8. BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES – THE STUDY OF SALVATION (Part 1)

There are many aspects to the study of Salvation, including the work of God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit; and from our study of sin we see the great need for our salvation.

CHRIST’S COMPLETED WORK

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”. Our Lord Jesus completed His work of salvation when He released His Spirit and died on the cross, making provision for all mankind to be saved from sin. However, not all are saved, or will be saved; for each individual person must accept in faith what Christ has accomplished in His death on the cross. There are four principal aspects of His finished work.

Substitution: the Law of God required the death of the sinner, “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” ; and God’s love for mankind had to find another way of satisfying this demand, and from the very outset of the fall of mankind God instituted what the Scriptures reveal as a substitution to satisfy this demand, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”, and these garments had to come from an animal that was killed, which in effect took their place in death, and they were clothed in the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus our Saviour, symbolized in all the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament . All these sacrifices; as outlined in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and elsewhere in the Old Testament, had to be acceptable to God, and equivalent to the condemned person, and in the case of Christ, innocent, willing to die, and possessing an infinite life, so as to satisfy God’s Law which demanded a life for a life . So it is obvious that these requirements could only be satisfied by our Lord Jesus Christ . Redemption: the root meaning is to buy or to buy back again; and refers to a liberation from sin and its oppression; and is illustrated in the Old Testament as a relative called a “kinsman redeemer” who had the right to buy back property that had been sold by a family member due to debt, poverty or sickness, so as to keep it in the family . Although the completed work of Christ is adequate in providing salvation for all mankind, it can only be effective to those that accept and believe in Him, and His work of redemption is expressed in different ways throughout the New Testament . As has been shown in our previous study of sin, mankind belongs to God because of our nature or characteristics, but because of sin we have come under the control and oppression of Satan, and through redemption Christ has secured the release of our souls. Propitiation: meaning satisfaction, which is also an aspect of Christ’s completed work, for He was the “atoning” sacrifice or the “substitutionary atonement” (NIV Study Bible) for our sins . Reconciliation: and in this we see that mankind is reconciled (or meets the requirements) to God, and simply means a complete change of our attitude towards God . Christ’s completed work provided reconciliation for all mankind meaning that all mankind can be saved , but again we must understand that this does not mean that all mankind is, or will be saved for we are all called upon to “Be reconciled to God” , even as all things in heaven are reconciled .

ELECTION

One of the most difficult teachings in scripture is the subject of Election – “choosing”, but we must accept it as from God just as we accept difficult things in life that cannot be explained or understood. We must understand that God, in His sovereignty, has the right to act in accordance with His will since He is omniscient. Because mankind has chosen to be in sinful rebellion against God we do not deserve to be saved, but since He has given us the right of choice, some have accepted Christ in faith and have been, and will be saved; so it is not unfair of God to choose some and reject others; and since we do not know who has been chosen it is the responsibility of all individuals to make the choice to accept the finished work of Christ. The New Testament refers to believers in Christ as “elect” or “chosen” . Another word that is used in this context is “predestination” which has to do more with conformity to Christ and adoption, in reference to our acceptance by God into His family . God’s sovereignty in choosing is described in His relationship to Israel , and can also be related to His choosing of Gentile believers.

CALLING

“And those he predestined, he also called…..”, and all mankind is called by means of the gospel preached in obedience to God’s command. All individuals are called (drawn) or invited to come to God , many however, reject God’s call and will be held responsible . The result of God’s call is the immediate salvation of the individual , and eternal life in God’s presence .

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK

The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict mankind of sin, righteousness and judgment: “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” . If it were not for The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of mankind, no one would be saved, because of the sin nature we are all dead in our sins and spiritually blinded by Satan , and in our natural sinful state we do not accept the things relating to God, nor do we seek God . Christians can assist in the work of the Holy Spirit by the lives that we live, so we should not frustrate His work.

 

 SALVATION’S REQUIREMENTS

“Believe and be saved” is the essence of the gospel message: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” and these are the only terms required for our salvation. Many today try to add other requirements, but the scriptures teach that our salvation is strictly provided through the grace of God and nothing else , and to add such things as oral confession, water baptism, the Lordship of Christ or any thing else is not taught in the scriptures; these however, are the results of our salvation. Faith is simply to believe the message in the heart and the head, meaning that it is not head knowledge only but it involves the whole person. Faith is the result of hearing and, or, reading God’s Word, the Scriptures; and is based on God’s authentication of His Son .
 (Continued…..)

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