The Fundamentals of the Christian Faith

Introduction

This is the first in a series of teaching dealing with the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We will investigate salvation and things pertianing to it. We will also look at Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the nature of Christ, and much more. The purpose of these teachings is to equip you with knowledge of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We are very familiar with teaching in regards to prosperity, health, etc. However, we really need to know our Christian faith so that we can talk about it to others. The main purpose of this study is to equip you with the knowledge of salvation so that 1) You know for sure that you are saved and what that salvation really is and 2) You will be able to explain to anyone the salvation that you have received.

(1 Peter 3:15 NIV) "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

What is Salvation?

First let us establish the definition of salvation to establish the context of this study. The word salvation means the acutely dynamic act of snatching others by force from serious peril. In its most basic sense, salvation is the saving of a life from death or harm. Scripture, particularly the New Testament, extends salvation to include deliverance from the penalty and power of sin.

The word salvation in the Old Testament referred to different things.

  1. Deliverance from danger (Jeremiah 15:20)
  2. Deliverance for the weak from an oppressor (health, prosperity) (Psalms 35:9-10)
  3. The healing of sickness (Isaiah 38:20) - Must look at the context of the whole chapter.
  4. Deliverance from blood guilt and its consequences (rescue) (Psalms 51:14)
  5. National deliverance from military threat (Exodus 14:13)
  6. Release from Captivity (Psalms 14:7)

However, the most significant meaning of salvation is spiritual and it expresses the deliverance from the power and penalty of sin. There are three areas of salvation, namely the past, present, and future. First we are forgiven of our past sins and past ways. Secondly, we are in the process of being saved so to speak. This process is actually what is known as sanctification. We are growing more and more into the image of Christ, our future state. Lastly, we will eventually be saved from the very presence of sin.

Therefore, salvation is the deliverance from the power of sin. It is redemption by the blood (sacrifice) of Jesus Christ. Some fundamental topics regarding salvation are: justification, sanctification, regeneration, repentance, illumination, adoption, atonement, conversion, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Some of these will be covered briefly in this study, however a more detailed study of these will be covered in a separate study guide.

The Need For Salvation

Is salvation something that we need? Why did God provide a way for us to be saved? What caused us to need this salvation that comes from Jesus Christ? Our need for salvation originates with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Let us discuss the events that led to the sinful state of man and therefore a need for salvation.

The Original State of Man

  1. Man was made in the image of God
  2. Man was blessed
  3. Man had the capacity to be fruitful
  4. Man could subdue the earth
  5. Man had dominion over God's creation
  6. Man had provisions (Genesis 2)

Let me point out that the word man does not mean male. The word man is the same word (in most cases) as Adam, which literally means rosy as in flesh, red, ground. By implication the word Adam, translated man, means humans. Therefore, when the Bible says that God created man, it is also referring to the female gender. Also notice that Adam was not the male's name as in Bob or George. Adam was what he was: A living soul, a human being.

We note that man had dominion over what God had created. God made man to dominate, rule, and maintain His creation (See Genesis 1:28). We find that there were two "types" of man. There was the male man and the female man, who was called woman. Both sexes had purposes assigned to them by God. The male's purpose was to work and to keep the garden. The woman's purpose was to be a compatible helper (help meet) for the male. However, both had dominion over God's creation.

Further examination of the Creation story will reveal that the state of man included the following:

  1. No shame, guilt. (Genesis 2:25)
  2. They were in total communion with God
  3. They had a will of their own
  4. God made man to rule his own world in the same way that the Father rules all things
  5. The man and his wife were one flesh as husband and wife
  6. Everything was very good and in order

Man enjoyed an overall righteous state. He was in right standing with God the Father. There was no sin in him and he was in total fellowship with God the Father.

The Fall Of Man

Eventually man fell from the original state that we described above. The serpent tempted the woman and she gave in as she began to see what the serpent wanted her to see. All of a sudden the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). Remember that the woman had authority on the earth and she, as well as her husband with her, could have told the serpent to get out of the garden. Instead they listened to him and fell from the righteous state that God had placed them in. I will not get into the details of the mechanics of their fall since that is not the purpose of this study. The important point is that man fell from the original righteous state that God placed them in by their own choice: They allowed a sin nature (a nature that is opposed to God, i.e., disobedience) to enter into them. On that very day they died to God. They no longer had the communion that they once enjoyed with God. They were no longer righteous.

I would like to point out that the fall was not the fault of the wife as many claim. The fall was the result of the male's transgression and possibly due to both Adam and his wife sinning. In either case, the wife did not exclusively cause the fall. Actually, it wasn't until the man ate of the fruit when things changed, as we will see next. The fall also was not the exclusive fault of the man. Remember that the serpent talked with the woman and she was deceived. She allowed herself to "see" what the serpent wanted her to see and she therefore began to question her relation with God. The fall was due to both the man and the woman so that they are both to blame.

