INTRODUCTION

This study is designed to provide you with fundamental information concerning your salvation. We will discuss the following major topics in this study guide?

  1. the original state of the human before the fall and after the fall.
  2. Biblical teaching on salvation
  3. Why salvation is necessary.
  4. The mechanisms of salvation
  5. Living a saved life
  6. John 3:16

The main purpose of this study is to equip you with the knowledge of salvation so that 1) You know for sure that you are saved and what that salvation really is and 2) You will be able to explain to anyone the salvation that you have received.

(1 Peter 3:15 NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

SALVATION DEFINED

First let us establish the definition of salvation so that we are on the same “page.” The word salvation means the acutely dynamic act of snatching others by force from serious peril. In its most basic sense, salvation is the saving of a life from death or harm. Scripture, particularly the New Testament, extends salvation to include deliverance from the penalty and power of sin.

The word salvation is translated from several Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible. For reference, I will also include the Old Testament words.

  1. Yeshuah – safety, ease (Genesis 49:18, Psalm 3:8)
  2. Yesha – Safety, ease (2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 18:2)
  3. Moshaoth – Safety, deliverance (Psalm 68:20)
  4. Teshuah – Safety, ease
  5. soteria – Safety, soundness (Luke 1:69, John 4:22)
  6. soterion – Safety, soundness (Luke 2:30)

Salvation is an active process and not just an event that occurred one day when you were in church. Salvation is also ongoing throughout a Christian’s life because we are constantly delivered from the dangers of Satanic forces. We have been saved from the kingdom of darkness and all that is associated with it (death, poverty, sickness, foolishness). We have been delivered into the Kingdom of God and all that is associated with it (health, life, prosperity, righteousness, sanctification, etc.). We also mature in the salvation that we received from Christ.

THE ORIGINAL STATE OF MAN

What was the original state of man and how did man get to the condition where salvation was needed?

(Genesis 1:26-28 NIV) “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. {28} God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””

Read also Genesis Chapter two.

The original state of man according to the above scripture was that:

1. Man was made in the image of God
2. Man was blessed
3. Man had the capacity to be fruitful
4. Man could subdue the earth
5. Man had dominion over God’s creation
6. Man had provisions (Genesis 2)

Let me point out that the word man does not mean male. The word man is the same word (in most cases) as Adam which literally means rosy as in flesh. By implication the word Adam, translated man, means humans. Therefore, when the Bible says that God created man, it is also referring to the female gender. Also, notice that Adam was not the male’s name as in Bob or George. Adam was what he was: A living soul, a human being.

We note that man had dominion over what God had created. God made man to dominate, rule, and maintain His creation (See Genesis 1:28). We find that there were two “types” of man. There were the male man and the female man, who was called woman. Both sexes had purposes assigned to them by God. The male’s purpose was to work and to keep the garden. The woman’s purpose was to help the male. However, both had dominion over God’s creation.

Further examination of the Creation story will reveal that the state of man included the following:

1. No shame, guilt. (Genesis 2:25)
2. They were in total communion with God
3. They had a will of their own
4. God made man to rule his own world in the same way that the Father rules all things
5. The man and his wife were one flesh as husband and wife
6. Everything was very good and in order

Man enjoyed an overall righteous state. He was in right standing with God the Father. There was no sin in him and he was in total fellowship with God the Father. But then….

THE FALL OF MAN

Eventually, man fell from the original state that we described above. The serpent tempted the woman and she gave in as she began to see what the serpent wanted her to see. All of a sudden the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). Remember that the woman had authority on the earth and she, as well as her husband with her, could have told the serpent to get out of the garden. Instead, they listened to him and fell from the righteous state that God had placed them in. I will not get into the details of the mechanics of their fall since that is not the purpose of this study. The important point is that man fell from the original righteous state that God placed them in by their own choice: They allowed a sin nature (a nature that is opposed to God, i.e., disobedience) to enter into them. On that very day, they died to God. They no longer had that communion that they once enjoyed with God. They were no longer righteous.

THE RESULT OF THE FALL

There were some drastic consequences of man’s sin. Some major results of the fall were sin entering the world, shame, fear, and lost dominion.

Sin Entered The World

Because of one man’s disobedience, sin entered into the world. the Bible says

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” – Romans 5:12 (NIV)

and

“For the wages of sin is death…” – Romans 6:23

In general, the consequences of the fall was sin and the result of sin is death. All men enter the world unconnected to God because the sin nature perpetuated from Adam to all people. From the day we are born to the day we are born again, we do not know God and we are therefore dead to him. We are all born with the same nature that Adam had that caused the death (separation from God) of the human race.

Shame and Fear

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” – Genesis 3:8-10 (NIV)

From this scripture, we notice that shame, fear, and the desire to “cover up” was introduced into the world because of Adam’s disobedience. Recall that the Bible said that they felt no shame when they were naked originally (Genesis 2:25). Their shame and fear were the result of the death (separation from God) that entered into them when they sinned.

