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BFM Salvation

Baptist Faith and Message  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As we’ve been making our way through the BFM in the month of April, it is fitting that article 4 (Salvation) fell on Easter Sunday! The whole of theology (the study of God) is bound in our understanding of God, the world and ourselves. Salvation is of utmost importance in the life of the Christian, correct? The way that we view salvation will impact the way that we look at God and the way that we look at ourselves as well. To a non-Christian who thinks that they are “morally good”, they see no need for Salvation. To a “Christian” who believes that their works will save them, salvation becomes far less of a gift from God as it elevates the action of man and some even think that they can completely save theirselves. Salvation is crucial to the Christian and the Baptist Faith and Message shows how there are several key parts that we must understand to get a proper idea of “Salvation”. We will be looking at these 4 sections tonight and hopefully leave here with a deeper appreciation for what it means to be “saved”! Please turn in your copy of the BFM to article 4.
“Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.”
As we have done in previous articles, let’s begin this section by examining what Scripture has to say about “Salvation”
Genesis 15:6 NASB95
6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Isaiah 53:6 NASB95
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
John 1:12–14 NASB95
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 3:16–18 NASB95
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Acts 4:12 NASB95
12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Ephesians 2:8–9 NASB95
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Where is Salvation founded?

The person of Jesus Christ! This is exactly what we talked about this morning. Jesus Christ is our living hope. Salvation and hope can be found in nothing else because, as a Christian, we believe that it is Jesus that can save us and Jesus alone as shows us. It is crucial for us to understand who Jesus is (Son of God), know what He did (died on the cross and bore our sins), and call upon Him in order to be saved. You can know that Jesus is the Son of God and know that He died on the cross, but if you fail to call upon Him to save you from your sins then you are still lost in sin!
We see our society try and tell us that salvation can be found in various ways, right? Whether it be works based or maybe that there simply isn’t life after death. As Christians, we know that these are impossibilities. We know that we are guilty of treason before a holy and just God (as Paul shows us in ). We are without excuse, yet because of Christ’s death on the cross we have the ability to become children of God and share in His inheritance as co-heirs with Christ. We must keep in mind that the key of salvation is Jesus Christ. The beauty of this message is that it is for all people as salvation and by grace through faith.
There are 4 different words used to describe “salvation” in Scripture and the first of which is Regeneration.


The BFM states, “Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.”
Regeneration is one of those words that can become controversial if we fail to do our due diligence in defining the word itself. If you believe that you are “good enough” as you are then there is no need to be “born again”. However, as we see in the BFM (and in ) we are “dead in sin”. We are unable to save ourselves by doing good or any other method. We require outside help. We require the help of God Himself! We see Jesus Christ talk about being “born again” several times and Paul talks about this process throughout his letters frequently. gives a pretty clear description of what this process looks like as Jesus is discussing the new birth with Nicodemus.
Are babies consulted in the womb about being born? Are they interviewed and asked their opinion prior to entering into the world? Of course not. Likewise, humans are dead until accepting Christ as Lord. We respond in faith and receive a new birth. We cannot give ourselves spiritual life. Salvation, again, is something that comes from God. We respond in faith. This is what we see at the end of , as John writes that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life”. Regeneration is not something that should be as divisive as it is. It is all throughout Scripture and praise God that we are born again! We saw that whenever we are adopted, we are literally a new creation. In Roman custom whenever an adoption took place that it represented a complete severance to the past and a full inheritance of the new Father. Following this concept, we are no longer a slave to sin because we have been set free! We are a child of God. We are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come!
How can regeneration transpire? Simply. Repentance and faith. Whenever we think of the word “conversion” we generally think of these terms, right? Repentance is a very uncommon word in our language, right? We often feel bad or sad about something but only after getting caught, we feel sorrow, but rarely repentance. Repentance has been stated as “a change of mind that leads to a change of action.” How do we know that we need to repent? We know because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we know that the Spirit convicts us whenever we do something ungodly. To non-Christians we know that there is a “god-sized” hole in their lives that can only be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Faith is a little bit different in that we must differentiate it from knowledge. In the New Testament, time after time whenever we see the word “faith” we usually see the word “in” immediately after ( comes to mind, whoever believes “in” Jesus Christ). It is not enough to believe that something happened or to know that something happened, we must believe in Jesus Christ. Biblical faith requires a personal commitment to Jesus Christ! We must believe in who He is and what He has done for us (forgive us of our sins). Paul reminds us in that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, not of our own deeds or works. That must be remembered by each and every one of us daily and we must have faith in the person of Jesus Christ and not deceive us and think that we can save ourselves.
Regeneration is not some theological term that should cause us to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. It is Biblical and a blessing for believers! We are “born again”. Our response to the work of Jesus Christ should be to repent of our unbelief and respond to Christ in faith.


