Key Bible subjects: Salvation, part 1Posted: Thu. Aug, 11 2016
Salvation: the big picture
One of the things I thought would be great about starting this blog was to use it to give people an overview and/or a refresher on the vital subjects of Christianity.
So starting with this article, I am going to be doing precisely that.
And a great way to start is with the subject of salvation.
This week my job is to show you the big picture of salvation.
And to do that in a way that makes it easy to see how the pieces fit together.
The story of a king and his subjects
So I am going to start off with a story, a story of a king and his subjects.
This is simply a story, but it allows us to ease into the subject of salvation in a simple way
Imagine that you are the head of a large family that lived in an ancient kingdom. The king is good, and was good to you.
In fact, he gave you dominion over vast tracts of good land that were filled with fertile soil for planting, and rich forests for hunting.
He required just one restraint: that you not hunt in his royal hunting grounds.
One day, a rival king appeared at your castle with a message. He said that he knew all about your king, and was concerned that you were being naïve.
The fact was, that by rights YOU should be king. All you needed to do was commit one act of rebellion, and you would find out that the subjects would be on your side. In fact, this rival would make sure of your victory.
You think it over, and decide you want more out of life. You turn on your king.
You show your disdain for him by committing an act of disobedience, of open rebellion.
You step on to his hunting grounds, and you slaughter one of his prize deer.
You committed a hideous crime against your powerful and gracious king.
When he heard the news, he was deeply offended. He had given you everything you needed to prosper. Yet, you believed the lie about him.
In his wrath, he declared you a criminal and put the price on your head. The price would be the death of a prince; this would be your ransom as it were - the wages of your rebellion.
Next, he declared you and your entire family to be at war with him. A state of war now exists between his kingdom and your people. He has pronounced you, and all under you, to be outlaws and rebels.
Now, this king is both just and gracious. He had more great riches that he really wanted to give you and your family. But now his justice must first be satisfied. At this point, he is not satisfied.
You cannot pay the debt even if you wanted to, because you are not a prince. You are now in a deep pit, and there is no way you can get out on your own.
Now in order to be saved, you need a savior.
A savior is someone who saves or rescues people from something bad and provides them something good.
Our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The study of salvation is the study of the the work of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, on our behalf.
He rescued us from something bad and brings believers good things.
In order to really appreciate how wonderful this salvation is that we received from Jesus Christ, we first need to understand how bad things really were and would have remained had He not intervened in human history and rescued us.
The solution to a terrible problem
Salvation is the solution to a terrible problem. In order to really appreciate how fantastic this solution really is, you first need to learn about how awful the problem really was.
The problem is a little three letter word called “sin”.
So the starting point for your journey of salvation is actually the Garden of Eden.
I know you are familiar with the story, but let’s look at it with fresh eyes, shall we?
Sin first entered the universe when satan rebelled against God .
This occurred before man was created.
That same satan tempted the first man and woman to sin. They obliged him. They turned on their God.
The early chapters of Genesis record the fall into sin by Adam and the woman.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their perfect condition and perfect environment.
They became subject to condemnation, sin and death.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
From now on, the entire human race would be born and suffer under the slavery of sin. The environment they lived in now also became corrupt and suffered decay and imperfection.
Worst of all, God now charged Adam with sin, and subsequently charged his descendants with the responsibility for Adam’s first sin.
We are all born sinners. Adam’s sin brought condemnation upon the whole world.
The good news here is that once a person is condemned, it makes him now eligible to receive a Savior.
Fortunately, no one needs to remain in Adam any longer.
Because of sin, God and man were in a relationship of hostility and enmity.
ROM 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
The grandness of the solution
By understanding the extent of the problem, we can better appreciate the grandness of the solution.
The consequences of sin cried out for a Savior. Sin ripped apart the fabric of the universe. It tore things apart. It destroyed mankind. It even affected God to some extent.
One act by one Person restored everything. And then some.
That act was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary in 30 AD where He offered His life as a substitute for all mankind.
The work of Jesus Christ on the cross not only repaired all of the damage caused by sin. His work also freed God the Father to grace out humanity.
God is now free to give humans things He had never given before to anyone except to His Son Jesus Christ.
So salvation is the wonderful message of the Bible. It spans all of created time, as well as eternity past and eternity future. It relates to all of mankind, without exception.
From God’s point of view, salvation is God’s complete work by which He rescues man from the eternal ruin and doom of sin, and bestows on him the riches of His grace, including eternal life now and eternal glory in heaven.
It is in every aspect a work of God on behalf of man, and is in no sense a work of man in behalf of God.
God brings people from death to eternal life, from enemies to adopted children, from condemnation to justification.
Sin and its deadly effects can be cured only on the ground of the shed blood of the Son of God. Divine forgiveness is not an act of leniency in dropping the penalty of sin.
If the penalty is gone, it is because a Substitute has met the righteous demands against the sinner.
EPH 1:7a In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.
The work of Christ on the cross is infinite, and it is perfect, and it is sufficient.
As we see in EPH 1:7, The New Testament uses the phrase “the blood of Christ” to represent the death of Christ, His perfect work on the cross.
God did not treat sin lightly. Forgiveness is easy for the sinner because the full penalty has been borne by Christ.
1PE 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Past, Present, and Future
So much is going on when it comes to salvation that the Bible has to use three tenses to get it all on paper.
- PAST: The past tense of salvation is revealed in passages which speak of it as being completed for the one who has believed.
The moment one believes in Jesus Christ he was saved from the penalty of sin (EPH 2:8)
EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
So perfect is this divine work that one is said to be safe forever.
Joh 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
- PRESENT: The present tense of salvation has to do with the present deliverance from the reigning power of sin.
1Co 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The believer is being saved from the power of sin and is being sanctified and preserved. As well as from the being enslaved to the world system and from the entrapment of the kingdom of darkness.
- FUTURE: The future tense of salvation contemplates that the believer will be saved into full conformity with Christ.
ROM 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
The fact that some aspects of salvation are yet to be accomplished does not mean that they are in doubt. God is faithful and will complete the work He has begun.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
He who began a good work in you WILL COMPLETE IT.
The work of salvation in repairing all the damage
Sin had dreadful impacts across the board: on mankind’s condition, on our standing before God, on our destiny, on the relationship between God and man, and even in some mysterious way, sin even effected God Himself (which is a deep and sobering thing to think about).
Because sin did so much damage to so many things, if salvation was going to work, salvation had to repair all of this damage.
Salvation, if it was worth its salt, had to remove the penalty of sin; it had to remove the guilt of sin; it had to satisfy the justice of an offended God; it had to end the enmity and restore peace.
This was a very tall order. As you can see, this raised the bar very high on salvation.
This of course would have been more than enough for God to do for us, since we didn’t deserve any of this. But God was not done.
God not only restored all that was lost by Adam in the Fall. He went way beyond that in giving great new things to believers in Jesus Christ.
He ditched the old model, started from scratch, made us new creatures in Christ, and has graced us out with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Next time we will examine how the blood of Christ accomplished all of these things.
Until the next time, we’re all ….
In His grip,
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