Lost Dominion

One major consequence of the fall was that man no longer had dominion on the earth. The voice that man heeded became his master. He decided to become a slave to Satan by heeding his voice instead of remaining a son of God by obeying God. Recall what Satan told Jesus while he was tempting Him.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.'” [Matthew 4:8-9(NIV)]

Notice that Jesus did not respond to a lie of facts. Jesus didn’t dispute whether the world and all of its splendor was his to give. Why? Adam had indeed effectively given Satan dominion over the world. He had the power (authority) to do what he wanted to do in the world by a direct consequence of what happened in the garden of Eden.

THE NEED OF MAN TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD

Though man separated himself from God, God did not separate himself, effectively anyway, from man. God initiated a plan to reconcile man to himself. That is, God desired that man would be placed back in the righteous state that He once was. Man would be eternally lost unless God saved man. There was no hope for man because he had stepped into a realm that he did not have the power to get himself out of (man cannot save himself). His only hope was in the grace of God whether he realized it or not. The Bible says

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

and

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE

No one can enter into the salvation of God unless they decide to give their life over to Him. That is, we must repent in order to enter into salvation (deliverance from darkness). For example, I cannot become a citizen of France unless I decide to become a citizen and then take actions to make it happen. By the preaching of the gospel, we are convicted of our sins and revealed the need of a savior. This conviction brings upon the repentance that is necessary for our salvation. See the study on Living a Life In Christ for more information on this topic. Once we have repented of our sinful ways, we can receive the salvation that God has provided for us.

BORN AGAIN – RECONCILED TO GOD

Jesus told Nicodemus that “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” – John 3:3b. He also said that we cannot enter the kingdom unless we are born of water and the spirit – a new birth (John 3:5). Therefore, in order to be saved from the kingdom of darkness and saved to the kingdom of God, you must be born again. In the same way we are citizens of a particular country by birth, we become citizens of the kingdom of God by birth. If you are not born again then you are not part of the kingdom of God and therefore will remain dead until you are completely and forever separated from the presence of God (What Revelations calls the second death). See also Galatians 4:4-7.

Why didn’t God just forget about man after he sinned and just start over on another planet or something? Why did He bother to provide redemption for man? The Bible says

“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” – John 3:16 (NIV)

God loved us though we were in sin and separated from Him. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (See Romans 5:8). Christ died because God the father loved us. God sent Jesus Christ into the world to save the world and not to condemn the world (See John 3:17). When we receive this salvation we become children of God and joint heirs with Christ (See John 1:12,13, Galatians 4:7).

RESULTS OF BEING BORN AGAIN

When we are born again we become new creatures (creations). This is spiritual regeneration. Physically and mentally we are the same, however. See 2 Corinthians 5:17. The mind must be transformed to correspond with the new spirit in the same way it learned to cooperate with the old nature (Romans 12:2). The body is controlled by the spirit and the mind and this is why we have to edify ourselves spiritually and transform our minds so that the new spirit is not dominated by the still carnal mind. However, the mind has the potential or capability to be made new. (See the Study on the Body, Soul, and Spirit)

HOW ARE WE SAVED?

Salvation comes by hearing and receiving the Gospel. Salvation comes as a consequence of being born again. The Bible says,

(Romans 10:17 NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Saving faith comes by hearing the word of God (the message), that is, the Gospel.

A word about Romans 10:17

The faith referred to in the scripture is not “believe God for it” faith. That is, Paul is not the same faith referred to in Mark 11:22. The faith Paul is referring to is the faith from God that is necessary to become born again. This faith comes as a result of hearing the Gospel. That is why I call the faith in Romans 10:17 saving faith.

What is the Gospel? The Gospel is basically the story about Jesus Christ. Paul clearly and accurately defines the gospel.

(1 Corinthians 15:2-8 NIV) “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. {3} For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, {4} that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, {5} and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. {6} After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. {7} Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, {8} and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

Born Again Versus Being Saved

Being born again and saved are two different things. We are saved as a result of being born again. Being born again is the process of receiving a new spirit that comes from God. Our spirit is renewed with the life of God. Being saved is the state that we enter once we are born again. We are saved from the wages of death and the dominion of the kingdom of darkness. Though the two terms are used synonymously, they are different and understanding this difference will help you understand your salvation.

Paul also called the Gospel the power of God because with it comes that which is necessary to become born again. Consider that we cannot save ourselves and therefore, salvation must come solely from God through faith. Salvation is therefore experienced when we believe that Gospel. See also Romans 10:9 and Romans 10:6-17.

Salvation is not earned. It is a free gift from God. The Bible says,

(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– {9} not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God provided a way for humans to be reconciled to him and the power necessary to acquire it, namely faith. When we yield our lives over to God (repent) and believe in His son Jesus Christ then we are born again and as a result of that, we are saved. Our spirit is made alive when the Holy Spirit enters in our hearts. We become joined to God in spirit just as God planned it in the beginning before the fall. All of this is received simply by believing in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which induces faith from God resulting in a regenerated heart and thus salvation. We are saved by faith which is a free gift from God.

