Let us look at some things in connection with salvation. The need for salvation is clearly taught in the Bible. God spiritually views the world as two families. One family consists of the children of the devil. “Know ye not that ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him.” John 8:44. The other family consists of the children of God. “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12.
You are, at this moment, in one family or the other. If you were to die today, the family you are in would determine your eternal destiny. Right now, are you in God’s family or the devil’s family? This is a question only you can answer.
Here is the key. The reason God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world was to die for the sins of the world and defeat Satan, thereby making a way that we can be “born again.” “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. This new spiritual birth moves us into God’s family. This is what salvation is all about.
ELEVEN THINGS SALVATION AND THE NEW BIRTH ARE NOT
1. Not of natural generation or descent - "not of blood." Though one may be born in a Christian home and of Christian parents, this does not make him a Christian.
2. Not of self determination - "will of the flesh." Just as a child cannot will itself to be born physically, so no one can produce the new birth by his own efforts.
3. Not of human mediation - "nor of the will of man, but of God." No human being whether priest, prophet, preacher, bishop, or other supposed spiritual leader, however eminent his ecclesiastical position, can impart the new birth or spiritual life to anyone. All the rites, rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, penance, confessions or repetitious prayers of any or of all organized religions can never produce the new birth.
4. Not a physical change. Christ corrected Nicodemus' misunderstanding concerning this and showed him it was a spiritual change. John 3:6.
5. Not a social and geographical change. The born again person is not suddenly translated to heaven, but he continues to live on earth, now to please his Lord and Savior. I Corinthians 7:20-24; Colossians 3:22-24.
6. Not an intellectual apprehension of what it is. A person can be religiously educated, ordained to the ministry, and become a preacher without being born again. There are many such. Theoretically they may know its necessity, yet know nothing of it by experience. II Peter 2:1, 20-21.
7. Not an evolutionary process. It is not a gradual development of some germ of spiritual life that is within. Ephesians 2:1-2. Sinners are described as being spiritually dead. It is not a process. Birth brings life instantaneously. Life cannot be developed where birth does not exist!
8. Not a reformation or self-improvement by which outwardly bad habits are relinquished. It is not a change of the manners or habits of the person. Ephesians 2:8-9. It imparts a new life. “I give unto them eternal life.” John 10:2.
9. Not of water baptism. All the water in the ocean cannot save or cleanse you. There is no saving power water no matter what man may tell us. Baptism is an ordinance showing the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and nothing more. When we are baptized, it is a public testimony of what God has done in our life. I Peter 3:21b. We are not saved by water but by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross.
10. Not a confirmation. Some churches administer certain rituals that claim participants, usually children 12-13 years of age, as saved. Sometimes this is an anointing with oil, which supposedly signified the receiving of the Holy Spirit. This is false doctrine. You do not receive the Holy Spirit by an act of man but by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. John 3:6.
11. It is not a religious belief or church membership. It is possible to be sincere in one's religious convictions, be baptized, confirmed, join the church, take communion, teach a Sunday School class, occupy a church office, be a preacher or priest or do supposed miracles of healing and prophecy without being born again. Acts 8:22-23. The necessity for the new birth was revealed to one of the most religious, sincere and moral men of his day. John 3:1-16.
The new birth is a spiritual transformation, John 3:8, and can only be brought about by God. John 1:13.
SEVEN THINGS THAT SALVATION IS
I. ITS DEFINITION
The word Salvation simply means deliverance. It is commonly used to describe the act by which a person is delivered from a danger that threatens him. We speak of a person being "saved" from drowning, or from a burning building, or from a sinking ship. In each case, three things are taken for granted. (1) The person to be saved was in danger of death. (2) Someone saw his peril and went to his rescue. (3) The rescuer was successful in his mission and delivered the person from his perilous plight, and thus "saved" him. The words: "save," "saved," "Savior," and “salvation” occur many times in the Bible and have exactly the same meaning in a spiritual sense.
II. ITS NECESSITY
The necessity for God's salvation is due to two facts, which each person must face.
A. The fact of man's sin. Romans 3:23.
We have already discussed in our previous lesson the spiritual condition of all men. By nature, all human beings are children of the devil. We pointed out that each human being comes into the world possessed of a sinful nature that constitutes him a sinner by birth. This sinful nature, in time, is evidenced by sinful thoughts, words, deeds and an attitude of enmity to God. The Bible makes this abundantly clear. Read Romans 5:12, 18, 19; 6:16; 8:5-8; Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1-3; II Corinthians 4:3-4; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:21-32; 3:19-23. It will be evident to all from these Scriptures that man is:
(1) A sinner, needing forgiveness.
(2) Lost, needing to be found.
(3) A child of Satan that must move to a new relationship with God.
(4) Guilty, needing pardon that only God can give him.
(5) Spiritually dead, needing life that only God can impart.
(6) Blind, needing illumination that can only come from God’s Word.
(7) A slave, needing liberation from Satan and sin that only God can do. Man is thus utterly helpless to save himself.
B The fact of God's righteousness.
God is holy, and must punish sin. He will "by no means clear the guilty." Exodus 34:6-7. He has revealed His hatred of sin, and His sentence against all who die in their sins. This is eternal banishment from His presence. See John 8:21-24; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:22-31; Jude 11-13; Revelation 20:11-15. The obvious conclusion is; since man is a sinner, and God is righteous; the sinner needs to be delivered or saved from the penalty of his sins. His cry must be: "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is: “Believe (place your trust) on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:30-31. No man can save himself.