The Result of the Fall

There were some drastic consequences of man's sin. Some major results of the fall were sin entering the world, shame, fear, and perverted dominion. Of course the most immediate consequence of the fall was the pronouncement of curses by God (Genesis 3:14-19) and that Adam and his wife were expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

Sin Entered The World

Because of one man's disobedience, sin entered into the world. The Bible says,

"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" - Romans 5:12 (NIV)

And

"For the wages of sin is death..." - Romans 6:23

In general the consequences of the fall was that sin entered man and therefore death, which is the result of sin. All men enter the world unconnected to God because the sin nature perpetuated from Adam to all people. We do not know God when we are born and therefore have to be taught. However, I should point out that the doctrine general revelation teaches us that God can be known by what we see, particularly in nature. We are all born with the same nature that Adam had that caused the death (separation from God) of the human race.

Shame and Fear

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid" - Genesis 3:8-10 (NIV)

From this scripture we notice that shame, fear, and the desire to "cover up" was introduced into the world because of Adam's disobedience. Recall that the Bible said that they felt no shame when they were naked originally (Genesis 2:25). Their shame and fear were the result of the death (separation from God) that entered into them when they sinned.

Perverted Dominion

One major consequence of the fall was that man no longer had righteous dominion on the earth. Instead the seed for man to dominate each other was sown. Man would eventually dominate his wife and anyone else that he could for his own benefit, which is fueled by greed, pride, and selfishness. Evil spread relatively quickly after the fall and soon man would oppress whoever he could for selfish gain.

The Plan of Salvation

It is fortunate for the human race that God did not abandon us after the fall. God initiated a plan to reconcile man to himself. That is, God desired that man would be placed back in the righteous state that He once was. Man would be eternally lost unless God saved man because man could not and would not save himself. There was no hope for man because he had stepped into a realm that he did not have the power to get himself out of (man cannot save himself). His only hope was in the grace of God whether he realized it or not. The Bible says

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

And

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Our basic need for salvation lies in the fact that the human race is headed for destruction unless the saving grace of God intervenes. We are on a crash course to ruin and we don't even realize it because our sin has blinded us to the truth of our condition.

God the Father has made available to us His salvation from the sin that snare us and lead us to death. God sacrificed His son, Jesus Christ and raised him from the dead so that we would have eternal life. The doctrine of salvation can be explained by looking at various aspects of the process of salvation. These are given below.

  1. The preaching of the Gospel
  2. Illumination of God's Word and our state by the Holy Spirit
  3. Conviction of our sinful nature
  4. Repentance
  5. Born Again (Consecration)
  6. Justification
  7. Sanctification

 

The Road To Salvation

We have shown how man (humans) became separated from God. The human race was doomed to destruction with no way to rescue itself. We were lost. However, God did not abandon the human race. God provided a way for us to be reconciled to him. God provided a way for us to obtain righteousness and be together with him. This righteousness does not come from rituals but through Jesus Christ. Now let us discuss the process that leads to salvation. Understanding this process is helpful in understanding the salvation that you really have and to protect you from false teachings that would pull you away from the righteousness that you have in Christ if you indeed believe in Jesus Christ. We will present the process to salvation as follows. First, keep in mind that this process is made up for presentation purposes and should not be construed as something that the Holy Spirit does sequentially.

1. The Word of God: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached 2. Illumination: We see that we are sinners and doomed and that we need a savior since we can't save ourselves 3. Conviction 4. Repentance 5. Regeneration: Born again

Philosophies of Salvation

Let me discuss with you some different thoughts about the process or road to salvation. Have you ever heard of the statement, "Once saved, always saved?" I'm sure you have heard the debates of those who argue that salvation is permanent and those that argue that it is not. Which is the correct view? This will lead into an area of doctrine that deals with different philosophies about justification. I would like to present to you very briefly a few philosophies regarding salvation before we move on to this process. These philosophies about salvation are all related by the concept of predestination. The question is, "Does God choose who will be saved and who will be condemned?" The following are the major philosophies regarding salvation.

1. Calvinism 2. Arminianism 3. Lutherism

The most prominent of these three is probably the first two. For the most part Calvinists believe that salvation is totally a result of God's grace and that humans have no part in the process. In other words, human free will is not an issue in this respect because the free will in the sinful state would not choose God. Therefore, anyone that has been saved was saved totally because of God's intervention. This means that Calvinists, for the most part, believe that God chooses whom will be saved and the rest are doomed to destruction. However, the Calvinists only believe in the positive predestination in which God only chooses who will be saved but does not choose certain people for destruction.