See also Ephesians 4:22-24 (Putting on the new man) and 2 Peter 1:4 (partakers of the divine nature).

WHAT DOES SALVATION MEAN?

Salvation simply means being saved or delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. It is to be delivered from the penalties of the sin nature, which is death. Salvation does not mean that “you made it to heaven,” though that is where you will go after your life on this earth is over. When you are saved, you have entered into a completely new realm of living. You are no longer dominated by the carnal mind and the flesh. You are instead empowered with a new spirit that can control your life.

Remember that just because you are saved does not mean that your actual lifestyle will automatically change. You are a babe in Christ and like any other baby, you have to learn how to live in the world (kingdom) that you have been born into. It is the responsibility of every Christian to learn how to live as a child of God. This is why Paul says that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).

GOING TO HEAVEN

Many people think of salvation as accepting Jesus Christ into their heart and making it into heaven. To many, this is ALL salvation is and all it involves. They do not see all that is included in their salvation. One thing that we should always know about salvation is that we have been reconciled to God. All else comes from this life that we have and have access to.

Salvation is more than accepting Christ, going to church, and going to heaven when you die. Too many Christians do not go any further than that. We have to realize that we all have a purpose and that God has now empowered us to accomplish that purpose. All Christians have at least one thing in common: We are called to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

OF THE FAITH

There is a lot more to salvation then responding to the altar call, repeating some words (called sinners prayer), and going to heaven when you die. A born again person is now a child of God a member of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we need to have a standard to know, for ourselves, who belongs to this Kingdom. God knows all of his people-we just don’t. Paul said,

(2 Corinthians 13:5-6 KJV) “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? {6} But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.”

The word reprobate comes from the Greek word adokimos (ad-ok’-ee-mos) and means unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):–castaway, rejected.

We must examine ourselves to reinforce our knowledge of our own salvation and to test to see if we are living according to God’s will as we should. This examination is more for lifestyle checking than “am I saved” verification. How do we examine ourselves? We examine ourselves against the word of God. Check to see if your life is consistent with the lifestyle of a Christian that is revealed in the Bible.

The Apostolic Fathers of the “early church” established creeds to standardize the Christian belief. In other words, these creeds set forth what a Christian believes and therefore, what is necessary for salvation. There were three major creeds; the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian. The following is the Apostolic Creed:

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of Heaven and Earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.
Amen.

This creed establishes pure Christianity. I say pure to distinguish the foundation of the Christian faith from the many doctrines and ideas of various denominations and peoples. The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are included in Appendix A and B respectively for your reference.

THE RESULTS OF SALVATION

There are certain benefits that are enjoyed by the children of God. It is extremely important that the Christian know what is involved with the salvation that they received from the Lord. It is important that all Christians know what impact salvation has on their lives so that they know what they have the authority to do or not to do. Deliverance from the bondage of the Devil. The following is a list of some of the results of salvation. These are things that all Christians should be aware of and live according to. Note that we will not discuss the topics listed below in great detail. We are merely pointing out to you the things that result from or pertain to salvation.

1. Healing for the whole you (body, spirit, and mind)
2. Prosperity in all that you do
3. Righteousness
4. Sanctification
5. Glorification
6. Communion with God
7. A Changed Lifestyle
8. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit
9. Liberty

RIGHTEOUSNESS

Righteousness is the state of being upright before God. Pastor Gary Whetstone of Victory Christian Fellowship defines righteousness as “being able to stand before God without any sense of guilt, shame, or inferiority as though sin never happened.”

The important thing for a Christian to know about this righteousness is that it is not earned. Our righteousness is free gift from God that we receive by faith. See Romans 3:10-22; 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

SANCTIFICATION

Sanctification, or to be sanctified, means The process of being made holy resulting in a changed life-style for the believer. The English word sanctification comes from the Latin sanctification, meaning the act/process of making holy, consecrated. In the Greek New Testament, the root hag- is the basis of hagiasmos, “holiness,” “consecration,” “sanctification”; hagiosyne, “holiness”; hagiotes, “holiness”; hagiazo “to sanctify,” “consecrate,” “treat as holy,” “purify”; and hagios, “holy,” “saint.” The root idea of the Greek stem is to stand in awe of something or someone. The New Testament usage is greatly dependent upon the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, for meaning. The hag- words in the Septuagint mostly translated the Hebrew qadosh, “separate, contrasting with the profane.” Thus, God is separate; things and people dedicated to Him and to His use are separate. The moral implications of this word came into focus with the prophets and became a major emphasis in the New Testament. See Holy. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

GLORIFICATION

Glorification, or to be glorified, means to exalt to dignity in the company (i.e. similarly) with:–glorify together. The Holy Spirit is the glory of God (See the study The Power of God: His Holy Spirit for more information on this aspect. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God the shines forth His glory. The glory of God dwells in us since the Holy Spirit abides in us. Jesus said

(Matthew 5:14 KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

(Matthew 5:16 KJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This light can be thought of as the glory of God originating from the Holy Spirit within us and radiating from us. In other words, we shine forth the glory of God because of the Holy Spirit living in us.

