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Book

17
SALT
Servant and Leadership Training

The
Christian
Doctrine of
Salvation
July 2002
Table of Contents
I. Introduction ......................................................................................................... 4
A. Definition ........................................................................................................ 4
B. Old and New Testament Usage of the Term “Salvation”................................ 4
II. The Source of Salvation..................................................................................... 5
III. The Need for Salvation ..................................................................................... 8
IV. The Story of Salvation .................................................................................... 10
A. The Creation and the Fall............................................................................ 10
B. From the Seventh Day in Eden to the Call of Abraham................................ 11
C. From the Call of Abraham through the Times of the Judges........................ 12
D. From the First of the Prophets to the Founding of the Kingdom .................. 13
E. David and the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah............................................... 14
F. From the Prophets to the Messiah to the Day of Pentecost ......................... 14
G. The Preaching of Paul ................................................................................. 16
H. The Revelation and the End of the Age ....................................................... 16
V. The Three Tenses (Aspects or Stages) of Salvation ....................................... 17
VI. The Conditions of Salvation............................................................................ 18
First Condition – Confession of Sin .................................................................. 19
Second Condition - Repentance....................................................................... 19
Third Condition – Faith ..................................................................................... 20
VII. The Extent of Salvation.................................................................................. 21
VIII. The Purpose of Salvation ............................................................................. 23
IX. The Individual in Salvation.............................................................................. 26
X. The Pictures of Salvation................................................................................. 27
XI. The Results of Rejecting this Salvation .......................................................... 29
XII. The Culmination of Salvation......................................................................... 31
XIII. Ten Terms Used in Salvation ...................................................................... 33
Adoption ........................................................................................................... 33
Atonement ........................................................................................................ 35
Born again ........................................................................................................ 35
Forgiveness...................................................................................................... 36
Grace ............................................................................................................... 37
Justification....................................................................................................... 38
Reconciliation ................................................................................................... 40

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Redemption ...................................................................................................... 41
Substitution....................................................................................................... 43
Sanctification .................................................................................................... 44
Appendix A – More Comments on the “Three Tenses” of Salvation .................... 46
APPENDIX B - An Outline of Salvation from Ephesians 2:1-10 ........................... 48
APPENDIX C – “Sheol, Hell (Hades/Gehenna), Heaven and Paradise”.............. 50

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The Christian Doctrine of Salvation

I. Introduction

A. Definition

The word "salvation" means deliverance from a dangerous, life-threatening


situation, from imprisonment or from a hurtful act. When it is used as a religious
term, salvation means deliverance from the penalty of sin, which is hell, and from
slavery to satan. It can also mean safety, preservation, healing and soundness.

This word also describes deliverance from distress and the resultant victory and
well-being. The term occurs most often in the Psalms and Isaiah where it is
frequently used along with the word righteousness, indicating a connection
between God’s righteousness and His saving acts (Isaiah 45:8, 51:6- 8, 56:1, 62:1
and Psalm 98:2). “Salvation” can also be used for a military victory (1 Samuel
14:45), but it is normally used of God’s deliverance (Exodus 15:2 and Psalm
13:5). The expressions “the salvation of the LORD ” and “the salvation of our God”
speak of God’s work on behalf of His people. The expression “the God of my
salvation” is more private in nature, referring to the deliverance of an individual
(Isaiah 12:2, 52:10, Exodus 14:13, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Psalm 88:1 and 98:3).

As we study the Word of God, we see that salvation is the most common biblical
expression used to identify the changes in people’s lives, when by faith they have
received the benefit of the Messiah’s death and resurrection.

Note: “Conversion” is the initial change [of attitude and will] that brings a person
into right relationship with God. The word “conversion” appears as a noun only
once in the New Testament, referring to the conversion of the Gentiles (Acts
15:3). However, the Bible is filled with examples of persons who experienced
conversion. The word “conversion” is easily understood and will not be further
explored or used in this course book. We shall mainly use the term “salvation” and
other terms/words related directly to that word.

As noted above, the term “salvation” implies deliverance, safety, preservation,


healing and soundness. It occurs in Scripture in three “tenses.” First, the believer
has been saved (past tense) from the guilt and penalty of sin (Ephesians 2:5, 8).
Second, the believer is being saved (present tense) from the habit and dominion
of sin in this life (Galatians 2:19, 20). Finally, when the Lord returns, the believer
will be saved (future tense) from all the physical results of sin and of God’s curse
on the world (Romans 8:18–23).

B. Old and New Testament Usage of the Term “Salvation”

As we study the important doctrinal word “salvation,” let’s first look at its general
usage in both the Old and New Testaments. Generally in the Old Testament, the

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term salvation concerns physical deliverance or preservation. The major Hebrew
verb for salvation – yasha - means help, deliver or save. It is used about 205
times in the Bible. It usually occurs in contexts of removing a burden or danger
(Exodus 2:17) and can be used of removing someone from the danger of defeat
(Joshua 10:6). At other times, the word refers to being liberated or set free
(Judges 12:2). Used in civil law, yasha pertains to the obligation of one who hears
the cry of someone who needs to be saved from mistreatment (Deuteronomy
22:27, 28:29 and 2 Samuel 14:4). The Hebrew word appears in many prayer
petitions in reference to war and judicial issues (Psalm 3:7, 20:9, 72:4 and 86:2).
The noun speaks of preservation from threatened, impending and perhaps
deserved danger and suffering (Genesis 49:18, 1 Samuel 14:45 and Isaiah 12:3).

The New Testament concept of salvation includes most of the elements of the
Old Testament concept and also adds spiritual dimensions. The Greek term for
salvation – soteria - (occurring about 40 times in the New Testament) has both
national and personal aspects. National deliverance is discussed in Luke 1:69.
There is personal deliverance from the sea (Acts 27:34) and prison (Philippians
1:19), and spiritual and eternal deliverance through repentance and faith in the
Messiah (Acts 4:12 and Romans 10:10).

Although Jesus used this word “salvation” only once (Luke 19:9), He used many
other expressions to describe salvation. The dramatic change in Zaccheus was
proof of his salvation. The believer today should also demonstrate a change in his
life to confirm this “great salvation” (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Hebrews 2:3).

Who is the source of our salvation? What is the history of God’s salvation plan?
Why is salvation needed? How is salvation attained? Who is the deliverer or the
agent of salvation? What are the results of salvation? These are some of the
questions that we will discuss in this book.

II. The Source of Salvation


The source of salvation is God Himself -- the God who created man in His own
image that He might have fellowship with him throughout eternity. There are three
characteristics in the nature of God that we must consider in order to understand
God as the source of salvation.

• God is holy

He is absolute good - there has never been and never will be any evil thought,
action or desire in Him. He is morally perfect. Everything He does in relation to
man is for man's good.

In Isaiah 6:3, we read about the prophet's vision. Isaiah describes a scene in
heaven with God sitting on His throne. The angels called out to one another
saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty." In contrast to the holiness of God,
the prophet sees his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of his nation. He falls down
before God in fear and shame. God is holy. His holiness reveals and stands

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against all sin. To see God's holiness causes man to see the awfulness and
terrible filth of sin and to realize sin cannot be tolerated in God's presence.

In Exodus, we read about God standing before Israel in the wilderness on Mount
Sinai. Moses is permitted to come before God on the mountain. However, the
people are forbidden to come because of their sin. Exodus 19:12 says, "put limits
for the people around the mountain and tell them, 'Be careful that you do not go
up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely
be put to death.'” God is holy, and no sin is permitted in His presence.

Again in the book of Revelation we are given a glimpse of God on His throne
(Revelation 4:8). God is surrounded by thousands of angels along with the saved
persons of all the ages. They are singing the same song as heard in Isaiah --
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

• God is righteous

The Lord God is always right. He always does what is right. Not only is He
personally free from evil, He is also in every way opposed to sin.

As a righteous God, He is just. Because He is just, He demands justice from men


in their relationships with one another. He rewards the righteous and punishes the
wrong. He not only judges the actions of men; He also judges their motives and
desires. He always judges correctly because He knows even the thoughts and
intents of men's hearts. He judges according to the laws that are written in His
Word.

God's laws are clear, everlasting and personal. They apply to every individual.
"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). "The soul who sins is the one who will
die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt
of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the
wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him" (Ezekiel 18:20). God's
righteousness demands that sin be punished, because all sin is against God.

• God is love

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). God's dealings with mankind have
always been in love. Let us think about that love.

God's love is universal, reaching to all men of every race and nation. His love is
constant. It does not waver according to the response of men. God's love does
not depend upon man's receiving it. It is present because God is present. Perhaps
this can be described by looking at the sun. Sometimes there are clouds that shut
out the sun's light, but that does not mean that the sun is not shining. In men's
lives, there are sins, attitudes and habits that shut them off from the awareness of
God's love. However, that doesn't mean that His love is not present.

God's love always seeks the best for man. He rejoices in our victories, grieving in
our failures. God's love is always ready to forgive man's sins and receive him unto
Himself. God's love is giving, not taking.

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Because He loved, "He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
We have not attempted to describe all the characteristics of God. We are only
looking at these three characteristics of His. [Other characteristics of God will be
discussed in more detail in the book “The Doctrine of the Godhead.”] When we
see them together, they seem to contradict one another. How could a holy God
love sinners? How could God, as a righteous Judge, forgive?

The answer to these questions is not found when these characteristics are seen
separately but when they are seen together as a whole. God's holiness is
combined with love, and His righteousness is influenced by mercy. A person may
ask – how could God, who hates sin and evil, punish sin in His righteousness and
yet act in love to the one who committed the sin? The answer to this question is
seen in the latter half of a verse we read earlier: "The wages of sin is death, but
the gift of God is eternal life in the Messiah Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

God Himself paid man's debt of sin through His love. Then He righteously
declared man free from that debt -- free to live in fellowship with God in His
holiness. In accepting Jesus' payment for his sin, man would be made holy by the
holiness of Jesus. He would live His life under the command of the Lord. He would
no longer walk in sin but in the righteousness of God in Jesus.

An amazing thing about salvation is that it was all determined before the creation
of the world. The cross was not planned after the fall of man into sin, but long
before. Before God created man, He knew that man would sin and He planned
how man could be saved. The Bible speaks of Jesus as “the Lamb that was slain
from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). John the Baptist greeted Jesus
as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Jesus became a man and shed His blood on the cross at Calvary so that through
Him man could then have fellowship with God. Salvation began in the heart of
God. It was assured by the sacrifice of God. It is available today by the work of
God. Some have explained salvation in the following manner:

• God the Father purposed man's salvation in heaven


• God the Son provided man's salvation at Calvary
• God the Spirit brings and perfects man's salvation today.

While there is truth in this statement, it is far from complete and fails to recognize
the oneness of the Godhead. The Bible says - "God was reconciling the world to
Himself in the Messiah” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus was filled by the Holy Spirit
during His ministry on earth (Matthew 3:16), led by the Spirit (Mark 1:12), cast out
demons by the power of the Spirit (Matthew 12:28), taught and preached by the
power of the Spirit (Luke 4:18). In Acts 2, we read about the coming of the Holy
Spirit to lead, empower and train God's people. He is at work today in every
person who has experienced God's salvation through Jesus.

Yet Jesus' farewell words to His disciples promised, "I am with you always, to the
very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Paul, writing to the Gentile believers at

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Colosse, wrote "The Messiah in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). When
Paul was facing persecution in Corinth and seeking the Lord's advice on what he
should do, Jesus said in a vision to him, "I am with you" (Acts 18:10). Though
each person of the triune God does His special work, they also work together as
one in man’s salvation. Paul, speaking of salvation, says, "it is God who works in
you to will and to act according to His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

Thus, we see that the salvation of man has come from God and is continually
enriched and empowered in God. It was planned even before time began. Finally,
it was provided in God's own time to be carried on until the end of time.

III. The Need for Salvation


In the beginning God created man in His own image. Man was provided with
everything that he would ever need. He was given authority over all of God's
creation. He walked with God in perfect fellowship and harmony. There was only
one requirement - he was to live under the authority of God. Although man did not
realize it, living under the authority of God brought only good things to him.

However, despite all that God had done for him, man rejected God's authority and
thus rejected God Himself. The fellowship was broken. By choosing his own way,
man opened himself to the dominance of the Evil One. Man sinned and his sin
separated him from God. Man's perfect world was destroyed and he was driven
from the place God had prepared for him.

Man's whole nature is affected by sin, and his weakness is passed down to all
generations. The result, according to the Word of God, is that "All have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The Word also states that
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no
one who seeks God….there is no one who does good, not even one" (Romans
3:11-13). The domination of sin in the lives of mankind is total.

The results of sin in the life of man are many. Some of them are as follows:

Separation from God- Man is now separated from God’s leadership, protection,
fellowship and salvation. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2).

Suffering - Much human suffering is due to either our own sin or the sin of others.
Before sin came into the world, there was peace and harmony everywhere. After
their sin, God spoke to both Adam and Eve, declaring hardships and suffering
they would endure as a result of their sin (Genesis 3:16 -19).

Death - God said that Adam “must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Paul writes,
"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) and "You were dead in your
transgressions and sin" (Ephesians 2:1).

