So what is this Salvation thing all about?
One of the most misunderstood questions in Christianity is “what is salvation?” It’s inconceivable that the God of the Universe would offer you the opportunity to have a relationship with Him for eternity.
You can’t earn it. There’s nothing you could ever do to deserve it. But it’s available to you and all of humanity if you simply accept it. Salvation is free.
So, what is salvation?
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
You can accept salvation through faith in God. Instead of suffering the consequences of your sin, God demonstrates grace and saves you from the punishment you deserve.
Doing good deeds and following the “rules” doesn’t activate God’s forgiveness and mercy in your life. You must repent and acknowledge your need for forgiveness as the Holy Spirit draws you back to the heart of God.
Our Need for Salvation
To understand salvation, you have to recognize your need for it.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in a perfect place where they walked and talked with God. Can you imagine what that experience would be like?
When they made the choice to follow their selfish desires instead of honoring God’s instructions, sin entered the world. One disobedient action had catastrophic effects.
God removed Adam and Eve from His presence in the Garden of Eden and in their lives. Their sin destroyed humankind’s relationship with God.
Sin put a barrier between us and God, but He was not content in being separated from His creation. So, God sent Jesus to provide the one and only way back to Him.
What is Sin?
Sin is any action or thought produced in the heart of man that isn’t pleasing to God. Without willingly handing over control of your heart and mind, it is impossible to please God. Sin is in direct opposition to God’s character and His laws. In order to live a life of holiness, you must submit your sinful human nature under God’s authority.
God is pure and holy. Sin is evil and corrupt. God and sin cannot cohabitate in the life of a believer.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. ~ Isaiah 59:2
God has always desired a relationship with you. That insatiable longing to be united with your Creator can only be satisfied through a relationship with Him. Some attempt to fill the void with worldly substitutes that leave them feeling empty. Only in a relationship with God can you find the contentment your soul desires.
The Law We Couldn’t Follow.
For centuries, the Jewish people studied God’s laws and obeyed His commands to atone for their sin. They sacrificed animals, performed rituals, and adhered to over 600 commands in the Torah (the Law). These practices only proved that no matter how hard we try, we are ill-equipped to follow God’s laws. We needed a Savior.
The Old Testament gives the accounts of prophets who foretold of a coming Messiah who would take away the sins of the world. Not atone or cover them, but actually remove sin and provide an opportunity to be made right in God’s sight.
At the perfect time, God sent Jesus to earth. He lived a sinless life, allowing Him to be the pure and holy sacrifice that could save humanity from their sin. The Jewish leaders who had heard of a coming Messiah for hundreds of years, had Jesus put to death. They refused to acknowledge that He was God’s only Son, sent to redeem His people. But it was all part of God’s plan.
Have you heard the Good News? Discover the Gospel.
Jesus, the True Messiah
Jesus died on a cross. It was the place for common criminals to pay the penalty for their crimes. Jesus was not guilty of any crime, but he was unfairly convicted and sentenced to death. The weight of every sin that has ever or will ever be committed was placed upon Him. After centuries of sacrifices and rituals, Jesus served as the final sacrifice for our sins.
Throughout history, people worshiped men like Mohammed and Buddha as prophets and enlightened teachers. They lived, created a following of loyal disciples, and then, they died. Unlike other “gods,” Jesus died and then rose from the dead three days later.
Jesus’ resurrection was another way He was set apart from anyone who had ever walked on the earth. If He had remained in a grave, His death would have meant the end. But instead, He conquered life and death, allowing us to do the same.
The Plan of Salvation
So, why should you be saved?
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ~ Romans 3:23
The Jewish people demonstrated that you can’t obey God on your own in a way that atones for sin – you will fall short every time. But because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, we can now exchange our sinful life for the eternal life that He offers to us. It begins by coming to grips with your own sin.
God’s Word is the standard for determining what qualifies as sin. In a society that is continually changing, actions that were once “evil” are now the norm or no longer regarded as sinful. Our standards are unreliable.
God’s Word never changes. The Bible helps you discover who God is and enables you to study His character. You learn how to obey God and understand how His love can guide you through every situation in life. You can depend on what God says.
Trust God with Your Future
God’s grace was extended to you before you realized you needed it. (John 3:17) God is always looking out for you, including how He has made provision for your salvation.
Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. ~ Romans 10:13
It is a common misconception that you must begin the process of getting your life in order before coming to the Lord. The beauty of salvation is that God embraces the repentant sinner and does the work in their life.
At the moment of repentance and acceptance of Jesus, you exchange your life plans for God’s purpose for your life. You realize that the way you were living, no matter how “good” you were, was not the life God planned for you. God is no respecter of persons – salvation is available to murderers, gossipers, and “good” people.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
God’s plans are good because God is good. Salvation not only enables you to have a relationship with God, but it allows you to live with hope. You can trust God with your future, knowing that His plans see past what’s happening today and extend into eternity.
The Christian life begins at salvation and develops as you grow and mature in your faith. In 1 Timothy 4:8, we read, “…bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
It is vital to spend time in fellowship with other believers. “…that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me…” (John 17:21-23)
Your relationship with other Christians demonstrates the hope and peace that Jesus offers to the rest of the world. When the world sees godly people, who live in unity with each other, it sets believers apart from the evil that is found apart from God.
You need the encouragement and support of other Christians as you learn more about God and study the Bible.
Prayer plays a vital role in nurturing your relationship with God. It enables you to talk one-on-one with God. Through quiet times of prayer and reflection, you can unburden your heart, bring your requests, and listen for His voice to speak to you.
Living a Saved Life
They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Through the sacrifice of Jesus, you can have a restored relationship with God and eternal life.
You can’t earn salvation. It is a gift from God to those who believe in Him and desire to have a restored relationship with Him. You can achieve salvation by admitting you need a Savior. You have sinned and deserve to suffer the consequences, but you can’t save yourself.
Next, believe Jesus is the Son of God, the pure and perfect sacrifice for your sin.
This act means you refuse to accept the role as the ruler of your life. Instead, you willingly relinquish control to God and trust Him to lead you.
Finally, you confess Jesus is the Lord and Savior of your life. Then, let the world know you have discovered who Jesus is and the change that’s taken place in your life.
It almost seems too simple, except when you realize that God intentionally made it easy. God has provided a way for you to have a relationship with Him. In His Word, He has shown you exactly how to live and will provide the strength and power to be victorious.
Today, you can fully trust God to redeem your past, direct your steps, and give you a future filled with His hope.