HEALING FOR THE WHOLE PERSON

One of the most misunderstood and misapplied scriptures in the Bible is 1 Peter 2:24. It says,

(1 Peter 2:24 KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

This scripture is not exclusive to healing for the body. It encompasses healing for the entire human being: Body, soul, and spirit. Therefore, our salvation has opened the provision of healing for our bodies our minds, and our spirit (which is the rebirth). Since healing means to be restored, salvation is the way that our spirit was healed.

PROSPERITY

Prosperity is positive growth that is energized by the activities of God the Father by His Holy Spirit. God wants to prosper in all things. The Bible says,

(3 John 1:2 KJV) Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

The important thing to remember concerning prosperity and your salvation is that you are not capable of prospering with the help, motivation, and empowerment by the Spirit of God that you didn’t have when you were unsaved. That is, you now can confide in God’s ability instead of just your own and others. The key here is that prosperity comes from God (or can if you trust him and obey him in that area). For example, the Bible says,

(Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Yes, we can obtain wealth on our own. Yes, we can prosper on our own. However, these positions of prosperity and wealth are at the least unstable. However, with God, your prosperity is sure because your trust is in God and not the wealth that you have accumulated. Your prosperity is derived from the Holy Spirit (the power of God) and not solely by the results of your activities.

A CHANGED LIFESTYLE

The Bible says,

(2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

We should experience a changed life when we are born again. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to obey God and are therefore able to walk after the Spirit. A changed life should be evident to all.

MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit will manifest himself through a believer because He resides in the believer. Through a believer, the Holy Spirit may affect healing, deliverance from evil spirits, knowledge, wisdom, and more (See 2 Corinthians 12).

A common manifestation of the Holy Spirit through the life of a Christian are the fruits of the Spirit. This is directly related to the changed lifestyle that we discussed above. The fruits of the Spirit are:

(Galatians 5:22-23 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, {23} Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

LIBERTY

We stated above that the Holy Spirit resides in the believer. Note also the following scripture:

(2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

If liberty accompanies the Spirit of God then liberty accompanies the believer. What is this liberty? Well this liberty or freedom is not a license to sin. This freedom is a loosing from the bonds of Satan and freedom to obey God because now we can with our regenerated spirit. See the study “Our Liberty In Christ” for more information.

RELIGION AND SALVATION

One of the most dangerous spirit to a Christian is the spirit of religion. Religion imposes a form of righteousness onto a person by requiring the strict adherence to a group of rules, regulation, doctrines, and protocol. There is nothing spiritual about man’s religion

The Bible says

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” – Colossians 2:7 (NIV)

Religion will get you to focus on your sins instead of God. Religion will get you to attempt to live a life in Christ using your own strengths and abilities by adhering to man-made laws. Religion will drag you gradually away from the very God that you are trying to get closer to.

The salvation of the Lord brings freedom (liberty) not bondage. It releases a person from the bondage of sin, inferiority, shame, fear, and the need to cover up. Our sins have been forgiven us and we are no longer under a performance system. We can’t earn credits with God or brownie points. He did all of the work and all we do is accept what He did for us by believing in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Tear off the religious clothes and put on the armor of God instead and live to the fullest.

CHURCH AND YOUR SALVATION

Where does church fit into the life of a Christian? I am defining church to mean the congregating at a common building for services and other functions. The Bible says

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

The Greek word for “give up” speaks of desertion or abandonment (forsake in the KJV).

I believe that it is very important that we remain in fellowship with each other (See 1 John chapter one). We are not designed to live secluded lives. Humans have an innate need to belong to something and to be acknowledged by other people. We also have a common need to be helped by someone else. I must add that the church that you attend should promote your spiritual growth and not bondage.

The church has an important role in the spiritual development of a young Christian. The church provides the fellowship that is needed, the support that is required, and the instruction that is integral to the Christian’s maturity. It would be impossible for anyone to grow in the things of God and not attend church. Although 100% of church attendance is not a spiritual requirement by God directly, it is an understood necessity for the spiritual growth of a Christian. The primary role that church plays in a Christian’s life is to provide an environment for him/her to grow spiritually by learning God’s word, witnessing examples of the Christian life from others, and basic fellowship.

DANGERS OF “CHURCH”

We have just discussed how important the church is to the spiritual development of a new Christian. However, we must remember that churches are made up of people and these people may not always be concerned about the things of God. Therefore, it is important to find a church that will promote spiritual growth for you and not bondage or destruction.

Some churches focus on their rules, regulations, and doctrines rather than the word of God. These rules, regulations, and doctrine may be OK in themselves, however, if they become the center of focus then a problem will exist. You cannot be edified by man’s rules. You can only be edified by the word of God.

