How are we saved, and what is the means of our salvation? Amazingly, much confusion exists among evangelical and charismatic Christians on this topic. A recent issue of Christianity Today heralded an increased acceptance of Calvinism, which prompted me to read a couple of books on this subject. Well, now I am even more convinced of the need to address the subject of salvation.
Take your time reading this blog, and ask yourself how this fits in with your life, your experiences, but most of all how it fits in with the Word of God.
Spiritual Law #1 – Remission: Believe that Jesus cancelled your sins.
In order to be saved a person must hear about the remission (cancellation, putting away) of sins that occurred at the cross (Luke 24:47, Romans 10:15). Jesus’ blood became the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Every person’s sins were put away with one sacrifice. We have no choice in this matter, it happened before we were born; it is a completed work by Christ alone. God is not angry at man’s sins anymore, because His righteous anger against human sin fell on Jesus. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). This is an accomplished fact for every atheist, agnostic, or believer. Now here is the important point often missed; what happened at the cross is of crucial importance for salvation, in fact without it there is no salvation, but it is not enough. Paul says that if Jesus is not risen we are still in our sins. Hearing of the remittance of human sin is good news to all people who struggle to get rid of their sin (which is all religions), and having heard it people may now believe it.Notice, I didn’t include anything about acknowledging that you are a sinner. This part is self-evident. If I am not a sinner then there was no need for the remission of my sins to occur. The moment I say that I believe Christ died for my sins I acknowledge that I am a sinner.
Spiritual Law #2 – Repentance: Turn from trusting your own ability and good works.
The word “repentance” means “turn-around”. What exactly are we turning from? Some have suggested that we must individually repent of all the sins we have committed. I say that is not possible. Many cannot even remember all the sins they have done, and furthermore there are sins of omission and sins of commission. In the practical sense, some were too drunk to recall which individual sins they committed. No, repentance is turning from dead works (Hebrews 6:1). This is different from evil works; murder, adultery, fornication, stealing etc. Our will power is often not strong enough to turn from sin, that’s why we need Jesus. We do however have the ability to repent of dead works. Dead works are human efforts to please God and to make right the wrongs we have done; prayer, church attendance, giving, fasting, meditations or pilgrimages could all come under this heading. Whatever is done in an effort to satisfy God’s righteous and holy nature is dead works, because God is only pleased by the righteous, spotless, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Repentance therefore is turning from self-reliance, self-righteousness and self-effort, and instead looking 100% at what Jesus Christ has done, He is the only foundation and only reason why we are acceptable to God.
Spiritual Law #3 – Regeneration; God supernaturally imparts the righteousness of Jesus Christ in you.
Jesus said you must be born again (John 3:3). The apostle Paul writes, the only thing that matters is if we are new creations in Christ (Galatians 6:15). Jesus rose from the dead and we have risen with Him into a new life. We must receive His life; he who has Jesus has life. If Jesus is not risen we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17), meaning that the cross is a pre-requisite for salvation, but the cross alone is not enough to save us. We must have the new life supernaturally imputed by God to everyone who believes, and once the new life is in us it empowers us to put away evil works like slander, adultery or lying. One Scripture verse that summarizes this message powerfully is Romans 5:10, “For if when 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.”
1) The reconciliation to God occurred by Jesus’ death for every person.
2) God will do a supernatural work, imputing His righteousness into everyone who believes and
confesses Jesus as Lord.
This has become a long blog, in fact too long, and yet much more needs to be said. Give me your thoughts so far.