The Arminian view is that humans do have a part to play in the salvation process. Human free will is necessary for justification to take place. We will discuss justification later. Here the Holy Spirit operates to such an extent where a person is justified to the point where they can make a free will decision regarding salvation. Remember, that unregenerate man cannot choose God. That is the basic Orthodox Protestant view. At this point the person can either reject or accept justification because of his or her free will.

The Lutheran view is somewhat more complex and I must admit that it is difficult for me to grasp. The Lutherans hold that salvation is totally dependant on God's will and predestination. Humans cannot make a choice for God without God's intervention. God therefore chooses whom He will save but does not choose who will be condemned. However, those who reject the Gospel are responsible for their own choice.

What does all of this mean? These are different views that attempt to describe the process of justification. We have to remember that God reveals himself to finite human beings. I believe that much is still unknown to us and perhaps cannot be known in our present state because we don't have the mind to understand or perhaps God just didn't reveal it to us. Just keep in mind that the Bible tells us how to be saved. We have that and we can use and perpetuate that. Anything else besides that is speculation at best because we simply do not know. One thing is for sure though. We will all know or eternal fate.

Don't get too concerned about these since they are our attempts to explain what God is doing spiritual in the heart and spirit of humans when justified. These are topics that you could investigate in study for the benefit of talking about this with others.

I should point out that there are some that believe in yet another road to salvation, which is not supported by Scripture I should add. Some believe that righteousness or justification can be obtained by doing the right things. That is, some believe that doing good deeds and following the rules (typically of a particular church) is how one can be accepted by God and therefore saved. This is not consistent with Scripture and as a matter of fact, the Scriptures teach against such righteousness by works. The Bible teaches us that righteousness comes by faith in Christ.

 

The Word of God

Regeneration is possible because of the work of the Holy Spirit and occurs by the implanting of the word of God in the receptive heart (1 Peter 1:23,25). Jesus illustrates the importance of the word of God in general in Mark 4:3-9 and James 1:18. We hear the Gospel and either reject or accept it. This means that we either reject the Holy Spirit or we accept the Holy Spirit. Consider what Paul said.

Romans 10:14 (NKJV) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

God sends the preacher (not necessary associated with a church) to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the people. A preacher is simply one who proclaims the Gospel and should not be confused with the religious title. People respond to the Gospel preached and are saved.

The Gospel

First of all, the word gospel originates from the Hebrew word Bisar (basar). Bisar means to proclaim victory in battle and it comes from the Hebrew belief that it was because of God's divine interaction that they were victorious in battle (See 2 Samuel 4:10). From about 300 B.C. until after the time of Christ many Greek-speaking Jews translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek. The word that was used to translate Bisar was euangelizesthai that had a meaning very similar to basar. However about the time the New Testament was written euangelizesthai had evolved into a different meaning. It simply meant, "to proclaim." A noun form of the verb euangelizesthai was formed: euaggelion. The noun euaggelion was used by Christians to describe the good news of Jesus.

The earliest English translations of the Bible used the Anglo-Saxon word godspell to translate the noun euaggelion. Godspell meant "the story about a god" and was used because the story about Jesus Christ was Good News (a good message). Later as English developed the word Godspell was shortened to Gospel and the original Anglo-Saxon meaning was lost with this change.

Now since euaggelion was specific to the good news of Jesus Christ, some translators used other words to translate the word basar in the Old Testament to avoid the confusion that may occur by references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Therefore, they used other words to distinguish the good news of Jesus Christ and the good news promised by the prophets. These translators often use glad tidings or an equivalent for the Hebrew basar. The word gospel is therefore more than just good news. The word gospel refers to the deliverance that God has already affected by his power and will. God has already delivered us and we proclaim this deliverance, which is through Jesus Christ. The story (good news) about Jesus Christ describes the deliverance that God has provided for us. The gospel reveals the power of God in action through Jesus' birth (born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit), death, resurrection (raised from the dead by the power of God), and his ascension (back to the Father).

A scripture definition of the gospel is given in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.

(1 Corinthians 15:1-8 KJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; {2} By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. {3} For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; {4} And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: {5} And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: {6} After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. {7} After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. {8} And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Paul also said:

(Romans 1:16 KJV) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

The Gospel, according to Paul, is the power of God. Recalling our previous discussion of the word gospel, we see that the gospel is really the story about Jesus Christ. This includes how he was born of a virgin, died on the cross for us, raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven to the Father.

Illumination

Regeneration relates to the total person: heart, mind, body (effectively). See Mark 12:30. Regeneration first involves illumination of the inner man (mind) so that he can see his sinful plight and know that he needs salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4,6, Acts 2:23,36, Acts 26:17-18. Illumination opens the eyes of a person and they realize their sinful state and that they need to be saved.