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Slavery to satan and sin - Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a
slave to sin" (John 8:34).

Hopelessness - When you are separated from the God of hope, upon what can
you place your hope? Is there any hope in a stone idol made by human hands or
in the promises of an ancestor who lies dead in a grave? Paul reminds the
Ephesians of the condition in which they were when he says, "Remember that at
that time you were separate from the Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel
and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the
world" (Ephesians 2:12).

Fear - Sinful man fears facing the danger of the future alone, armed with only his
own power and knowledge. The man separated from God cannot say with David,
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).

Moral and spiritual blindness - Sin brings more sin and the more a person sins,
the more he becomes addicted to sin. He is like a person who is taking a
habit-forming drug. He loses sight of reality and morality. He will do anything to
obtain his drug. Paul speaks of these kinds of people in Romans 1:18-32. In their
spiritual blindness, they could not recognize the revelation of God, but instead
worshipped idols they made with their own hands. Three times in this passage
Paul says, "God gave them over…” (verses 24, 26 and 28). In other words, God
allowed them to continue in their wickedness and sin.

Since the fall of man, he has sought to return to God, but in his own ways, which
have always failed. Man in his sin is unable to escape. He has sought to return to
God through his own good life and deeds, only to fall again because of his
powerlessness to resist satan. Man has sought to reach God through his intellect
and understanding.

Yet the finite mind of man can never grasp the depths of the infinite mind and
heart of God. Besides, knowledge cannot take away sin or pay its penalty. Man
has sought to reach God through religion. He has developed many religions, but
each has been man-made and not God-revealed. Though many religious
teachings have been good, none has reached God.

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me" (John 14:6). In Acts 4:12 we read, "Salvation is found in no
one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must
be saved."

Man's search for God is caused by his separation from God. Man was created for
fellowship with God, and without this fellowship he is incomplete. He is like a blind
man, staggering around, feeling with his outstretched hands, searching for God.
He is like a drowning man - he needs a Savior, someone who will dive into the
water and pull him out to safety.

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Man’s need for God is easy to see. There is also a need in the heart of God.
Although God is complete in Himself, a God who is love needs someone to whom
to express that love. Because of this love, "He gave His one and only Son."

Study Questions:

1) What is the main Hebrew verb for salvation and what does it mean?
2) What is the New Testament Greek word for salvation? Did Jesus use it?
3) What does God’s righteousness demand?
4) When did the Lord God determine the plan of salvation?
5) By choosing his own way, to what did man open himself?
6) What are spiritually blind people not able to recognize?

IV. The Story of Salvation


The whole of the Bible, whether the Old Testament or the New Testament, looks
to the mighty act of redemption of the Messiah. His blood sacrifice is the price
paid for our “deliverance.” He took our sinful nature upon Himself in order that He
might satisfy the demands of the Law. His sacrifice is accepted as the payment for
the debt the sinner man or woman owes to God. His death is accepted as the full
payment for man’s deliverance. God, through the blood of Jesus, saved man.

There is a dual idea in the word “redemption”: it refers to deliverance and it refers
to the price paid for that deliverance, a ransom. We are redeemed from the
penalty of sin and from the power of satan and evil by the price Jesus paid on the
cross for us. We are redeemed to a new freedom from sin, to a new relationship to
God, and to a new life of love by the appropriation of that atonement for our sins.
Our Lord’s work of redemption for us involves three things:

• It is closely associated with forgiveness, since we receive forgiveness


through the redemptive price of Jesus’ death.

• It involves justification, since the deliverance establishes us in a restored


position of favor before God.

• It promises final deliverance (or, salvation) from the power of sin at the
coming of the Lord.

In this book, we shall call the story of this deliverance “The Story of Salvation.”
[Please refer to pages 30 and following for a more detailed explanation of terms
such as “redemption,” “justification,” “atonement,” etc.]

A. The Creation and the Fall

When God made the heavens and the earth, they were beautiful, perfect and
pure, as only God could create them. But sin entered the world through the pride

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of satan, and the beautiful creation was destroyed. Sin always destroys. After
God’s perfect creation [described in the first chapter of Genesis] sin began to
destroy. In the Garden of Eden, through a denial of the word of God and through
satan’s deception of the woman, our first “parents” fell. When Eve was deceived,
Adam chose to die by the side of the woman whom God had created for him.

As the Lord came to visit the man and his wife in the cool of the day, He could not
find them (Genesis 3:8 – 9). They were afraid and hid themselves from the Lord
because they were naked and ashamed. To hide their guilt, they made for
themselves clothing (“coverings” – Genesis 3:7) of fig leaves, but when God
looked upon the covering, He knew that this “covering” was not sufficient.

Human hands cannot weave this type of “covering” for sin (atonement for sin).
Therefore, somewhere in the Garden of Eden, the Lord took an innocent animal
and [before the eyes of Adam and Eve], God killed that innocent animal.

This is the beginning of “The Story of Salvation.” Through the slaughter of an


innocent animal, God took coats of skin and covered over the shame and the
nakedness of the man and his wife. This is the first sacrifice, and Almighty God
Himself offered this sacrifice by His own hand.

Possibly, when Adam saw the dying life of that innocent animal, and when he saw
the blood stain which soiled the ground, it was his first experience of seeing what
it meant to die because of sin. Thus, the story of salvation [the story of atonement
and sacrifice] begins and unfolds throughout the Word of God. Finally, in glory we
shall see great throngs of the saints who have washed their robes and made them
white in the blood of the Lamb. This is “The Story of Salvation.”

B. From the Seventh Day in Eden to the Call of Abraham

In the Garden of Eden, as the Lord covered the nakedness of the man and the
woman, He turned to satan and said, “The Seed (descendant) of this woman,
whom you have deceived and through whom you have attempted to destroy the
human race, will crush your head ” (Genesis 3:15). For centuries, the old rabbis
studied what the Lord God said to satan. Particularly, they studied the phrase “the
Seed of the woman.” Seed is masculine - seed belongs to the man. A woman
does not have seed. The old rabbis, not understanding, looked in amazement at
that Word and the promise of God that the Seed of the woman would crush
satan’s head.

We now know that the promise relates to the virgin birth and to the long conflict
and struggle between the hatred of the devil and the love of God in Jesus the
Messiah. It speaks of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus suffered. Satan struck his heel (last
words of Genesis 3:15). But after that striking, the Messiah defeated once and for
all the power of that old serpent, the devil. He crushed his head!

As the man Adam and his wife Eve made their first home in an earth cursed for
their sakes, in the passing of time there were born to them two sons. One was
named Cain and the other Abel. In jealousy and great anger, the older brother

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killed the younger brother. But the seed of God must be preserved. The Lord,
therefore, gave Eve another son, named Seth.

Seth was a man of faith as Cain was a man of the world. When the children of
Seth [the godly remnant] married the children of Cain [the seed of the world], the
result was a fallen line of descendants that filled the earth with violence. Finally,
God said, “I am going to put an end to all people…I am surely going to destroy
both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:13).

But a member of the line of Seth found grace in the sight of the Lord. His name
was Noah. To preserve the righteous seed, God told Noah to build an ark and into
that ark of safety, salvation and hope, Noah brought his family. After the passing
of the awesome judgment of the flood, the earth once again began its story of
salvation through the lives of this one man and his three sons.

It was not long, however, before the destructiveness of sin began to harm the
select family of God. Instead of carrying out the great commission of the Lord for
mankind to inhabit the whole earth, the people drew together into the plain of
Shinar (Genesis 11:2 – Babylonia). They announced their purpose to build a tower
around which they were to center their civilization and their collective unity.

When God looked down and saw the pride of men in their hearts, He confused
their speech and “scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9).
From this “Tower of Babel,” (“Babel” sounds like the Hebrew word for “confused”)
the different parts of the human race, not being able to understand each other,
scattered in different directions. Then, all the nations of the earth grew out from
those three great family lines of Noah.

C. From the Call of Abraham through the Times of the Judges

We begin the story of Abraham in a dark day. The whole world had plunged into
terrible idolatry, but God called out this man to leave his home, his place, his
country and his family to go into another country. Afterward he would receive this
land for an inheritance. In obedience, Abraham left the Mesopotamian valley and
came as a pilgrim, a stranger and a sojourner into the Promised Land of Canaan.

He lived in the land of Canaan and God gave him two sons – Isaac and Ishmael.
But the Lord God said to Abraham that Ishmael, the child of the “old nature” and
the son of a slave woman, would not be the promised seed.

When Abraham was one hundred years old and when Sarah was ninety years old,
God miraculously placed into the arms of the parents the child and seed of
promise whom they named Isaac. Isaac was the father of two sons, Esau and
Jacob. The Lord, refusing Esau, chose Jacob, whom He renamed “Israel.”

Because of a severe famine in Canaan and because of the presence of Joseph,


the son of Jacob, in Egypt, the entire household of Jacob went down to live in the
land of the Nile. After many years had passed, a pharaoh came to power in Egypt
who did not know Joseph. The chosen family became slaves to this new ruler of

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Egypt, and their heavy groaning ascended to the ears of the Lord God in heaven
(see Exodus 1 and 2).

The Lord, therefore, raised a mighty prophet by the name of Moses to deliver his
people from slavery to the Egyptians. God brought about this great “deliverance”
(or, salvation) by a marvelous miracle called the Passover.
For the Lord had said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive
plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Exodus 12:13). Once again, we see
this way of salvation through the blood.

After the Lord God delivered the chosen family out of Egypt, He brought them by
the hand of Moses through the dividing of the Red Sea into the Sinai Peninsula, to
the base of Mount Sinai. There for forty days and forty nights Moses was with
God. On Mount Sinai, the Lord gave to Moses the Ten Commandments, the
pattern of the tabernacle and the ritual instructions of holy worship. All of these
marvelous things [in the books of Exodus and Leviticus] portray and prophesy the
sacrifice of the Messiah, the Son of God.

After the death of Moses, Joshua crossed over the Jordan and completed the
wars of conquest. In the first confrontation at Jericho an incident occurred which
was very important. The scouts sent by Joshua to spy out Jericho were saved by
the faith and the kindness of Rahab. The men of Israel promised life and safety,
both for her and her father’s house, if she would tie a scarlet cord in her window.
This she faithfully did. When Jericho was delivered into the hands of Israel by the
mighty act of God, Rahab and her family were “delivered/saved” because of that
scarlet cord which hung down from her window.

After the conquest of Canaan, through the military ability and genius of Joshua,
we have the story of the judges. The difference between a judge and a king is this:
a king gives his throne to his son, but a judge is raised up in a time of crisis and is
given special gifts and abilities from God for that one period of time. The days of
the judges ended with the birth of Samuel.

D. From the First of the Prophets to the Founding of the


Kingdom

During the time of Samuel, the people began to ask for a king. It was not the
purpose of God in the beginning for the children of Israel to have a king over them
(Deuteronomy 17:1–20), but He knew the hearts of the children of Israel. And it
hurt the heart of the Lord that the request should come in so vain and rebellious a
way as they presented it to Samuel. But, according to the word and instruction of
God, Samuel anointed Saul to be king over Israel.

In his early days as king over Israel, Saul was a mighty man and carried out the
commands of the Lord, but he soon fell away from the instruction of Samuel and
fell into gross disobedience to the will of God. The word of the Lord, therefore,
came to Samuel that he should anoint one after God’s own heart. That anointing
came upon a boy who was a shepherd - a son of Jesse by the name of David.

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E. David and the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

The first part of David’s life as king of Israel was magnificent. Then, in the very
prime of his life, at the very height of his glory, he turned aside from the will of God
and became soft and indulgent and lustful - much like the kings of surrounding
countries. This brought to David a great tragedy, one by which the name of God
was blasphemed and has been injured ever since.
Nevertheless, God forgave the sin of David and chose him to be the father of that
marvelous Son [the Messiah] who would sit upon His throne as king forever.

A type of that glorious Son of David [later, Jesus the Messiah] was the immediate
son of David, called Solomon. Solomon also began his reign gloriously and
triumphantly. However, like his father, Solomon fell into tragic decline. Upon his
death, the kingdom was torn in two.

Thereafter, the people of God were divided into two kingdoms. The northern
kingdom was called the Kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom was called
the Kingdom of Judah. In 722 BC, the ruthless Assyrians took away the northern
kingdom of Israel into captivity. In 586 BC, the Babylonians [under the rule of King
Nebuchadnezzar] carried away the southern kingdom into captivity. In the days of
the Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem. At the same
approximate time, Daniel, the prophet-statesman, and Ezekiel, the prophet,
comforted and strengthened the people of God in the land of Babylon.

Out of the Babylonian captivity came three great establishments by which God
has blessed our world. First, the Jews were monotheistic - never to be idolatrous
again [“Monotheism” simply means believing in one God only]. Second, the
synagogue came into being, and from the synagogue came the church. The
worship services of the synagogue are similar to Christian worship today. Third,
out of the captivity came the canon [or, the books] of the Old Testament. Out of
tears and suffering have come great blessings in this story of salvation.

F. From the Prophets to the Messiah to the Day of Pentecost

Out of the agonies of the days of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah came the
prophecies by men of God of a more glorious Savior and King whom God would
send to His people. When we read a passage like Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53, we are
standing by the cross of the Son of God!

