Follow this entry closely and you find some answers to true Biblical salvation that you are seeking. So listen with your heart.
The message of the cross is simple. It has always been simple. Yet it can become distorted and complicated beyond measure.
The gospel in its simplest form is found in the incident of the jailer who thought his prisoners had escaped.
Here is what happens:
“When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!’
“And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?‘ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'” (Acts 26:27-31 NASB)
Paul reduced the message of salvation to a simple equation. He said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.‘ That’s it? Can it really be that simple? Yes it can and I want to tell you why. In this entry we will look at what the term salvation really means in the Bible. Included will be Scripture references for additional study.
Salvation does not merely mean to be born again
Salvation includes a citizenship process. Paul said,
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Phil3:20,21)
Personal goodness can never save us. We have no righteousness of our own. (Rom3:9-22) We are lost sinners with no hope outside of Jesus Christ. Salvation is based on faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is the gospel that the apostles preached. Cf. Acts 2:21; Gal. 1:8,9; Rom.10:8-10; Eph2:8,9
The New Testament word ‘salvation’ is the Greek soteria. (so-tay-ree’ah). Soteria means deliverance, preservation, safety, or salvation. It speaks of the total sum of benefits and blessings that true believers receive by their faith in Jesus. It also includes the future estate believers will enjoy in fullest measure at the return of Christ.
All the afore things relate to the believer’s heavenly citizenship. But there is more to be understood.
Salvation is Jurisdictional
The domain of darkness speaks of the authority and power of Satan. It also speaks of the confusion and disorder of Satan’s kingdom. Satan’s rule involves killing, stealing, and destroying. (John 10:10) The moment a person calls upon Jesus as Lord, the Father instantly rescues that person from the rule and disorder of Satan, and brings that person into the kingdom life of His Son. Jurisdictional means that Satan no longer has any rights over anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Cf. Luke 22:48-53; Act 26:16-18.
“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col1:12-14)
It is in our calling upon Jesus Christ that we are given a kingdom birth. It is this heavenly birth that becomes our entrance into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. The Holy Spirit creates in the believer a new heart, and then eternally indwells the new heart. Cf. Eze36:26,27; Jer32:38-41; 1 Co 12:13; Eph1:13,14
Salvation is Relational
In Bible interpretation there is what is called ‘the law of first mention.’ This means simply that when a term appears in the Scriptures for the first time, it will carry the same general meaning throughout the Scriptures. A case for this is the word ‘righteousness.’ The first time righteousness is found in Scripture has to do with Abraham. Listen:
“And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15:5-6)
The word ‘reckoned’ is the Hebrew chashab (khaw-shab’). This word means to esteem, count, impute or charge. Abraham’s believing was imputed as righteousness with God. Cf. Rom. 4:21-25.
Righteousness is a ‘status’ of relationship with God. True believers are highly esteemed by heaven. David said, “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12)
People who are righteous by faith in Jesus Christ are actually given God’s very own righteousness. They are considered holy. Peter said, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…” (1Pet2:9)
Righteousness and faith and holiness are all companion terms. Holiness simply means that you have been set apart for God, that is, you are God’s possession. The blessings of righteousness are manifold. The Lord is always with the righteous man and woman. He guides them through life with favor. Cf. Psa34:17-19.
Experiential righteousness links to our life of faith and separation from the world. God is continually at work in our lives so that we can experience a true walk of righteousness. Believers who have the greatest struggles in life are always those who do not take their separation from the world seriously. But even in our struggles, our failures, our down-slides, and up-slides, the Lord never leaves us. He alone saves us.
The Holy Spirit helps us to live out a separated life to God. God’s people are not to be conformed to the world but to live transformed lives. We are to live with what the Scriptures call ‘a sanctified heart.’ Cf. Rom12:1,2; 2Co6:16-18; 7:1; 1Pe3:15.
Salvation is Spiritual
Jesus explained it this way:
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
This means that the new birth is a thing of the Spirit. It results in new life in the Spirit. We become new creatures who now enjoy new life, new awareness, with new spiritual expressions. Cf. 2Co5:17-19.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph5:18)
Paul is not saying that the Spirit filled life will make us act like drunkards. Actually it will do just the opposite. One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Paul is simply saying that as we learn to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the result will be grace and peace, where we are enabled by the Spirit to carry forth the testimony of Jesus Christ. We become Christ like. Cf. John 4:13,13; Rom 8:5,6; 14:17,18.
Isaiah also speaks to this in saying,
“And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” (Isa32:17)
A dialog on Salvation
Let me put the issue of salvation to rest by way of comment and response.
Comment: Does the Bible truly teach eternal salvation for the believer?
Response: Some say that a person can walk out of God’s hand on their own. If so, then we are greater than God. Jesus said ‘no one could snatch them out of His hand.’ Everyone is a someone. Jesus also said that none of His sheep would ever perish.
Jesus: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and *they will never perish; and *no one will snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:27-28)
Comment: Some teach that a person has to do certain things to be saved, such as keep the Sabbath, or dress a certain way, or keep certain laws of Moses, or do fasting and pay tithes, or speak in another language (tongues), or, so on and so on.
Response: The greatest thing a believer can ever do is learn to study the Bible for themselves, without preconceived notions, with a willing and honest heart, and with an earnest desire to know truth for themselves.x
Paul: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10)xx
Paul: “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day– things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (Col 2:16-21)x
Comment: What about supernatural signs and wonders. Aren’t these the things we should look for with regard to the work of salvation?
Response: Christianity itself is a wonder. And wonderful things happen to Christians. However, Paul said that believers must be extra cautious about deceptions, that is, of being led astray by those who preach a different gospel, or who operate under a different spirit, or who are actually preaching another Jesus. He said the key is to be found in a ‘simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Paul: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” (2Co 11:3-4)
You can decide for yourself…
Can we truly know the message of salvation that was preached by the apostles? In these final Scriptures, please pay attention to the words preach, preached, and preaching. Do this and you have your answer.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should PREACH to you a gospel contrary to what we have PREACHED to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is PREACHING to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!“ (Gal 1:8-9)
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’–that is, the word of faith which we are PREACHING, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Rom 10:8-10)
If you are a preacher, what gospel are you preaching?
If you are a church member, what kind of gospel are you hearing?
It’s up to you now. I have had my say.
In Christ always,