Believe - Salvation
As we progress through Believe, let’s do a little review
“I believe the God of the Bible is the only true God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
“I believe God is involved in and cares about my daily life.”
“I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Theology then practical …
That statement implies several truths …
1. People are not inherently in a right relationship with Yahweh
2. Yahweh, by His goodness and grace made it possible to be in a right relationship Him
3. A right relationship is only attained through faith in Jesus Christ
Being right with God or in a right relationship with God has a judicial aspect to it. It means being righteous or innocent before God. God is holy, and He created Adam and Eve in holiness - this unhindered relationship with God. But sin came into the relationship and destroyed all that. However, through Christ, a right relationship can be reconciled.
We call the event of being made right with God, salvation. But what is salvation all about? Is it just about going to Heaven - or is there more to it? Let’s find out.
Our verse for the week -
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
The word saved (σῴζω, sōzō), means to rescue or to heal.
And that is the essence of salvation - rescue and healing. To get the big picture of salvation, it might be helpful to remember
Three Cs - Condition, Cure and Call.
Our Condition is Sin. The Cure is Salvation and the Call is Sanctification (won’t discuss this).
1. Our condition is sin and sin results in separation, slavery and judgment.
a) Separation is about relationships.
Because of sin our relationship with God, with self, with others and with nature are broken, damaged, estranged. Of course, a broken relationship with God results in spiritual and physical death. Gen. 3.
b) Slavery is about authority.
And it really comes down to, to whom does one submit. Ultimately, there are only two choices:
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
To offer means to make myself available, or to put myself at one’s disposal. Submission. We see this in Genesis 3 with Adam, Eve and the devil. As this conversation takes place, Eve begins to make herself mentally available to the scheme of the devil - to where she eventually submits to his authority. She gave the fruit to Adam and he submits as well.
So what happens in the spiritual sense, when we submit to another authority other than God, we are placing ourselves under the jurisdiction of whatever that authority is. And because all have sinned, we have all chosen to be under a different authority other than God, namely ourselves - we want to be in charge - we are all slaves to the sin nature.
c) Judgment is about justice.
Hell, judgment and wrath are not about punishment. It’s about the justness of God.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
God is the creator - He established laws of morality and there are pre-established consequences for obedience or disobedience. And the fact that God is just, good, holy, perfect … means that His consequences or judgments are just, good, holy and perfect. He doesn’t punish out anger or being willy-nilly ….
Again, our condition is sin and sin results in separation, slavery and judgment. Now, separation, slavery and whatever judgment we receive are the results of our choices.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Does God send people to Hell? No, people send themselves to Hell. It seems like a cliché, but it’s the truth. Read Rev. 16 - God pours out judgment after judgment on the earth trying to get people’s attention, but people refuse to repent, refuse to repent, refuse to repent ….
Our condition runs in the family.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
We are all tainted, infected. Therefore, we are incapable of being the cure. We have a good God, because He thought of that before the foundations of the world were put in place.
So, our condition is sin, but
2. Our cure is salvation, and salvation provides reconciliation, freedom, and righteousness.
a) Reconciliation is about relationships.
Through salvation, God wants to reconcile those broken relationships with Him, self, others and nature. In 2 Cor. 5, we’re told that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and then has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
b) Freedom is about liberation.
Freedom is one of the great promises of Christianity, yet, very few walk in the freedom and the power over sin that Christ provides.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
c) Righteousness is about innocence.
If a person is guilty of breaking a law, can they make themselves not guilty? Only a judge can declare guilty or not guilty. We’re all guilty before God. But in order to be right with God, in a right relationship with God, one must be innocent. The only way for a guilty person to become innocent is by receiving the gift of God purchased by the blood of Christ.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
See, salvation is so much more than just forgiveness of sin and rescuing us from hell.
3. Salvation is restorative
- restores the brokenness and pain caused by sin, restores damaged relationships with God, self, others. Restores our righteousness - our innocence before God. Restores our true freedom and provides power over sin.