The primary danger of some churches is that they are not concerned about the things of God and you can get caught up in these other things as well. It is very important that you seek God for yourself and find a church that is doing the same. The Bible tells us that if we seek we shall find. It is also important to study the Bible for yourself and learn what God says in his word. This will further protect you from those churches that are promoting their own agenda instead of God’s word.

IS SALVATION PERMANENT?

Once saved always saved is a very controversial topic. There are some who believe that you can lose your salvation and there are others who believe that you can’t. Which opinion do you believe? Who is correct? The word of God is always the standard for all truth. Therefore, what does the Bible has to say about “once saved always saved.” Consider that we had nothing to do with our salvation, that is, we cannot save ourselves or earn our salvation. We simply believed the Gospel and was saved by the power of God: The working of the Holy Spirit (See 1 John 3:23). Salvation is a free gift from God and not a reward for something we did. Therefore, if you had nothing to do with receiving salvation, what can you do to give it away or lose it? What keeps you saved? We are saved by the Power of God.  I propose that we cannot lose true salvation since we did nothing to acquire it except believe.  We are born new with a new Spirit.  The Bible gives no unsaved stage nor does it imply that we can lose salvation once it is acquired.

Actually, I believe that the question of once saved always saved is irrelevant to the true Christian once an understanding is acquired as to what salvation is.  A true Christian strives to live his or her life according to the word of God and therefore, losing his or her salvation is not an issue. True Christians do not concern themselves with losing their salvation. True Christians concern themselves with doing the will of God in their life and not whether it is possible for them to go to hell or lose their salvation.

There is one area of “Christianity” that salvation is possible to lose.    A person who is supposedly saved by works through the decrees of religion can indeed lose their salvation.  Note that the salvation that they acquire is not true Christian salvation that was provided by Jesus Christ when he died and rose from the dead.    The salvation of religion is the salvation of works.  It is based on your success in fulfilling rules and regulations.  For example, one religious group may say that if you can stop smoking, stop drinking, go to church every Sunday, respond to the altar call then you are saved.  This salvation is salvation of works and is typical of religion.

Therefore, if you stop following the rules and living up to the standards of your religious protocol then it would seem reasonable to conclude that you would lose your religious salvation.  Remember that this salvation is not biblical salvation and has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.  This type of salvation is a rule-based works based salvation which is dependent on what you have done and not what Jesus has done.  True salvation is based on Jesus Christ.  Religious salvation is based on man’s ability to save himself or herself.

No.  The salvation that we want is the salvation that Jesus Christ provided.    This salvation is based on Jesus Christ and not works.  Works are involved in true Christian salvation but it is a result and not a prerequisite.  We cannot save ourselves. We can only be saved by Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ has not indicated in the Holy Scriptures that there is something that we can do to be unsaved.  So I believe, based on this evidence, that salvation, the salvation of Jesus Christ, cannot be lost.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE

It is very interesting to note that Romans through Jude have a lot to say about the Christian lifestyle. It is also interesting to note that NOTHING is said about losing salvation and/or how to regain it. These books of the Bible, which from now on I will refer to as the lifestyle books, teach the Christian how to live a lifestyle that is acceptable to God. Read the following scriptures and meditate on them.

1 John 1:1 – 2:29 – Walking in the Light. Christians should walk in the light or abide in Jesus Christ (See John 1:1-2). The mark or evidence of true Christians is that they live their lives as Jesus did and in accordance with His teachings.

2 Peter 1:1-11 – Godliness. There were false teachers that were telling the Christians that they could do anything they wanted to do since salvation was not based on good deeds. Peter tells them that salvation is revealed by your good deeds: The qualities he listed. This is an application of the principle “faith without works is dead.” Because they were saved, they will, by their new nature, do those things that are in accordance with the Spirit. We also note that the divine power of God provides the energy or force necessary to live a truly Godly life. Again, it is not on us but on God. All we do is submit and obey.

Romans 6:1-23 – Those who have been born again (saved) are dead to sin and alive with Christ. It is our responsibility to do righteous things with our bodies pertaining to sin and obedience. We have to become “slaves” to righteousness since we are no longer “slaves” to sin. Though Christians have been freed from sin, they still may, in themselves, be bound by it.

Romans 7:7-25 – Struggling with sin. The sin nature does not leave us. However, we are no longer under its dominion. Though the life of God is in us, the sin nature still wars against our spirit causing us to do what we don’t want to do and not do what we want to do. However, Jesus Christ has rescued and will rescue us from the body of death (our flesh). There is nothing good about the flesh.