Satan has the entire world in darkness and thus deceived. We think we can be righteous by "being a good person" by following rules. Some are so deceived that they don't realize their degenerate state. No one is righteous on his or her own (Romans 3:9-18). The world is enslaved by a realm of darkness (Colossians 1:13, John 3:19). Illumination allows us to see, showing us that we are lost and need to be saved. Note that our ability to see our sinful state is due to the Holy Spirit and should not be confused with a type of mental enlightenment. The Holy Spirit basically takes the covers off of the lie that we live in that we think all is well but in actuality we are doomed. The Holy Spirit comes into a room filled with people doing sinful deeds and turns the lights on so that all would see. This is illumination.

Conviction

Conviction of sin must occur in order for regeneration to take place. Conviction is an acute awareness that you are a sinner and guilty as such before God. It is a sense of guilt or shame that leads to repentance. Conviction brings about a sorrow that surpasses simple remorse. Conviction brings on extreme grief on the inside as you are aware that you are effectively against God and that your sinful nature keeps you separated from Him.

The Holy Spirit brings about this conviction (Acts 2:37, John 16:8). This type of conviction involves the very core of an individual. See 2 Corinthians 7:10, Matthew 27:4. I think of this as the affects of the awareness of the truth. We grow up thinking that all is well and yet one day we are face to face with the truth and realize that our life was a lie. All is not well. Instead, all is very bad. We find we are dead and that we are sinful mess. Things brings on great sorrow, which leads to a desire to make things right.

Repentance

Repentance is the process of turning from the old to the new. Repentance sets the stage for regeneration. After a person is convicted of sin, the next step is to decide to turn over a new leaf on life. It is the process of deciding to leave the old ways behind and to head towards the new way of life. An Old Testament illustration of repentance can be found in 2 Chronicles 6:36-39. We can also see God's response to repentance in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Repentance involves the will of a person. It is the movement of self away from the sinful way to God's way. Thought the will of the person is involved here, I should point out that this process is continuing because of the work of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit didn't show you the truth and convict you of your sins then you would not repent. You would have no need to repent in such a case since you would think that your current path is OK.

The precursor to true repentance can be found in the Old Testament. Israel was constantly called to repent (Example: Ezekiel 33:11). Another example of conviction that leads to repentance can be found in the book of Acts (Acts 2:38). The people repented after being convicted of their sin of killing Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist preached repentance (Matthew 3:8). Jesus preached repentance too (See Matthew 4:17). Repentance leads the way for newness and thus, conversion.

Regeneration (Born Again)

Jesus told Nicodemus that "...no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." - John 3:3b. He also said that we couldn't enter the kingdom unless we are born of water and the spirit - a new birth (John 3:5). Therefore, in order to be saved from the kingdom of darkness and saved to the kingdom of God, you must be born again. In the same way we are citizens of a particular country by birth, we become citizens of the kingdom of God by birth. If you are not born again then you are not part of the kingdom of God and therefore will remain dead until you are completely and forever separated from the presence of God (What Revelations calls the second death). See also Galatians 4:4-7.

Why didn't God just forget about man after he sinned and just start over on another planet or something? Why did He bother to provide redemption for man? The Bible says

"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" - John 3:16 (NIV) God loved us though we were in sin and separated from Him. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (See Romans 5:8). Christ died because God the father loved us. God sent Jesus Christ into the world to save the world and not to condemn the world (See John 3:17). When we receive this salvation we become children of God and joint heirs with Christ (See John 1:12,13, Galatians 4:7).

Realize that salvation is totally available because of what God did. God initiated a way for us to be saved since we could never turn to him in our sinful state.

 

Concepts Relating to Salvation

Let us continue by looking at the concepts pertaining to salvation. First we will look briefly how the law fits in with salvation and we will then look at the work of Christ in salvation. After that we will look briefly at several concepts that are associated with and are apart of the exegesis (explanation) of salvation. These include Justification, redemption, propitiation, grace, predestination, election, and foreknowledge.

I believe an understanding of these will help you grasp the true meaning and implication of salvation so that no one will be able to come and deceive you with a false Gospel. If nothing else, Christians should be certain of salvation and know intimately the things that are involved with salvation. Christians should be sufficiently equipped to rightly divide the word of truth pertaining to salvation.

This lesson is therefore designed to provide you with information regarding salvation. Most of the items here will require additional study, as they are doctrines in themselves (The doctrines of election and predestination for example).

The Law and Salvation

What purpose did the law have in relation to salvation? Is there a relationship between the law of God in the Old Testament and the justification in the New Testament? The answer is yes. The law did have a place in the whole salvation plan of God. Consider the following scripture.

Galatians 3:24-25 (NKJV) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Paul calls the law a tutor (schoolmaster) whose purpose was to bring us to Christ. What did the law do? The law revealed sin as sin and sinners as sinners. The law revealed the true condition of man, which was ungodly at best. Consider the following scriptures.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."

