Chapter 5: SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
What is “salvation” in the Biblical sense of the word? From what are we saved? Is being saved a “gift” from God? Or do we have to do something- like be good enough- to earn salvation? The Bible is REALLY very clear about these questions.
But what a convoluted mess that humanity and “religion” have made of the simple gospel message of salvation.
On the one side of the “Christian coin” are those who say “saved by faith alone” which they “translate” into a works-less life that says, “I can be a Christian and live my life any way I please”.
On the other side of the “Christian coin” are those who say “saved by faith AND…” and then fill in the blank as to what the “and” requires which is translated into a faithless life that says “God, my faith is in my dogmatic exercise of my tradition”.
This “Christian coin” reflects most of what is called “Christianity” in this American culture, but does NOT reflect the true Christian faith as that which the earliest church of the book of Acts!
To begin with, salvation is the GIFT of God for it is indisputably written: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23). In other words, salvation cannot be earned, bought, or deserved. If salvation could be “earned”, then it would no longer be a gift. (Romans 11:5-6) Salvation is the gift of God!
Question: Can someone receive God’s free gift, then go and live their lives however they please?
Answer: Many a saved sinner does choose to live their lives however they like. Arguably the true salvation of one who “professes” to be a Christian but self-justifies living in sin under the notion that “grace” permits it is highly questionable. The truth is that many saved sinners live in sin. But there are always consequences Consider Hebrews 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-12. The consequence is not loss of salvation…but the consequences make make you think so and perhaps turn you back to God! Should you be one of these who profess to follow Jesus while at the same time choosing to live in in sin, consider 2 Samuel 12:14. From the great sin of Israel’s King David- of whom it is written God called a “man after His own heart” – it is also written that the deeds of David had, “…given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme God”. and check out an excerpt of a sermon of Charles Spurgeon.
The beginning of understanding of what is written and how that gift is received MUST begin with each individual’s agreement with God as to the Human Condition and God’s Remedy for the Human Condition:
THE HUMAN CONDITION
1. Read carefully the prophecy in Isaiah 53:5,6.
- Why did Jesus Christ suffer and die (v.5)?
- How is man’s sinful condition described (v.6)
- Who put the punishment for our sin on Christ (v.6)?
2. When the angel told Joseph about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:21), what did he say about WHY Jesus was coming into the world?
3. Read Ephesians 2:1-10 and answer the following questions.
- How is our sinful life described (v.1)?
- According to v.2, what influences were in our lives?
- How is God described in v.4?
- Why (v.5-7)?
- How may we NOT earn our salvation?
- How MAY we be saved?
- WHY have we been saved?
4. Read Romans 3:21-26.
- What is the judgment against man in v.23?
- What is the “gift” spoken of in v. 24?
- What has God done according to v. 25, 26?
5. In Romans 6:23, how are the “results” of sin described?
6. How has God responded to sinful man?
7. Read 1 John 1:8-2:2
- What must we acknowledge (v.8)?
- What is the wonderful truth John presents in v. 9?
- What does John urge us not to do in 2:1?
- What has God provided for us since we DO sin (v.1)?
- How is Christ described in the first part of v.2?
GOD’S REMEDY FOR THE SINFUL HUMAN CONDITION
Once we individually come to God’s point of view concerning our HUMAN CONDITION relative to a perfect and holy God…and AGREE with God concerning our condition, THEN we can begin to look at and comprehend the “thing” which God has done (that we have no power to do for ourselves) as the remedy for our sinful human condition.
8. Write John 3:16 in your own words.
9. What do you learn from Jesus’ words in John 6:44 and 14:6?
10. What is the powerful truth of Acts 4:12?
11. How are believers in Jesus Christ described in 1 Peter 2:9?
12. How are we described in v. 10?
13. Read 1 Peter 2:24. Since Christ died for our sins, how are we to live?
14. What is the glorious truth Paul expresses in 2 Corinthians 5:21?
15. What are Paul’s strong words to the “cults” of our time in Galatians 1:9, 10?
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Friend, there is no amount of obedience that you can do that will attain salvation BECAUSE there is only ONE sort of obedience that is able to earn salvation: that is 100% PERFECT obedience. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
Neither does obedience do anything to preserve one’s salvation, because if that were the case we would be back to, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10).
Here is the part that obedience plays in the life of one who has been saved: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:19-24).
In other words, one who is saved is saved for the purpose of being a witness giving testimony. A good witness must be truthful, reliable, and trustworthy in order to be credible. The testimony is the good news of Jesus Christ. If I am to go out and proclaim Jesus Christ, but I live the life of an adulterer, a fornicator, a liar, a thief, a troublemaker, etc., then how trustworthy will I be as a messenger? No, my justification in the eyes of God is sealed by the work of Jesus Christ. But my justification as a reliable messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ is my life and my deeds. That is WHY Christians OUGHT to live as Christ calls them to live. NOT in order to be saved, because that is not possible. But do so BECAUSE we are saved as the evidence of our salvation!
Also Check out: Doctrine of Sola Fide