As the days passed, the great spiritual leaders of Israel and Judah began to
outline and to prophesy the coming of a Savior, a Redeemer, who would save the
people from their sins. This coming Savior would bring to them the everlasting
hope and righteousness of God as the promised Messiah. This messianic hope
became stronger and more gloriously received as the centuries passed.

Marking the end of the Babylonian captivity, in 539 BC, Cyrus the Persian gave
the people the right to return to their homeland in Judah and to build their holy
temple in Jerusalem. A small remnant of the people returned under Zerubbabel,

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the political leader, and Joshua, the high priest. This holy remnant sought to
restore the worship of the true God in Jerusalem and to recreate the political life of
Judah. God’s messengers - Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi – encouraged them.

Of the three great prophets of this period of restoration, Zechariah is perhaps the
greatest. Zechariah spoke much about Israel, about the end time, and about the
conversion of the people of the Lord. The last prophet, of course, is Malachi. He
delivered his message of hope and the promise of the Messiah in the general time
period of 440–430 BC.
The four hundred year period between the Old Testament and the New Testament
marks the rise of the Hellenistic or Greek Empire. God used Alexander the Great
to spread abroad throughout the civilized world one culture and one language,
which made possible the preaching of Jesus to all men everywhere.

In that time period also arose the mighty and powerful Roman Empire. When
Augustus Caesar was the Roman emperor and when Rome was ruling virtually
the entire world, the great prophecies of Scripture concerning the coming of the
Messiah came to pass. The prophecies of Isaiah, Micah, Nathan and Jacob, as
well as the great promise of God Almighty to Eve in the Garden of Eden came to
pass. In the “Seed” of the woman and through the “Seed” of Abraham all the
families of the earth are to be blessed. The Savior, the promised Messiah, is to be
born into the world. “The Story of Salvation” has now led us to the birth of Him
who has come to save and to redeem the human race from its fallen state.

In His ministry, Jesus began early to teach His disciples that He should suffer and
die. When He was transfigured (Matthew 17: 1- 8), there appeared Moses and
Elijah, talking with Him about His death, which He should accomplish in
Jerusalem. When Mary of Bethany anointed Him, He said it was for His burial.
When the Greeks came to see Him, He said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).

At the Last Supper Jesus told His disciples, “This is My body given for you; do this
in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22: 19). Then He said, “This cup is the new
covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20). Before He went to the cross, He said, “My
soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38) as He
labored earnestly in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Finally, when on the
cross, He bowed His head and died. He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

When we proclaim the cross and the shed blood of the Messiah, when we
announce the sacrificial death of Jesus - we are preaching the meaning of His
coming into the world. The sacrifice of the Messiah finished the great redemptive
plan and purpose of God in the earth. This is “The Story of Salvation.”

After the resurrection of our Lord, He gave the Great Commission to the apostles
(Matthew 28:18 – 20). Then, after His ascension into heaven, the Lord poured out
the Holy Spirit upon His church in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Thereafter,
the disciples of Jesus, those who preached the message of the Messiah, began to
make known throughout the earth the Good News of our hope and salvation.

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G. The Preaching of Paul

The letters of Paul are divided into four distinct groups. They are as follows:

¾ The first group he wrote from Athens and Corinth, during his second
missionary journey. They are 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

¾ He wrote the second group of letters during his third missionary journey.
While he was in Ephesus, he wrote 1 Corinthians. Somewhere in
Macedonia between Ephesus and Corinth, he wrote 2 Corinthians. Then,
either in Antioch or on his way to Antioch, he wrote Galatians and Romans.
Therefore, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians and Romans center
about the city of Ephesus.

¾ The third group of letters Paul wrote during his first Roman imprisonment.
They are Philippians, Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians.

¾ The fourth and last group of his letters, which were written after his first
Roman imprisonment, was 1Timothy, Titus and 2 Timothy, called the
“Pastoral Letters.”

In all Paul’s letters there is the constant theme of the Messiah’s redemptive love
and His sacrificial death. Paul writes of His shed blood and the apostle explains to
the churches “The Story of Salvation.”

H. The Revelation and the End of the Age

We come now to the conclusion of the Bible. On the Isle of Patmos, a small island
several kilometers southwest of Ephesus, the apostle John was exiled to die.
While on the island of Patmos, the Lord appeared to John in a glorious vision. The
vision is called the Revelation, that is, “the uncovering,” or, “the unveiling.” The
book of Revelation is therefore the uncovering of Jesus the Messiah in His glory,
in His majesty and in His kingdom.

After the vision of the exalted and glorified Messiah in chapter 1 and after the
prophetic words concerning the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, we have the
word that John went through an open door into heaven (Revelation 4:1-2). While
John the apostle was in the spirit and with the Lord in heaven, there are poured
out upon the earth the judgments of Almighty God in a period of time known as
The Great Tribulation.

The judgments are described in the opening of the seven seals, the seven
trumpets and the seven bowls. In those dark days John sees a vision in
Revelation, chapter 7, concerning the redeemed of the Lord in glory. Their robes
have been washed and made white by the “blood of the Lamb” (verse 14). These
are the ones who have come out of the Great Tribulation. This is the final chapter
in “The Story of Salvation.” This story began with the blood of covering in the

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Garden of Eden and finds its ultimate and final consummation in the blood-
washed multitude of believers standing before the throne of God in glory.

The book closes with the wonderful message of the hope and salvation we have
in the personal coming and presence of the Lord Jesus Himself. This is “The Story
of Salvation” that leads to glory.

V. The Three Tenses (Aspects or Stages) of Salvation


Salvation is a central theme of the Bible, because God desires that every one of
us be saved from sin (Luke 19:10, Romans 5:8 and 1 Timothy 2:4). The Book of
Romans indicates that we can think about salvation in terms of three tenses:
™ Past tense - Salvation can be understood as a finished work in the past. If
you have placed faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross for your sin, then
you have been saved (past tense). From that moment on, your eternal
destiny was secure, because the Messiah’s atonement has made you
righteous, or free to stand before God without guilt or penalty for your
sins. To use Paul’s word, you have been “justified” (Romans 5:1, 8–9). That
is, a complete, one-time work of God’s grace has transformed you from a
condemned sinner to a righteous child of God. That’s why Paul could tell
the Philippian jailer to believe on the Lord Jesus the Messiah and he would
be saved (Acts 16:31).

The first aspect of salvation is presented as a specific happening at a specific


time. Paul said, "By grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:8). At the particular
time you believed, you were saved from the penalty of sin. This aspect of
salvation is seen as a past action.

™ Present tense – Salvation can also be understood as an ongoing process


in the present. Have you ever wondered how you can be saved from sin,
yet still sin? The believers at Rome struggled with this problem (Romans
6:1–2), and so did Paul (Romans 7:15–20). Like him, you may cry out to be
set free from ongoing sin (Romans 7:24). The Messiah’s atonement again
provides the answer (Romans 8:1–3). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit provides
grace and power to overcome temptation and deal with what comes your
way (Romans 5:3–5, 6:12–14 and 8:2, 9–17). Thus, as you trust Jesus on a
daily basis, you are being saved (present tense) in the midst of trials and
temptations. This life-long process, called “sanctification,” involves the
development of a holy lifestyle (Titus 2:11–14). Whereas justification saves
you from the penalty of sin (eternal death), sanctification saves you from
the power of sin, so that you become more and more like the Lord Jesus.

Then, in the second aspect, salvation is presented as a process. Those in the


process of perishing are sinking farther and farther under the domination of satan.
We who are being saved are becoming more and more like Jesus. The believer is
being saved from the power of sin. This aspect of salvation is a present action.

™ Future tense – Salvation can likewise be understood as a hope to hold


onto in the future. In describing salvation, the Book of Romans looks ahead
to an ultimate outcome. Paul says that you will “share in His glory” [with

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Jesus the Messiah] (Romans 8:17). That is, you will be saved (future tense)
in the sense that you will be completely perfected when you finally stand
before God. You will be fully delivered from judgment, removed from sin’s
presence, restored to the likeness of God in which you were created, and
enter into eternal life with God.

This is the eternal dimension of salvation called the believer’s hope of glory
(Romans 5:2, 8:18, Ephesians 1:18 and Colossians 1:27). As a result, God’s
activity, begun with His choice of believers for salvation from the beginning,
reaches its glorious conclusion (Romans 8:29).

Finally, in the third aspect, salvation is presented as something that will be


completed in the future. In heaven the believer will be completely conformed to
the image of the Messiah. He will be completely saved from the presence and
influence of sin. This aspect of salvation is seen as a future action.

Following Jesus involves all three tenses, or aspects, of salvation. By faith we


have been saved from God’s wrath. By faith, we are being set free from sin. And
by faith we look forward to being made complete in Jesus when we go “home” to
be with Him. Therefore, in very simple terms, salvation in the Messiah is
commonly stated in terms of three tenses such as the following:

ƒ Salvation past—deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin


ƒ Salvation present—deliverance from the power of sin
ƒ Salvation future—deliverance from the presence of sin.

Note: For further comments about the “Three Tenses of Salvation,” please refer to
Appendix A on page 43.

Study Questions:

1) To what mighty act does the whole Bible look?


2) To what does the promise of Genesis 3:15 relate? According to that verse,
what has the Messiah done to the devil?
3) Ishmael is called the child of “what”? Isaac is called the child of “what”?
4) What is the difference between a king and a judge? When did the days of
the judges end?
5) What happened in 722 BC and in 586 BC? Where did Jeremiah, Daniel
and Ezekiel prophesy?
6) What finished the great redemptive plan and purpose of God on this earth?
7) The book of Revelation tells us about the uncovering of what?
8) If “justification” saves from the penalty of sin, from what does
“sanctification” save us?

VI. The Conditions of Salvation


Although salvation is provided for all by the free, undeserved grace of God, each
person must do certain things before he can receive this gift. These conditions do

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not place limits on who can receive salvation, but they prepare anyone who wants
it to receive it. When these conditions are met, the way is open for the new birth.
There are three fundamental conditions for salvation. We shall now carefully study
these three conditions for salvation and the new birth in the Messiah.

First Condition – Confession of Sin

The first condition for salvation is confession of our sin. We are all sinners and
must admit that and confess that. The Apostle John writes: "If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
Confession is more than merely naming shortcomings and wrong-doings - it is a
heartfelt realization that those actions are wrong and are against God. Confession
involves an awareness that these sins must be admitted both to one’s self and to
God in order for them to be forgiven. Confession is not admission in broad
generalities - it is personal and specific.

We also confess the Lordship of Jesus as the only means of salvation. Paul links
confession with belief when he writes, "If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is
Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be
saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your
mouth that you confess and are saved" (Romans 10:9-10).

Second Condition - Repentance

The second condition for salvation – repentance – is closely connected with


confession. In repentance one first becomes aware of his sins and is willing to
admit them before God. Then, with God's help he turns away from them and from
the kind of life that produced the sin. Repentance is a military term that means
"about face," or moving in the opposite direction. John the Baptist emphasized
repentance in his ministry. Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you too will all perish"
(Luke 13:3,5).

There are three essential elements in repentance. In order to properly understand


the full meaning of repentance, let’s examine these three elements.

ƒ The first element of repentance is simply to understand our condition as


a sinner. We understand the guilt of sin and the condemnation that it
brings. This is often referred to as "conviction of sin." This conviction comes
about through the work of the Holy Spirit, Who often uses the truths
presented in the Gospel to bring conviction.

ƒ The second element involved in repentance is that the love of sin dies in
one's heart. A person may see himself clearly as a sinner and even
understand the horror of sin. Yet, unless the love of sin and its pleasures
dies in his heart, there will be no lasting difference in his life.

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ƒ The third element of repentance is turning away from the former life of sin.
When the love of sin dies in one's heart, it is replaced by an intense dislike
toward sin and a hatred for its pleasures. This turning away from sin must
be coupled with a turning to Jesus and the new life He brings.

We see that repentance is fundamentally a change of the direction of one's life.


This change is from within and will influence all one's thoughts and actions. It is
caused by an intense dislike of sin and its resulting lifestyle. It is more than just
fear of punishment.

Third Condition – Faith

The third condition for salvation is faith. Faith is a word that is often used with
widely different meanings. As in repentance, faith also has different elements.
Faith includes at least three elements that are essential for our understanding.
These three elements of faith are as follows:

ƒ Acceptance - both intellectually and emotionally. Salvation comes through


the acceptance of the Messiah as the Son of God and the only way of
salvation. Jesus said - “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). He is the eternal Son,
but He is also one with the Father (John 10:30). Faith is accepting His
willingness to receive me with all my sin and failures. Faith is accepting
Jesus' ability and power to overcome my sinful nature, deliver me from the
punishment of sin and give me eternal life.

ƒ Surrender - A man must surrender his sins and wrong-doings to Jesus so


that Jesus might take them upon Himself. A man must also surrender his
life [and all that he has and is] to the Lord so that He may rule his life.

Paul said, "For to me, to live is the Messiah" (Philippians 1:21). He also said, "I
have been crucified with the Messiah and I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in
me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

ƒ Commitment – this means total commitment of oneself to the Lordship of


Jesus, to His Word, to His work and to His will. Faith that falls short of total
commitment is not acceptable to the Lord, and is an insult to His total
sacrifice on the cross.