Romans 7:13 (NKJV) Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

God, through the law, revealed to humans that they are sinful and that what we do is sin.

What is the Law?

What is the law? What does "law" in the Bible mean? The word law could be used to identify several things over a period of time.

  1. "Book of the law" (Deuteronomy and specifically the ten commandments)
  2. Pentateuch (Also known as the Torah in the beginning)
  3. The Law and The prophets: All of the OT law except the prophetic books.
  4. "The traditions of the elders," which were elaborations on the law given by God. See Mark 7:5, 9

In general, the law is the expression of the character of God to humans. The law gave humans insight as to what God is like and therefore how we should govern our lives.

The law had at least two purposes.

  1. Convict us of sin by illumination of our sinful ways as being sin
  2. Point us to Christ (See Galatians 3:24,25)

The law was useful to restrain evil in that it affixed penalties on transgressions. Consider that humans have an overall sense of right and wrong, of morality, and fairness. These are the result of the awareness of God's law, which is really an expression of God's character. See 1 Timothy 1:9-10.

The law of God was in many ways a guardrail for God's people. It revealed the character of God but it also served as a means of controlling humans even in their sinful ways.

The law points to Christ through the sacrifices of the Old Testament (actually the underlying principle of those sacrifices).

  1. The scapegoat (Leviticus 16:6-10)
  2. The atonement sacrifices

Salvation in the Old Testament

We see in the Old Testament that Abraham was justified by faith and that justification was available totally by God's grace and election.

  • Romans 4
  • Joshua 24:2-5,14

The Old Testament law and sacrifices for sin were stepping-stones to Jesus Christ. The law prepared the way for Jesus Christ in that it brought the character and Way of God into plain view and it showed that our way is ungodly (unrighteous).

Also, note that God initiated all of the sacrifices and laws that pertained to the forgiveness of sins and righteousness. There was nothing that the people could have done to justify themselves towards God.

Man was powerless to save himself and unless God had not intervened then we all would still have destruction as our eternal abode. So God provided a method of justification even in the Old Testament though the method was not sufficient to permanently remove the death from sin from the hearts of people.

Hebrews 9:11-14 (NKJV) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The Old Testament was a glimpse into the future at the promise, which was Jesus Christ. The salvation obtained in the Old Testament could not cover the sins of all people nor was it sufficient for permanent justification.

The Work of Jesus Christ

We are able to receive salvation because of the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised from the dead for the sole purpose of saving us from our sins. The Bible declares:

(Matthew 1:21 NIV) "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

For a long time I was perplexed by the phrase, "his people" in the above verse. Who are his people and does this mean that those who are not his people cannot be saved. The phrase "his people" comes from the Greek word Laos, which means:

  • A people (as opposed to the general populous or people as a whole, which is the Greek demos)
  • One's own populace
  • People group
  • Tribe
  • Nation
  • All those who are of the same stock and language

This therefore seems to refer to the concept of predestination and election, which we will discuss later in this study. In short, we can say that Jesus Christ will save Christians (the believers) from their sins (the penalty of sin, which is death. See Romans 6:23). The word save in the above verse should be placed in the context of the Christian group and not in some group that belongs to God before the people of that group are saved. The later would imply that there are people that belong to God whom God will call and therefore save. The remaining people do not belong to God and therefore cannot be saved. This is not the case; though one might see something like that in the above verse in the fact that Jesus told the religious leaders that they were of their father the Devil (John 8:44).

Jesus has provided salvation but how does Jesus' perfect and sufficient sacrifice apply to us? Note that it is important to realize that Jesus' sacrifice for our sins was sufficient and that nothing else is required to save us. That is extremely important because many believe that there are additional things that they have to do (words) in order to be saved. The fact is that Jesus has completed all that is necessary for us to be saved. All that remains is that we believe in Jesus Christ.

Now let's discuss some of the concepts pertaining to salvation.

Concepts of Salvation

There are several concepts that are important in understanding the mechanisms of salvation. Some are as follows.

  1. Justification
  2. Redemption
  3. Propitiation
  4. Grace
  5. Predestination
  6. Election
  7. Foreknowledge

Let's briefly discuss these now.

Justification

Justification is the process of being made acceptable to God. Justification is being declared righteous by God through Jesus Christ. We should also note that justification is a gift of God that we can freely enjoy yet not earn. We cannot save ourselves so we cannot earn justification or justify ourselves based on some godly formula.

Non-Imputing of Sin - Read Psalm 32:2, Romans 4:8, and 2 Corinthians 5:19. Non-imputing means non-reckoning or non-accounting of sin. Though sin is present, God does not hold it against us. This non-imputing does not mean that God simply overlooks or pretends that the sin isn't there. He simply does not hold it against us due to the regeneration process. He doesn't hold it against us because we have been born again and united with Christ. See Romans 8:31-34.

