Archives For salvation

The cost of your sins is more than you can pay. The gift of your God is more than you can imagine.

Max Lucado, “In the Grip of Grace” (p. 80)

Ponder the achievement of God. He doesn’t condone our sin; nor does he compromise his standard. He doesn’t ignore our rebellion; nor does he relax his demands. Rather than dismiss our sin he assumes our sin and, incredibly, sentences himself. God’s holiness is honored. Our sin is punished. And we are redeemed. God is still God. The wages of sin is still death. And we are made perfect.

Max Lucado, “In the Grip of Grace” (p. 75)

Salvation is God’s business.

Lucado, “In the Grip of Grace” (p. 52)

A guy was wrestling with a question that had troubled him for years.

“Can a person lose his salvation?”

The question came up when I was recently visiting his men’s Bible study. He explained a scenario to me:

“Christopher, right now you are saved and you are a Christian. You serve the Lord faithfully and are a man of God. However, let’s say that something drastic happens in your life and you walk away from God and your faith. Furthermore, you not only walk away from God but you become an active worshipper of Satan. If you start to worship Satan and have walked away from God, are you still saved?

The men’s group shared that they often struggle with that same question. If I am saved can I lose my salvation? How do I know I’m saved?

And to be honest, as a pastor I also struggle with this question.

In this post I want to explain two main topics: eternal security and assurance. First, let’s define those terms briefly and then, second look at what Scripture says.

Soteriology - The Assurance of Eternal Security

Photo Credit: Finn Terman

SOTERIOLOGY
The Assurance of Eternal Security

I. DEFINITIONS OF “ETERNAL SECURITY” AND “ASSURANCE”

Eternal security is the biblical fact that once you are saved you cannot lose your salvation. Assurance is the feeling of comfort you experience because you are certain you cannot lose your salvation. 

II. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ETERNAL SECURITY

Continue Reading…

As a Small Groups Pastor of a local church there are three topics that I encounter most when interacting with Christians: grace, faith, and justification. They are essential topics that every Christian learns about, wrestles with, and tries to live out. Growing as a Christian leads to improved understanding of these three topics and should result in living them out better and better. As I continue my series of soteriology blog posts, I hope to give you a biblical description of each of these topics and point you to some ways you can live out grace, faith, and justification in your life.

SOTERIOLOGY
Grace, Faith, and Justification

Soteriology - Grace, Faith, and Justification

Photo Credit: Rembrandt, “The Return of the Prodigal Son”

I. GRACE

We have been given a gift we don’t deserve.

A. In Grace, God Punishes Jesus, Not Us

In Paul’s letter to the Romans he talks about grace in the third chapter saying,

Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight [literally “declares us righteous”]. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. (Romans 3:24–25, NLT) 1

Let’s take each part of this verse and examine grace.

1. God Takes Initiative

Paul tells us that God “in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight” (v. 24) and “God presented Jesus” (v. 25). It’s clear that God takes the initiative to provide grace to us. This is something he does for us, and it is not something we have caused.  Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are from the New Living Translation, 2015 revision

For most of my life I have enjoyed playing golf. Golf courses often “aerate” their tee boxes, fairways, and greens. This is a process in which a machine punches holes in the ground and removes a small amount of dirt from those holes. The better quality golf courses aerate more often, while smaller less maintained golf courses do this less often. 1

The simple act of removing a small amount of dirt from the ground provides five benefits to the well traveled soil and grass that golfers use. One benefit is that it allows much needed nutrients (air, water, and fertilizer) to get to the root zone under the surface of the ground. Another benefit is that it reduces thatch buildup. Thatch is a layer of dead grass that can prevent important nutrients from getting to the soil. An additional benefit of aeration is that it relieves soil compaction. Severely compacted soil prevents air, water, and fertilizer from reaching the grass’s root system. Another benefit of aeration is that it helps with over seeding. When you are trying to over seed (laying seed on existing grass) aeration allows for that seed to penetrate the soil and germinate. A final benefit of aeration is that it prepares grass for going dormant in the winter and/or a green spring. If your grass goes dormant in the winter you want it to be as strong as possible, and aerating helps strengthen it. Additionally, aerating gives grass a fertile environment to grow when spring comes. 2

You have probably heard pastors say that “Jesus died for your sins on the Cross.” My point in sharing about aeration above is that, yes, Jesus did die for your sins on the cross. But, he accomplished much more than that on the cross. Similar to how that one act of aeration provides five benefits to grass, Christ’s death on the cross accomplished five things for us. Let’s take a look at those. 

Soteriology - What Christ Did on the Cross

Photo Credit: “Christ Dies on the Cross” by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804)

SOTERIOLOGY
Christ on the Cross

I. SUBSTITUTION

Christ died in our place and took the sinners’ just punishment.

