BASICS OF SALVATION

August 7, 1996

Purpose: To provide accurate answers to salvation. These facts are grace oriented and theologically accurate. The intent is to help new believers and those who want straight answers.

Salvation Overview

How can I meet God?

Does God love me?

How can I know I'm saved?

Why am I alive?

What is the purpose of life?

Should I feel saved?

Can I be saved and lose it?


How can I meet God?

The only way in this life is to be born again. Since God is Spirit and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16), to walk into his presence would mean instant death. It would be like flying into the eye of the sun. But, there is hope. He has provided a way for us to know Him. It involves being born again.

Since God is Spirit and the natural man does not have a human spirit, there is no way for spiritually dead man to have fellowship with Spiritual God. Man must be born again (John 3:3, 7), which means to be spiritually regenerated.

When a person accepts Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit creates in him a human spirit so that he can have fellowship with God. God the Father also imputes Eternal Life and His own Righteousness to the new believer. The person who is born again is a new spiritual species. He is spiritually alive and able to have fellowship with God.

So the answer as to how to meet God is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ gave to Nicodemus. "You must be born again (John 3:7)."


Does God love me?

Yes, God loves you (John 3:16). Love is the very essence of God. "God is love (1 John 4:16)." God is perfect, omnipotent, eternal; so is His love. So God loves with an infinite love. His love is based upon who and what He is. This is true objectivity. He loves us when we are good, when we are bad, when we are arrogant fools, and when we reject and despise Him. When Jesus was dying on the cross after being physically abused beyond recognition (Isaiah 53:2,5) and despised and rejected, He said, "Father, forgive them for they do not know not what they are doing (Luke 23:34)."

God's love for mankind is beyond comprehension, but it is also based upon knowing the whole truth. He knows all and sees all. He knows we aren't perfect. He knows we are flawed. God has absolute righteousness while the mankind has been polluted by sin and evil (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23). The best and highest of human virtue is incompatible with the divine standard (Isaiah 64:6).

God loves us whether we believe in Him or not, but that doesn't mean that we have fellowship with Him. God doesn't coerce our love response. He gives us the choice. He loves us but leaves us free to accept or reject His infinite, eternal love. It is like being separated from someone you love very much or being jilted. When we love someone very much but they reject us, that is like the unbeliever rejecting God's perfect love.


How can I know I'm saved?

If you have believed in Jesus Christ, then, on the authority of the word, you are saved: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; but he who does not believe shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36)." "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 John 5:11-12, NAS)."

Salvation is received by faith alone in Christ alone. That means that believing in Christ is the only possible way to be saved. If you, in the privacy of your own soul, expressed your faith in Jesus Christ, then God has given to you eternal life. But if you did something else for salvation, such as doing good works, going to church, going to confession, or inviting Christ into your heart, then you have not complied with the simple truth of scripture. Such activity will not bring salvation. There is only one way to be saved and that is God's way. Anything that man does to add to God's procedure nullifies the result and does not lead to salvation.

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved in the past with the result that you keep on being saved forever through faith, and this not from yourselves. It is the gift from God: 9 Not by works that no one should boast.

Why am I alive?

Only God knows that, but if you are still alive, then He still has a purpose for your life (Ephesians 4:4)!


What is the purpose of life?

Everyone was created to resolve the prehistoric Angelic Conflict. When Satan sinned, he was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 28:16). He rejected God's solution to his sin problem. He was sentenced to the Lake of Fire (Matt 25:41, Revelation 20:10). Satan appealed the decision. His arguments were undoubtedly, "How can a God of love sentence me to burn forever?"

Man was created to resolve the appeal. So a man and a woman were created and placed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). They used their volition to sin, just as Satan had done (Genesis 3:1-19). They were booted out of the Garden (Genesis 3:22) just as Satan had been booted out of Heaven. When God gave them an opportunity to be saved, however; unlike Satan, they accepted it. They believed in the Jehovah-Savior who would come, were saved, and sacrificed an animal to demonstrate it. They clothed themselves with the animal skin (Genesis 3:21) and proceeded to demonstrate the adequacy, Righteousness, and Justice of the Plan of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ was born of a woman and provided salvation for all who would believe. Those who choose to reject salvation (God's solution) are left in condemnation.

