By: J. Edwards
Salvation as defined in the Holman Bible Dictionary is, “the acutely dynamic act of snatching others by force from serious peril.” In both a literal and spiritually symbolic sense, salvation is one of cornerstones of Christian faith and belief. Hopefully this article will provide some insight into “salvation” and what it is about.
Salvation is synonymous with many terms. These include a “new birth”, “new creation” and “born again” among others. In New Testament scripture, salvation specifically entails “deliverance from the penalty and the power of sin.” According to Holman, this phenomenon can be viewed in two parts, as Christ’s saving work and the believer’s experience of salvation.
Initially salvation begins with Christ. His work of salvation includes that which has been completed (on the cross), and work that continues into the future. Luke 19:10 states it succinctly: For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The sacrifice of His life on Calvary is the “apex” of the completed portion of salvation. Mark 10:45 says: For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many. This is where a believer of Christ can state that their salvation was made possible when Jesus died for them.
The second aspect focuses on the individual. First, the individual must be convicted of their sin. The story of the publican in Luke 18:13 is an example of a man who is painfully aware of his condition and prays for mercy from God. Secondly, he/she must repent from their sin. In II Corinthians 7:10 it states, For Godly sorrow works repentance to salvation…
Lastly, he/she commits to living for Christ and confesses Christ as Lord. This dedication to Christ is shown in one of the most famous verses in the bible, John 3:16.
In an effort to brief I gave a concise overview but I am certain that many lingering questions remain, so I included a few below:
Why did Christ die? He died in the place of sinners substituting his life for humankind. His life took upon the sin and guilt of men, women and children effectively bearing their deserved punishment. See Hebrews 9:28.
Who is a sinner? Oh boy this is a deep one but the question is who isn’t? However this is a topic for another day but feel free to explore answer on your own! See the Bible.
What is redemption? Well redemption comes from the Greek word agorazo, which means to purchase in the marketplace, particularly slaves. Not to bore anyone with ancient Greek, but this word describes the life of persons before finding salvation in Christ. Prior to salvation, everyone is held in bondage or slavery to sin. Christ’s death purchases the individual from sin to himself, almost exchanging one master for another.
Why should I care about salvation? Ultimately humankind needs to be reconciled with God. Sin created a barrier between God and the individual making a relationship impossible (see Isaiah 59:2). When an individual becomes aware of the separation caused by sin and actively seeks out forgiveness the barrier is removed and they are reconciled to God. This reconciliation is accompanied with forgiveness and justification of one’s sin and an opportunity to serve God in this life and the next.
What does salvation consist of? It is God’s gift to sinners. It is “free” and non-discriminatory. It can be loosely compared to a “get out of jail free card” from the game Monopoly but its not given by chance but by God’s grace. It is an opportunity to redirect a life as a friend, son/daughter of God. See II Peter 1:4
Do I need salvation? Christian faith dictates that you either serve God (Jehovah) or you don’t but that decision bears lasting consequences. Every individual is capable of and has committed sin at one point in their lives. The origin of sin is traced back to the first women and man who lived. Romans 5:19 says, for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…
Sin is the composite of everything God isn’t about. Its ugly and as the saying goes “God don’t like ugly.” He hates it and anything that would remind him of it. However, if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In order to establish a relationship with God, salvation through Christ becomes a necessary step. Romans 4:19 continues, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Without salvation, upon physical death you will be judged for the life you lead. Hebrews 9:27 states, It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment. With salvation your sinfulness is exchanged for Christ righteousness so God doesn’t see you as an enemy but as a part of himself.
How do I get salvation? Mentioned earlier in the article salvation comes once the individual is convicted of their sin and their need for Christ, asks for forgiveness of past transgressions and makes a commitment to living for Him. Traditionally, one says a prayer where he/she is aware of where they stand before God; they are convicted of their current state separated and in enmity with Him and a trust that they are forgiven through Christ.