The BFM states this about Justification, “Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.”
How can a just God justify the ungodly? Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:23–25 NASB95
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
God satisfies His demands against our sin by judging our sin through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. God judges our sin, but our sin is nailed to the cross and we bear it no more! What do we bear? We bear Christ’s righteousness. Whatever Christ got (Glorification and Resurrection), we will get as well because whenever God sees us, He sees the blood of Jesus Christ.
So, how can we be justified? Repentance. We talked about how it is impossible for our works to save us just a moment ago, think about the line from the song “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” that proclaims “were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small”. Were the oceans made of ink and the sky parchment and we drained the oceans empty writing praises and giving glory to God, we would still fall woefully short. It is impossible for our “good” to get us into heaven because of . As the song Lindsey and I sang this morning proclaims, there is a great chasm that lays between us and God. It is immovable for us. We cannot cross it on our own. We need someone to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Praise God for the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. It was our death that He died so that we could be raised to live! What must we do? Do we have to live a perfectly moral life? Must we uphold all 10 commandments from now until the 2nd coming? No. We must repent of our sinfulness and seek first the Kingdom of God. Deny ourselves, pick up our cross (we put to death our flesh) and follow Christ.
As we see Paul write in , there is no room for boasting when it comes to Justification. Paul uses legal courtroom language here to prove his point. We stand guilty before our judge and the penalty for our crime is eternal punishment. We have zero room to boast in this situation, correct? The only way that we are saved is because Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness. How can God be just in doing this? He who knew no sin became sin. Our accounts are reckoned with righteousness because of this. We believe, we repent and we give glory and honor to God - not ourselves because on our own we are condemned.
A good way to think of Justification, as given by the 1678 Orthodox Creed of General (non-Calvinist) Baptists of England, is like this: “The ground of justification is the blood of Christ (). The material cause of justification is Christ’s active obedience. The essence of justification is the imputation of Christ’s obedience for us. The means of justification is faith. The purpose of justification is God’s glory and man’s salvation.” Praise God for justification.


