It is important for the believer to have as clear an understanding of the biblical idea of salvation as possible. The enemy will strike here, often and hard, if a person does not possess a clear conception of what salvation is and what it is not. This article is designed to meet that need. The meaning of salvation and its various aspects (including the past, present, and future components) will be covered in some depth. We will also explore what is actually involved in the salvation of a person and explain the meanings of numerous important biblical terms such as reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, imputation, and others. This article is crucial for all believers, especially those struggling with their salvation.
1. What is the meaning of the term “salvation”? What is its scope and emphasis in the Bible?
2. What does God’s method and initiation in salvation teach us about his character?
3. What are the three phases of salvation? How are they distinct, yet related? Throughout history various people have confused the three phases. What do you think happens when we confuse them?
4. What are the various barriers to a relationship with God that we all possess? How does God’s method of salvation deal with all of them? Discuss the who, when, where, what, why, and how of reconciliation.
5. Define the meaning and give the background for the terms “propitiation” and “redemption.”
6. What does regeneration mean and how does it relate to salvation, propitiation, redemption, and reconciliation?
7. What does justification mean? How does it relate to progressive sanctification?
8. What does imputation mean with respect to the righteousness of Christ?
9. Discuss the believer’s eternal riches in Christ. What should our response be to God’s overwhelming grace? Answer: To fall on our faces and worship the Lord (cf. Ephesians 1:3)!
This article is taken up with the issue of the believer’s eternal security before God. There are various lines of evidence in the NT to show that the person who has become a Christian in God’s sight is forever secure in him: (1) the work of the trinity; (2) positional truth; (3) the logic of God’s love for us even before we were saved; (4) we are held in his hand and nothing, nor nobody, not even Satan, can snatch us from his hand; (5) the meaning of the various tenses used to express the believer’s security; (6) the very meaning of “electing grace” precludes the loss of salvation; and (7) no personal sin can separate us from God.
The security of the believer is firmly taught in Scripture, but there are passages which appear to affirm the opposite and many well-meaning Christians have taught the opposite. There are passages which seem to suggest that a person can lose their salvation, including the famous text of Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:23-31. But when these passages are properly interpreted in light of the immediate and remote context, they lose the force they appeared to have. Instead, they are to be regarded as severe warnings which do not include the loss of salvation, but in many cases fiery judgment for those who were never saved and only playing at Christianity.
1. What does the doctrine of eternal security mean?
2. What are some arguments for the eternal security of the believer? Give the name of each and explain it briefly, but accurately.
3. What are some verses which seem to indicate that we can lose our salvation? How do you understand these passages?
4. What are some consequences of carnality in the life of the believer? What verses would you use to point this out to another brother or sister in the Lord?
5. What can happen to a believer if they persist in rebellion? How does God’s decision relate to their salvation?