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone
who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who
does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37-38).

Jesus would not accept the rich young ruler unless he gave up the things in life
that had been most important to him, and totally committed himself to the Lord
(Matthew 19:16 – 30). Neither will He accept a faith today that does not include
total commitment.

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Although all three of these conditions are not mentioned in every instance in the
Bible, they are definitely present throughout the New Testament as the conditions
for salvation. Some people want to add other conditions for salvation, such as
good works or baptism. Although baptism followed salvation in almost every
case in Acts, it was not a condition of salvation.

Those who add baptism as a condition for salvation usually state Peter's reply at
Pentecost to the question: "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter's reply was,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for
the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:37 - 38). There is no other place in Scripture
where baptism is linked to salvation. Baptism, however, is practiced after salvation
as a means of identification with Jesus and His church. Baptism is a picture of a
salvation already experienced – not a condition of salvation to be gained.

When one makes good works a condition of salvation, he shows that he does not
understand the meaning of faith. Good works are a proof and a product of the
faith that brings salvation, not the condition of faith. Paul writes to the Ephesian
church, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by [good] works, so that no one can boast"
(Ephesians 2:8-9). Paul also wrote to Titus, "He saved us, not because of
righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy" (Titus 3:5).

Confession of sin, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus – these are the three
fundamental conditions of salvation. We must correctly and accurately teach these
three and add no other conditions. To add other conditions would be un-Biblical.

VII. The Extent of Salvation

There are three basic questions that we need to consider concerning salvation:

First Question: To whom is salvation offered? Just as God is the Creator of all
men, He also loves all men and offers all men His gift of salvation. Consider
carefully all of these Scripture verses that point to this wonderful offer of salvation:

¾ Jesus says (John 3:16): "For God so loved the world that He gave His one
and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have
eternal life."

¾ Peter writes (2 Peter 3:9): "The Lord…is patient with you, not wanting
anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

¾ Paul writes (1 Timothy 2:4): "God… wants all men to be saved and to come
to a knowledge of the truth.”

¾ John writes (John 1:12): "To all who received Him, to those who believed in
His Name, He gave the right to become children of God."

¾ John also writes (John 3:36): "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal
life."

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¾ Jesus invites (Matthew 11:28): "Come to Me, all you who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you rest."

Romans 10:13 states: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be
saved." God's salvation is offered to all men and women of all nations, at all times.
The simple answer is this: salvation is offered to all who will trust Jesus.

Second Question: What does salvation mean?

Let us look at some words that are used to describe salvation. The basic word
describing salvation is probably the word “life.” "Life" is in contrast to death.
"Eternal" and "everlasting" speak of a life that never ends but goes on forever and
ever. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the resurrection and the Life.
Eternal life is not only life without end. It describes the depth and quality of that
life. It is the quality of life that is like God's. Paul describes this life in Galatians
5:22-23 as he describes the life characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Then there is the word "light." Light is in contrast to darkness. "Darkness" speaks
of things such as ignorance, fear, evil, superstition and doubt. The “light” exposes
and conquers these areas of darkness. Jesus called Himself the Light of the
world. A life lived in His Light is a life that has direction and purpose.

There is also the word “hope.” Our "living hope" speaks of a life lived with
expectancy and faith in the Lord Jesus. Romans 5:5 clearly states that as
believers our hope will not disappoint us. God’s Word (Hebrews 3:6) tells us to
hold on to this hope in the Lord.

Thus, the answer to the second question asked above is that salvation means
eternal life in Jesus who is our living hope. This is a life in the light, with real
purpose and direction.

Third Question: Can we be certain that we are saved and will be saved forever?

The security of the salvation that God offers is seen in the nature of God Himself.
He is absolutely trustworthy. What He says can be trusted. He Himself assures us
that our salvation is secure. Let us examine some important Bible references.

When Moses made his final speech to Israel, he reminded the people of all that
God had done for them. Then Moses said - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be
afraid or terrified because of them [their enemies], for the Lord your God goes with
you; He will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Jesus Himself promised in Matthew 28:20 - "I am with you always, to the very end
of the age." Earlier during His earthly ministry, Jesus had said to the Jews
gathered around Him one day in Jerusalem:

"I give them [His sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can
snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater
than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand" (John 10:28 – 29).

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The apostle Paul speaks of the security of the salvation given by God when he
writes to the believers in Ephesus: "Having believed, you were marked in Him with
a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance
until the redemption of those who are God’s possession" (Ephesians 1:13 -14).

Think about the “picture” that is painted of salvation in these verses that we have
just studied. The man who places his life in Jesus is held with the hand of the
Messiah tightly closed around him. Over the hand of Jesus comes the strong hand
of Almighty God. Then the unbreakable seal of the Holy Spirit “seals” (or, covers)
the hand of God. What a beautiful picture of certainty and security!

No wonder Paul could write with such assurance to the Roman believers:

"Who shall separate us from the love of the Messiah? Shall trouble or hardship or
persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ….No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that
neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the
future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in the Messiah Jesus our
Lord" (Romans 8:35, 37 - 39).

As the apostle sat in prison and wrote his last letter before his death to young
Timothy, he said: "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is
able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

We also see the security of salvation in the words used to describe this life that
we as believers in Jesus have: "eternal," "everlasting," "unending," "new birth,"
"new creation," etc. Jude, Jesus' younger half brother who came to faith after
Jesus' death and resurrection, wrote these words in his letter:

"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His
glorious presence without fault and with great joy…" (Jude 24).

This eternal security in God gives us peace and comfort and delivers us from fear,
anxiety and worry forever. Therefore, we clearly understand from the Lord’s
perfect Word the answer to the third question – yes, we can be certain that we
are saved and will be saved forever.

VIII. The Purpose of Salvation


When we look at the salvation for which God has paid such a high price, we must
ask ourselves two questions: "Why?" and "For what purpose?"

Let’s first consider the question “Why?” Surely, no one could have blamed God if
He had destroyed the world because of man’s wickedness. Instead of doing so,
He allowed the cross to happen. Why did He allow His only Son to suffer such
great pain and humiliation at the hands of the jeering and laughing crowd? Why

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did He forsake His Son, instead of turning His back on man whose sins Jesus
bore? The answer is simple: love. Yet this love is not simple, rather it is a love so
deep that men will spend eternity learning all its meaning.

Mankind’s universal need for salvation is one of the clearest teachings of the
Bible. This need goes back to man’s removal from the Garden of Eden (please
see Genesis 3). After the fall, man’s life was marked by strife and difficulty, as well
as a loss of divine purpose. He was oppressed by the evil one. Increasingly,
corruption and violence came to dominate his world (Genesis 6:11-13). When God
destroyed the world with the Flood, He also performed the first act of salvation by
saving Noah and his family. This action was a symbol or a pattern of that full
salvation which we may receive in the Messiah (1 Peter 3:18-22).

Concerning the second question: What is God's purpose in our salvation? It is


inspiring to know that the great God Almighty, the Creator of all, has a purpose
and hope, not just for mankind in general, but for each individual man and woman.
It is important that we understand His purpose.

The central Old Testament experience and picture of salvation is the Exodus
(Exodus 12:40-14:31), when God redeemed and freed His people to a destiny
beyond their grasp (Exodus 13:3-16). The prophets, however, declared that the
full realization of God’s purpose of salvation would involve a coming Savior and
the promise of a completely new age (Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and 65:17-25).

The doctrine of salvation reached its fulfillment in the death of Jesus the Messiah
on our behalf. His mission was to save the world from sin and the wrath of God
(Matthew 1:21, John 12:47 and Romans 5:9). His completed earthly ministry
brought salvation as a promised availability opened to us through His death and
resurrection (Mark 10:24 - 27 and Luke 19:9-10).

The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:18 - 19:

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may
know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in
the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."

In this verse Paul not only states the fact that God has a purpose for every man,
but also that God's power is available to carry out that purpose. The power is
further explained in Romans 8:28:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose." The purpose is explained in the
following verse. He wants us to "….be conformed to the likeness of His Son"
(Romans 8:29). Therefore, it seems clear that God's purpose through His
salvation is that we might be like His dear Son Jesus. This purpose is carried
out in three areas:

™ The first purpose of salvation is fellowship with God. As has already


been discussed, God created man so that Ho might have fellowship with
him. God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Man was not just an

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object of God's creation. Instead, man was the crown of that creation as he
was created in the likeness and nature of God.

How wonderful that fellowship must have been as God and Adam named the
animals. How it must have pleased the heart of God to see the man and woman
that He had created. How much they must have enjoyed walking together with
God in the garden He had made for them. Then Adam and Eve sinned and their
fellowship with God was broken.

Sin broke the heart of God, because He could no longer have this relationship
with mankind. He must have wept at the suffering sin was bringing upon the man
He loved. He saw man's useless attempts to restore this fellowship that always
ended in failure. In the salvation He brought to man, God restored this fellowship.
™ The second purpose of salvation is service. God did not save us just to
have fellowship with Him, but also that we might serve Him. The life of a
believer is a life of service. We are to be like Jesus who "did not come to be
served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew
20:28). The Messiah's life should teach us what the life of a servant is like.

In Matthew 20:26, Jesus reminds His disciples that if they want to be great in His
Kingdom, they must be servants. From the moment of salvation man must begin
to serve both the person of God and the purposes of God. Paul states in
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s workmanship, created in the Messiah Jesus to
do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We serve Him by living a godly life. This kind of life happens when His Spirit is at
work within us, enabling us to do the will of God. He is bearing His fruit in our life.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control" (Galatians 5:22-23).

We serve Him as we serve His church. Here, again, the Holy Spirit helps us
through His gifts. These gifts are discussed in 1Corinthians 12 and 14, as well as
in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

We serve Him through obedience to His commands. By this, we express our love
to Him. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15).

We serve Him as we carry His Word of salvation to others. We know Jesus'


command in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples of all nations.” We often
quote from Acts 1:8 that we are to be His witnesses, even “to the ends of the
earth.” Do we serve Him by witnessing as we should? He said, "You did not
choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will
last" (John 15:16).

Note: The New Testament often calls those who have been saved "servants" of
God. However, in the new relationship that salvation brings, we have become His
sons and daughters. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s
children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with
the Messiah…." (Romans 8:16-17). We serve God not only as slaves because He

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owns us or even as servants for a reward. But we serve as children out of love for
our Father and for the advancement of His Kingdom of which we are heirs.

™ The third purpose of our salvation is that we may glorify God. It is


interesting as we read the first fourteen verses of Ephesians 1 that the term
"to the praise of His glory" is repeated three times. Our life and our service
are to bring glory to God.

Jesus tells us, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good
deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). He also says, "This is to
My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My
disciples" (John 15:8).

Let us look again at Ephesians 2:10 where the Bible calls us "His workmanship."
Here, Paul is painting a picture of a wood carver who patiently works on a piece of
wood. He has seen something beautiful in that uncut wood. He takes it and chips
away the bark, and for hours and days he works at making it a piece of art.
Before, the wood was useful only to be burned, but when it is finished, the maker
will display it for everyone to see. When others come by and see it some people
will say what a fine piece it is, but most of the comments will be about the skill of
the one who made it.

In the same way, God has taken the life of a person who was headed for the fires
of hell. He has seen something worthwhile in the midst of all our sinfulness. He is
busy molding that life and refining it to be something beautiful. It is on display now
and throughout eternity "to the praise of His glory."

Study Questions:

1) What is the first condition for salvation?


2) What is repentance? What are its three elements?
3) What are the three elements of faith? What type of commitment does the
Lord want from us?
4) To whom is salvation offered? May we add conditions for salvation?
5) How is the security of our salvation seen in the nature of God Himself?
6) When God saved Noah and his family, it was a pattern of what?
7) The central Old Testament experience and picture of salvation is what?
8) Name four ways by which we serve the Lord God.

IX. The Individual in Salvation


Jesus taught that God saves and delivers individuals as well as nations. This
was a radically new thought in the Jewish world. Yet the doctrine of personal
salvation was the heart of Christian teaching.

The early believers identified themselves with Israel - God’s chosen people. They
believed that Jesus’ coming and His ministry fulfilled God’s promise to the
patriarchs (Matthew 2:6, Luke 1:68 and Acts 5:31). They believed that God had

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established a new and better covenant with Jesus’ followers (2 Corinthians 3:6,
Hebrews 7:22 and 9:15).

The early church believed that the Lord had established His new “Israel of God”
(see Galatians 6:16) on the basis of personal salvation rather than family descent.
His church was a spiritual nation that transcended all cultural and national
heritages. Anyone who placed his faith in God’s new covenant by surrendering his
life to Jesus became Abraham’s spiritual descendant. Thus, this spiritual
descendant of Abraham was a part of the “new Israel” (Matthew 8:11, Luke
13:28–30, Romans 4:9–25, Galatians 3–4 and Hebrews 11–12).