A. Old Testament Backgrounds on Substitution

The idea of substitution is woven throughout the Old Testament. Here are some examples of substitution in the Old Testament.  Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. When I worked as a caddie at a very nice private golf course in Texas while in seminary it seemed like we were aerating something every month.
  2. 7 Benefits of Lawn Aeration” by TruGreen, https://www.trugreen.com/lawn-care-101/blog/aeration-service/7-benefits-of-lawn-aeration. Accessed October 1, 2019.

Today I’m sharing some material about the doctrine of the work of Jesus Christ. This blog post is based on the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Statement of Faith which reads:

The Work of Christ. Article #5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ

Lippo Memmi (1291-1356)

I. JESUS AS OUR “REPRESENTATIVE” AND “SUBSTITUTE” Continue Reading…

Hebrews 6:1-8 is a passage most theologians either love or struggle with. Some theologians go to it repeatedly to explain their soteriological position while others attempt to avoid it because it does not match their theological method. This blog post will examine three views and how each of these views interprets Hebrews 6:1-8. The final section contains a brief exposition of the passage along with the view I prefer.

3 Views of Hebrews 6Photo Credit: Sander van der Wel

I.    3 SOTERIOLOGICAL VIEWS OF HEBREWS 6:1-8 1

A.   Arminian – “Grace Lost by Walking in the Flesh” Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. People refer to the views by different labels. For the sake of simplicity and continuity within this blog post I use the titles contained in the book, The Cross and Salvation, by Bruce DeMarest.

Salvation is a major theme in the book of Luke. In fact, according to David Wenham and Steve Walton in their book, Exploring the New Testament: A Guide to the Gospels and Acts, Luke used the language of salvation more than any other gospel writer (p. 247).

Salvation in the Book of Luke

A Synoptic Chart of the Gospel of Luke

Salvation in the Gospel of Luke should be interpreted in light of the overall message of the Gospel which is about Jesus and how he, as the Son of God, performed miracles, died for those who followed Him, rose again, and ascended to heaven. This study of the word “salvation” in the book of Luke will consist of explaining the opportunity of salvation, synonyms, antonyms, and how Luke presented the word “salvation” in light of the overall message of his book.

I. The Opportunity of Salvation

The word “salvation” is used five times in the book of Luke (Luke 1:77; 2:30; 3:6; 19:9, 44.). The clearest presentation of the word is used in Luke 19:44 where Jesus saw the city of Jerusalem, began to weep, and said, Continue Reading…

Salvation is God’s way of delivering people from sin, death, and divine wrath. It also describes the spiritual blessings both temporal and eternal. 1

My Salvation Doctrinal Statement

Photo Credit: Waiting for the World

Essentially, salvation is the application of the work of Christ to the lives of humans. 2

I. The Method and Instrument of Salvation

The Word of God is the method and instrument used by God to describe himself and show how humans can know him. 2 Timothy 3:15 says the message of salvation is contained in the Scriptures revealing God but also revealing his plan for salvation. 3 In fact, the Bible’s central message is about the spiritual recovery and salvation of lost men and women. 4 The Bible shows God’s love and salvific plan in both the Old Testament and New Testament. 5 Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. “[S]alvation in its theological sense denotes, negatively, deliverance from sin, death, and divine wrath and positively, the bestowal of far-ranging spiritual blessings both temporal and eternal. God freely conveys these benefits on the basis of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Mediator.” Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997), 27. Salvation is “God’s way of providing people deliverance from sin and death.” Philip W. Comfort and Walter A. Elwell, eds., Tyndale Bible Dictionary: A comprehensive guide to the people, places, and important words of the Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 1152.
  2. Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 826
  3. Comfort and Elwell, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, 1153.
  4. “The central message of the Bible concerns the spiritual recovery or salvation of lost men and women.” Demarest, Cross and Salvation, 25.
  5. “The Word of God is the means not merely to the beginning of the Christian life, but also to growth in it. Thus, Jesus told his disciples that they were made clean through the Word he had spoken to them (John 15:3). He also prayed that the Father would sanctify them in the truth, which is the Father’s Word (John 17:17). The Lord told Joshua that the book of the law is the means to a life of rectitude: ‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful’ (Josh. 1:8).  The Word of God guides our feet (Ps. 119:105) and provides us protection as we engage in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:17).” Erickson, Christian Theology, 937. Furthermore, “The Word of God plays an indispensable part in the whole matter of salvation. In Romans Paul describes the predicament of persons apart from Christ. They have no righteousness; they are totally unworthy of his grace and salvation (Rom 3:9–20). How, then, are they to be saved? This is by calling upon the name of the Lord (Rom 10:13). For them to call, however, they must believe, but they cannot believe if they have not heard; therefore someone must tell them or preach to them the good news.” Ibid., 936-937.