What is Salvation?
What is the Incarnation?
What is the Bible?
What is Salvation?
From a theological perspective, the word "salvation" comes from a
Greek word "soteria" and when it is coupled with the word "logos"
which means "doctrine" you have the study of the doctrine of
salvation which is recognized in theological circles as "Soteriology".
In the Bible there are many discussions about the holiness and love
of God, as well as the sinfulness of every man. These extremes
between God and man have a great distance between them and God says
that that distance is infinite.
God knew this ahead of time and planned for man's salvation before
the foundations of the earth. In fact before God created anything he
knew that Satan would fall, that his followers would fall, and that
he would convince mankind to fall. God was not caught unaware, for he new (foreknew) everything and made a plan to redeem fallen man.
God made his plan of salvation known since the very beginning, and
he made it so simple that even a child could understand and receive
the transforming power of God's promise and the Holy Spirit. Yet
God's plan of salvation is so profound that the most intelligent
would not be able to find it except by coming God's way, which is by
coming with the faith of a child.
The core message of God's plan of salvation centers around the the
message of a mediator, a go-between, someone who could stand in the
middle and connect fallen sinful man with a perfect and holy God. In
the Old Testament there was a man named Job who realized that he was
a sinner and that God was absolutely holy. He felt this great
distance and he said
"God is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might
confront one another in court. If only there were someone to
arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both". (Job 9:32, 33).
This is exactly why Jesus Christ came, he became the only mediator
between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the only one who could stand in
the gap and touch them both and bring them together. He did this by
becoming man's substitute and bearing the penalty for man's sin
(Hebrews 2:14-17). Jesus became a man, a qualified representative of
the human race through his mother Mary, and put himself on the altar
of the cross, bore the judgment and penalty of God and became a
blood sacrifice. He did this once and for all, that all mankind
could be saved, if they would come to faith in Jesus Christ as their
substitute who died for them. If someone would choose not to come
they would have to bear the punishment and wrath of God themselves
to pay for their own sins (Romans 6:23). This became a reality when
Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the dead on the morning
of the third day, ascending into heaven and being exalted to the
right hand of God. Salvation becomes a reality when a person repents
and comes to Jesus through faith, he becomes justified, he receives
the Holy Spirit and is regenerated and born again, he becomes
adopted as a son of God, his sins are cleansed and he is sanctified
forever, given the assurance of heaven, and the promise that Jesus
will be with him not only in this age but in the age to come.
Salvation was born within the greatest love-story of all time. It
involves the daring rescue of mankind by man's Creator, who must
leave Heaven and enter the strife and terror of earth to pay the
ultimate price to save mankind from eternal destruction. Mankind is
blind to their need so they judge the Rescuer as evil, and fight Him
to the death. But this was the plan that the prophets had foretold;
God must come and be killed by man, to save man, whom He desperately
loves. What a story salvation is! As it unfolds and is unveiled
through God's book the Bible, it has every thrilling twist and turn
one could imagine.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
God is absolutely holy and absolutely loving. So holy that no one
could stand before him without instant self-condemning awareness of
every wrong thing they have ever done. But God is also so loving
that no one could stand in His presence without wanting with all
their being to be like Him, loved by Him and and want to be with Him
forever and always. God must eliminate our guilt to be with us.
This loving and just God created man and woman in His spiritual
likeness, with the ability to be loving and good. But they misused
their God-given freewill and rebelled becoming sinful and
self-serving, guilty and separated from that blissful fellowship.
They and their offspring were doomed to a life blinded by unending
cravings, anger, grief and warring self-will because satisfaction
can only found in fellowship with God. As a rose cut off from the
stem, man and woman would now start life off beautiful and vibrant,
but then slowly wither and die. This is mankind's state.
The holiness of God demands punishment for this rebellion and the
terrible results produced. But the love of God absolutely must
rescue man from this consequence. What is God to do with a seemingly
impossible contradiction? If He judges man he violates his own love.
If He loves man and ignores His sin, He violates His eternal
Holiness. Can you dear friend watch someone you love continually
violate someone else you love? We feel the need for justice as well
throughout our days on much smaller occasions. We can hardly be
insulted on the freeway without feeling violated and wanting to lash
God is ultimately loving and ultimately just. And the object of His
love has turned to evil. God concludes that He Himself must bear his
own punishment and die in order to save mankind. This He
accomplished when the Son of God received our penalty and satisfied
the Father's justice by dying on a Roman cross. Now He offers us the
great exchange; our sin for His righteousness and a new beginning,
with the seeds of a new nature growing again in us. This is
salvation. The greatest deal in the history of mankind. We are saved
by accepting this grand and high-priced solution. This is the
Gospel, the good news. Decisively, with loving intentions from
eternity, Jesus Christ died for our sins that we might become the
righteousness of God in Him.
"Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for
all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and
life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one
man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the
one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:18,19
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The
old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled
us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in
Christ, not counting peopleís sins against them. And he has
committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore
Christís ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through
us. We implore you on Christís behalf: Be reconciled to God. God
made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might
become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Dear Father, dear God...could this story of redemption be possibly
true? It sounds so much like a fairytale. A great hero rescuing the
damsel in distress. But why does my heart leap at the thought of
your love coming to rescue me in such a way? Why do such stories of
deliverance through the self-sacrifice of another move us to tears
in our deepest emotions? Dear Lord I want to believe the good news.
Help me believe. Jesus, you came to earth, please come to me now and
show me the truth. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. I want your
salvation with all my heart. Forgive me of my sins. Make me a new
person! I am Yours forever.
- The Subject of Salvation
Greg Laurie on Salvation
Bible History Online - Dr. Craig Johnson on Salvation
Contributions from Bible History Online and Crossbridge Ministries.