The individual is of great importance to God. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three
parables emphasizing the importance of the individual. In the parable of the lost
sheep, the shepherd left the 99 sheep safely in their pen and went out and
searched until he found the lost sheep. In the parable of the lost coin, the woman
looked for one coin until she found it. In the parable of the lost son, the father
waited for that one boy to come home. When the son returned, he was forgiven --
although he was unworthy -- and restored to his place within the family.

In Luke 8, we read about Jesus leaving the crowds of people around Him and
crossing the Sea of Galilee where He ministered and delivered a man possessed
by satan. God changed the direction of Paul's second missionary journey by the
call of the one man from Macedonia.

Each individual must accept God's salvation for himself. Parents cannot do this for
their children. Husbands cannot do this for their wives, or wives for their
husbands. Each individual must stand before the judgment throne of God for
himself. Parents can create an atmosphere where their children will more easily
understand about God and His salvation, but each person must make his or her
own choice. He can only be saved by his own faith.

X. The Pictures of Salvation

The salvation of man has always been the plan and purpose of God. He has
pursued this plan throughout the history of man. Salvation was preached, pictured
and promised in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We have
already discussed some of the promises and the preaching of salvation. Let us
now look at the pictures of salvation that are presented through the ceremonies
of the Old Testament and the church ordinances of the New Testament.

The first picture in the Old Testament is that of the Passover lamb. The Lord
instituted this ceremony at the time the Israelites were led out of Egypt by Moses.
God had proved Himself and His power to Pharaoh through nine plagues – every
one connected with Moses' request for Israel to be allowed to leave Egypt.

Each time Pharaoh had agreed to release the children of Israel. But each time he
would harden his heart and change his mind. Finally, God’s tenth (His last) plague
was announced by Moses - God's angel of death was to come across the land of
Egypt and cause the first-born male in every family to die (Exodus 11:1 –10).

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In preparation for that day, Moses ordered the people to sacrifice a perfect lamb
and to place its blood on the doorframes of their houses. When the angel came to
the homes of the children of Israel and saw the blood on the doorframes, He
would pass over that house, and all in it would be saved (Read Exodus 12:1 – 30).

This was a picture of what happened almost 1500 years later. Jesus became the
Passover Lamb and His blood became a sign over the heart's “door” of all those
who believe and entrust their lives to Him. God's judgment of death on sin would
pass over those who believe, because they had been saved through the shed
blood of the Messiah (Romans 3:25, 5:9).

The second picture in the Old Testament is the sacrifice of an animal on the
Day of Atonement (described in Leviticus 16, especially verses 15-22). The goat
was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the altar. People believed that by the
shedding of the animal's blood, the sins of men could be forgiven and atonement
could be made. However, each year there needed to be a new sacrifice.

The animal to be sacrificed must be without any blemishes, scars or scratches. It


had to be perfectly formed and in good health. Only the best was acceptable to
the Lord God. The animal sacrifices pointed to the promised Lamb of God who
was to come and be sacrificed once and for all (Hebrews 7:27). In His sacrifice on
the cross, Jesus gave His life and shed his blood for the sins of mankind for all
ages. John the Baptist openly prophesied concerning the Messiah when he
looked at Jesus and said “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36) God had clearly
revealed to John this second picture pointing to the Lord Jesus.

The third picture in the Old Testament, which we also see in Leviticus 16, is that
of the scapegoat. God commanded this Day of Atonement ceremony while the
children of Israel were still in the wilderness. The priest laid both of his hands on
the head of a live goat. Then he confessed the sins of the people. After that, the
goat was driven out of the camp. He was driven out into the wilderness away from
the people. This pictures the forgiveness and removal of sin that comes through
confession of sin and the acceptance of God's salvation in Jesus the Messiah.

An interesting parallel Scripture is found in Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is
from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Now let’s turn to the New Testament where we discover that the two ordinances
that are given perfectly picture salvation. [Note: An “ordinance” can be defined as
“an act that helps us to remember.” A different concept is that of a “sacrament.” A
“sacrament” can be defined as “an act that brings salvation.” Naturally, evangelical
believers hold to the church ordinances, as opposed to the church sacraments.]

The first ordinance we’ll discuss is baptism. Baptism completely pictures man’s
salvation in that it shows both God's part and man's part. In baptism, we see the
picture of the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah that is the basis of our
salvation. When man is immersed (or, “buried”) in the water, he pictures his own
death to sin, burial by faith in Jesus and his resurrection into eternal life. This new
life is purchased through the sacrifice of the Messiah on the cross and is to be

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controlled by Him. The “new creation” honors Jesus throughout eternity (Romans
6:1 – 10, 2 Corinthians 5: 17, Ephesians 4: 22 – 24 and Colossians 2:12).

The church’s second ordinance - the Lord's Supper - also pictures our salvation.
It pictures the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross that we might be saved. It
reminds us of His suffering and His humiliation as He was nailed to the cross. It
reminds us that with His broken body and shed blood, He paid the penalty for our
sin on the cross. It also pictures the new relationship we have with God. When we
drink the wine and eat the bread, we take it into our lives. It becomes a part of us.
(Matthew 26: 26 – 30, Mark 14: 22 – 26, Luke 22:19 – 20 and Philippians 2:8)

In the same way, the Messiah (from the moment that we received Him and were
born again) became a part of our lives. By His indwelling Holy Spirit, He now lives
within our hearts where He strengthens and guides us as He provides us with His
eternal salvation (John 1:12, Romans 8:9 – 17). His life is now our life.

In summary, it is no wonder that in the New Testament churches these two


ordinances were often observed. They give a beautiful picture of our salvation.
They serve to remind God's people of the love, the provisions and the new
relationship they have in the Lord Jesus (also read 1 Corinthians 11:23 – 29).

XI. The Results of Rejecting this Salvation


Hebrews 10:26-29 states a truth, then asks a disturbing question:

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the
truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of
raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of
Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much
more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the
Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the
covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"

In Romans 1:20, Paul writes that "men are without excuse." The consequence of
rejecting God's love and salvation is selecting God's judgment and wrath. It is not
the purpose of this book to dwell upon the subject of God's judgment on sin, but
each one of us must be aware of what awaits those who are outside of God's
salvation.

In Romans 6:23 Paul writes, "For the wages of sin is death." What does this
mean? How are men who are outside of the Messiah “dead”? The meaning of this
death is spiritual death and hell. The consequences of rejection, however, can be
seen in this life as well as in hell. Some of the consequences are as follows:

ƒ First, when man rejects salvation, he faces the temptations of satan


without any help outside of himself. The purpose of satan is always to
destroy.

I Peter 5:8 reads, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

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Most men do not intend to do evil, but they just cannot resist the temptations.
Without Jesus, man must face them alone.

ƒ Second, when man rejects salvation, he loses all true direction in life. He
becomes like a bottle floating in the ocean that is swept back and forth by
the waves. His direction in life depends upon the emotions of the moment,
or the desire of the flesh.

ƒ Third, when man rejects salvation, he continues to live in sin and reaps its
results. Sin causes broken relationships. It is the source of prejudice,
injustice and hatred. Sin not only separates man from God, it also alienates
man from his fellowman.

ƒ Fourth, when man rejects salvation, he lives a life in constant fear of what
the future may bring. He fears demonic spirits and he also fears God's
judgment. He fears life and death. There is no real peace without the Lord.

In death, the results of rejecting God’s salvation are well documented in the Bible.
In the book of Revelation, John was given a glimpse of the “last days.” He wrote
the words from God describing what he saw as follows:

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky
fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead,
great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another
book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to
what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that
were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each
person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were
thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name
was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire"
(Revelation 20:11-15).

Jesus used the Greek word "Gehenna" to describe hell. This was the name of the
garbage pit of Jerusalem where the fires continually burned in the midst of all the
rottenness of men's waste. In Mark 9:48, Jesus described hell as the place “where
their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (this is a quotation from
Isaiah 66:24; also see Isaiah 1:31). [See Appendix C for a fuller description of the
term “Gehenna.”]

The Messiah also related the story of a rich man who rejected God in his life here
on this earth. When the rich man died he went to hell. This man looked into
heaven and saw the former beggar who used to sit beside his gate. The rich man
pleaded with Abraham that the beggar "dip the tip of his finger in water and cool
my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire" (Luke 16:19-31).

Hear the words of John in Revelation 21:8: "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the
vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the
idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is
the second death."

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There are two other characteristics of hell we need to see. In hell there is not only
separation from God, but also separation from all the good that God brings. It
is a place of evil. No comfort enters hell. In Luke 16, the rich man asked for help.
God explained to him that there was “a great chasm” between heaven and hell
that no man could cross. Hell offers no second chance, no release and no
hope. The doors of hell are forever closed.

The Bible speaks of Jesus as the Advocate -- One who is with the Father and
“who speaks to the Father in our defense” (1 John 2:1). He not only passes the
believer’s prayers on to the Father and represents the believer in the courts of
heaven, but He stands beside the believer at the time of judgment.

When a man refuses the Advocate's counsel in this life here on earth, he also
refuses His counsel at the time of judgment. That person will stand alone, without
any defense, at the judgment seat of God. He will be judged according to his
sins. His sentence is death -- hell forever, without reprieve. The Bible says, "Man
is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

XII. The Culmination of Salvation


Paul wrote these words: "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work
in you will carry it on to completion until the day of the Messiah Jesus"
(Philippians 1:6).

The work that God has begun in man is the work of salvation. It began at the
moment man opened his heart in faith to Jesus the Messiah. This work of God
has brought a change in men's lives, but the change will not be complete until
"that day." Paul uses this expression [“that day”] on several occasions, and it
usually refers to the day that the Lord Jesus returns. He expected the second
coming to happen in his lifetime, but it did not. When, then, is the day that God's
work of salvation will be completed in each man? There are really two answers.

9 The first answer - on the day of a man's physical death, God’s work of
salvation will be completed in him. At that time his spirit separates from his
physical body and ascends to the place where God and the Messiah dwell.

Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me
in paradise" (Luke 23:43). The body, with all its weaknesses and imperfections,
will perish and return to the dust from which it was made. But man's spirit stands
in the presence of his Lord and God's work in man's salvation is complete.

John, writing of "that day," also expected it to happen in his lifetime. However, his
words speak more of the event of being in God's presence than of the time it
would happen. "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be
has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be
like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).

The saved/redeemed man will live with his God until the return of the Messiah to
earth. On that day, he will be united with his immortal [or, resurrected] body. "In a

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flash, in the twinkling of an eye...the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will
be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52).

9 The second answer – This answer is for those who are alive when Jesus
returns. They, too, shall see His coming and go to meet Him in the air.
Their salvation will be completed (perfected) as they are drawn bodily up
from this earth to be with Him.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers concerning the coming of Jesus:

"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the
voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in the
Messiah will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught
up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be
with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying,
‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a
pregnant woman, and they will not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).

Jesus had much to say about His return to this earth. He told His disciples some
of the signs that will show that the time for His coming is near. For example, in
passages such as Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21:6 – 36, we read that the
Lord Jesus told His disciples: in those last days….

ƒ There shall be wars and rumors of wars


ƒ Nations shall rise against nations
ƒ There shall be famines and earthquakes and great times of difficulty
ƒ The love of most will grow cold
ƒ There will be great persecution
ƒ There will come many false prophets
ƒ Much lawlessness shall be seen among the nations
ƒ Jerusalem shall be surrounded by armies
ƒ The gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all nations

The task of man is not to set or predict the time of Jesus' second coming, but
to prepare for this great event. In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us two parables. In
both the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the five talents, He tells men
of their responsibility to be prepared for His coming. The believer also has the
added responsibility to warn the world around him to be prepared to meet their
Maker and Lord.

When Jesus does return, all mankind will know it. All shall see Him as He comes
in His glory. Jesus said, "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even
in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:27).

Similarly, in Mark 13:26, Jesus says, "At that time men will see the Son of Man
coming in clouds with great power and glory."

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The angel who appeared to Jesus' followers at the time of His ascension said,
"This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in
the same way you have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Many have tried to predict the day and some have even gathered their followers
together to welcome Jesus on His return. But the day of their prediction came and
passed, to their disappointment. Jesus instructed us through His Word not to try to
predict the day of His return, for we cannot do that.
The Lord said – “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in
heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).

Therefore, this marvelous salvation will have been completed and will continue
beyond all time throughout eternity. The transformation that began at the time
man first invited Jesus into his life will have been completed. Then, he will be like
Jesus in character and in attitude. Jesus’ prayer (John 17:21) will be answered.
Read carefully and prayerfully this word of prayer from the lips of Jesus as He
prayed that last night in the Garden of Gethsemane:

"That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May
they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

Study Questions:

1) What doctrine is the heart of Christian teaching?


2) In preparation for the Passover day, what did Moses order the people to
do?
3) What are the definitions of “ordinance” and “sacrament”?
4) When facing the temptations of satan, what happens to the man who
rejects salvation?
5) In the first century, what place did the word “Gehenna” describe?
6) As our Advocate, what does Jesus do?
7) Concerning Jesus’ coming again, what is man’s main task?

