Our Salvation in Christ
By Pastor Bill Snider
There's an intense need for people today to understand what salvation is really about. The Church needs to understand it, so they can more effectively live it and preach it as God intended them. The world needs to understand it, so they can intelligently choose to receive or reject it.
(1 Timothy 2:3,4) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
First of all, we need to understand that salvation is for everyone. As is says in the above scripture, God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. That word "desire" is a strong word, which means, "to determine, i.e. choose or prefer; to wish, i.e. be inclined to (Young's Concordance)." God chooses or prefers that all men be saved. The fact is that not all men will be saved. Yet, God still makes it His will that all men get saved. No one will ever be able say that they were excluded from His salvation.
Secondly, we need to understand that salvation will never be forced on anyone. Our salvation is on our shoulders. It's up to us to choose to receive it. God may know who will or won't receive, but He will never be the One to determine it. We know this based on John 10:9, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." Jesus, Himself, said that. He said, "if anyone enters, he will be saved." The offer has been made. Salvation is lying on the table for anyone who wants it to pick it up and run with it. But know for a certainty that you must pick it up.
For many years, salvation in Christ wasn't even taught in most denominations. These people were simply taught that, if they wanted to go to Heaven, they had to follow the Ten Commandments or fulfil a lot of good works. They were taught that Jesus only came to show us how to become "good" people. There are Churches today that still teach this. They have no idea that salvation is "something" that God has given to them.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16,17)
God didn't send Jesus into the world to judge the world. God sent Jesus into the world to save the world. That word "save" comes from the Greek word, "sozo," and means, "to save, i.e. deliver or protect." Some of the words that are translated for it are "heal, preserve, save, make whole." God sent Jesus into the world to deliver it and protect it. He sent Jesus into the world to heal, preserve, save, and make the world whole.
If you don't think the world needs to be saved just look around you for a minute. For all the achievements of man, people are still as desperate and hopeless as ever. Stress has become one of the main struggles of our society. It's brought with it depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, road rage, and a whole host of physical symptoms and diseases. Aids and sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. Violent and perverted acts on children are on the rise. Society as a whole has become cynical in its outlook for the future. People run from one thing to another looking for peace and security, joy and happiness. Fear of failure and of missing out drives people to do things they would never normally do. Husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and family betray one another for self-serving reasons.
In the face of all this, it's amazing to think that God isn't looking to judge the world. But it's the truth. God loves the world. And that's the reason God sent Jesus into the world -- to show His love by saving the world. Salvation is the love of God manifested and unleashed on the world.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:15)
WE ARE ALL SINNERS! This is one of the most important truths of salvation, but it's also one of the hardest for people to accept. The word "sinner" comes from a Greek word, which means, "sinful." No one ever wants to admit that they are sinful, that they're wicked, evil, corrupt, bad, wrong, erring, or immoral. Heavens no, everyone wants to think that the other guy is the bad guy. We all want to think that there is a perfectly good reason that justifies why we act, think, and talk the way we do. But the truth is we're all sinners, and if we'll be real honest with ourselves we'll admit we are.
This brings us to the next truth - sin is the sickness that's destroying this world. Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." Before man sinned, there was no death. The force of life governed this planet, and man was expected to live perpetually enjoying the full benefits of living under that life. However, man's sin cut that life short and unleashed the force of death into this world. That death infected everything - corrupting it with disease and decay, immorality and error, darkness and confusion, and wickedness and evil.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
In order for us to stop suffering the consequences of sin, we must accept the free gift of eternal life from God. This is the first and most important reality of salvation. Salvation is the gift of eternal life. That life enters us when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Once inside us, that life is meant to permeate our being until it begins to affect and influence our circumstances around us. That life is perpetual. It never ceases. It never stops. If we allow it to do its work, it will destroy the disease and decay, darkness and confusion, immorality and error, and wickedness and evil that permeated our lives. It will replace them with health and increase, wisdom and order, righteousness and truth, godliness and good.
"Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:5,6)
Salvation through Jesus is a powerful reality. There are three basic parts to the reality of salvation. The first part is a truth we've already discussed, that though we are already dead because of our sins, the moment we accept Jesus, we are made alive. We already know that life includes health, increase, wisdom, order, righteousness, truth, godliness, and good. And if the reality of salvation just stopped there it would be enough to desire with all our hearts. However, it doesn't stop there.
The reality of salvation includes the fact that we've been raised up together with Christ. That raised up together is referring to Jesus' resurrection. The day will come when we will have a resurrected body just like Jesus' resurrected body. What does that mean? It means the day will come when we'll be physically immortal. We will never die again - not of old age, disease, or by any tragic incident. Bullets won't kill us. Bombs won't kill us. A nuclear warhead won't kill us. We won't drown to death, burn to death, or freeze to death. We'll be incapable of dying. What's even more amazing is that we won't be able to feel any of the pain associated with death and dying. Pain is a defense mechanism of the body. It warns the body that life-threatening damage has been done to it. Our bodies will no longer need pain as a defense mechanism, because they'll be indestructible.
The reality of salvation also includes the fact that we've been seated together with Christ. That seating is a position of authority. In Christ, we now have authority over this life. That authority is necessary on several levels. One, it's necessary in order to walk free from the effects of sin in our lives. Two, it's necessary in order to walk free from the power of Satan in our lives. Three, it's necessary in order to walk in all the promises and provisions God has provided for us. And, four, it's necessary in order to fulfill all God's called and gifted us to do in this life.
"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Romans 5:9)
There is an aspect of salvation that we desperately need to know about - that Jesus provided for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. We've been delivered and rescued from the wrath of God. The word "wrath" in the above scripture means, "violent passion (ire, or justifiable abhorrence)." It also means, "punishment." Some of the words that are translated in the New Testament for that word are "anger, indignation, and vengeance."
We need to understand that God hates sin. God loves the world, but God abhors sin. When a person willfully chooses to do something, knowing perfectly well that what he's doing is not only wrong, but also selfish and harmful to others; the wrath of God is on that person. That means that vengeance and punishment is coming to that person. Well, we've all sinned and deserve that punishment. Our association with sin has brought us into direct conflict with God. It's set us up for wrathful punishment. But thank God for Jesus. The moment we accept Him as Lord and Savior, He delivers us from the wrath that's coming because of sin.
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Timothy 2:5,6 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
You must know for a certainty that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Buddha can't save you. Mohammed can't save you. Krishna can't save you. And, as much as I love him, Moses can't save you. As much as I love her, the Virgin Mary can't save you. Your good looks can't save you. Your good works can't save you. Your intellect can't save you. You can't buy your way into salvation, earn your way into salvation, or talk your way into salvation.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Faith is the key to salvation. Salvation is a free gift. It's God's grace and love being extended towards you. In order to get saved, you must receive your salvation by faith. You must believe that Jesus was talking about you when He said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Then you must believe in Jesus. You must believe that He lived, and then died on the cross as payment for your sin. You must believe that He was raised from the dead and was seated at the right hand of God. You must believe that He brought you back into friendship with God. You must believe that through Jesus you will be made alive and seated with Him.
"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9,10)
Next you must confess the Lord Jesus. Confession here isn't talking about confessing a bunch of sins. It's talking about saying out loud what you've believed in your heart. This can be a prayer, or it can be a statement of faith. But it must be declared in faith and sincerity. Jesus is listening. If you mean it when you say it, your name is written in the book of life. If you don't mean it, nothing will change. You'll still be in sin and under the wrath of God. You'll still be isolated from the life of God. You will have no authority in this life.
Since people don't always know how to receive salvation on their own, here's a prayer you can pray if you're ready. As I said, you must be sincere when you pray this and you must believe that Jesus will hear you.
"God, in the name of Jesus, I come to you to receive the salvation that Jesus came to give me. I believe with all my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sins to deliver me from them. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand in Heaven as Lord of all. I believe that through Jesus I have life. Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart and be my Lord and my Savior. I ask that you give me that new life that is promised in Your word. God, I thank you for loving me and receiving me. I thank you for hearing my prayer and answering it, in Jesus' name. Amen."
*If you prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you, and send you a packet of materials to help you get started in your new life.*