Salvation

Son of God (2014)

Christians often talk about being saved. The term salvation carries with it a great deal of baggage. What exactly do Christians mean when they say they have been saved? What does salvation entail? Below are the basic Christian beliefs about salvation.

What must someone do in order to be saved?  What does the Scripture say about how someone appropriates the benefits of Christ’s death?  The Scriptures teach us very plainly what it means for someone to be saved and what someone must do to become saved.

  • Acts 16:30-31: One must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 2:38: One must repent and be baptized.
  • Romans 10:9-10: One must confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that in his or her heart.
  • Romans 10:13: One must call upon the name of the Lord.
  • Romans 15:12: One must hope or trust in the Lord (the root of Jesse–NIV).
  • Matthew 28:19-20: One becomes a disciple and is then told to go and make disciples.
  • Matthew 16:24: One must deny him or herself, take up his or her cross, and follow Christ.
  • Acts 3:19: One must repent and be converted.

In summary, to be saved, one must believe, repent and be converted, confess sins, call on the name of Jesus, hope and trust in Him, become a disciple, make disciples, deny self, and take up the cross.  Most of the steps listed above are somewhat synonymous.  Repent, believe, hope, and trust overlap in their definitions.  Today, we even use different expressions when we give alter calls in our worship services.  One week the pastor may say, “If anyone would like to give his or her life to Christ,” and the next week he might say, “If anyone would like to accept Christ as Savior.”  The expressions are different, but the idea behind them is very much the same.  The bottom line is that salvation is receiving the gift of God through Jesus Christ.  All Christians are saved by God’s grace as they place their faith in Christ.

By confessing our sins, we are agreeing with God that our sinful actions and nature are wrong.  We are admitting to God that our sins separate us from Him because He is Holy.  We are confessing that we are in the wrong and that we do not want to be separated from Him or be out of fellowship with Him.  When we confess that Jesus is Lord, we are stating that we believe Jesus Christ is exactly who He claimed to be: the second person of the Trinity.  We are told in 1 John 1:9 that we are to confess our sins and here we see that this idea goes hand in hand with the concept of repentance.  It is impossible to confess without repenting because repentance is a changing of heart and mind. If confessing is admitting our wrong and being reconciled to God, then repentance is a necessary step in our confession.  Confessing and repenting also go hand in hand with believing.  If we believe in Christ, we will confess His Lordship over our lives, and we will repent of the things we have done in disobedience to Him.

The verses above mention believing in the Lord, but we must ask, exactly what it is one needs to believe to accurately receive salvation?

  • To be saved, one must have a Trinitarian concept of God, because if God is not seen in a Triune way, then the god being seen is not the God of Christianity.
  • One must also believe in the full deity and humanity of Christ; if Christ did not become human he could not have made the sacrifice to redeem us.
  • One must believe that humans are utterly lost physically and spiritually. If we are not lost, there is no sin.  If there is no sin, Christ had nothing to redeem us from.

Finally, to be saved, someone must believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ.  The Penal Substitutionary Atonement is the idea that Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins as a substitute in our place. If Christ did not die as a substitute for the sins of all of mankind, then His death was in vain. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then God did not accept His sacrifice and all of us are condemned to Hell.

A few things about our need for salvation:

  • Christians believe that all people have sinned (Romans 3:23).
  • Christians believe that God must punish sin, and therefore people deserve spiritual death (Romans 6:23).
  • Jesus dies to pay for our sins and through belief in him, anyone can be saved from spiritual death (Romans 5:8).

A few things about Christ’s death related to our salvation:

  • Christ redeems us or delivers us from sin (Romans 7:14).
  • Christ took our punishment for our sin on the cross and now allows us to receive grace from God (1 John 2:2).
  • Christ died as a substitute for us on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).
  • Christ reconciles us to God bringing us back into fellowship with the Creator (Romans 5:10).

A few things about receiving salvation:

  • Salvation results in regeneration, or the act of receiving new spiritual life (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
  • Christians must be willing to receive Jesus for salvation (John 1:12). To receive Jesus is to depend on him for salvation.
  • Salvation leads to repentance. Repentance is renouncing the things that do not glorify God and living in obedience to his word, the Bible.
  • Salvation results in justification. Justification means that God no longer holds our sins against us and that he views us as righteous (without sin) in his sight (Romans 3:20).
  • Salvation results in adoption. When we receive Christ, we are adopted into the family of God (John 1:12).
  • Salvation begins the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of growing in the faith and becoming more like Christ in how we act and think. This process continues throughout our life. As we grow in the faith and become more like Christ, we become more free from sin and virtue becomes more apparent in our lives (Romans 6:11-13).
  • When Christians receive salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in their hearts helping them to lead a life of obedience to God (1 Corinthians 3:16).
  • The end result of salvation is receiving a new incorruptible body that will no longer suffer or face decay. Christians will live in this new body for eternity in the presence of God in the new heavens and the new earth where there will no longer be any sin (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Romans 8:19-23)

The following site also has a nice write-up on salvation: http://christthetruth.net/2013/09/11/ten-thoughts-on-salvation/

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