XIII. Ten Terms Used in Salvation

There are many terms (or, words) that need to be defined which are used to
express certain aspects of God's salvation. Most of these terms are used in the
Bible. Some are theological terms that describe Biblical truths but they are not
used specifically in the Bible (such as the word “substitution”). Now, let us
examine these ten terms in order to gain a clearer understanding of the full scope
of God’s mighty act of salvation. These ten terms are as follows:

Adoption

“Adoption” is the act of taking voluntarily a person of other parents as one’s own
child. In a biblical sense, it is the act of God’s grace by which sinful people are
brought into his redeemed family.

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In the New Testament, the Greek word translated adoption has the literal
meaning “placing as a son.” It is a legal term that expresses the process by which
a man brings another person into his family, endowing him with the status and
privileges of a biological son or daughter.

In the Old Testament, adoption was never common among the Israelites. In the
Old Testament, foreigners or Jews influenced by foreign customs adopted
children. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses (Exodus 2:10) and another pharaoh
adopted Genubath (1 Kings 11: 20). Furthermore, there is no Hebrew word to
describe the process of adoption. When the Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses,
the text says, “And he became her son” (Exodus 2:10).

By New Testament times, Roman customs exercised a great deal of influence on


Jewish family life. One custom is particularly significant in relation to adoption.
Roman law required that the “adopter” be a male and childless. The one to be
adopted had to be an independent adult, able to agree to be adopted. In the
eyes of the law, the adopted one became a new creature. He was regarded as
being born again into the new family—an illustration of what happens to the
believer at conversion.

The apostle Paul used this legal concept of adoption as an analogy to show the
believer’s relationship to God. Although similar ideas are found throughout the
New Testament, the word “adoption,” used in a theological sense, is found only in
the writings of Paul (Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4, Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5).

In Galatians, Paul wrote that God sent His Son to redeem those under the law that
they might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:5).

In Ephesians 1, the Bible says that God has chosen the believer (verse 4). He has
been adopted and accepted as a member of God's family. He has been given a
new Father, a new name and a new nature. Paul’s emphasis was that our
adoption rests with God, who “predestined us to be adopted as His sons through
Jesus the Messiah” (Ephesians 1:5).

In Romans 8:15-17, Paul says that the believer has been made a child of God, an
heir, and a joint heir with the Messiah. The believer now has free access to his
new Father through prayer and the Holy Spirit who lives within him. In verse 15,
believers are said to have received “the Spirit of adoption,” (sometimes translated
“the Spirit of sonship”). This is the Holy Spirit who, given as the first fruits of all
that is to be theirs, produces in them the realization of sonship and the attitude
belonging to sons.

God’s adoption of the believer also has a future dimension, the assurance that the
believer’s body will be resurrected (Romans 8:23). In the next chapter in his letter
to the Romans, Paul also used the term to describe Israel’s place of honor in
God’s plan (Romans 9:4).

We must be careful not to misunderstand this word adoption in relation to our new
birth. God does not “adopt” believers as children - they are “born again” by His

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Holy Spirit through faith. “Adoption” is a term involving the dignity of the
relationship of believers as sons. It is not a putting into the family by spiritual
birth, but a putting into the position of sons.

Atonement

This is the act by which the innocence of one takes away the guilt of another. The
sinless is given for the sinful, the perfect for the flawed, and the righteous for the
unrighteous. This act always involves payment. In the biblical context this
payment is the life-blood of the innocent. As the priest sacrificed the animal under
the Old Covenant, to atone for the sins of the people, God allowed the sacrifice of
His Son to bring about the New Covenant.

Though theologians tend to use the term atonement to summarize Jesus’ work
on the cross, it occurs only in the Old Testament (approximately 100 times, mainly
in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers) and only relates to one part of
what was accomplished for us - the covering of our sins. This word therefore
probably means “cover,” and is first used where Noah is commanded to cover (or,
“coat “) the ark with pitch (Genesis 6:14).

Many of the occurrences of the word atonement in Scripture are found in


Leviticus 16, which describes the most important day on the Hebrew calendar,
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). This annual holy day celebrated the covering
of national sins by the offering of two goats to God. One goat was killed and the
other one was driven into the wilderness.

In the ceremony, the priest entered the Holy of Holies to present the blood of the
slain goat to God. When he came out, the nation knew their sins had been
covered for another year. Jesus fulfilled this “type” in that He offered His own
blood to God (Hebrews 9:14).

Born again

This phrase “born again” refers to the inner spiritual renewal as a result of the
power of God in a person’s life. The phrase “born again” comes from John 3:3, 7,
where Jesus told Nicodemus, “No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is
born again.” Jesus meant that all people are so sinful in God’s eyes that they
need to be regenerated (re-created and renewed) by the sovereign activity of
God’s Spirit (John 3:5–8). The only other occurrence of the term “born again” is
found in 1 Peter 1:23. The phrase “new birth” occurs only once – in 1 Peter 1:3.

The activity of God’s Spirit that regenerates sinful people comes about through
faith in Jesus (John 3:10–21). Without faith there is no regeneration, and without
regeneration a person does not have eternal life. Regeneration occurs at the
moment a person exercises faith in Jesus. At that point, his sins are forgiven and
he is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. The new birth is a decisive,
unrepeatable and irrevocable act of God.

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Similar words in the Bible describe the same concept. Paul said, “If anyone is in
the Messiah, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Though outwardly we are
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians
4:16).

Again speaking of John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus that to have eternal life he must
be born again. The term "new birth" denotes the fundamental change that occurs
when a person surrenders his life to the Lord Jesus and is saved. His nature,
desire, thoughts and the direction of his life are now in the hands of Jesus who is
directing the changes.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the act of excusing or pardoning others in spite of their sins,


shortcomings and errors. As a theological term, forgiveness refers to God’s
pardon of the sins of human beings.

No religious book except the Bible teaches that God completely forgives sin
(Psalm 51:1, 9, Isaiah 38:17 and Hebrews 10:17). The initiative to forgive sin
comes from Him (John 3:16 and Colossians 2:13) because He is ready to forgive
(Luke 15:11-32). He is a God of grace, mercy and forgiveness (Nehemiah 9:17
and Daniel 9:9).

Sin deserves divine punishment because it is a violation of God’s holy character


(Genesis 2:17, Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Peter 1:16), but His pardon is gracious
(Psalm 130:4 and Romans 5:6-8). In order for God to forgive sin, two conditions
are necessary. A life must be taken as a substitute for that of the sinner (Leviticus
17:11, 14 and Hebrews 9:22), and the sinner must come to God’s sacrifice in
repentance and faith (Mark 1:4, Acts 10:43 and James 5:15).

Forgiveness in the New Testament is directly linked to Jesus (Acts 5:31 and
Colossians 1:14), His sacrificial death on the cross (Romans 4:24) and His
resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:15). He was the morally perfect sacrifice (Romans
8:3 and 2 Corinthians 5:21), the final and ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament
sacrifices (Hebrews 9:11-10:18).

Since Jesus bore the law’s death penalty against sinners (Galatians 3:10-13),
those who trust in His sacrifice are freed from that penalty. By faith, sinners are
forgiven -"justified" in Paul’s terminology (Romans 3:28 and Galatians 3:8). Those
who are forgiven sin’s penalty also die to its controlling power in their lives
(Romans 6:1-23).

This word “forgiveness” not only describes a continuing action of God, but also
describes a constant duty of the believer. In the Old Testament, we read that God
puts our sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17) and remembers them no more
(Jeremiah 31:34). The Lord God throws “all our iniquities into the depths of the
sea" (Micah 7:19). He washes us and makes us “whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7).

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In 1 John 1:9, we read that God "is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and
purify from all unrighteousness."

Forgiveness, then, is the action by which sin and wrongs are set aside so that a
relationship between God and man can be restored. This action of God must be
reflected in men's relationships with one another. God's forgiveness becomes the
basis and example of man's forgiveness.

Jesus’ resurrection was more than proof of His deity or innocence - it was related
in a special way to His forgiveness. The resurrection of Jesus was God’s
declaration of the perfect righteousness of His Son, the last Adam, and of His
acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Timothy 3:16). Because He has been acquitted
and declared righteous, this is also true for those whom He represents.
Therefore, the Messiah’s resurrection was a necessary condition for the
forgiveness of human sin (1 Corinthians 15:12-28). To be forgiven is to be
identified with Jesus in both His crucifixion and resurrection.

Summarily, Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (Matthew 1:21 and Hebrews
9:11-10:18) and this forgiveness is an essential part of the gospel message (Acts
2:38; 5:31). His forgiveness of us demands that we forgive others, because grace
brings responsibility and obligation (Matthew 18:23-35 and Luke 6:37). Jesus
placed no limits on the extent to which believers are to forgive others (Matthew
18:22, 35 and Luke 17:4). A forgiving spirit shows that one is a true follower of the
Lord Jesus (Mark 11:25).

Grace

Grace is a gift of God that He gives because of His love. Grace is not based on
merit, or on anything that man has done. Man could never deserve or earn
salvation. On the contrary, man deserves hell. However, God in His love “graced”
man with His salvation. It is also God's grace that opens the heart of man to faith
so that he is able to respond to God's love. We could define these two important
biblical terms – grace and mercy – in the following manner:

ƒ Mercy – when I do NOT receive what I truly deserve


ƒ Grace – when I DO receive what I truly do not deserve

For example, because I am a sinner I only deserve hell. But God, by His mercy,
does not give that to me. Instead, by His grace, He gives me eternal life, which I
do not deserve.

The word “grace “ appears well over 100 times in the Bible, mostly in the New
Testament. Within the New Testament, the majority of the occurrences of the
word are in the letters of Paul. In the letter to the Romans, Paul used the word at
least 20 times.

The basic meaning of this important Biblical term is favor, graciousness, kindness,
beauty, pleasantness, charm, attractiveness, loveliness or affectionate regard. It
signifies unmerited favor, undeserved blessing or a free gift. The root word in

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Greek – “Charis” – really means “to act graciously or mercifully toward someone;
to be compassionate, to be favorably inclined.” [The word also comes from the
same root as the words for “joy,” and “to rejoice.”]

As we defined the word earlier, grace is favor or kindness shown without regard to
the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person
deserves. Grace is one of the key attributes of God. The Bible says that the Lord
God is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love
and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Therefore, grace is almost always associated
with mercy, love, compassion and patience.

In the Old Testament, the supreme example of grace was the redemption of the
Hebrew people from Egypt and their establishment in the Promised Land. This did
not happen because of any merit on Israel’s part, but in spite of their
unrighteousness (Deuteronomy 7:7–8; 9:5–6). Although the grace of God is
always free and undeserved, it must not be taken for granted. Grace is only
enjoyed within the COVENANT—God gives the gift – and people receive the gift
through repentance and faith. Grace is to be humbly sought through the prayer of
faith (Malachi 1:9).

The grace of God was supremely revealed and given in the person and work of
the Lord Jesus. He was not only the beneficiary of God’s grace (Luke 2:40), but
was also its very embodiment (John 1:14), bringing it to humankind for salvation
(Titus 2:11). By His death and resurrection, Jesus restored the broken fellowship
between God and His people, both Jew and Gentile. The only way of salvation for
any person is “through the grace of our Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:11). God’s grace
results in the Church’s seeing Jesus as someone of infinite beauty. His goodness
enables them to repent.

The Holy Spirit applies the grace of God [revealed in Jesus the Messiah] to
human beings for their salvation. The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of grace”
(Hebrews 10:29). The Spirit is the One who binds Jesus to His people so that they
receive forgiveness, adoption to sonship, newness of life, as well as every spiritual
gift or grace (Ephesians 4:7).

The theme of grace is especially prominent in the letters of Paul. He sets grace
radically over against the law and the works of the law (Romans 3:24, 28). Paul
makes it abundantly clear that salvation is not something that can be earned – it
can be received only as a gift of grace (Romans 4:4). Grace, however, must be
accompanied by faith. A person must trust in the mercy and favor of God, even
while it is undeserved (Romans 4:16 and Galatians 2:16).

The law of Moses revealed the righteous will of God in the midst of pagan
darkness. The law was God’s gracious gift to Israel (Deuteronomy 4:8). However,
His will was made complete when Jesus brought the gospel of grace into the
world (John 1:17).

Justification

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We could define “justification” by simply saying that it is the process by which
sinful human beings are made acceptable to a holy God. This word denotes the
act of God by which the believer is delivered from condemnation into God's favor.
To be justified also describes the life that results from that deliverance. When God
justifies a man, He takes him out from under condemnation and places him in
God's favor. Thus, justification describes both an act and a condition. We may
understand this in the following manner:

ƒ It is the act of God that takes the condemned sinner and forgives his sins
for the Messiah's sake and receives the sinner into God’s favor.

ƒ It is also the condition of the sinner who has trusted in Jesus and has
been forgiven and received into the fellowship of God. In Titus 3:7, we read
"so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having
the hope of eternal life.''
Therefore, justification is the act of God whereby our legal standing in heaven is
changed and we are declared righteous. The verb “justify” and the adjective
“righteous” are linked in Scripture, since both share a common Greek root. When
we express saving faith in God, the Lord adds righteousness and perfection
(completeness, wholeness) to our record. God is the source, with the power to
declare righteous, and man is the recipient, being declared righteous.

