agreement with you for an unbreakable friendship for your generation.”
I long to see my children and grandchildren live their lives in the kind of America that I have known. I long to see the judging hand of God stayed. I have given most of my life to this end. When I lay my Bible down, walk out of the pulpit for the last time after having preached my last sermon, I want to look at those who follow me and say, “I did my best to get enough salt and to get enough salt savoured so that you will have the nation I have known.” I may be wrong. I don’t think I am.
May God give us preachers and churches aflame with the message of salvation and stricken with compassion to preach holiness so that we may have enough people with imputed righteousness and enough of those with personal righteousness so that God will look from Heaven and say, “America has met My quota. There is enough salt and enough savoured salt for Me to enter with them into a covenant of salt so that their generation may be spared.” To this end I work! For this I pray! In this I hope! God, save America!
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