The daily decisions of each member of the human race are used in the appeal trial, which is now extent. Each of us has an opportunity to have access to unlimited opportunity by the grace of God. We can choose to accept or reject God's Plan. When we accept it, we become witnesses to demonstrate the sufficiency of the Plan of God. When we reject it, we demonstrate the arrogance of Satan, who said, "I will be like the most High (Isaiah 14:14).


Should I feel saved?

A person cannot feel the spirit, and salvation is entrance into the spiritual life. Feeling is a physical response from the body. How the body feels has nothing to do with the Christian life. If one is looking for confidence or assurance about salvation, then this grows as one matures in the Christian life. Doubts arise when we fail to believe the truth (Titus 1:2). We take our eyes off the divine solution.

Even in our darkest hour, there is no need to doubt our salvation. It is our rock. It is God's work - not ours. It does not depend on us. Even in Jeremiah's darkest hour, he kept from falling apart by recalling the promises of scripture: "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23, KJV).


Can I be saved and lose it?

No. "And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (John 10:28-29, NAS)."

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39, NAS)."


SALVATION

Eternal Life

Anyone can have Everlasting Life simply by believing in Christ (Acts 16:31). Faith in Christ alone brings the gift of Everlasting Life (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Lord Jesus Christ paid for the sins of the world on the cross (1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2). The door is now open for all who want the gift of Eternal Life. Nothing stands in the way. The gift is available to all who want it (Ephesians 2:8-9). The scripture says, "For in this way God loved the world in that He gave His uniquely-born Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have Eternal Life (John 3:16). Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)."

Jesus Christ, the Savior

The Lord Jesus Christ was the uniquely-born Son of God. He was both perfect humanity and undiminished deity combined in one unique personality of the universe. No person has ever been born like this. He was God in the flesh. After mankind sinned, a Savior was promised who would handle the sin problem.

Spiritual Life

The result of sin was condemnation, spiritual death. Spiritual death simply means the absence of a human spirit. Without the human spirit, there is absolutely no way for man to have fellowship with God, Who is Spirit. Mankind has to be spiritual to have fellowship with the Spirit of God. Spiritually dead man is separated from God.

The Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross where God the Father poured out the sins of the world on Christ and judged them. As the sins were being imputed to Christ and judged, He screamed out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus Christ alone, our unique Savior, suffered the judgment of God for our sins. He handled our sin problem on behalf of us. Our sins would have condemned us to eternal separation from God, since God is perfect Righteousness and can have no fellowship with sin. For us to die without a solution to the sin problem would mean separation from God forever.

However, the Lord Jesus as the perfect lamb of God, without spot or blemish, was uniquely qualified to bear our sins. He was impeccable, without sin, in His humanity; and therefore, He met God's criteria for bearing the sins of the world (1 Peter 1:19). He was qualified to be the mediator of a new covenant between God and mankind.

Cross

When Jesus Christ finished bearing the sins of the world on the cross, He announced, "It is finished." That is, the work of salvation was completed. He had finished bearing the judgment of God for all the sins of the world. He had provided unlimited atonement (1 John 2:2). Every sin ever committed in the history of the human race had been judged in Christ. The justice of God was satisfied: He was propitiated, I.e. He was satisfied with the work of Christ.

Salvation

Because of the work of Christ on the cross, the door is now open for salvation to all who would believe. There is no sin, or anything else, to separate mankind from God except individual choice not to believe. We have a choice. We can choose Eternal Life or we can remain in spiritual death. The decision is up to us. If we don't make the decision to accept the gift of Eternal Life, we remain in eternal condemnation (John 3:18). If we die without accepting Christ, we will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire, which was prepared for the devil and his demons. He was the promised Savior (Rev. 20:10, 15).

The Decision to Believe

If you have not made the decision to believe in Christ, please stop and in the privacy of your own soul tell God the Father that you are believing in Christ. The gift of Everlasting Life can be yours. It is a private matter between you and God; but stop and think. It's free; there is no obligation; and it will affect where you spend eternity (Hebrews 2:3). Only faith in Christ will work; for "There is salvation in none other; there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12)."

Everlasting Life

After believing in Christ, the word of God is fulfilled: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (John 3:36a)." If we meet God's criteria, He keeps His word. He gives us Everlasting Life and we can never lose it. "I give to them Eternal Life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28)." We can never lose our salvation because we are held by the power of God, and there is nothing greater.