Romans 8:1-17 – Life through the Spirit. If the Spirit of God lives in us then we are dead to sins and alive because of God’s righteousness. It is our obligation to not live according to the sin nature but according to the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 5 – Dealing with professed Christians that sin. Not everyone who says they are a Christian (saved, born again) is indeed a Christian. There was much sexual immorality in Corinth at this time. As may be expected, some of this diffused into the church. However, the church didn’t do much about it. The person, in this case, professed to be a Christian but Paul seems to imply that he can’t be. Paul tells them not to associate with such people (See 2 Corinthians 6:14). As we saw in the previous scriptures, a true Christian will exhibit that by a certain lifestyle (Realizing, of course, that does not mean that the person will be sinless).

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 – Sexual immorality: Instructions for believers. The interesting thing about this scripture is that it was to believers and not unsaved folk. Just because you are saved does not mean that all ungodly things will immediately stop. As was indicated previously, we have to learn to live like Christians. Paul was telling these Christians that they must not indulge in sexual immorality. Consider also that Corinth was an extremely “sinful” city. The people that were saved came from this environment and they therefore needed much instruction about casting the old lifestyle aside and living according to the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 – Christians do commit sinful acts. Paul was giving the church instructions for restoring a man who had sin and repented. Discipline in the church should always seek restoration of a believer and not destruction.

Galatians 5:13 – Don’t use liberty as a license to sin. We should not use the liberty that we have in Christ to indulge in the sinful nature.

Galatians 5:19-21 – Acts of the sinful nature

Galatians 5:16-18 – The way to not live by the sinful nature is to live by the Spirit. Too often Christians put their energies in not disobeying God instead of putting their energies into obeying him. We also notice again that the sinful nature and the Spirit are in constant conflict with each other.

Galatians 6:1-8 – Sow to and reap from sin nature or Spirit. This is an application of the sowing and reaping principle. Again live according to the Spirit so that you will reap from the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:1-10 – We were made alive with Christ because of God’s great love and mercy and not because of something that we did.

Ephesians 4:17-5:21 – Instructions on living as Christians.

Colossians 3:1-17 – 4:6 – Christian lifestyle practices

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 – More instruction on Christian living.

Titus 3:1-11 – Doing what is good – lifestyle of a Christian. We have been saved by God’s grace and not by our acts of righteousness. Therefore, we have the responsibility to live like saved people.

Hebrews 5:11 – 6:12; 10:26-39 – These are controversial scriptures that are used to justify the belief that you can indeed lose your salvation. However, close observation of these scriptures indicate the situation when someone hears the word of God and is getting closer and closer to receiving salvation but instead rejects the Gospel and remains in disobedience.

1 Peter 1:13-2:3 – Instructions for Holy living and development

1 Peter 4:1-11 – Instructions for Godly living.

1 John 3:4-10 – Jesus Christ has taken away our sins. Therefore, a person who continues in sin does not know Jesus. In verse nine, John says that no one who is born of God can keep on sinning because God’s seed REMAINS in him. The Spirit of God in us will move us further away from the acts of the sinful nature. We grow more and more in our salvation.

1 John 3:11-24, 4:7-21 – Love must abide in us else we are not of God. We are commanded by God to believe in Jesus Christ and love each other. If we don’t do these then we are not of God. God is love.

LIFESTYLE BOOKS SUMMARIZED

These scriptures show that a Christian must learn how to live a godly life. Our life after being saved is a learning process that we must consciously pursue if we are to be effective in our Christian walk. What God wanted He received. That is, He wanted our spirit to be reconciled to Himself and that is exactly what happened when we were born again. However, we still have the same mind and the same flesh, which must be brought under submission to the new empowered spirit. Just as Paul said, we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).

The lifestyle books do not address the possibility or significance of losing your salvation. Instead, the lifestyle books focus on teaching us how to live according to the Spirit that is within us. However, I do realize that if Satan can convince someone that they have lost or can lose their salvation then that person can be rendered helpless as they worry about it. Therefore, let us seek the truth in God’s word which clearly states that salvation is a free Gift that we did not earn and places no emphasis on eternal security concerns..

TRANSFORMATION

We have the personal responsibility to transform our lives by renewing our minds by the power of God’s Spirit that is in us. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Though our spirit has been renewed by the Holy Spirit, our mind is still effectively the same. Our mind is influenced by either the flesh or the Spirit. Now that we have a new spirit (regenerated spirit), our minds will never be the same. Though we may sin or do some of the things that we used to do, we will immediately be convicted of that thought by the Holy Spirit even before we do the act. However, as I said previously, we have to learn how to live a saved life in the same way we learned how to live according to the sinful nature. The Holy Spirit is always there guiding us in all truth and revealing Jesus to us. We only have to submit and be led by the Spirit and then our lives will be transformed.

A very important part of the transformation process is the acquisition of knowledge and revelation from the word of God. Therefore, Bible study is very important if a Christian expects to be transformed by renewing their mind. Every Christian should develop their own Bible study so that they can be edified by the word of God and therefore transform their lifestyle. If we do not keep up with Bible study and the general acquisition of Biblical truths then we are likely to fall back into sinful acts. If we do not continue to feed our spirit man with the word of God then we are likely to backslide.

