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Article: SALVATION - A Gift from God through Christ.
God freely offers us eternal life in Jesus Christ. But understanding the exact process by which that life becomes available to us is sometimes difficult. Therefore, God paints various pictures in the Bible to help us grasp the concept, each one with its own unique emphasis. This message examines three of those pictures: Salvation, Redemption and Justification.

SALVATION. Salvation means “deliverance,” “bringing safety through,” “keeping from harm”; already in the OT God revealed himself as the One who saves his people (Ps. 27:1, 88:1; Duet. 26:8, Ps. 61:2 Isa. 25:6). It is described in the NT as “the way” or road that leads through life to eternal fellowship with God in heaven (Mt. 7:14; Mk. 12;14; Jn. 14:16; Ac. 16:17; 2Pet. 2:2-21; Acts. 9:2; 22:4; Heb. 10:20). This road of salvation must be walked to the very end. We can describe salvation as one way with two sides and three stages.

(1). The one way of salvation. Christ is the way to the Father (Jn. 14;6; Acts. 4;12). Salvation is provided for us by God’s grace, which he gives in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3;24), based on his death (3:25; 5:8), resurrection (5:10) and continued intercession for believers (Heb. 7;25).

(2). The two sides of salvation. Salvation is received by grace through faith in Christ. (Rom. 3:22,). That is, it comes as a result of God’s grace (Jn. 1;16) and the human response of faith (Ac. 16;31; Rom. 1:17; Eph. 1:15; 2:8).It is like a coin.

(3). The three stages of salvation (a). The past stage of salvation includes the personal experience by which we as believers receive forgiveness of sins (Ac. 10;43; rom. 4:6-8) and pass from spiritual death to spiritual life (1John 3;14) from the power of sin to the power of the Lord Rom. 6:17-230, from Satan’s dominion to God’s dominion (Acts. 26;18). It brings us into a new personal relationship with God (Jn. 1:12) and rescues us from the penalty of sin (Rom. 1:16; 6:23; 1Cor. 1:18).

(b). The present stage of salvation saves us from the practice and dominion of sin, filling us with the Holy Spirit. It includes:

  • The privilege of a person-to-person relationship with God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Mt. 6:9; Jn. 14:18-23; Gal. 4:6,).
  • The call to count ourselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:1-14) and to submit to the leading of the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-17) and God’s Word (Jn. 8:31; 14:21; 2Tim. 3:15-16).
  • The invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the command to keep being filled (Acts. 2:33-39; Eph.5:18;).
  • The demand to separate ourselves from sin (Rom.6:1-140 and the present corrupt generation (Acts 2:40; 2Cor. 6:17); and
  • The call to fight for God’s kingdom against Satan and his demonic host (2Cor. 10:4-5; Eph. 6:11,16; 1Pet. 5:8).
(c). The future stage of salvation (Rom. 13;11-12; 1Th. 5;8-9; 1Peter 1:5) includes: (I). Our deliverance from God’s coming wrath (Rom. 5:9; 1Cor. 3:15; 5:5, 1Th. 1:10; 5:9);

(ii). Our sharing the divine glory (Rom. 8:29; 1Cor. 15:49) and receiving a resurrected or transformed body (1Cor.15:52)

(iii). Our receiving rewards as faithful over comers (Rev. 2:7). This future salvation is the goal toward which all Christians strive ( 1Cor. 9:24-27; Php.3:8-14). All present warnings, discipline and punishment have as their purpose that believers should not forfeit this future salvation ( 1Cor. 5:1-13; 9:24-27; Php. 2:12,16; 2Pet 1:5-11; Heb. 12:1).

REDEMPTION. The root meaning of “redemption” is ransom by the payment of a price. The expression denotes the means by which salvation is procured, namely, by the payment of a ransom. The doctrine of redemption can be summarized as follows:

  1. . The state of sin out of which we must be redeemed: The NT represents humans as alienated from God (Rom. 3:10-18), under the dominion of satanic powers (Acts. 10:38; 26:18), slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6; 7:140, and in need of deliverance from sin’s guilt, punishment and power (Acts. 26;18; Rom. 1:18; 6:1-18,23; Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:13; 1Pet.2:9).
  2. The price paid to free us from this bondage: Christ secured the ransom by shedding his blood and giving his life (Mt.20:28; Mk. 10:45; 1Cor. 6:20; Eph. 1:7; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1Pet. 1:18-19).
  3. The resultant state of the redeemed: Believers redeemed by Christ are now free from Satan’s dominion and from the guilt and power of sin (Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:7,12,14,18; Col. 1:13). This freedom from sin, however, does not leave us free to do as we wish, for we become God’s property. Freedom from sin makes us willing slaves of God (Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:18,22; 1Cor. 6:19-20; 7:22-23).
  4. The NT teaching of redemption foreshadowed by redemption in the OT: The great TO redemption event was the exodus from Egypt (Ex. 6:7, 12:26). Furthermore, through the sacrificial system, the blood of animals was the price paid for the atonement for sin (Lev. 9:8).
JUSTIFICATION. The word “justify” means to be “righteous in God’s sight” (Rom. 2;13), to be “made righteous” (Rom. 5:18-19) to “establish as right,” or to “set or put right.” it denotes being in a right relationship with God rather than receiving a mere legal, judicial declaration. God forgives repentant sinners, whom he had pronounced guilty through the law and condemned to eternal death, restores them to divine favor, and sets them in a right relationship (fellowship) with himself and his will. The apostle Paul reveals several truths about justification and how it is accomplished:
  1. Being put right with God is a gift (Rom. 3;24; Eph. 2:8). No one can put himself or herself right with God by keeping the law perfectly or by performing good works (Rom. 4;2-6), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
  2. Being put right with God happens “through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). No one is justified who has not been redeemed by Christ from sin and its power. (3). Being put right with God comes “by his grace” and is appropriated “through faith in Jesus Christ” as Lord and Savior (Rom. 3:22-24).
  3. Being put right with God is related to the forgiveness of our sins (Rom. 4:7). Sinners are declared guilty (Rom. 3:9-18,23) but are forgiven because of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection (Rom. 3:25, 4:5, 4;25; 5:6-9).
  4. When we are put right with God through faith in Christ, we are crucified with Christ and Christ comes to live in us (Gal. 2:16-21). Through this experience, we actually become righteous and begin living for God. This transforming work of Christ in us through the Spirit (2Th. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:2) cannot be separated from Christ’s redemptive work for us. The work of God and the Spirit are interdependent.
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