[Basics of Christian Faith 5] Sin and Salvation
“We believe that salvation is a gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe that man is justified by grace through faith apart from works (Acts 13:38-39, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-10). We believe that all true believers, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:1, 38-39; John 10:27-30).”
Salvation is a simple word that encompasses many profound concepts--concepts that cannot be fully understood by the finite mind. Is salvation just a fire escape from hell? Is it a life insurance policy? Is it something God had to think up when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him? No, the Scripture teaches us that God planned our salvation before the foundation of the world, because in His omniscience, He knew that mankind would desperately need it.
We learned when we studied “Creation and Fall” (Lesson 3) that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, they became sinners by nature and the consequences affected the whole human race.
1. Spiritual death-separation from God (They hid and were afraid.)
2. Physical death
3. Sinful nature inherited by all their descendants
Man’s nature is corrupt or depraved:
Intellect: 2 Corinthians 4:4, Romans 1:28
Will: Romans 1:28
Conscience: 1 Timothy 4:2
Heart: Ephesians 4:18
Total being: Romans 1:18-3:20
“Total depravity means that the corruption of sin extends to all men and to all parts of all men so that there is nothing within the natural man that can give him merit in God’s sight.” –Charles Ryrie
Promises and Pictures
For all the centuries encompassed by the Old Testament, God gave promises and pictures of a Savior who would one day provide for our salvation. The first promise was of the Seed of the woman, whom Satan would wound, but who would fatally crush Satan (Genesis 3:15).
Then He gave them a picture of what the Savior would do. Genesis 3:21: every animal offered as a sacrifice in the Old Testament pointed to Jesus Christ. Every altar pointed to the cross.
Fulfillment in Christ
Jesus Christ, the God-Man, was God clothed in human flesh, so that He could live a sinless life, shed His blood for the sins of all men, and rise from the dead and go back to heaven to be our Intercessor.
The Accomplishments Of Christ’s Death
Substitution is the central meaning of Christ’s death.
Anti means “in the place of” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
Huper means “for the benefit of” or “in the place of” (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus was the Substitute that died instead of us. He was our representative as He hung on the cross.
God loves the world with a love that can only be measured by His own infinite capacity to love. God loves His creatures so much that he wants us to be united to Himself. He created us to live in fellowship with Him. But that fellowship is impossible because of man’s sin. The penalty is spiritual and physical death. God is the Judge that decreed the penalty. God’s holy character can settle for nothing less than absolute justice. Man, under sentence of death, can obviously do nothing for himself to escape the just execution of this penalty. So God came Himself to take the penalty for the men and women He loved. Jesus Christ came voluntarily to die in our place, for our sins, and for our benefit. He took the full penalty, both physical and spiritual death.
Why was He the perfect substitute?
Man--could die for a man: same value, but not so with animals.
Sinless--could die for sinners, but not his own.
Infinite God--could die for an infinite number of sins
What does that mean to you and me? If I owed $100,000 and had absolutely no resources to pay it, and someone else paid my debt, then I no longer have to pay. It’s no longer held against me. Since Jesus paid the penalty for my sins, then I no longer have to pay that penalty--if I accept Him as my Substitute and give up the idea of doing anything to earn my way into God’s favor.
Agorazo: To buy or pay a price for something.
It is to pay the price which our sin demanded so that we could be redeemed (2 Peter 2:1, false teachers; 1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23; Revelation 5:9).
Exagorazo: To purchase out of the market.
Galatians 3:13, 4:5: Christ’s death not only paid the price for sin but also removed us from the market place of sin in order to give us full assurance that we will never be returned to the bondage and penalties of sin. We will never be put up for sale as a slave to sin again.
Lutroo: To loose-set free.
Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:18: It is to be released and set free in the fullest sense on receipt of ransom. The doctrine of redemption means that because of the shedding of the blood of Christ, believers have been purchased, removed from bondage, and liberated.