Imputation of Righteousness of Jesus Christ - Instead of imputing our sins to us, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ on us. Therefore, our righteousness is found in Jesus Christ. See 1 Corinthians 1:30. Again note that God doesn't make us righteous by injecting us with righteousness that engulfs our very being nor does he transform us into a pure righteous being. Instead, God declares us righteous by Christ Jesus.

See also Acts 13:39, Romans 3:20-26, 5:1, Galatians 2:16, 5:4.

Redemption

Redemption is the deliverance by payment of a price. Sometimes the word ransom is used though that seems to introduce theological difficulties, which is beyond the scope of this study. Christ freed us by paying the price, and therefore becoming the propitiation for our sins as we discussed above.

  • We are free from sin and death.
  • We are free to serve God.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:23 (NKJV) You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

See also 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Christ redeemed us from sin and death by satisfying the righteous requirement of the law and fulfilling the demands of God pertaining to sin. Note again that the redemptive act of Jesus Christ was initiated solely by God. There is nothing that we could have done to redeem ourselves.

Christ is therefore our redeemer to whom we owe our very lives. As a result, one could say that our salvation was purchased at a great price so to speak. Again, superficially a theological dilemma seems to exist here but really does not. That discussion is beyond the scope of this lesson. Consider investigating the concept of ransom in relation to God's provision of salvation.

See also Galatians 3:13, 4:5, Romans 3:24, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:12.

Propitiation

Propitiation is the act of appeasing what God demands. God demands death (separation) as a result of sin. Therefore, we should all die and be eternally separated from God because all have sinned. However, the death of Jesus Christ appeased God in that it met God's demand for the penalty of sin.

If it were not for Jesus Christ then we would have to die for our own sins. All would be lost.

Romans 3:21-26 (NKJV) But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

See also Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 4:10.

Grace

Grace is unmerited favor extended to someone. In other words, grace is when God extended His love towards us by giving Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins even though we did not deserve it. Grace is not earned but freely extended. Grace is the foundation of salvation because we do not deserve it, could do nothing to obtain it, and yet God provides it to us anyway.

Election

God's choice refers to His election. It is very necessary that we understand the concept of God's election and God's elect. First of all, God's election does not refer to those who God has already chosen to be saved while the remainder is destined for the second death

God's election in the New Testament is not discriminatory. His election includes all, by their free will, who believes. Therefore, election includes the component of human responsibility since we have the final choice of accepting or rejecting salvation. So we individually must respond to the call of salvation from God. Understand that salvation is not totally up to us. There is a mystery in regards to the doctrine of predestination, which we will discuss shortly.

Our ability to believe is not due to our election as the Calvinists suppose. We are also not elected due to God's foresight of our faith as the Arminianists suppose. Calvinism holds to the belief that we are only able to believe or accept the Gospel of Christ to salvation because we were already chosen by God to do so. The Arminians hold that the only reason that God elected certain individuals to receive salvation is because he already knew that those individuals would receive it.

Those who are outside of election (not saved) are still being called to salvation by God. There will always be a call from God to salvation as long as one is unsaved and still living.

Predestination

Predestination refers the doctrine where God's sovereignty is over all things and yet the human will is preserved. This is indeed a mystery that we have yet to understand fully. Predestination upholds the followinig.

  1. God is sovereign and he has predestined the course of human history. God is in complete control
  2. God's sovereignty does not negate human free will and choice. In other words, God is in complete control and humans have the power of free choice, even in salvation.

This leads to two basic concepts in regards to salvation and predestination.

  1. Salvation is not fully dependent on us (see 2 Corinthians 5:19. God was reconciling the world to Himself through Christ. We had nothing to do with this. All we have to do is receive in order to make what God made available to us a reality.
  2. Salvation is not fully dependent on God (See John 3:16). We have to believe in order to realize the salvation that was provided by Jesus Christ.

Predestination also refers to God's election. See Ephesians 1-4; Romans 8:28-30. We must realize that predestination in scripture ONLY refers to salvation. It is never used in association with Hell, damnation, heaven, etc. See Ephesians 1:5,11; Romans 8:29-30. Therefore, it is very wrong to conjecture that God has predestined some to salvation and others to eternal damnation. Look carefully at Romans 8:29-30.

(Romans 8:29-30 NIV) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. {30} And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

This simply tells us that God has already entered into a relationship with those who would believe, i.e., Christians. It does not imply that God chose who those would be. For example, I may say that I will be a friend with anyone in the GoodTime organization. Whoever is part of the Goodtime organization is a separate concern. Whoever is part of that organization, now and in the future, I have already determined that I would be their friend. I believe that the same principle applies to predestination and foreknowledge. God has already determined, before time began, that he would have a personal relationship with all of His people, namely Christians, and these people will be in the image of His son Jesus Christ. This seems to be in line with the statement in Matthew 1:21.