Abraham is the first person the Bible describes as being justified. This does not
mean he was the first child of God, only that his is the first recorded case of
justification. With Abraham, as with all others, justification was the result of saving
faith in the true, living God (Genesis 15:6 and Romans 5:1). Now, anyone who
comes to God and trusts the Messiah for salvation will be justified (Romans 3:28).

Because of the importance of this term “justification,” let’s further explore its
meaning by looking at two separate Biblical phrases related to it. The first is:

¾ Justification by Grace - Christianity is unique because of its teaching of


justification by grace (Romans 3:24). Justification is God’s declaration
that the demands of His Law have been fulfilled in the righteousness
of His Son. The basis for this justification is the death of Jesus. Paul tells
us “that God was reconciling the world to Himself in the Messiah, not
counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

This reconciliation covers all sin: “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect
forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). Justification, then, is:

1) Based on the work of the Messiah


2) Accomplished by His blood (Romans 5:9)
3) Brought to His people through His resurrection (Romans 4:25)

When God justifies, He “charges” the sin of man to Jesus and “credits” the
righteousness of the Messiah to the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus, “through
one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans

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5:18). Because this righteousness is “the righteousness of God” which is “apart
from [the] law” (Romans 3:21), it is very thorough. A believer is “justified from
everything” (Acts 13:39).

God is “just” [or, righteous] because His holy standard of perfect righteousness
has been fulfilled in Jesus. And He is the “justifier,” because this righteousness is
freely given to the believer (Romans 3:26, 5:16). The second Biblical phrase is:

¾ Justification through Faith

Although the Lord Jesus has paid the price for our justification, it is through our
faith that He is received and His righteousness is experienced and enjoyed
(Romans 3:25–30). Faith is considered righteousness (Romans 4:3,9), not as the
work of human beings (Romans 4:5), but as the gift and work of God (John 6:28–
29, Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 1:29).
The New Testament sometimes seems to speak of justification by works. For
example, Jesus spoke of justification (and condemnation) “by your words”
(Matthew 12:37). Paul said, “it is those who obey the law who will be declared
righteous” (Romans 2:13). James wrote, “a person is justified by what he does
and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).

These statements seem to conflict with Paul’s many warnings that “no one will be
declared righteous in His sight by observing the law” (Romans 3:20). Paul wrote
also that the attempt to be justified through law is equivalent to being “alienated
from the Messiah” and “fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

The solution to this problem lies in the distinction between the works of the flesh
(sinful nature) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16–25). Not only is Jesus’
righteousness legally accounted to the believer, but He also dwells in the believer
through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), creating works of faith (Ephesians 2:10).
Certainly God’s works may be declared righteous (Isaiah 26:12).

If this is true, then the order of events in justification is grace, faith and works. Or,
in other words, we are justified by grace, through faith, resulting in good
works (Ephesians 2:8–10).

Closing this section on “justification,” let’s briefly look at some other results of
being justified before God. The negative result of justification is what we are saved
from: “Since we have now been justified . . . how much more shall we be saved
from God’s wrath” (Romans 5:9). The positive result is what we are saved to:
glorification. “Those He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

Paul also notes “peace with God” (Romans 5:1) and access to God’s grace
(Romans 5:2) as positive benefits. The believer in Jesus may look forward to the
redemption of his body (Romans 8:23) and an eternal inheritance (Romans 8:17
and 1 Peter 1:4).

Reconciliation

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Reconciliation is the bringing together of two people who have been
separated by an unjust or unkind act of one against the other. Reconciliation
usually comes about as the guilty person comes to the one he has harmed and
asks for forgiveness. The Bible, however, always speaks of man being reconciled
to God -not of God's being reconciled to man. Although man sinned against God,
it is God who comes to man with forgiveness in order to restore man to Himself.

Biblical reconciliation means the restoration of a good relationship between


enemies. In order to achieve this good relationship in the confrontation of God
and man, it is necessary that the factors that produce the enmity be removed. This
is achieved by atonement (see pages 30 and 32) (Leviticus 16 and Romans 3:25).

Looking at reconciliation from a slightly different viewpoint, it is considered as the


act whereby God – on the basis of the Messiah’s death – has eliminated the
cause of hostility between Himself and humanity, thus making possible a
complete and maturing fellowship. The hostility was caused by sin, and was
eliminated by the Cross.

Therefore, reconciliation is the process by which God and people are brought
together again. The Bible teaches that they are separated from one another
because of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. Although God loves the sinner
(Romans 5:8), it is impossible for Him not to judge sin (Hebrews 10:27).

Thus, in Biblical reconciliation, both parties are affected. Through the sacrifice of
Jesus, man’s sins are atoned for and God’s wrath is appeased. Therefore, a
relationship of hostility and separation is changed into one of peace and
fellowship.

As we indicated earlier, God took the initiative in reconciliation—while we were still


“sinners” and “enemies,” the Messiah died for us (Romans 5:8 -10 and Colossians
1:21-22). Reconciliation is thus God’s own completed act, something that takes
place before human actions such as confession, repentance and restitution. God
Himself has “reconciled us to Himself through the Messiah” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Paul regarded the gospel as “the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).


And knowing the “fear of the Lord,” Paul pleaded, implored and persuaded people
to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Those who have become
reconciled to God have also been given a great responsibility – the ministry of
reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). This responsibility is fulfilled when they
engage in the work (ministry) of seeking out the lost and sharing with them the
glorious message of reconciliation.

Redemption

“Redemption” is deliverance by payment of a price. In the Old Testament, the


word “redemption” often refers to a purchase by a “KINSMAN” or a close relative
(Leviticus 25:24, 51–52, Ruth 4:6 and Jeremiah 32:7–8). It also refers to rescue or
deliverance (Numbers 3:49), and to ransom (Psalm 111:9, 130:7).

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In the New Testament, redemption refers to salvation from sin, death and the
wrath of God by Jesus’ sacrifice. Also, it refers to loosing from slavery (Luke 2:38,
21:28, Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:14 and Hebrews 9:12).

This term clearly tells what God does when he saves us. It expresses the idea of
deliverance from captivity or from slavery by the payment of a ransom.
Jesus stated this as His mission when He said that the Son of Man came “to give
His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Paul wrote: "In Him we have
redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the
riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7).

The word “redeem” actually has the meaning “to purchase.” When Jesus died for
our sins, He paid the “purchase” price that satisfied the demands of God’s
holiness. The price of redemption was His very own shed blood (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
He was the “Lamb without blemish or defect.”

In explaining redemption to the believers in the early churches, Paul used three
different words that were applied to purchasing servants at the ancient slave
markets.

ƒ The first word has the meaning “to purchase in the market.” This
word is used to explain how the Lord Jesus paid the redemption
price of His blood, which was sufficient to purchase every one “sold
as a slave to sin.”

ƒ The second word has the meaning “to purchase and take home.”
This emphasizes that believers have been purchased out of the
marketplace and are no longer for sale. We are free “to go home.”

ƒ The third word has the meaning “to purchase and give freedom.”
This emphasizes the freedom that belongs to a man or woman
redeemed by God.

In the Old Testament redemption was applied to property, animals, persons and
the nation of Israel as a whole. In nearly every instance, freedom from obligation,
slavery or danger was secured by the payment of a certain “price” [a ransom, a
bribe, a sum of money paid to obtain freedom or favor]. People redeemed
property, animals and individuals (slaves, prisoners and indentured relatives) who
were legally obligated to God or in slavery for other reasons. However, only God
is able to redeem from the slavery of sin (Psalm 130:7–8), enemy oppressors
(Deuteronomy 15:15), and the power of death (Job 19:25–26 and Psalm 49:8–9).

The New Testament emphasizes the tremendous cost of redemption: “the


precious blood of the Messiah” (1 Peter 1:19). Believers are urged to remember
the “price” of their redemption as a motivation to personal holiness (1 Corinthians
6:20 and 1 Peter 1:13–19). The Bible also emphasizes the result of redemption:
freedom from sin and freedom to serve God through Jesus our Lord.

Therefore, having experienced God’s redemption, we cannot fail to rejoice, having


been freed from the oppressive bondage of slavery to:

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Sin (John 8:34 and Romans 6:18)
The law (Galatians 4:3–5, 5:1)
The fear of death (Hebrews 2:14–15)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Substitution

This is the act whereby one life is exchanged for another. This was pictured in the
animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. It was seen in the experience of Abraham
on the mountain of Moriah. There, God provided the ram as a substitute for Isaac
(Genesis 22). “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide” (verse 14).
The Lord did provide, on that same mountain, 1500 years later. "God made Him
[the Lord Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become
the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Only One who had no sin could
pay the penalty of sin for another. The Savior Jesus died for the sins of mankind.
He substituted His righteous life for all the ugliness of sin, so that man might live.

In reference to the offering up of Isaac by Abraham, the primary doctrines taught


are those of sacrifice and substitution. These were the means appointed by God
for taking away sin. Also, we see the need of the obedience of faith, on the part of
man, to receive the benefit (Hebrews 11:17). The animal that God provided and
Abraham offered was in the whole history of sacrifice the recognized picture of
“the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Isaac is the
picture of humanity itself, devoted to death for sin.

A fundamental principle of redemption [see above] is illustrated forcefully in the


blood sacrifices of the Old Testament: This is the principle of substitution —the
innocent animal was reckoned sinful, suffered and died instead of the sinner. The
animal sacrifices wonderfully foreshadowed the substitutionary death of Jesus
on the cross on behalf of sinners (Romans 5:8 and 1 Peter 3:18).

Thus, Biblically speaking, substitution is simply replacing one person or thing for
another. The following are other examples from the Word of God:
‰ The ram for the man - Genesis 22:13
‰ The offering for the offerer - Leviticus 16:21, 22
‰ The Levites for the firstborn - Numbers 3:12–45
‰ The Messiah for the sinner - Isaiah 53:4–6 and 1 Peter 2:24

In addition, the Passover clearly symbolizes substitution, since the lamb is slain in
place of the firstborn. Although the blood of animals could not, in itself, redeem
human beings, the Passover lamb was a symbol pointing forward to the effectual
sacrifice of the Messiah (Hebrews 10:1–10). Paul stated this very clearly when he
said - “The Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed ” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

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Finally, we shall study one more term in relation to salvation – sanctification. We
need to study this very important Biblical word in order to see its meaning in the
entire “process” of man’s salvation – past, present and future.

Sanctification

There is great misunderstanding connected with this word. Some say it means a
sinless state or sainthood. This is not Biblically correct. In Paul's writings, all
believers are referred to as saints (Romans 1:7 and Ephesians 1:1). The basic
idea of sanctification is consecration or dedication. It is being set apart for
God's purposes. It is not only an act, but also a process that begins when a man
gives his life to the Lord. From that point in time, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit,
works in the believer’s life to set it apart and to make it conform to His own life and
nature.

The word sanctification means “to be set apart.” The Holy Spirit is attempting to
make the believer holy (set apart) and spiritual (reflecting the character of God).
This is being accomplished in three phases.

ƒ First, the believer is forgiven and set apart to God at his time of conversion
(positional sanctification – Romans 1:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:2).

ƒ Second, the believer is constantly being set apart from sin when he utilizes
the means of grace (for example, the Word and prayer) in his life
(progressive sanctification – Acts 20:32).

ƒ Third, complete sanctification begins at death, or at the Rapture, and is


completed when the believer’s spirit is reunited with his resurrection body.
We believers should recognize that God uses all things to accomplish His
purpose of making us like Jesus. Therefore, we should cooperate with the
Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29).

Therefore, we can say with Biblical correctness that sanctification is the process
[or, the work] of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from sin and
becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness. Accomplished by the Word of God
(John 17:17) and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:3–4), sanctification results in holiness,
or purification from the guilt and power of sin.

Sanctification as separation from the world and setting apart for God’s service is a
concept found throughout the Bible. Spoken of as “holy” or “set apart” in the Old
Testament were the following:

9 The land of Canaan


9 The city of Jerusalem
9 The Tabernacle and the Temple
9 The Sabbath and the feasts
9 The prophets and the priests
9 The garments of the priests

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God is sanctified by the witness of believers (1 Peter 3:15) and by His judgments
on sin (Ezekiel 38:16). The Lord Jesus Himself was “set apart …and sent into the
world” (John 10:36). Now, let’s study sanctification from the perspective of it being
God’s work as well as man’s work. But first, what is the foundation of
sanctification?

The Basis for Sanctification – the Sacrifice of the Messiah

As the process by which God purifies the believer, sanctification is based on the
sacrificial death of Jesus. In his letters to the churches, the apostle Paul noted that
God has “chosen,” “reconciled” us to Himself and “redeemed” us for the purpose
of sanctification (Ephesians 1:4, 5:25–27, 2 Corinthians 5:17- 21 and Titus 2:14).

Old Testament sacrifices did not permanently take away sin, but they were able to
sanctify for “outward cleansing” (Hebrews 9:13). The blood of the new covenant
(Hebrews 10:29), however, goes far beyond this ritual purification of the body.

The offering of the Messiah’s body (Hebrews 10:10) and blood (Hebrews 13:12)
serves to “cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may
serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). Because our cleansing from sin is made
possible only by Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are “sanctified in the Messiah
Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2, 1:30, 6:11 and Acts 20:32).

