Great words of the gospel – salvation

June 21st, 2017

Introduction to series

As you will be aware I recently completed my series of messages on Being a Living Sacrifice from Romans 12. Since then I have been prayerfully seeking God as to what He wanted me to speak on next. No sooner had the words left my lips, the reply came, “Great Words of the Gospel”. So over the coming weeks I will be looking at some of the great words of our faith. Words like salvation, repentance, redemption, reconciliation, grace, justification, imputation, glorification, vicarious and propitiation.

These words are words that are central to our faith in Christ. These are the words that in wrapped up completely in the finished work of Christ. Some of the topics will be given their own message, while others that are smaller will be grouped together. At this stage I think it will be 5-6 messages. It is my hope and prayer that by the end of the series you will be a full bottle on these topics and you will be wanting to be a living sacrifice that is relying fully on the finished work of Christ.

So in saying this the title of my message today is “Great words of the Gospel part 1 – Salvation.

Introduction to Salvation

When considering the issue of salvation, we see that most religions have some type of salvation process. They have things they need to do to get “right” with their god/gods. These might include rituals, purification or service based tasks. It is all about earning favour with their god/gods and hoping they have done enough to be right with them and find salvation. Not so with the Christian faith.

In the Christian belief we put all our faith and trust in what Jesus has done in saving us. We put our life in His hands and trust Him for our eternal salvation. Our source and our guide book for the issue of salvation is the Bible. As Christians we must look to the Bible, because in a constantly changing world, the Bible remains the same and is an anchor for our souls.

What does the Bible say about Salvation?

In the Bible we see there are two covenants or ways of approaching God. The Old Testament with its Old Covenant, and the New Testament with the New Covenant.

The Old Testament Hebrew word for salvation is yeshuʿah. It is a powerful word with connotations of deliverance. It is usually translated as “salvation or deliverance” depending upon its context. It can be translated also as help, victory, or provision, but its main meaning is to rescue from danger or distress.

Yeshu’ah is used when God provided salvation through deliverance from the Egyptians and from physical danger. Exodus 14:13 is a classic example of this, “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” 2 Chronicles 20:17 also says, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” The same God who parted the Red Sea for the people to walk through on dry ground, is the same God we worship today, who tore the veil in the Temple from top to bottom and allows us to boldly walk into His presence.

God also provided salvation for Israel from punishment because of their sins. Throughout the Old Testament, we see that the people of God used animal sacrifices to offer temporary covering for their sin and guilt.  These animal sacrifices began shortly after the “Fall” in Genesis 3 and in time it took place annually to cleanse the people from their sin. This practice was needed until Jesus came and instituted the New Covenant.

In the New Testament and in the age we live, we see the new covenant comes into being. In New Testament the Greek the verb sōzō means “to save,” and the noun sōteria, “salvation,” are used for the concept of “rescue,” “deliverance” or “salvation”. In the Gospels, “salvation” is clearly connected with the Old Testament concept of “bringing deliverance.”

Rather than the sacrifice of animals, Jesus speaks of His body being given and His blood being shed for us. Luke 22:19-20 which we often read at communion talks about Jesus giving His body and blood for us and to remember Him. We see that Christ died for sinners, Himself taking on the responsibility for the penalty of sin. Christ as the Son of God and the perfect man, is the ideal, adequate, and only Substitute. The sacrifice of Jesus was a once and for all sacrifice for sin. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

The Bible also teaches that Jesus’ death on the cross brings us peace with God. Romans 5:1 tells us that, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. And in Romans 5:11 it says, “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation [with God]”.

As a result of Jesus death on the cross we see that the blood of Jesus Christ made it possible for us to be cleansed of our sin and enjoy intimate fellowship with God and the Fall of Man from the Garden of Eden is reversed in our hearts and the power of sin and death are broken. We see that all along it was God’s idea for Jesus to be our substitute, that He approved of this taking place, as it was His desire to reconcile the world to Himself (Colossians 1:18-20).

So to summarise this section. In the Bible we see that when Jesus came and died on the cross, He came to pay the price or our sin. He took the punishment that was rightfully ours. His death opened the way for us to be forgiven of our sin and to be brought back into a right relationship with God – both now and for all eternity.

