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Salvation - Bible Study

I would like to talk to you about salvation. Why do I need it? What is it? How to obtain it? How to keep it? There are many scriptures that deal with salvation, but space does not permit as in-depth a study as I would like. So I will focus on a few verses and hopefully in a future article I will be able to expound. First let us read the verses and then go into them one by one. And as we study these let us put ourselves aside and let the Spirit of God minister to us and speak the Words of Life to our spirit.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 2:21
 
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12
 
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16:31
 
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:8
 
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:10
 
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:5

Now at first glance it might seem as if these verses contradict each other. Are we saved by grace, believing, or mercy? But as we go into a deeper study you will find that in truth they complement each other. The first thing we should look at is the word “saved”. The same root word is used in all of the verses that we will be looking at. So it would behoove us to find out exactly what this word means.

Our word, saved, comes from the Greek word, sōzō. Sōzō is used in reference to spiritual salvation twenty times in the Gospels alone. It means; to save, deliver, make whole, to preserve safe from danger, loss and destruction; to rescue and preserve from the spiritual death which is common to all men because of the sin of Adam. In essence this means that Christ is able to rescue us from destruction and to make us whole and complete in Him. So, how do we obtain this salvation? And what does it mean to be complete in Him? First we shall look at how to obtain salvation. Let us look at the verses listed above and see what the word of God has to say.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 2:21
 
10) Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11) This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

It is perfectly clear here that there is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ. But it is also clear that in order for us to obtain it we must call on His name. So what does that mean?

Call: to cry out to for aid on one's own behalf.

Name: Used specifically of God where His name is said to be hallowed and honored.

What this verse is saying is that in order to be saved you need to call upon the Holy name of the Lord for aid and it is something that you must do for yourself; it is not something that someone else can do for you. This is why we are told in Philippians 2:12, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are to be responsible for our own lives and not blame others for the decisions that we make. Unfortunately, blaming others seems to be a theme today: “I had a bad childhood”, “My parents didn't hug me enough”, “I was teased at school”, or everybody's favorite, “The devil made me do it”. It seems that we will try any excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. This might work with an earthly judge but it will not work with the Ultimate Judge who sees into our very heart. You will not be able to lie to the God of truth who can see through all falsehood. We are all ultimately responsible for the decisions that we make in our own lives. The final destination of our immortal soul is much too important for us to listen to peer pressure or let anyone else decide for us. Make your own decision.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16:31

So, in addition to calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must believe on Him.

Believe: To trust and have faith in. The important thing here is that “to believe” does not mean to do it once, but to do it continually, to make it a way of life, not a one-time decision. This will eventually change your very thought process. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. This transformation process is a progressive one, one that we must continue in. It is in our continued belief that our salvation rests. Does this mean that if you stop believing you are no longer saved? YES, that is exactly what it means, because if we believe we will also obey. But if we stop obeying then we no longer believe and our salvation is in jeopardy. One of the main themes of 1st and 2nd John is exactly this. I know that people are going to argue this point and tell you that they don't agree with this, but the point here is not what man believes but what God says. It is possible to lose your salvation.

3) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1 John 2:3-4

Remember John is writing to the saved. And he is very clear that if we don't keep Christ's commandments then we do not know Him.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:8

Here is another aspect of our salvation. We are saved by Grace, not ourselves. And here we are also told that salvation is a gift from God, not something that we have to purchase. Christ has already purchased salvation for us with His crucifixion and resurrection at Calvary. He then offers it to us freely.

Faith: Firm persuasion, belief in the truth, of faith in Christ's death as the grounds of justification before God. Saving faith.

Grace: A favor done without expectation of return. The free expression of the loving kindness of God toward men. Its only motive is the bounty and benevolence of the giver (in this case God). Grace is unearned and unmerited favor. Grace stands in antitheses to works, as the two are mutually exclusive. God's grace affects man's sinfulness in that it not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings him joy and thankfulness also. It changes the individual to a new creature without destroying his individuality. We are therefore new creations in Christ.

