Essential Truths 13 – Salvation

Amazing Rescue                          

The amazing rescue pictured here attempts to illustrate the amazing rescue God reaches out to give each of us. The difference is that man in the rapids KNEW how desperate he was! In contrast, we skip along through life’s quiet and rough seas “dead in our sins” (Eph. 2:1-4), happily having chosen to reject God’s holiness (Rom. 1:18ff) and enjoying our life of pleasure and indulgence although “condemned already” (Jn. 3:18).

In Romans 5:6, Paul tells us that we were helpless in our sin, then Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love for us because while we were sinners, Christ died for us.  We are all helpless sinners, like that guy struggling for breath in the river, desperately needing rescue.  The typical person in the world without God hears someone say he needs to accept Christ as his Savior, and his response is “saved from what??” He needs to understand that he is bound for certain destruction because of his sin – he needs rescue! 

Soteriology – the Great Doctrine            

  • The Pinnacle of Biblical Theology
    • All of the Truth God has revealed in His Word vectors into this primary summit of Scripture.  Consider the great themes included in this doctrine which we need to study: redemption, substitution, reconciliation, propitiation, conviction, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, imputation, expiation, justification, sanctification, glorification.  All these themes need careful study, but if we don’t understand biblical salvation, we’re not going to grabb hold of the life raft, the rescue will never happen!
    • The “Red Line of Redemption” runs through the entire Bible, pointing to the shed blood of Christ on the Cross (1 Jn. 1:7). This truth which God began in Gen. 3:21 with the provision of animal skins (thus blood was shed) for clothing is traceable through the rest of the Bible – Cain & Abel, Abraham & Isaac, the Passover lamb, the Tabernacle & sacrifices, Rahab, Ruth, Isaiah 53 – just a few examples of this great truth.

Bible Study Journal

Salvation is the complete work of God to rescue man Take some time to look up these references in your Bible and note the statements each makes regarding salvation):  John 3:16, 18, 36;  John 10:10;  Eph. 1:3-8;  Eph. 2:4-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5

The Obvious Need

By reading today’s news headlines, we become painfully aware of the terribly sinful and desperately needy condition of mankind.   Each of us needs to be rescued! The expansive promises of a new society, the new illusions of new religions, and the new thrills of hedonism – they all fail completely!  Paul begins Romans in chapters 1-3 by underscoring the universal,  hopeless sinful condition of man.

Bible Study Journal

Look  up each of these passages and write down what you learn from each about mankind’s sinful condition.

      • Romans 1:18-32
      • Rom. 2:1-11
      • Rom. 3:10 
  • Sin is a real thing, as real as God Himself.  Sin puts each of us in the white water river being pushed rapidly toward an eternal existence of punishment for our rebellion against God’s standards of holiness.  God is pure & holy, a sinner can’t be in His presence, and His holiness requires that our sin be judged.  That judgment results in our being sent away from God’s presence for eternity.   That’s serious! And that’s why we need to be rescued!

Miraculous Rescue

Adam’s sin affected the whole human race  –  that is made clear in Rom. 1-3.  The next major section of Romans is chapters 4-5, which focuses on our “justification by faith.”   In Romans 5:12-21, Paul explains that Adam’s fall into sin which affected all humans, has been addressed by Jesus’ obedience to the Cross in order to provide a sufficient payment for our sin.  This involves the concept of a “federal” or “seminal” head – a person who stands as representative of many –  his actions bring consequences to those he represents.  The key concept in Rom. 5:18 is “ALL”, i.e., all in sin/Jesus died for all.

  • The Divine Work of Salvation
    • Pursuit – God has been pursuing man ever since the Garden, seeking to bring him back to fellowship – Hosea 11:1-4 is a great illustration of this.  Today the Gospel is proclaimed, hearers are convicted by the Holy Spirit and drawn to the Savior.  Renewal – Romans 6-8 is the preamble of the redeemed man’s relationship with God, a new creature, empowered by the Holy Spirit to be an instrument of righteousness, growing into Christlikeness (Eph.4:13).
    • Romans 5:1-21 outlines the abundant blessings of being rescued from our sin by God’s justification.

      Bible Study Journal

      Read Romans 5:1-21, then write down what salvation blessing we receive according to these verses:
          • Verses 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 15, 17, 20, 21

“But God…”

  • Salvation is the grace of God unexpectedly inserting itself into our life with two miracles:

    Rescue – while we were blindly following the foolishness of of Satan’s lies (2:1-3), God reached into our life (2:4-5) and gave us New Life in Christ

    Reconciliation – we are Born Again by the miracle of God adopting us as His children, brought back into intimate relationship with Him (Col. 1:20-22)

    God’s Character is revealed in Salvation:
    • Jn 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:7-10… God’s Love
    • Eph.2:7-9… His grace
    • Psa.89:14; Isa. 58 … His holiness

Three Phases of Salvation

  • Past Salvation:  Payment for the Penalty of Sin
    • God’s Holiness necessitates a series of core characteristics which end in penalty:  Holiness leads to    >Justice >Judgment >Penalty
    • By faith in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, the believing sinner is rescued once and for all from sin’s penalty/judgment and spiritual death (eternal existence in hell separated from fellowship with God)
    • Some key passages about this: 
      • Eph. 2:5, 8; Tit.3:5; Heb. 7:25; 2 Tim. 1:9
    • Atonement is  a Finished Work –  sin is covered
      • Heb.9-10; Psa. 32:1; Rom. 4:6-8
    • A Perfect Work – complete so that the redeemed believer is declared to be permanently saved from spiritual death forever
      • John 5:24; 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:1, 37-39; 1 Pet. 1:3-5

  • Present Salvation:  The Abundance of New Life for the Believer
    • Current deliverance from the ruling power of sin and the carnal human nature
      • Rom. 8:29;Rom. 13:111 Pet. 1:51 John 3:2
    • Growing towards maturity and Christlikeness
      • Phil 3:12-14; Gal. 5:22-23
    • Accomplished by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit
      • Gal 5:22-23; Rom. 8

  • Future Salvation:  the promise of reigning with Christ for eternity
    • This is our “Blessed Hope”
      • Tit. 2:13; 1 Thess. 4:16-18
    • Future deliverance, complete & final by removal from the power, influence and results of sin
    • Accomplished by gaining a glorified body like Christ did after the resurrection (He was the”first fruits“)
      • Rom.8:29; 13:11; 1 Pet 1:5;1 Jn 3:2


The overarching theme of this great work by God to provide our redemption is summed up in the truth of Reconciliation – what a marvelous word!  When we receive Christ as Savior, we are brought back into fellowship with our Father God.

  • He changed us from being His enemies to friends 
    – Instead of warfare & alienation, we are His  beloved sons
    – Rom 5:1, 10; 2 Cor 5:18-19
  • God reconciles us – an individual effort by God alone
  • Result of God’s work is complete, final reconciliation
    – Eph 2:16; Col 1:20-21
  • The Source of our reconciliation is God
    – 2 Cor 5:18; also 1 Cor 1:30-31
  • The Agent of our reconciliation is Christ.
    – Rom 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20-21; 1 Pet. 2:24
  • The Ministers of our reconciliation is Us!
    – 2 Cor 5:15-21