Three key aspects for salvation to take place

When we talk about salvation we need to realise that there are three aspects of the salvation process. A need, a provision and a response.

The Need – the Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God in Romans 3:23. It also tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. 1 John 1:8 says that, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Isaiah 59:2 reminds us that our sin separates us from God.

We all know that we have sinned. We know that if we honestly look at the 10 Commandments we have not lived up to them perfectly. James 2:10 says if we have broken one of the commandments we have broken them all. So there is a definite need.

The Provision – as we have seen already Jesus came and died for us on the cross. John 3:16-18 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

The provision for our salvation is Christ Himself. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) and there is no other name under heaven and earth by which man can be saved (Acts 4:12). In the provision for salvation we see that all members of the Trinity are involved – the Father sent the Son, the Son died for us and the Holy Spirit raised Him to life and now the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin righteousness and judgement (John 16:8-10).

The Response – All of us must believe and receive. All of us must make a personal decision to follow Christ. We must all commit our lives to Him and receive what He has done for us.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us that, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”.

At some point in our lives we need to realise who Jesus is, what He has done for us and we must respond to Him. I responded to Christ on Saturday the 21st of July 1989 at 7.10pm. As I think I have shared before I was reading a tract called “A journey into life”. It explained to me the things I have been talking about today. In it I prayed a prayer that helped me to respond to Christ. In a little while I will put that up on the screen. But first I want to share some verses on assurance.

Assurance of salvation verses

The following verses assure us that we can be assured of our salvation. We don’t have to wonder or have some vain hope. We can know now.

1 John 5:13 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

What do we have according to 1 John 5:13? We have eternal life. We can know. Not hope – know, be certain, be confident.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What do we have if we believe in God’s Son Jesus? Eternal life.

John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

What do we become if we receive Jesus and believe in His name? We become children of God. We are adopted into God’s eternal family. As I have said before, we here are brothers and sisters in Christ for all eternity.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What happens if we confess our sins to God? He forgives us and purifies us from all of our unrighteousness.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

What happens when we confess Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead? We are saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.

Can we earn our salvation by good work? No, it is a gift from God as a result of faith in Christ. Like any gift, it needs to be received.

The salvation prayer

There are various types of prayer people can pray when accepting Christ. There are a number of common elements in the most used ones that I have seen.

  • Confession of faith – declaring that Jesus is the Son of God
  • Belief – believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sin
  • Confession of sin – confessing the wrong things we have done
  • Repentance – promising to turn from sin
  • Acceptance – accepting Jesus as both Lord and Saviour
  • Commitment – a commitment to follow Jesus going forward

The prayer I prayed back in 1989 contained most of these things. Although I didn’t understand it all at that time, I knew I needed a Saviour and that I needed to turn my life over to Jesus. For me this is the greatest day of my life. Some think I am strange that the greatest day of my life is not when I married Larissa and became Bev’s son in law, or when my girls were born. But to me, accepting Christ not only changed my life, it changed my eternal destiny. And to be honest Larissa likes it when I talk like this, because she knows that when I put God first and her second, her life will take on a greater perspective and she will be treated in the way God wants her to be treated. Anyway, back to the prayer!

Here is my prayer I prayed… if you have never prayed this prayer or accepted Christ, I would encourage you to follow along and say a quiet Amen at the end.

Lord Jesus Christ,
I know I have sinned in my thoughts, words and actions.
There are so many good things I have not done.
There are so many sinful things I have done.
I am sorry for my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
You gave your life upon the cross for me.
Gratefully I give my life back to you.
Now I ask for you to come into my life.
Come in as my Saviour to cleanse me.
Come in as my Lord to control me.
And I will serve you all the remaining years of my life in complete obedience.
Amen.

If you prayed that prayer with me, you can be assured you are saved. Please come and talk to me if you want more information.

Closing

Today we talked about salvation from the Bible’s perspective. We saw four main things.

  1. Salvation is found through believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins.
  2. Salvation has three aspects – a need, provision and a response. All three are met in Christ and responding to Him.
  3. That we can be assured of our salvation because of what Christ has done.
  4. Making our connect with God through prayer is how we come to Christ.

Let’s pray