There is no scripture evidence that suggests that Jesus' actions were limited to those whom God pre-determined would be saved (would believe). Jesus died for all and we have the responsibility to believe (John 3:16).

The only barrier between the elected ones and the non-elect is unbelief (John 3:19). Jesus didn't come to save some (those that were pre-ordained for salvation) and condemn others. Non-believers are condemned by their own unbelief.

Foreknowledge

Foreknowledge is directly related to predestination and election. As a matter of fact, you can't talk about any one of the three without referring to the others. There are three instances of the term "foreknowledge" or "foreknew: in the Bible. They are as follows.

  1. Romans 8:29
  2. Romans 11:2
  3. 1 Peter 1:2
  4. Acts 2:23

It is interesting that none of these refer to the act or state of knowing what will happen in the future. In other words, all instances of the word "foreknowledge" refer to people not events. When the Bible "says" foreknew, it refers to God knowing someone and not what that someone would do.

Therefore, God's foreknowledge is more relationship oriented then event oriented. So God's foreknowledge refers to those that God already knows.

Another interesting point about the word "know" is that it sometimes refers to an intimate relationship such as the phrase, "to know his wife." So again we see that knowing in a biblical sense could refer to a relationship instead of mere intellectual knowledge.

It is very important to realize that God's election is not based on His foreknowledge. That is, God didn't choose one person over another because he knew what they would do. No. Consider the following scripture.

Romans 8:29-30 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Foreknowledge must be the background of election instead of foreordination. The concept of foreordination implies an election to eternal unbelief. It implies that God elects some to salvation and others to reprobation. This is not true. Foreknowledge leads to election, which then leads to saving faith.

God's Calling

Thus far we have investigated the meaning of salvation, the need for salvation, the road or process of salvation, and concepts pertaining to salvation. We discussed topics such as repentance, illumination, regeneration, justification, propitiation, redemption, predestination, and more. We even discussed the place of the law within the context of salvation. These topics help to give us a more complete perspective of salvation. I call this the "Big Picture." Now we will put a cap on it, so to speak.

In this lesson we are going to talk about God's calling to salvation. We are going to investigate what God calls us to and what His calling means to us. We hope to develop the big picture in regards to salvation, which will come from the data (scriptures), though only God knows the actual big picture. Understanding the big picture is important because it forces you to look at things from a principle level. This will provide us with principles to live by and grant us a more complete understanding of what the Bible teaches in my opinion.

I hope that you will become liberated in regards to salvation and realize the true purpose of your salvation. I pray that your knowledge of salvation would protect you from the plethora of teachings that would rob you of your liberty in Christ. I pray that you would be free from the rules and regulations that people develop in order to control you and cause you to be incapable of obeying God.

More Concepts Regarding Salvation

I would like to discuss a few more concepts before we get moving on the call of God to salvation. I believe these are important because they further clarify the context of salvation regarding God's call, which reveals his purpose for salvation. Let's briefly discuss forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, and prosperity.

Forgiveness of Sins

One major aspect of salvation is that our sins have been forgiven us. After all, it is because of sin that we are separated from God in the first place.

Colossians 1:14 (NKJV) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:13-14 (NKJV) And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

The key to understanding this in the context of salvation is to first understand what forgiveness means. The word forgiveness means: The giving up of resentment or claim to requital of an offense. Forgiveness is conditioned on repentance and the willingness to make reparations, or atonement. The effect of forgiveness is the restoration of both parties to the former state of relationship. The Hebrew word for "forgive" means to pardon or spare. The Greek word for "forgive" means to send forth, lay aside, let go, omit, put (send) away. In general we can say that to forgive is to release the resentment caused by an offense for the purpose of restoring the relationship.

Sin separates us from God and forgiveness of sins allows us to get back into right relations with God. Therefore, righteousness requires that redemption since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Humans are born with the sin nature and this nature keeps us from true fellowship with God. Therefore, salvation brings upon us the forgiveness of our sins so that we can be seen as righteous before the Lord. Keep in mind that this righteousness is through Jesus Christ and not obtained by anything that we could do.

The forgiveness of God is a powerful and complete occurrence. It doesn't matter how bad you think you are or how bad you think you were. You are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and your sins are therefore forgiven if indeed you are saved. Your sins are forgiven and you are justified if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sin is still sin

I wanted to take a moment and stress the fact that sin is still sin whether you are saved or not. The only difference is that those who are saved have an advocate and intercessor before the Lord God. The Bible says,

1 John 1:8-9 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So even Christians will do contrary to the will and Way of God. Even those who are saved will do unrighteous things. The Bible says that all unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). However, we have access to the forgiveness of God because we are saved. Our sins are forgiven us as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. Sin can also be thought of as the transgression of a law. In the case of the New Testament, it is to transgress the way of God's righteousness.

