How man defines salvation
Different Christians call it different things. In some churches, the people talk about “getting saved.” In others, they may talk about “becoming a Christian.” Some people “ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior,” whereas others choose to “trust in Christ.” Lots of people have been “converted,” many have “repented of their sin,” and some people even decide to “flee to Christ.” My personal favorite is the fellow who “casts himself upon the mercies of Christ.” As different as these phrases may appear, they are all different ways of talking about the same phenomenon: salvation.
How the Bible defines salvation
The Bible teaches that people are in need of salvation. We learn that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we will be saved (Acts 16:31). In fact, we have to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved (John 14:6) because saving people is why Jesus came to this world (John 3:17). We learn that whoever calls upon the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:10). We see that we are saved by Christ’s life (Romans 5:10) and by his death (Romans 10:9). Being saved is an act of grace (Ephesians 2:8), which means we are getting what we do not deserve. But what does it mean to be saved?
Three things assumed based on Bibles definition of salvation
The idea of salvation presupposes several things. First of all, it presumes that there is something to be saved from. In our case, we need to be saved from sin. Because of the sin of the original man, Adam, all people are captive to the power of sin (Genesis 3, Romans 5:17). Every person is a sinner (Romans 3:23), and sin only earns you one thing: death (Romans 6:23). And death does not just mean that one day you’re going to croakthough you are! Death means eternal separation from God and eternal punishment for all of your rebellion against God (Matthew 13:41-42). People need to be saved from their sin and the consequences of that sin.
Second, the idea of salvation presumes that it is possible to be saved. We have already seen above that anyone who turns to Christ in faith can be saved. We will talk about why this is possible over the next several months.
Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, rebellious sinners are saved (Colossians 1:13-14), and one day this fallen universe will be restored to all of its glory that was present before Adam’s first sin (Colossians 1:20).
Third, the idea of salvation presumes that someone is able to save those who need to be saved. In the case of sinful people, God is that someone. The Bible tells us God is “mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:1). He mightily achieves our salvation through the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ, the bringer of salvation (Titus 3:5-7). God sent Jesus to be our Savior because of his great love for the world (John 3:16). Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, rebellious sinners are saved (Colossians 1:13-14), and one day this fallen universe will be restored to all of its glory that was present before Adam’s first sin (Colossians 1:20).
More to come…
Salvation begins at a specific moment in time: the moment that a sinner turns from his sin and embraces Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But salvation is so much more than simply a single faith decision. Salvation occurs in several tenses, and over the next few months we will learn about each of them. Hopefully, what we learn will help us to better understand who God is, what he’s done on our behalf through Christ, and what that means for each of us.