The following is from "Chapter 30 - Hot Shots Returned (5th Volley)" of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."
ISAIAH, PAUL & BARNABAS - GOD'S MEANS IN BRINGING SALVATION
"And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49: 5,6)
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. (Acts 13: 46-49)
"And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and (to turn) from the power of Satan unto God, THAT they may receive forgiveness of sins, and (in order that they may receive) inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." (Acts 26: 14-18)
It is very clear that Isaiah, Paul and Barnabas, yea, every gospel minister who "brings glad tidings of good things," were and are predestined and made by God to be his "servants" in order "to bring salvation." God had determined to make Isaiah a preacher of the good tidings, and by him, as a means, to "bring again the captivity" of his people, to effect their "return" to the Lord, and to work and effect their "salvation."
There is no way to distort or twist these verses as to make them concern only a "salvation" from temporal trials and errors but to a "salvation" which, by its description in the above verses, can be only that which delivers and rescues from sin and eternal condemnation, of that "salvation" which the Scriptures overwhelmingly speak, and which brings with it the "forgiveness of sins." People, in the "salvation" under consideration in the above passages of scripture, are delivered from the "power of Satan," from his bondage, and who were therefore not "free," nor "saved," nor "born again," prior to hearing and believing the gospel.
In this "salvation" sinners were brought to see and confess their sins and their need of Christ, and were "effectually drawn" to him as a suitable Savior. This "salvation" includes, as the above passages show, "receiving the forgiveness of sins," and "receiving an inheritance among the saints." How anyone can make this "salvation" something unconnected with eternity, and to refer strictly and simply to only some "timely deliverances," of those who are already eternally saved, is to pay absolutely no attention to the "context" and to shut ones eyes to what is obvious in the language of the passages cited.
It is by means of the gospel and gospel ministers that the Lord "gathers" his "sheep," and by which he "calls" and "brings" them into the "sheepfold." This was the view that Elder Watson expressed, in his book, "The Old Baptist Test," as being both his and the truly "Old Baptist position." It is by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ that sinners are brought to faith and repentance, by which they are converted and changed, and whereby they truly come to "know God" and to "know Christ," and whereby they are instructed in the truth about Christ and his salvation.
Dr. Gill wrote:
"...thus what was decreed and resolved on by God the Father, and was declared by him to his Son, is applied to his ministers and ambassadors, who represented him; so that what they did, he may be said to do; and who by them was to go, and did go to the Gentiles, and enlighten them with the light of the Gospel, and became salvation to them; so that this prophecy is produced by the apostles, to vindicate their conduct, as well as to show the agreement between the command of Jesus Christ to his disciples, and the decree of God the Father; as also to illustrate and confirm the particular order, which the Apostle Paul had, to go to the Gentiles, and to which he may have a regard here; see Ac 26:17." (Commentary on Acts 13)
Dr. Gill believed the reference in Isaiah referred first to Christ and secondarily to the ministers of the gospel. Paul definitely cites the passage in Isaiah in order to authenticate his ministry and to show that it was the "work of the Lord" and the result of his making his own appointed means effectual.
Hardshells, in excluding gospel ministers and gospel preaching, a "belief of the truth," as the God ordained "means" he uses to accomplish his salvation, are clearly against these plain facts from inspired witnesses.
TAKING THEM OUT BY THE GOSPEL
"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: THAT the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning." " (Acts 15: 14-20)
This "taking out of the Gentiles a people for his name" is connected with the work of conversion through the preaching of the Apostles. God was "saving" and "calling out from among" the Gentiles those whom he had "chosen to salvation." Christ sent his ambassadors to offer the "conditions of pardon" to "every man." Those whom the Lord had thus "taken out," by the ministry of the Apostles and gospel preachers, from among the Gentiles, were those who had received that gospel and who had, thereby, sought, called upon, and found the Lord.
This work of "converting" sinners, of "making disciples," is part and parcel of that "salvation" and "regeneration" that God promised to bring by the hands of those whom he sends with the message, "Be ye reconciled to God."
It is interesting too that the Apostle James calls this "work" of "calling out" the Gentiles by the gospel, of "taking out from among them a people for his name," is the "work of God." But, it is Hardshell "logic" that says that such a work cannot possibly be the "work of God" because it involved means! If the Hardshells make the "salvation" and "conversion" of this passage to be a "time salvation," then they are forced to accept the Absoluter argument and position that says "conversion," like "regeneration," is always "effectual" and "irresistable," because it is the "WORK OF GOD." Conditionalists, the predominant sect within the Hardshell cult, will not, however, accept this position. These have staked it out, as their position, that "conversion" is the result of the free will choice and work of the child of God himself, and is, therefore, not certain nor "irresistably" the "work of God."
Dr. Gill wrote:
"James speaking to an assembly of Hebrews...observes, that he (Peter) had given a very clear and distinct narrative, how God at the first preaching of the Gospel, quickly after the day of Pentecost, was pleased to look upon the Gentiles, and show favour to them, and visit them in a way of grace and mercy, by sending the Gospel to them, and his Spirit to make it effectual: this was a gracious visit; he came and looked upon them, quickened them, and spoke comfortably to them, and bestowed special favours upon them; the set time for such a visit being come..." (Commentary Acts 15)
THAT expresses truly the Old Baptist position on this matter, does it not? Neither Dr. Gill, nor the truly Old Baptists, saw it as detracting from the glory of God in salvation, in the least, for God to use the means of his own gospel and the means of his own created witnesses to it! They certainly did not see the idea of regeneration, by the "means of the gospel," as a "blasphemous," teaching, as do those who arrogantly and wrongly claim to be "Old Baptists"!