III. ITS PROVISION
The Gospel is the good news that God in wondrous grace has abundantly provided this salvation through the Person and the work of His beloved Son.
Two things are clearly taught.
A. Christ came to be the Savior of sinners.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Luke 19:10. The Son of God, equal and eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, became incarnate in order to provide salvation. John 3:16-17; Mark 10:45; Matthew 9:12-13; John 10:11; 15-18.
B. Through Christ's death and resurrection, this salvation has been provided, to God's complete satisfaction.
As Christ willingly hung upon the cross, He assumed the full liability of our guilt and sin, bore our sins in His own body, and died as a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of all sinners. All God's judgment against sin fell on Him, and all God's righteous claims against the sinner were fully satisfied by Christ's death on our behalf. God indicated His complete acceptance of this sacrifice of Christ by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His own right hand. Read I Corinthians 15:1-4; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 5:6-9; Acts 4:10-12; 5:31; 17:31.
IV. ITS CONDITION
Since Christ has accomplished, by the sacrifice of Himself, all the work needed for the sinner's salvation, what must the sinner do in order to experience this salvation?
A. He must repent.
Repentance consists simply of a change of mind, which results in a change of attitude toward sin, self, the Savior and salvation; which, in turn, is evidenced by a change of action. Read Luke 13:3; Acts 17:31; 20:21. The sinner's conviction will give place to an earnest desire for salvation; his pride to humility; his self-satisfaction to a frank confession of his helpless, hopeless and hell-deserving condition.
B. He must believe the gospel, or the testimony of God concerning the
Person and work of Christ. I John 5:9-10.
As a lost and guilty sinner he must believe that Christ died for him, individually; that Christ bore his sins, took his place and, by His death, accomplished all the work needed for his salvation. Romans 4:5.
C. He must accept the Lord Jesus Christ, by a definite act of his will as his own personal Savior, henceforth to own Him as the supreme Lord of his
life. John 1:12; Romans 10:9-10; John 3:16; 5: 24; 6:47; Ephesians 1:13.
This is the crucial act. Will you, right from your heart, say: "Lord
Jesus Christ, I admit that I am a guilty, lost sinner. I believe that you bore my sins on the cross of Calvary and died in my place. I now ask you to come into my heart and save me. I trust the finished work on the cross and receive you as my own Savior, henceforth I want you to be the Lord and Master of my life." This is what it means to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 16: 31. If you have never done this, why don’t you right now take this step of faith and ask Him to save you.
V. ITS ASSURANCE
How may one know, for certain, that he is saved? We answer without any hesitation: by the Word of God. God declares plainly and in black and white, that every soul trusting in His Son is forgiven, saved, and the possessor of eternal life and secure forever. Read Acts 13:38; I John 2:12; Ephesians 2:8; I Corinthians 6:11; I John 5:13; Romans 5:1; 8:1; John 10:27-30.
There will also be evidence such as: a new internal peace, a desire to know the Bible, a desire to pray and a desire to separate from a sinful lifestyle. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17.
VI. ITS SCOPE
Salvation has a three-fold aspect: past, present and future.
A. Past - Salvation from sin's penalty or consequences.
Since Christ has endured the full penalty, which was due for our sins, the believer is delivered from its consequences. John 5:24; Romans 8:1.
B. Present - Salvation from sin's power, or control.
Because of the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence, plus the impartation of a Divine nature, the believer is now enabled to enjoy deliverance from the dominion of sin in his life. I Corinthians 6:19; II Peter 1:3-4; Romans 6:1-14. This does not mean that the believer is incapable of sin; far from it, for he still possesses the evil nature called "the flesh." It does mean that you will not sin, but that you “will” not to sin. In the measure that he avails himself of the means that God has provided, sin shall not be the dominating factor in his life. This present victory will depend on:
(1) The reading and study of and obedience to the Word of God. II Timothy 2:15.
(2) The keeping constantly in touch with God by prayer. Hebrews 4:14-16.
(3) The yielding of one's body to God for both a righteous and useful life. Romans 6:13; 12:1-2.
(4) The prompt confession to God and the forsaking of all known sin. I John 1:8-9; Titus 2:11-15.
C. Future - Salvation from sin's presence.
This will take place at the coming of Christ, when He will raise the dead and change the living, so that they will have bodies incapable of sin, decay and death. This is the final aspect of salvation that we look for. Hebrews 9:28; I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
VII. ITS RESULTS
These are numerous. Ephesians 1:3-14. We shall select a few.
A. Peace with God. Romans 5:1. No longer at enmity.
B. Acceptance before God in Christ. Ephesians 1:6.
C. Joy in God as His children, joining a new family. Romans 5:10-11; 8:14-17, Galatians 3:26-4:7.
D. Living for God. II Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; I Peter 4:2-5.
E. Service to God in the way of good works and testimony for Him. Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16; Mark 16:15-16.
F. Worship, praise and prayer unto God. John 4:23-24; Hebrews 10:19-22; Hebrews 13:15; 4:14-16.
G. An eternal home in heaven with God. John 14:1-3; Revelation 22:1-5. We trust that you will have no rest until you know, on the authority of the Word of God that you are eternally saved!