Regeneration

When the gospel (the good news about Christ and His work of salvation) is heard by anyone who is spiritually dead, the Holy Spirit will temporarily act as the human spirit to make the issue clear. A spiritually dead person would otherwise be incapable of understanding any spiritual information. The Holy Spirit performs a special ministry for the unbeliever to make the gospel perspicuous so that this person can have an opportunity to have Eternal Life.

If a person responds to the gospel by believing in Christ, the Holy Spirit performs the work of spiritual regeneration. The Holy Spirit creates for the new believer a human spirit and God the Father imputes to it Eternal Life. The person is now spiritually alive. This is called being born-again.

Gifts of Salvation

At the moment of salvation God gives a number of things to the believer. The gifts of salvation include:

  1. Eternal Life.
  2. A human spirit.
  3. The gift of God's own perfect Righteousness.
  4. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Positional Sanctification.
  6. The indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  7. The believer becomes a new spiritual species.
  8. Adoption as a child of God.
  9. The priesthood of the believer.
  10. A new title of Royalty.
  11. The believer's soul is filled with the Holy Spirit.
  12. The sealing of the Holy Spirit - Eternal Security.
  13. An inheritance - portfolio of invisible assets, escrow blessings.
  14. One or more spiritual gifts for service.

The New Life

The new believer is a new spiritual species (2 Cor. 5:17 original Greek). He is a new creation. He is spiritually alive, and the Holy Spirit permanently indwells his body (2 Timothy 1:14) and optionally fills his soul (Ephesians 5:18). The greatest possible life of all the dispensations of history awaits the believer in the Church Age (Ephesians 2:4-7). Nothing like this ever happened or ever will happen again in any other dispensation (Ephesians 3:5).

A dispensation is a period of time in which God deals with mankind according to defined rules. For example, there was the Age (or Dispensation) of the Jews, which lasted from the giving of the Law to Moses till the birth of Christ. The Church Age runs from the day of Pentecost till the Rapture. The Church Age is the only dispensation in which the ordinary believer is indwelt by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is miraculous and unique!

The Church Age believer is a member of the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). As Bride of Christ, the calling of the Church Age believer is the highest of any dispensation - higher than Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, David - or any of the great believers of the Old Testament or the future dispensations. The Church Age believer will have a destiny in Heaven that is higher than Moses. He will live in the Royal Castle with Christ by virtue of being born-again in the Church Age.

Every believer in the Church Age is a priest (1 Peter 2:9). This means that he can represent himself before God. When Christ died on the cross, the curtain in the Temple was torn in half (Matthew 27:51). This was the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. The symbolism was that the Holy of Holies represented Heaven itself, where Christ is today (Hebrews 9:24). The Holy Place was the place where the Levitical Priests ministered. With the curtain torn in two, the implication is that the Church Age believer-priest has direct access to the throne of God in Heaven (Hebrews 10:19).

The Church Age believer as a priest has direct access to Christ, our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11), Who is in the throne room of the Supreme Court of Heaven (Hebrews 10:12). He can access it anytime through prayer without going through any intermediary (Hebrews 10:21-22). Christ was the only mediator between God and man (Hebrews 9:15). When he opened the door (tore down the dividing curtain) by means of His work on the Cross (Hebrews 10:20), the door was open for the believer to enter boldly into the presence of God in heaven by means of prayer.

Unique Opportunities in the Plan of God

The new believer is a child of God. As such, a multitude of unique opportunities are provided compliments of the grace of God. He loves His children and gives them gifts commensurate with His person.

God has a Plan for the life of every new believer that includes a life beyond dreams (Ephesians 3:20). It is a new, spiritual life in a new dimension that is not soulish and not physical. It is powerful and fulfilling. The Plan of God is full of purpose and definition for our life. In it we have a destiny, a calling, a place of service. We are called to be kings and priests, and there is divine provision to develop capacity for these stations. God provides everything for us in grace. He does the work; He gets the glory. We go along for the ride. Nothing depends on us.

So what's the catch? The only catch is us. We have nothing to offer God. We have to get out of the way and let Him do all the work in grace. We have to accept His terms, which means submission to His Plan. The Bible is the complete description of His Plan. Only by learning and obeying Bible Doctrine can we execute the Christian Life.

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