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

All things are now new in Christ. The old man no longer exists.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:10

Here is the other side. Paul is talking about those that are not saved. The reason that they are not saved is because they would not receive the love.

Received: To approve, embrace, follow.

Love: God doing what is best for man, not necessarily what man desires. The proof of love is the benefit; the true and real benefits conferred by God through Christ.

Truth: Reality. Divine truth and the practice of the true gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, in order to be saved we must embrace the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. But this love is not as we think we know love, it is the love of God as shown above. This love is listed in 1 Corinthians 13 and is a study all of its own. (Hopefully we'll cover this in a future article, until then you may listen to a study here entitled, Love and the Mind of Christ). One thing that we need to keep in mind is that God does want the best for us (Acts 3:26) and it is His will for His children to fellowship with Him for all eternity in Heaven (John 3:15-16).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:5

Here we are shown that we are saved by the mercy of God and by the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, and not by works.

Mercy: compassion, active pity.

Washing: cleansing from sin.

Regeneration: Restoration, rebirth, renovation. Spiritual rebirth of the soul.

Renewing: to make different from the past.

So in addition to Grace, we are saved by the mercy (compassion) of God. Again, this is not because of anything that we have done to deserve it but because of God's unmerited favor and compassion towards us. It is in this that He cleans us, regenerates us and renews us, changing us from the old sinful man that was living a lie, to the new man, righteous before God and living in the truth of Christ. Remember, we are saved because of God and changed by God. It is never because of anything that we have done.

So, now that we know what salvation is, how to obtain it, and how to keep it, let us look at the scriptures that tell us why we need to be saved. One of the most obvious is in Romans.

23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
Romans 3:23-24
 
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:23
 
2) The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.
Psalm 14:2-3 (Emphasis added)
 
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, NOT ONE.
Romans 3:10 (Emphasis added)

So, we need salvation because we are all sinners, and the only thing that a sinner (not saved by grace) has to look forward to is eternal death in hell. We cannot save ourselves so therefore we need a savior. And the only savior is Jesus Christ, because as we learned earlier there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6

Now, there were many ways that I could have gone about this study. I could have analyzed all of the world's major religions and compared them to see which was the best. But this is not a popularity contest. This is a serious life or death, heaven or hell issue and it is too important to be based on a whim. And for that very reason I am also not going to use a line that I hear all the time, but one which I hate. It normally goes something like this, “Just try being a Christian and if I'm right you will get to go to heaven and if I am wrong then you will have at least lived a good life.” Wrong! Christianity is not something that you try on like a new coat and discard if you don't like it. Christianity is a way of life that will alter you forever. It will forever change the way you look at the world and how the world looks at you. Jesus uses a parable in Luke 14 to tell us to look at what we intend to build and count the cost before we begin. It is all or nothing with Jesus and He will accept nothing short of that. Jesus is not deceptive, He lays out in His word all that it means and all that we can expect if we follow Him. So count the cost and make your decision:

As a true Christian you will be hated by the world (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13)

As a true Christian you will be persecuted (Matthew 5:10, 2 Timothy 3:12)

As a true Christian you will be rebuked and chastened (Hebrews 12:5-8)

As a true Christian you will be loved (Ephesians 5:2, 1 John 4:10, 19)

As a true Christian you will be blessed (Luke 11:28, Romans 4:7, Ephesians 1:3)

As a true Christian you will have peace and joy (Romans 14:17, 15:13, Philippians 4:7)

As a true Christian signs and wonders will follow you (John 14:12, Acts 14:3)

As a true Christian you will be part of a family (Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27)

As a true Christian you will be a friend of God (James 2:23)

As a true Christian your needs will be met (Philippians 4:19)

As a true Christian you will have a purpose (Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 3:10)

…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (Emphasis added)

Will you accept Christ this day and spend eternity in heaven with Him or reject Him and spend an eternity in hell? The choice is yours alone. The sinner's prayer is here if you wish to follow it.

In His Service
For His Glory

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