by Wade Webster
Salvation is the central theme of the Bible from beginning to end. In the book of Ephesians, Paul reveals that this great subject was an eternal purpose in the mind of God (Ephesians 3:8-11). Since all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this subject holds special importance to us all. As we examine this Biblical subject, we will notice that salvation involves four basic things.
The Desire of God
Paul wrote, “For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). God wants all men to be saved. This desire moved Him to send His only begotten Son into the world so that all men could have the opportunity of salvation (John 3:16). He remains “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Although God earnestly desires that all men be saved, He knows, and has revealed to us, that many men will not chose the strait and narrow way of salvation (Matthew 7:13-14).
The Death of Christ
You cannot study the Bible without realizing that salvation involves the death of Christ. Peter explained, “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. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12). Jesus is directly connected with our salvation. The Hebrew writer wrote, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). It was in His death that Christ shed His precious blood which washes away our sins when we are baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Although Jesus’ death is directly linked to salvation, it is only when man is baptized into the death of Jesus that he contacts the blood of Jesus and reaps the benefits of His death.
The Direction of the Spirit
Man’s salvation comes about as a result of the direction of the Holy Spirit. Please understand that I am not talking about some kind of miraculous guidance which the Holy Spirit provides separate and apart from the word. The Holy Spirit directs us to salvation through the word. It is through the word that we learn that we are sinners in need of the help of God (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, it is through the word that we come to believe that Christ is God’s Son (Romans 10:17). Once this faith has been created within us, we are then directed through the word to repent of our sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). Paul understood that salvation involves the direction of the Holy Spirit through the word and consequently wrote that the gospel was “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).
The Decision of Man
Although salvation involves God’s desire, Christ’s death, and the Holy Spirit’s direction, it ultimately involves the decision of man. Man must make the final decision of whether or not he will be saved. Being a free-moral agent, man has the ability to make choices (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Psalms 119:30, 173). While there are rewards to making the right choices (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 25:21), there are punishments which go with making the wrong choice (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 21:8). The choice that man makes regarding salvation will determine whether he spend an eternity in heaven or in hell.
In our study we have seen that salvation involves the desire of God, the death of Christ, the direction of the Holy Spirit, and the decision of man. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have all done their part in salvation; it is now time for you to examine yourself and determine whether or not you have done your part.
–From, The Searcher, August 24, 2008.