A CLOSE LOOK AT JOHN 3:16

Let’s take a close look at John 3:16 so that we can extract the message that John was trying to relay with the words that he wrote.

(John 3:16 KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

There are three things that this verse reveals concerning the basics of salvation. They are:

1. God loves the world
2. God sent his only begotten son
3. Eternal life is available to all who would believe

These are facts that we can extract from the one scripture. However, it would benefit us much more if we analyze the scripture so that we can get a more accurate or more full picture of the message John was trying to relay.

THE FIRST PHRASE OF THE SCRIPTURE

The first thing that John says in this scripture is that “God so loved the world.” What does that mean? There are three words that we will look at so that we can get a more full picture of this revelation.

Clarifying “God”

The first thing I would like to bring out is the significance of the clarification of the identify of “God.” When we hear the word God we automatically think of the God in the Holy Bible. However, if a person in another religion hears the word God they may think of someone else. In the Bible, there were many gods. That is why the Bible writers would say something like almighty God, or the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These words are used to identify which god is being spoken about.

You will even notice that some words god in your Bible are capitalized while others are not. This is to clarify which god is being spoken of. You will know by this capitalization whether the writer is speaking about a pagan god or the God of Jesus Christ.

We see here that we can’t always take for granted that people will know which God we are speaking of when we use the word, God.

Now let’s look at the word “so.” Does it clarify anything in the scripture? The word “so” translates from the Greek word houto and it means “in this way or in this manner.” It precedes a verb. We see that John begins a narration on how God showed his love to the world or by what manner he loved the world.

The word “love” used in John 3:16 comes from the Greek word agapao and it means to love (in a social or moral sense). The Holman Bible dictionary defines love as unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the well-being of another.

The word “world” comes from the Greek word kosmos which means orderly arrangement, i.e., decoration. By implication, kosmos means the world and all of its inhabitants. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines the world as The created order in the totality of its space and time.

So the first phrase revealed in John 3:16 is the following: “God showed (as in demonstrating, or his love was revealed or seen)) his unselfish concern for all the world in the following way.”

THE SECOND PHRASE

The next phase in this scripture is: “He gave his only begotten son”

Some keywords that will help us understand this phrase, and thus the entire scripture and message, are: gave, only, begotten, and son.

The word gave comes from the Greek word didomi which means to give, bestow, bring forth, commit, deliver, minister, and offer. It is interesting that the words only and begotten come from the same Greek word monogenes which means only-born, i.e. sole. This is why the NIV version of the Bible says “one and only.” The message is clear that God offered the one son (Jesus).

THE THIRD PHRASE

The next thing that is recorded in this scripture is that “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The word whosoever comes from the Greek word pas which means all, any, every, the whole, and whosoever. The word believeth (or believes) come from the Greek word pisteuo which means to have faith in, upon, or with respect to a person or thing; i.e., credit: by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ). The word perish comes from the Greek word apollumi which means to destroy fully. The word everlasting comes from the Greek word aionios which means perpetual

THE MESSAGE OF JOHN 3:16

The message of John 3:16 is simply that God love for a sinful and Godless world was revealed or demonstrated (unselfishly and unconditionally) by sending His son as an offering and an object of healing so that all who entrust their life to Jesus (the one and only son) would receive everlasting life (the life of God that is eternal) and made alive to God (reconciliation). You see here that our salvation has nothing to do with us except that we receive it by believing or entrusting our life to Christ.

MORE INSIGHT INTO JOHN 3:16

It will help very much if you read John 3:14-15 in order to get a more complete understanding of what Jesus said in John 3:16. I will quote it here for convenience.

(John 3:14-15 KJV) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: {15} That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Of course, you need to know the incident referred to here in order to understand again what Jesus said. This incident is recorded in Numbers 21:8-9 Just as the people, they were being destroyed by the fruit of their own mouth and actions, so it is today. God has provided healing from death now just as he did then. The serpent was lifted up so that all who would look at it would be healed. Note that the healing for those people in the wilderness was for those who had already been bitten.

What did Moses put on the pole? He put a bronze snake on the pole. What was causing the people to die in the wilderness? Snake bites which were obviously poisonous. What did the people have to look at in order to be healed (saved from death of the snake bite)? They had to look at an image of the offender, the snake. Now how does this correlate with Jesus Christ?

First Jesus was put on the cross and raised for all to see. However, I think the significance described here in John is deeper than that. Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians:

(2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Jesus, taking upon himself sin and therefore becoming sin, is the very object of our deliverance from sin (Romans 8:23). The way we “look” is to believe in Jesus. Believe what? Believe Gospel (the story about Jesus Christ). When we believe we will receive everlasting life, the life of God.

SALVATION NOT CONDEMNATION

More insight into our salvation can be acquired by examining John 3:17-18.

(John 3:17-18 KJV) “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. {18} He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ (the anointing of God). The word condemn comes from the Greek word krino; which means to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish:–avenge, conclude, judge.