What does this mean to you and me today? You and I have been freed from the past, from bondage to our old master the devil, from our old patterns of sinful behavior. The price paid for us purchased our freedom forever from the slave market and we will never be again what we once were. This freedom is my inheritance in Christ.
To reconcile means to change from enmity to friendship. Reconciliation by the death of Christ means that man’s state of alienation from God is changed so that he is now able to be saved (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). The basis for our reconciliation is the death of Christ (Romans 5:10-11). We must point out that only man is changed. God never changes.
What does this mean to us today? God is not our enemy. We mustn’t think of Him as waiting skeptically for us to become hostile again. He is our Friend. He wants us to trust that friendship. He will never turn away from us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ.
This word occurs three times in King James: Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10. It also appears in verb form. It is translated in the NIV as “make atonement for.”
The footnote is better: the one who would turn aside (God’s) wrath
It is found in verb form in Hebrews 2:17 and Luke 18:13.
Hilasterion is the Greek word used in the Septuagint to translate mercy seat. The lid on the Ark of the Covenant was solid gold. Two cherubim faced each other and looked down on it. The Shekinah glory of God rested over the Ark. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest sprinkled blood on the lid for the sins of the people. When God saw the blood, He could extend mercy instead of judgment. His justice was satisfied. To propitiate means to appease or to satisfy God. Why does God need to be appeased? God is angry with mankind because of their sin (Romans 1:18, Ephesians 5:6). The shed blood of Christ propitiated God (Romans 3:25), turning aside His wrath and enabling Him to receive into His family those who place their faith in the one who satisfied Him. The barrier which sin has built between God and man is broken down. The extent of propitiation is for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). To say that God is propitiated is to say that He is satisfied.
What does that mean to you and me today? We don’t have to think of making up for the bad things we have done. Our motive for doing good works or giving money or self-sacrifice will not be to appease God but because our hearts are filled with gratitude. God is completely satisfied with the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Justification--saved from the penalty of sin
Justification: a once-for-all act
Romans 3:26, 5:1: This is a judicial verdict of NOT GUILTY. There is no possibility of future condemnation (Romans 8:1). That’s just the first half. God then credits us with the righteousness of Christ. He declares us to be righteous. Christ’s perfect life and atoning death is the basis for justification by faith alone. When we believe, all that Christ is, God puts to our account; thus we stand acquitted. We are not justified on account of our faith--that would make faith a meritorious work. Faith is an empty hand which receives the Savior.
Why is it so important to understand that we are a justified people? This doesn’t mean that we can’t sin again. We do sin. And we suffer the consequences for those sins here on earth. But there is NO CONDEMNATION eternally. This should give us confidence in our relationship with God. He cannot lie. When He says, “Not guilty,” and “No condemnation,” He tells the truth and we can rest on His promise.
I hear the Accuser roar
Of things that I have done.
I know them all and thousands more.
Jehovah findeth none!
Sanctification--saved from power of sin
Sanctification: a continuing process
1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Peter 1:16:
Positional: The believer has been set apart by his position in God’s family.
Experiential: To be increasingly set apart in our daily lives (1 Peter 1:16).
Sin can no longer enslave us if we realize that we are now controlled by the Holy Spirit. He will increasingly free us from old habit patterns. He will give us strength to say “No” to temptation as we yield to His control. Do you see how many layers there are to our salvation? God has provided every resource to make it possible for us to live a life that pleases Him. He’s taken care of every contingency. We can continue to grow more and more like Jesus all the days of our lives.
Glorification--saved from presence of sin
Glorification: a once-for-all act
1 John 3:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:35-56: We’ll receive our resurrection bodies, like Christ’s. No sin nature. We can’t even begin to imagine what that will be like, can we? This is our future. This is why we must look at our life here with all its frustration, pain, and sorrow through a window through we see eternity. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years on earth are infinitesimal in the light of eternity. This is the time God has given us to prepare for eternity. The decisions we make here, the choices, the priorities all affect our life hereafter. We must stop living as though this life were all there is. We who have trusted Christ are God’s children, protected, loved, and assured of our heavenly inheritance.
