21
Oct
08

Salvation explained

After spending two days discussing the differences between Catholics and Protestants, I am compelled to share more of my personal convictions about salvation.

What you are about to read is the result of a challenge I issued to myself a few months ago.  Early one Saturday morning I sat down with pen and paper to record a chronological explanation of salvation.  Not each point is original with me.  However, with the assistance of other pastors and theologians more gifted than me, this is my explanation.

When it comes to our salvation through Jesus Christ this is what matters:

  1. There is only one God, who is holy, perfect and righteous.
  2. The holy God created every human being for the sole purpose of reflecting His glory.
  3. God requires every human being to be holy, righteous and perfect before Him.
  4. When Adam, the first human sinned, he sinned against the Holy God and thus became a representative of the human race.
  5. As a result of Adam’s sin, every human being has inherited a sinful and corrupt nature.
  6. Our sinful nature offends God’s infinite holy character, and deserves therefore an infinite damnation.
  7. In order for God to receive and accept us God had to do for man what man could not do for Himself.
  8. God sent Jesus Christ, His eternal Son, to save sinners from His infinite punishment.
  9. As a sinless man, Jesus Christ represented sinners as the One who has perfectly obeyed God’s Law, and by His death died in the place of sinners to fully satisfy God’s wrath.
  10. Yet Jesus Christ did not remain dead in the grave.  He came back to life, and He is still alive today.
  11. When confronted with the reality that God is holy and man is sinful, the Bible teaches that one must plead for mercy and repent of their sin in order to avoid the wrath to come.
  12. This repentance leads to an abiding faith in Christ.
  13. All those who repent and believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, shall be saved forever.
  14. The acceptance of God that comes by the faith given to us in repentance calls every born again believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ to live a life of faithfulness and holiness before God.
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6 Responses to “Salvation explained”


  1. 1 Lee
    October 21, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Your personal challenge sets a good example.

  2. 2 walt
    October 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Ryan:

    Well done. For some reason I was uneasy with the phrase “perfectly obeyed God’s Law” (in #9). I think I might go with something like “was perfectly faithful to the will of the Father” or “loved perfectly according to God’s will”. In his chosen people, Israel, I think the Lord was looking more for faithfulness than merely obedience (Hosea, Tobit, Amos,…). Faithfulness conveys more of an attitude of the heart, in contrast to obedience, which is more of a ‘work’. I know we talk about Christ’s ‘work’ of salvation, but I still prefer the ‘softer’ approach.

  3. 3 Searching
    October 22, 2008 at 5:47 am

    I find myself in agreement with Walt over the concept of obedience and it’s place in following God’s will. I believe that one of the issues that Jesus had with the religious leadership of his time was their obedience to the letter of the law all the while ignoring the spirit of the law. Obedience alone is not a relationship with God. Obedience without a measure of understanding is works itself. We must strive for a greater understanding of WHO God is and what he did for us out of his great and perfect love FOR us. Jesus’ obedience came from his deep and perfect understanding of God and his love for his Father and from his great love for us. The greater our understanding of God becomes; the greater our compulsion becomes to conform to his will. Obedience is merely another form of legalism. The change must take place in the heart and spirit and then affect every area of who we are and what we do. The change comes in salvation and we are never the same again. Just something to consider.

  4. 4 Lee
    October 22, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Walt, there are several reason why Jesus had to and did perfectly obey God’s law:

    1. Every human born after Adam inherited the curse from his sin with all his imperfection, therefore rendering all of mankind unable to follow the law. (Romans 3:19-23)

    2. As part of the trinity, Jesus was/is God, author of truth and the law. He was the second Adam, born of a virgin so he would not inherit sin’s curse. (Luke 1:35)

    3. God, being perfect in justice, requires payment for sin. In the Old Testament, this payment was in the form of blood sacrifice from animals. Sacrifice was made on the Day of Atonement on behalf of the nation of Israel as an offering of payment for their sins. After numerous ritual cleansings and blood sacrifices, the high priest was the only one who could enter into the Holy of Holies, the central chamber of the Jewish temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where the presence of God dwelt. His entrance was a symbol of reconciliation. The ceremony had to be repeated yearly because the payment of animal sacrifice could never serve as an adequate payment for the sins of mankind. (Lev. 16)

    4. When Jesus died, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the adjacent chamber was torn in two, symbolizing payment had been made in full, giving all who are cleansed by “the blood of the lamb” access to the presence of God, restoring fellowship between God and man. He, being born human and being perfect, owing nothing in payment on behalf of himself, gave himself as the only payment adequate enough to redeem the debt mankind would have never been able to pay. (Col. 2:13-14, Isaiah 53:9-12, Mat. 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45, 1 Peter 1:18-19).

    C. S. Lewis put it this way:
    “Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person – and he would not need it. . .
    “You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but only God can do it only if He becomes a man. Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God’s dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, “The Perfect Penitent”

  5. October 27, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Walt and Searching, if Jesus Christ did not “perfectly obey the Law” then we as believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are sunk. God’s requires perfection, that is why as sinful man we are unable and unwilling to obey him. Jesus Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Additionally, we must be careful to avoid the “pragmatism” of the day, where we look for a “softer” understanding of salvation. God’s standard is one of complete and total perfection, which thanks be to God Jesus Christ met in every way.

  6. 6 Searching
    October 29, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Ryan, which Law are we talking about where Jesus’ did “perfectly obey the Law”? Are we speaking of the Ten Commandments or are we speaking of the “Law” which the Pharisees came up with from the Ten Commandments? Or are we speaking of something much higher and deeper which would represent the true spirit of who God is? I would never advocate a “softer” or “pragmatic” concept of salvation. Salvation is a pretty clear and understandable thing. However, it seems to me that what Jesus did was to raise the standard of living beyond the “Law” with a level of love that we still struggle to fully comprehend and have even more difficulty living out. And it seems to me that many church leaders confuse people by trying to join the concepts of law and love. Living the example of Jesus’ love would, without exception, be obeying the Law beyond reproach. But rather that teach the love Jesus lived there is this emphasis on obedience to the “Law”. And there is this veiled effort by many church leaders to try and legislate morality and the behavior of their congregations. And it still doesn’t work any better now than when Jesus lived among us. He understood that. Law will never motivate the way love does and no one understands that better than Jesus.


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