Salvation is the central truth of the Christian faith. It is the point of intersection between our holy God and His fallen creation mankind, both of which we've discussed in previous messages. The plan of salvation, which relies completely upon the grace of God coupled with personal faith in Jesus Christ, defines and distinguishes Christianity from all other world religions. This week we will look at the first portion of the doctrinal statement regarding salvation found in The Baptist Faith and Message and define what it means and how it can be obtained.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ
as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest
sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no
salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
"Salvation" means to be saved, delivered, or rescued. But from what? As we discussed earlier, the Bible teaches that all men are sinners and are therefore under God’s condemnation. Apart from salvation, they will be sentenced to Hell – a place of eternal torment and sorrow, where they shall remain separated from God forever. It is an unimaginably terrible place where Satan and all those who’ve rejected Christ will suffer the wrath of Almighty God. In order to truly appreciate the significance of one’s salvation, the Christian must realize the unspeakable horror of that from which they’ve been saved. Far too many believers casually undervalue salvation.
Salvation involves "redemption". The word redemption means to purchase back something that was lost, by payment of ransom. It pictures a transaction in which a redeemer buys back something or someone, thereby redeeming them. Jesus Christ is our great Redeemer. Because of our sinfulness, all people are lost - which simply means that we are slaves to sin and estranged from God. But while we were yet captives of Satan, Jesus Christ came and paid the price of ransom on our behalf so that we might be redeemed - set free both physically and spiritually. It is only through Jesus that a person can be forgiven of their sin and receive salvation.
But how did Jesus redeem us and make salvation available? Scripture teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. In other words, God does not forgive sin unless a blood sacrifice is made. It is the blood that covers or washes the sin away. The Bible plainly equates life with the blood, and therefore the blood sacrifice actually means to give a life. The Old Testament sacrificial system was designed to demonstrate this, but animal sacrifices simply pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who gave His own life on the cross of Calvary to attain eternal redemption for all believers.
This then is the message of salvation - the gospel or "good news". All people are sinners and are under the condemnation of God for their guilt. The result of sin is spiritual death, a sentence to spend eternity in Hell. But because God loved us so much - though we were sinners - He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us, taking upon Himself our sin and punishment. Through His atoning sacrifice, our debt of sin has been forgiven and the price for our redemption paid in full. Therefore all people who accept Christ as their personal Savior and confess Him as the Lord of their life as demonstrated through a genuine, daily commitment to Him will be saved.
If you are lost and in need of salvation, please contact me or a local pastor immediately. We can help you in making this urgent decision and answer any questions you might have about redemption. This is the most important decision you will ever make, so don't put it off.
Next week we will continue this discussion of salvation, as we examine what happens to a person after they are initially saved. We will discover that salvation is not just an event, but a process that continues to unfold throughout the life of a Christian.