Sanctification: God’s Work

We are sanctified by God the Father (Jude 1), God the Son (Hebrews 2:11) and
God the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2). Perfect holiness is
God’s command (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and purpose.

As Paul prayed, “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and
through” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Sanctification is a process that continues during
our lives as believers (Hebrews 10:14). However, it is only after death that the
saints are referred to as “perfect” [or, whole/complete] (Hebrews 12:23).

Sanctification: The Believer’s Work

Numerous commands in the Bible show that believers also have a responsibility in
the process of sanctification. We are commanded to “be holy” (Leviticus 11:44 and
1 Peter 1:15–16), to “be perfect” (Matthew 5:48) and to “offer the parts of your
body…in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:19). Writing to
the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul made a strong plea for purity:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual
immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is
holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God”
(1 Thessalonians 4:3–5).

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These commands imply effort on our part. We must believe in Jesus, since we are
“sanctified by faith in [Him]” (Acts 26:18). Through the Holy Spirit we must also
“put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). Paul itemized the many
terrible “acts of the sinful nature” from which we must separate ourselves
(Galatians 5:19–21). Finally, we must walk in the Spirit in order to display the fruit
of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–25).

Study Questions:

1) What are both the literal and the legal meanings of “adoption”?
2) The Roman law regarded him (the adopted person) in what way?
3) What does the word “atone” mean? Explain the “Day of Atonement.” In the
Scriptures, where do we find the phrases “born again” and “new birth”?
4) “Forgiveness” in the New Testament is directly linked to what? God’s
forgiveness becomes the basis and example of what?
5) What is the basic meaning of “grace”? How does it differ from “mercy”?
6) Define the word “justification.” What does the word “justification” declare?
When God justifies, what exactly does He do?
7) Define the word “reconciliation.” What does it mean in the Bible?
8) Define “redemption.” What idea does it express? How did Paul use it?
9) What is “substitution”? What are some Biblical examples of substitution?
10) What is the basic idea of “sanctification”? What does the word mean?

Appendix A – More Comments on the “Three Tenses” of


Salvation
In the Book of Acts, statements about salvation focus on the present. The offer of
salvation is linked with the demand, “Save yourselves from this corrupt
generation” (Acts 2:40). A mention of future salvation is found in Acts 2:21
(which refers to Joel 2:32): “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will
be saved.” The Joel prophecy refers to the end-time, and its use implies that the
end time has now come. It should be noted that the name for “Joel” means “the
Lord is God.” In the book of Acts, the prophecy concerning the Lord is applied to
Jesus. In Him, God is personally present in a saving way.

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Paul was strongly conscious of the relationship between present and future
salvation. The very fact that we have already been saved makes the expectation
of a final, future salvation an even greater reality. Moreover, the final verdict is
passed at that time (1 Corinthians 3:15, 5:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:10). This future
salvation, which is “nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11), is
the goal towards which all believers press. All present warning, discipline and
punishment have as their purpose that we should not give up this future salvation
(1 Corinthians 5:1 –13 and 9:24 –27).

Accordingly, in Philippians 2:12, those who have been truly saved by God’s grace
are commanded to work out their future, and therefore final, salvation by living a
holy life “with fear and trembling.” In this final salvation (see 1Thessalonians 5:8
and 2 Thessalonians 2:13) we are concerned first with deliverance from the
coming wrath of God (Romans 5:9, 1 Corinthians 3:15, 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:10
and 5:9), and secondly, with the granting of the divine glory.

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APPENDIX B - An Outline of Salvation from Ephesians 2:1-10

I. Verses 1-3 - The life of the unsaved person

‰ He is spiritually dead.

ƒ This is in contrast to being alive in God.

ƒ This is because of his transgressions. "Transgression" means


disobedience to God, to His commands and to His will.

ƒ This is because of man's sins. Sin is the failure to live up to the


standards that God has set for man.

Examples of these standards are: honesty, proper relationships with


other people, faithfulness and true worship of God.

‰ He lives under the power and authority of satan.

ƒ He lives in the cravings of the sinful nature, following its desires and
thoughts. He does what he wants to do. He lets his desire be the
guide of his actions.

ƒ His very nature is against God. Therefore, it calls forth God's anger
and judgment.

II. Verses 4-7 - God's feelings and actions toward man

‰ God is rich in mercy.

‰ God is great in love.

‰ God wants to make us alive through the Messiah.

‰ God wants to bring us to be with Him.

III. Verses 8-9 - God brings salvation

‰ Salvation comes by grace--the undeserved favor of God

‰ Salvation is a gift from God

‰ Salvation is received by faith

‰ Salvation is not a result of works. (Works are any thing a man tries to do to
earn it.)

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‰ There is no reason for boasting or pride concerning our salvation. There is
only cause for humility and thanksgiving toward God.

IV. Verse 10 - God’s purposes through salvation.

‰ The new man is a work of God, a newly created being.

‰ The new man becomes a workman for God, through whom God works to
carry out His will.

‰ The new man is a new creation that brings glory to God.

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APPENDIX C – “Sheol, Hell (Hades/Gehenna), Heaven and
Paradise”

‰ Sheol

The 66 occurrences of this word are distributed throughout every period of biblical
Hebrew. In Old Testament thought, the word “sheol” has the meaning “abode of
the dead.” Sheol is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek hades, which means “the
unseen world.” Sheol is often translated “the grave,” and sometimes translated as
“death.”

First, the word means the state of death, the final resting place of all men.

ƒ “No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the
grave?” (Psalm 6:5).

ƒ “The cords of the grave coiled around me” (Psalm 8:5).

ƒ “They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace
(Job 21:13).

ƒ Hannah confessed that it was the omnipotent God who brings men “down
to the grave” or else kills them (1 Samuel 2:6).

Sheol is also parallel to Hebrew words for “pit,” “hell,” “corruption,” “decay” and
“destruction.” Consider a few more Scripture references:

Job 26:6 – ”Death is naked before God”


Psalm 16:10 – “You will not abandon me to the grave”
Proverbs 15: 11 – “Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord”

Second, “Sheol” is used of a place of conscious existence after death. In the first
biblical appearance of the word Jacob said;

“…in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son” (Genesis 37:35). All men go
to Sheol—a place and state of consciousness after death. The wicked receive
punishment there (Numbers 16:30, Deuteronomy 32:22 and Psalm 9:17). They
are put to shame and silenced in Sheol- the grave (Psalm 31:17).

Jesus alluded to Isaiah’s use of “sheol” (Isaiah 14: 9, 15) in pronouncing judgment
on Capernaum (Matthew 11:23). He translated “Sheol” as “Hades,” meaning the
place of conscious existence and judgment. It is an undesirable place for the
wicked (Job 24:19) and a refuge for the righteous (Job 14:13).

Thus, “Sheol” is also a place of reward for the righteous (Hosea 13:14 and
1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:19-31 seems to reflect accurately
the Old Testament concept of “sheol”--- it is a place of conscious existence after
death, one side of which is occupied by the suffering, unrighteous dead separated

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by a great chasm from the other side peopled by the righteous dead enjoying their
reward.

‰ Hell (Hades)

This is the place of eternal punishment for the unrighteous. The Bible uses this
word (“hell”) to translate both “Sheol” and “Hades,” the Old and New Testament
words, respectively, for the abode of the dead.

In the New Testament, “hell” is the translation of two words – Hades and
Gehenna. The word “Hades,” like “Sheol,” sometimes means merely “the grave”
(Acts 2:31 and Revelation 20:13), or in general “the unseen world.” It is in this
sense that the creeds say of our Lord Jesus, “He went down into hell,” meaning
the state of the dead in general, without any restriction of happiness or misery.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, “Hades” speaks about a place of torment


(Matthew 11:23, Luke 16:23 and 2 Peter 2:4). Through the ages, some have
taught that Hades is an intermediate state between death and resurrection. They
have taught that Hades is divided into two parts, one the abode of the blest and
the other of the lost. It is not the permanent region of the lost. It may be, in
point of time, the intermediate between death and the doom of Gehenna.

The only four times “Hades” is used in the Gospels, it is always by the Lord
Himself (Matthew 11:23, 16:18, Luke 10:15 and 16:23). It is used with reference to
the soul of Jesus (Acts 2:27 and 31). Jesus declared that He has its keys -
Revelation 1:18. In Revelation 6:8, it is personified. “Hades” is to give up those
who are in it, according to Revelation 20:13. Then it is to be cast into the lake of
fire, along with “Death” (Revelation 20:14).

It is used a total of eleven times in the New Testament. The word most frequently
used (occurring twelve times) in the New Testament for the place of final and
future punishment is Gehenna or the Gehenna of fire (read the next section).

‰ Hell (Gehenna)

The Valley of Hinnom was a deep, narrow ravine west and south of Jerusalem. In
this valley, during the Old Testament period that corresponds generally to the
lifetime of the prophets Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah, parents sometimes sacrificed
their children as burnt offerings to the pagan god Molech (2 Kings 23:10).

According to 2 Chronicles 28:3 and 33:6, Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah,
were both guilty of this awful wickedness. But later, the good King Josiah
destroyed the pagan altars to remove this temptation from the people of Judah.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold that God would judge this awful abomination of
human sacrifice and would cause such destruction that “the Valley of the Son of
Hinnom” would become known as “the Valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 7:31–32,
19:2-6, 32:35). The place was also called “Topheth.”

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Apparently, during the New Testament era, the Valley of Hinnom was used as the
garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. Refuse, waste materials and dead
animals were burned there. Fires continually smoldered, and smoke from the
burning debris rose day and night. Hinnom thus became a graphic symbol of woe
and judgment and of the place of eternal punishment called HELL. It symbolizes a
place of torment and suffering.

Translated into Greek, the Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom” becomes Gehenna, which
is used 12 times in the New Testament (11 times by Jesus and once by James),
each time translated as “hell” (Matthew 5:22, Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5, 16:19-
31 and James 3:6).

The term gehenna in the New Testament confirms that it is more than an ancient
valley outside of Jerusalem. Gehenna is associated with fire, punishment,
torment, the undying worm, the gnashing of teeth and eternity without God. All of
the language stressing the repulsiveness of hell is a description of gehenna. Such
a place is psychologically impossible to comprehend. The existence of this place,
where the unsaved will consciously suffer for eternity without God, ought to stir
every believer to win souls.

In Mark 9:46 and 48, hell is described as a place where “their worm does not die
and the fire is not quenched.” Repeatedly, Jesus spoke of outer darkness and a
furnace of fire, where there will be wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth
(Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28). Obviously, this
picture is drawn from Gehenna.

The Book of Revelation describes hell as “the lake of fire” or “the fiery lake of
burning sulfur” (Revelation 19:20, 20:10 –15 and 21:8). Into hell will be thrown the
beast and the false prophet (Revelation 19:20). At the end of the age the devil
himself will be thrown into it, along with death and Hades and all whose names
are not in the Book of Life. “They will be tormented day and night for ever and
ever” (Revelation 20:10).

Because of the symbolic nature of the language, some people question whether
hell consists of actual fire. Such reasoning should bring no comfort to the lost. The
reality is greater than the symbol. The Bible exhausts human language in
describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more
terrible, than language can express.

‰ Heaven

“Heaven” is a word that expresses several distinct concepts in the Bible:

ƒ As used in a physical sense, heaven is the expanse over the earth


(Genesis 1:8). The tower of Babel reached upward to heaven (Genesis
11:4). God is the Possessor (Creator) of heaven (Genesis 14:19). Heaven
is the location of the stars (Genesis 1:14 and 26:4) as well as the source of
dew (Genesis 27:28).

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ƒ Heaven is also the dwelling place of God (Genesis 28:17 and Revelation
12:7–8). It is the source of the “New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2, 10).
Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, heaven is, in part, present with all
believers on earth as they obey God’s commands (John 14:2, 23).

ƒ The word “heaven” is also used as a substitute for the name of God (Luke
15:18, 21 and John 3:27). The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven
are often spoken of interchangeably (Matthew 4:17 and Mark 1:15).

At the end of time a new heaven will be created to surround the new earth. This
new heaven will be the place of God’s perfect presence (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22 and
Revelation 21:1). Then there will be a literal fulfillment of heaven on earth.

‰ Paradise

“Paradise” is a place of exceptional blessedness, happiness and delight. It is a


descriptive name for heaven. Originally, “paradise” was a Persian word meaning
“a wooded park,” “an enclosed or walled orchard,” or “a garden with fruit trees.”

Traditional Hebrew theology held that the dead descended to SHEOL. After the
emergence of belief in the resurrection, however, this view was drastically
modified. In the period between the Old and New Testaments, the Jews believed
that, after the resurrection, the righteous would go to Paradise, a place much like
the Garden of Eden before the Fall.

In the New Testament, the word “paradise” occurs only three times (Luke 23:43,
2 Corinthians 12:4 and Revelation 2:7).

To the repentant thief on the cross Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in
Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Various commentators have pointed out that when a
Persian king wished to bestow upon one of his subjects a special honor, he made
him a “companion of the garden.” The subject was chosen to walk in the king’s
garden as a special friend and companion of the king. Thus, Jesus promised the
thief that he would be a companion of the King of Kings, walking with the Lord
God Almighty Himself in the garden of heaven.

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