An inward quickening is never treated as salvation in Scripture. Salvation is not, in a strict sense, the Holy Ghost’s work, but Christ’s work. Nor does Scripture ever confound salvation with eternal life. In the case of Israel, you distinguish at once their escape from judgment by the blood upon the doorpost, from their salvation by a Saviour-God at the Red Sea.
Ques. How would you distinguish between individuals now, say, in the case of two who both declare their faith in Christ? Are you to say one is saved, and the other not?
I do not know that it would be my place to say anything about them; though, with all love to both, I might yet see that which would indicate their respective positions. For instance, one of them might kneel in prayer, and so speak to God as Father, that I should know he had the Spirit of adoption; but I might find the other in similar circumstances crying out, “Lord, have mercy on me!”
Regeneration is a word used with little apprehension of its meaning. It occurs but twice: in Matthew 19:28, where it indicates the new condition of things on the earth; and then in Titus 3:5, where “the washing of regeneration” refers, I believe, to a change of state or condition, not to life at all.
You may often see a quickened soul delighting in holiness, but dreading to be damned, because he fears he has not holiness enough.
But if a soul be saved in the New Testament use of the word—I mean really saved, not merely quickened—then, unless God give up such a one for chastisement, I believe he never gets into real uncertainty again.
Ques. What is meant by, “hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins,” 2 Pet. 1:9?
There, it is a question of practice; if my child is dressed to go with me to pay a visit, but runs out into the mud, “Oh,” I say, “you have forgotten that you were dressed to go with me.”
But let me say, I would far rather see a person in deep distress, than hear anyone saying confidently, “I am saved,” who is at the same time taking things too easily.
Ques. What is meant by salvation being brought to Zacchaeus?
Why, Christ was in the house. People have mistaken this scene altogether; they fancy that Zacchaeus was shewing the Lord what the effect of the word was upon himself. I believe he was just telling the Lord what his life had been up till then, sayings as it were, ‘This is what I am, will not that do?’ Christ says in reply, “This day is salvation come to this house.”