The BFM states that, “Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.”
Sanctification can sometimes be associated as a negative thing as people think that it means that believers must stop doing certain things or they must abstain from some practices. Some people think that it means that they stop having “fun” or enjoyment. This is not true at all whenever we look at what Scripture says about Sanctification. Not only does being sanctified mean that we are “set apart” but we are also “consecrated” to the Lord - this is a positive thing, not a negative one!
If Christians are united to Christ in our faith, we are also conformed into His image/likeness (we saw this 2 weeks ago in ). The BFM states that Sanctification begins whenever we are regenerated. From the moment that we are “born again” we start being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. How can this be? When do we receive the Holy Spirit? Bingo. From the moment that we receive the Holy Spirit, we begin to be transformed into the image of Christ. Does this mean that we become Christ or that we become perfect? No. But it does mean that our actions and thoughts change from things that we used to desire to do in order to glorify ourself into now desiring to bring glory and honor to God.
A couple of points about Sanctification:
God sanctifies the Believer as shows us. This is good news because we cannot sanctify ourselves. We talked on Wednesday night that whenever we drift, where do we go? We drift away from God, not towards Him. It requires effort and hard work to be more like Christ. Praise God that it is not entirely up to our obedience to be sanctified because God it the one who sanctifies us.
Sanctification is not passive. Sanctification requires the active pursuit of Christ on behalf of the believer. We see that we are called to be like Christ. We must conform to His ways. This requires effort.
The BFM shows us 2 things about the position of Sanctification. 1st, this process begins from the moment that we are born again and receive the Holy Spirit. 2nd, we are set apart from the moment that we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is noteworthy because we can sometimes get caught up in thinking that we have to wait to do things as Christians (like share our faith) when in actuality, we are set apart immediately.
Sanctification is progressive. We steadily grow to be more like Christ. We grow spiritually mature. We won’t reach spiritual perfection (as the 1963 BFM stated), but we do undergo spiritual maturity from day 1 of being a Christian until we are called home to glory.
Sanctification is between us and God, not us and another believer. It can be very easy to play the comparison game, right? I don’t struggle with this sin like I used to and this person still does, so I’m a better Christian than they are and I can slack off in some other areas. This is a very legalistic mindset and this is the opposite of what sanctification calls for us to do! We are given the Holy Spirit to become holy like God is holy. We must not compare ourselves with others, we must strive to walk in the Spirit and become like Christ.
How can we grow in our sanctification? We walk in the Spirit. Daily disciplines form holy habits. One example that I can give is that for years my dad would try and get me to have a daily quiet time with God and journal my thoughts. I would often do this for a couple of days, maybe weeks, and then stop because daily disciplines are difficult, are they not? Bad habits are easy to form but hard to break, good habits are hard to form and easy to break. Something as “easy” as spending 10-15 minutes in the Word every morning and writing your thoughts can set you up for a Christ-centered day (as I have especially learned in the last year) but it can be extremely easy for us to stop and fill that time with something else. We must intentionally make time for our Spiritual growth. Does that mean that we cannot grow spiritually if we don’t do it this way? No. Does it mean that someone who gets up at 3am to spend an hour in the Word is automatically more “spiritual mature” than someone who sleeps in until 6am? No. This can turn into legalism very quickly if we are not careful! What matters is that we dive into the Word, we pray and we serve others. We live with a kingdom-first mindset and we become transformed to be like Christ.


The BFM states, “Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.”
Whenever we think about salvation, we are quick to think about being “born-again” or being justified or maybe even being conformed to be more like Christ, however, we rarely think about “glorification” right? The wonderful truth is that God has initiated a good work in us – one which will at last be brought to fruition when Jesus returns. Only then will we finally be perfected in holiness. Our battle with sin will end, and we will be entirely conformed to the image of Jesus Christ himself. We will have put on the imperishable and been clothed with immortality. That is good news, right?
Charles Haddon Spurgeon put it this way, “Some people think that it (Salvation) means being saved from going down to hell. That is the result of salvation; but salvation means being saved from the power of sin, and being saved from the tendency to sin, as well as being saved from the punishment of sin.”
Not only are we saved from hell, we are saved from the punishment of our sin. If we are justified, we are glorified! We have hope that from the moment that we are saved by Jesus Christ, we are glorified. The presence of sin will one day be eradicated from the universe and the process of sanctification will be complete! Glorification will be present and our bodies will be like Christ. Glorification entails the resurrection of our bodies (as we celebrated earlier today with Jesus Christ’s resurrection!) and our entire person.
Glorification marks the end of our suffering, bondage to sin and our weaknesses. Paul describes our glorified bodies as “incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual”. We see that the glory of God will illuminate our future home. We have a glorious hope as sons and daughters of the King.


Salvation is so much more than checking a couple boxes or praying a simple payer. It is more than A, B and C. Can these things lead a person to salvation? Certainly. We must acknowledge that salvation involves a change, though. A genuine repentance and response in faith to the truth of the Gospel. We must change our ways and repent, do a 180 degree turn in our lives. We cannot replace one sin with another, we must turn from our sin and walk in the Spirit after Christ. We must seek first the Kingdom of God.
In a world that loves to be tolerant of other beliefs and ideas, we must stand firm in our salvation. Our salvation is in Christ alone. We see that He is the only way and the only hope that sinners have. We see that all are in need of this gift of salvation because all have sinned. We also see that this gift is freely offered to all. Does this mean that all will accept it? No. But we must share this good news with those around us because of the consequence if we fail to do so. Someone in your life invested and poured into you. The best way that you can honor that person is to find someone who is lost and invest into them or to find a new Christian and help disciple them in the ways of the faith so that they can grow to be more like Christ.
As I’ve said several times, the most important thing that you can do is to make sure you’re going to heaven when you die. The 2nd most important thing is to bring as many people there as possible. Let that be your call to action as we leave from this place tonight. Let’s pray!
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