Regeneration: Born again, born of God, born of the Spirit.
John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; John 1:13; Titus 3:5: The moment we trust Christ, we are given a new life, eternal life: the life of God in the soul of man. Can never be repeated or nullified. It’s becoming alive from the dead to give us a whole new quality of life and purpose for living (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17).
Forgiveness of sins
Ephesians 1:7, John 1:29: Forgiveness means removal, as demonstrated by the scapegoat in Leviticus 16.
God’s forgiveness is not like ours. He knew that we would never feel accepted by Him or feel free to serve Him if we carried the guilt and remorse for past sins on our conscience. He knew that our sins had to be taken away, removed. That’s what Jesus made possible for us by taking our punishment. This is true not only for the sins we committed before we trusted Christ, but for the sins we’ll commit today and tomorrow.
Basis for the believer’s cleansing
The once-for-all shedding of the blood of Christ is the basis of our constant cleansing from sin (1 John 1:7-9). Our family relationship is kept right by His death; our fellowship is restored by our confession.
What does this mean for us? It means that our past is forgiven and we can keep short accounts with God from now on. Confess means to agree with God, that we call sin what He calls sin. Don’t come with excuses: I was provoked; I just responded to his bad actions; I had a dysfunctional family. Just say: I lied; I stole; I hurt her reputation; I was unkind. Be specific. Then God forgives because He is faithful and just. Faithful because He said He would do it. And just because the penalty has been paid by His own Son. He would be unjust to demand that it be paid again. This is what happens when God forgives our sins.
Out of sight--Isaiah 38:17
Out of mind--Jeremiah 31:34
Out of reach--Psalm 103:12, Micah 7:19
Out of existence--Isaiah 43:25, 44:22
Cleansed conscience--Hebrews 9:14, 10:22
How can you and I experience this? When we confess our sins, we must believe that God does forgive and cleanse us, then with an act of our will, accept His forgiveness.
I’ve seen God bring deliverance from guilt and shame for the past, by this simple act. This is illustrated by the woman who committed adultery once.
Sin nature judged
Romans 6:1-10, 14: Death does not mean extinction or cessation, but separation. The crucifixion of the Christian with Christ means separation from the domination of sin over his life. The sin nature is rendered inoperative or ineffective. But our crucifixion with Christ also means a resurrection with Him to a new life. Romans 6:4: The historical actions of Christ’s death and resurrection become part of our personal history when we believe. The tyrant of our sin nature is overthrown by the death of Christ and we are now free to live a life pleasing to God.
What does that mean to us today? The belt that connects our engine to the sin nature has been disconnected. Now we can submit to the control of the Holy Spirit and let Him develop new habit patterns in us. The power of that old besetting sin--greed, jealousy, immorality, selfishness, anger, malice, or whatever it is--can be broken as we realize that we have been raised with Christ to live a new quality of life. We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Basis for removal of pre-cross sins
What was the basis for forgiveness of Old Testament saints? Animal blood only covered sins. But the Lamb of God takes away (removes) the sin of the world. No final dealing with sin until the cross. The death of Christ is the basis for forgiveness in every age; faith is always the means. What we don’t know is the exact content of faith that was required in the Old Testament. But since Christ was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20), in God’s eyes it was already done, since God is not influenced or limited by time. Even though the Old Testament saints didn’t have the full revelation that we do, they responded in faith to what God told them to do. They brought the sacrifices He required and were forgiven because God knew that He would provide the perfect Lamb one day.
Holy Spirit indwelling
He permanently indwells to produce the character of Christ in us. To give us power to overcome temptation. To illuminate God’s Word, to guide us in God’s will. We are indwelt by the Godhead. (Ephesians 4:6, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 8:9)
Galatians 4:1-5, Romans 8:14-17: Son placing. In that culture, a child, born into the family or not, was given all the privileges and responsibilities that come with an adult relationship in the family.
We are children born into God’s family and by adoption are sons and daughters with full privileges. Adoption bestows a new status.
