Christianity 101: Salvation

We are on to part seven of our Series Christianity 101, Salvation.  This material in based on the book…

You can find the complete series here

Introduction:
From one point of view salvation is very simple.  It can be summed up “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31).
At the same time, salvation is profound.  It has a permanent impact on every person who experiences it.

We do not need to understand everything before we can receive salvation.  In fact most understand very little at first and some things will not be understood until we see God face to face.

Some truths are to be understood with the mind and others are to be experienced with the heart.

Today we will be studying the key elements of salvation.

What are the key elements of Salvation?
Answer: 
Repentance
Faith
Rebirth/New Creature
Justification
Sanctification
Glorification

Repentance 

John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul all included a call to repentance in their ministry.

What does repentance mean?
Answer:
“to turn or return.”
change of mind
Turn 180 degrees

It implies a personal decision to turn away from sin and toward God.
True repentance is not just a feeling of remorse like Judas.  Recall the story of Judas from Matthew.  Read Matt. 27:3-10

True repentance involves the intellect, the emotions, and the will.
• Intellect: 
Understand the holiness of God and His law and our inability to keep it.  Have a change in mind as to who Christ is.  (Jews at Pentecost Acts 2:14-40)

• Emotions: 
Godly sorrow as opposed to superficial sorrow.  A feeling of the awfulness of sin and it’s destructive effects.  “A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line”.  Emotion does not alone indicate genuine repentance.

• Will: 
The will makes the decision to repent.  e.g. the prodigal Son.  Repentance is a deliberate, willful turning away from sin and following after God.

Genuine repentance always leads to a change in conduct and attitude.

Faith Is the Key
What is your definition of Faith?
Answer:
“Confident trust in or reliance on.”

Faith is central to the Christian experience.
(Heb. 11.6) “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him”

Faith in the N.T. always has as its background the person and work of Christ. 
He is the object of our faith, reliance, or trust.
(John 3:16) “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”

In and of itself, faith is meaningless.  It always has an object to which it is directed and to which it rests.
“If the object of our faith is worthless, we are victims of superstition, no matter how sincerely we believe.”

Ingredients of Saving Faith
1) Facts about Christ
What are some of the facts of Christ that we have studied?
Answer:
• His deity
• His death,
• Our need of Him
But this alone is not enough.  James 2:19 “even the demons believe that”

2) Personal commitment to Christ
What does this entail?
Answer:
• Complete reliance
• Mind will and emotions are involved
• You must decide to believe
It can not be just head faith.  It must be faith that takes action.  (James 2)

3) Good works are the result of new life.
• These works are “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22)
• “Works are warm deeds of love springing from a right attitude to God.”

Rebirth, a New Kind of Life
“No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 
A New Life or New Creature is essential.
• This discusses the work of the Holy Spirit giving us a new kind of life inside. Not making bad people good but making dead people alive.
• “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5)
• Man’s sin is so serious that man can not even reach out to God.
• God takes the initiative in the rebirth but then man must actively respond in faith.
• Before rebirth sin and self are in control.  Remember the famous Frank Sinatra song  “I’ll do it my way.”
• After rebirth the Holy Spirit is in control.  The person shares in the life of God, participates in the divine nature, is a new creation.  Puts on “the new self, created to be like God.”  (Eph. 4:24 col.3:10)

God wants all men to be saved. 

That some are not born again is not God’s fault.  The responsibility rests with each of us.  It is not that all could not come, but that they would not. 
How people actually come to faith in Christ is a profound question. 
This issue often results in some confusion.  Understanding several theological terms help us to avoid this confusion.

• Election: 
What does Election mean?
Answer:
God chooses only specific groups and people to receive His grace.
Based on his Sovereign pleasure and will, not on the greatness of the person or group.

What are some examples in the Old and New Testament of Election?
OT choice of Abraham and Israel the everlasting covenant (Gen. 11:31 – 12:7)
NT God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation   
Read Mark 13:27
1 Peter 1:2
Eph. 1:4-5
John 15:16

• Predestination: 
What does Predestination mean?
Answer:
God’s purpose for a believer is to become Christlike and is certain to be fulfilled.

This is a term used only of Christians. 
Apart from the predetermination of God, we cannot trust in Christ. 
“No one can come to Me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44)

The purpose of the teaching of election and predestination is to lead pardoned sinners to worship God for the grace they have experienced.  Salvation is all from God. 
They also come to see that since they were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, their election is eternal and therefore certain.

“No one in hell will be able to tell God, ‘I wanted to be save, but my name was on the wrong list.’  It is true that no one believes in the Savior unless God the Holy Spirit convicts him, but it is also true that those who do not trust Christ choose not to believe.  God never refuses to save anyone who wants salvation”

• Foreknowledge: 
Means that God elects those to salvation whom He knows in advance will respond positively to the Gospel.  He sees the beginning and the end.  He is not trapped by time.

This area has been an area of disagreement in Church History.  We are called to have charity with those with whom we disagree.

A Calvinist and an Arminian Dialogue
A Class Dialogue

Pick two “volunteers” to read the dialogue.
This dialogue will help us disarm the Arminianism vs. Calvinism Debate and focus on the mystery of coming to faith. 
Simeon, an Arminian, did not believe in predestination.
John Wesley did believe in predestination

Justification: Declared Righteous
Often defined as meaning, “Just as if I had never sinned.”  This portrays the thought of covering past sins, but justification goes beyond that. 
We are not just neutral we have Christ’s perfect righteousness.  This does not make a person personally righteous but it declares that person righteous in a legal sense, his debt has been paid and he has been brought into a right relationship with God.
“We are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption (buying a slave his freedom) that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24)

The basis for our justification, or being declared righteous, is twofold.
What are the 2 points?
Answer:
• Christ’s death as our substitute satisfied the claims of God’s holy Law against our sin.
• God assigns us Christ’s righteousness, based on His perfect obedience.

“Just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the man [all people] were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Christ] the many [all who believe] will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19)

Justification comes by faith.  “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). 
This is what brought on the Protestant Reformation.
Evidence that we have been justified is seen in God changing our lives, obeying Him, and desiring to do His will.

When we say we have been saved we are referring to our justification.  This is where we get our assurance of salvation.
What are some verses that give us this assurance?
Answer:
• Eph. 2:8  “For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith”
• Rom. 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death no life…. Will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Sanctification: Ongoing Growth
Not only have we been saved but we are also being saved.  Sanctification is a process of becoming more like Jesus Christ, more holy.
Justification is our stance before God and is instantaneous. 
Sanctification is an ongoing process. 
• “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”  (Phil. 2:12-13)
• This walk is a life of daily faith in which we claim what has already been given us by God, and then we live by it. 
• As we depend on Christ, then, His patience, love, power, purity, etc will begin to show in our attitudes and conduct.
• The key principle in sanctification, as in justification, is faith.

Glorification: Future Sinlessness
We shall personally be perfect and free from all sin. 
It is in this sense that we are appointed “to receive salvation” (1 Thess.5:9).
• This is the complete and final sanctification.
• This is deliverance from the very presence of sin.
• Salvation is indeed God’s great gift to man.

Read 1John 3:2
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”  (1 John 3:2)

Do you look forward to this future glorification with eager expectation?

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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