Paul said:

(Romans 8:1 KJV) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

God does not condemn us in the sense that we are sentenced to hell. God brings life and he extends that life to man to receive freely. Condemnation comes from the evil one via people (mostly other professed Christians). Also, salvation is not induced by condemnation or guilt. Salvation is induced by a person seeing the Gospel preached and accepting that Gospel.

THE GREAT DECEPTION

I believe that there are many people who believe that they are saved but are not saved. Likewise, I believe, that there are people who don’t know that they are saved but are saved. People have been deceived by the false doctrine of men. People believe that they are saved if they repeat a prayer or walk up to the front of the church during the altar call. These same people remain in the same spiritual state that they were in before they were “saved.”  A person’s salvation is a spiritual event. There is nothing that you can do to earn it or buy it. It happens when you believe. Note what the Bible plainly says.

(Romans 10:9-10 NIV) That 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. {10} For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The process of being born again (saved) starts in the heart. The manifestation of this heart activity is a changed life. There are many people who are deceived. There are many so-called Christians who really don’t know God nor Jesus Christ. The only thing that they know is that they repeated some prayer or walked up to the front of the church during the altar call and were told that they were saved. If they do not believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord then they are not saved. If they do not believe that God raised Jesus from the dead then they are not saved. Likewise, if they do believe the Gospel then they are saved (born again) whether they are home, in a store, or at the front of the church during an altar call.

What I began to see was that many church services have altar calls for people to accept Jesus Christ.  They would say something like “If you died right now, do you know whether you will go to heaven or hell?”  They may also say something like “All those who want a closer walk with God come to the front of the church.”    There are also other things that are said to compel people to come to the front of the church.  However, if the gospel of Jesus Christ was not proclaimed then there is no salvation.  Your knowledge of your final state is not a determinant for salvation.   Do you believe?  So there are many people who have responded to these altar calls and repeated prayers thinking that they are saved by their actions when according to scripture they are not (though I can’t rule out someone seeing through all of that and seeing Christ and responding to the gospel they already heard).  So there are many people who are deceived about their salvation.  I call this the great deception, which is caused by religious institutions and their misfocused activities.

Therefore, education on salvation is mandatory before and immediately after the response to the altar call. A person needs to know what they have actually done so that they are in agreement with God’s terms and not man’s. Then and only then can a person say that they really are saved because they have entrusted their lives to God and agreed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

This is an excerpt from the study “The Power of God”

I want to include a portion of another study because it is very pertinent to our discussion on salvation.  I want to talk to you about the gospel of Jesus Christ briefly.  I said earlier that we can only be saved by responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So what is this gospel?

Etymology of the word Gospel

The word gospel originates from the Hebrew word Bisar (basar). Bisar means to proclaim victory in battle and it stems from the position of the Hebrews that it was because of God’s divine interaction that they were victorious in battle (See 2 Samuel 4:10). From about 300 B.C. until after the time of Christ many Greek-speaking Jews translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek. The word that was used to translate Bisar was euangelizesthai that had a meaning very similar to basar. However about the time the New Testament was written euangelizesthai had evolved into a different meaning. It simply meant “to proclaim.” A noun form of the verb euangelizesthai was formed: euaggelion. The noun euaggelion was used by Christians to describe the good news of Jesus.

The earliest English translations of the Bible used the Anglo-Saxon word godspell to translate the noun euaggelion. Godspell meant “the story about a god” and was used because the story about Jesus Christ was Good News (a good message). Later as English developed the word Godspell was shortened to Gospel and the original Anglo-Saxon meaning was lost with this change.

Now since euaggelion was specific to the good news of Jesus Christ, some translators used other words to translate the word basar in the Old Testament to avoid the confusion that may occur by references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Therefore, they used other words to distinguish the good news of Jesus Christ and the good news promised by the prophets. These translators often use glad tidings or an equivalent for the Hebrew basar.

The word gospel is therefore more than just good news. The word gospel refers to the deliverance that God has already affected by his power and will. We have already been delivered by God and we proclaim this deliverance, which is through Jesus Christ, to the world. The story (good news) about Jesus Christ describes the deliverance that God has provided for us. The gospel reveals the power of God in action through Jesus’ birth (born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit), resurrection (raised from the dead by the power of God), and his ascension (back to the Father).

A scripture definition of the gospel is given in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.

(1 Corinthians 15:1-8 KJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; {2} By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. {3} For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; {4} And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: {5} And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: {6} After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. {7} After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. {8} And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Paul also said:

(Romans 1:16 KJV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The Gospel, according to Paul, is the power of God. Recalling our previous discussion of the word gospel, we see that the gospel is really the story about Jesus Christ. This includes how he was born of a virgin, died on the cross for us, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to the Father. None of these could have happened without the power of God. The story about Jesus Christ demonstrates and reveals the power of God. The story about Jesus is the power of God.

 


A STUDY ON SALVATION
By William R. Cunningham
(C) 2000 All rights reserved

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