The results of adoption are deliverance from slavery, from guardians, from the flesh.
This includes our being complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10), possessing every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), and the assurance of heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5).
End to the law
Romans 10:4, Colossians 2:14: The law shows man his need for Christ (Galatians 3:21-24), but cannot justify or empower us to be righteous. We live under the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:20), or Law of the Spirit (Romans 8:2). All of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament except for the Sabbath.
What does that mean to us? The Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone. The law of Christ is written on our hearts and we become increasingly sensitive as we study His Word and obey the impulses of His Spirit.
Do this and live, the Law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
A better word the Gospel brings.
It bids us fly and gives us wings.
There are always people out there that want to bring us back under the law. Some of the things may appear harmless. But the minute someone imposes rules that measure our spirituality, such as not eating pork or drinking coffee, we should beware. Some of these ideas come from cults, but some come from sincere Christians who want some way to measure how spiritual a person is. Don’t let anyone put you back under the Law. Christ fulfilled the Law by obeying it perfectly and then taking the penalty for all who could not obey it.
Basis for Satan’s judgment
Colossians 2:15, John 12:31, Hebrews 2:14: All the judgments against Satan are based on the victory which Christ won over him at the cross. He is a defeated enemy.
What does this mean for us? Before salvation, we belonged to Satan’ kingdom. When we put our faith in Christ, God transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). He came to indwell us by His Holy Spirit. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. Don’t become Satan-centered. Just be aware that you have a defeated enemy that is always trying to grab a foothold in your life so that you will be a defeated Christian and ineffective as a witness for Christ. Recognize his strategies without being taken in by them. You don’t belong to him anymore (1 Peter 5:8).
The death of Christ is unlimited in its value. It was for all men for all time, but it is only effective in those who believe in Him (John 1:29, 3:17; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 4:10; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2).
How Is Salvation Obtained?
Two hundred times in the New Testament, salvation is obtained only on the basis of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died as our substitute for sin (John 3:16, 1:12; Acts 16:31). Salvation is a free gift, and must be received. Be sure a person understands the facts before they pray.
Discuss the dangers of adding to the invitation.
1. The Holy Spirit places us in the Body of Christ—baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13). No suggestion that we can be removed.
2. Holy Spirit seals the believer until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Sign of ownership and authority. Losing salvation would involve breaking the seal before the day of redemption.
3. Holy Spirit is the down payment or guarantee that we will receive the rest of our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14).
4. Jesus’ promise (John 10:28-30).
5. Romans 8:28-39 is the most convincing and inclusive.
Read Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 8:28-30
1. When was our salvation planned? What is God’s purpose for us who have trusted Christ? What will be the result (6, 12, 14)?
Read Hebrews 9:22, 26-28; 10:11-14
2. Why were sacrifices instituted? Why were animal sacrifices insufficient? Why was the sacrifice of Christ necessary?
Read Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 3:18
3. What is the central meaning of Christ’s death? Write briefly in your own words what this means to you personally.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 12-19
4. What is a concise definition of the gospel? Why was Christ’s resurrection necessary?
Ephesians 1:19-23; Hebrews 7:23-27
5. Where is Jesus now? What is His heavenly ministry for us today?
Read 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14
6. What did Christ accomplish for us in these verses? What is His purpose for our lives?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
7. What else was accomplished for us?
Read Colossians 1:13-14; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14
8. What else was accomplished for us? How can we be forgiven the sins we commit after salvation? Does God want us to keep on bearing the guilt of forgiven sin? Why or why not?
Read Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:5,9; John 1:12-13; Galatians 4:5; 1 Peter 1:4
9. List the other benefits of our salvation found in these passages.
Read Romans 8:31-39
10. What can you do to lose your relationship with God? Is there anything that someone else can do to you to undo everything Christ has done? What response do you have to this? Does it make you think it’s OK to sin, since it will be forgiven? Or does it motivate you to love the Lord more deeply and serve Him more faithfully?