Therefore, though we have been forgiven sin, we still can commit sin in the sense that we sometimes will do those things that are not righteous. I should also point out that sometimes sin is subjective. Consider the following scripture.

Romans 7:14-16 (NKJV) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

There is constantly a war going on between the human nature and the Spirit of God that dwells in those who are regenerated (saved, born again, etc.). We still have to do all we can to fight the desire of the flesh to rebel against God.

Though our sins are forgiven and a war is raged in our minds, we still should be careful of thinking that we have a blank check to sin. However, I believe that a true Christian, that is someone that has been truly regenerated, would as a matter of course not have such a disposition. A person that is truly regenerated wants to do right even though he or she may not do so all of the time. Still, the sin that is committed does bring on conviction and grief. This should be followed by an awareness of forgiveness as even our guilt can cause us to be ineffective in God's kingdom.

Sin, Right, and Wrong

Sin is not a matter of right and wrong. It is rather a matter of righteousness and unrighteousness. What is right or wrong is subjective. The Bible says that all unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). Therefore, anything that is not in right standing with God's Way is sin. Our concept of sin is based on the rules that man fabricates for the most part. We consider something as sinful if it appears to break our rules. However, sin is to transgress God's way and to act outside of righteousness. This begins in the heart and comes from the heart to manifest a particular action. This is what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5:21-30 for example.

There are things that are sinful, wrong, unlawful, taboo, and inappropriate. However not all of these are unrighteous in the strict since (remembering that God says to obey the laws of the land in Romans 13:1). We have made up some of our own rules. Right and wrong, for example, are many times developed by the society that we live in and sometimes we can confuse the adherence to those as being godly. For example, different cultures have different customs for greeting, what is considered rude, etc. If I am in a certain country and do something that is considered sin then I have indeed sinned but only within the boundary of that culture. That wouldn't be called sin against God so to speak. Paul discussed this same principle when he was instructing the Corinthian church in regards to their liberty in Christ and eating meat that was sacrificed to idols (See 1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Now you see why following the rules is not sufficient for us to leave a life of sin. We need Jesus in order to be free from sin. We do not have the power within us to forsake the life of sin and live a holy and righteous life. We become holy (set apart) when we are born again and reconciled to God and this is done through Jesus Christ.

The Hell Syndrome

I am sure you have heard statements like, "If you were to die today, would you go to heaven?" This statement is then followed by something like, "If you don't know if you'd go to heaven if you would die right now then come up to the altar." Sometimes people respond to such a call. Note that this call is not to salvation. Rather, such a call is to escape the hell that is preached. Who wants to burn for eternity? Sure I will do what you say if that will help me to avoid burning forever. However, salvation is obtained by responding to the Gospel of Christ and not to the scare tactics of many.

A person that desires to escape hell is not necessary entering into a relationship with the Lord. Therefore, it is paramount that we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not the gospel of hell. A person is not saved just because they want to escape hell. A person is saved when they believe in Jesus Christ.

Reconciliation

Consider the following scripture.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The word "reconcile" in the above scripture means to bring back two parties that were at odds with each other into friendly relations, to bring back into favor with or to receive one into favor. This highlights the grace of God in that God reconciled us, that is, brought us back into favor with him. Also note that our reconciliation can only occur through Christ. We cannot be reconciled to God on our own especially since reconciliation is due to what God has done and not what we have done or can do.

To be reconciled to God is to be brought back into right relations with Him. It is to be put at peace with God almighty, the creator of the universe and all that is in it. It was we who first sinned against God and it was we that separated ourselves from God. However, God in his great mercy and grace chose to bring us back into righteousness. This demonstrated the great love that he has for us since we could not bring ourselves back into right relations with Him.

You are now at peace with God if indeed you are saved (justified). Through Jesus Christ you have peace and right relations with God almighty. You have been reconciled to God.

Prosperity

Being saved does not mean that you are going to be wealthy. It surely means that God will take care of you as one of His children. However, that doesn't mean a life of prosperity if you define prosperity in terms of the accumulation of things (cars, money, jewelry, etc.). Sure God can heal you and prosper you. However, there are people that loved God and still died of an illness. That doesn't mean that he or she was any less godly than those who are well. We don't always understand why things happen and we tend to feel that God should just heal all Christians that are sick, especially those close to us. The fact of the matter is that such doesn't always happen. There will always be pains that we have to deal with.

The prosperity teaching of today appeals to our human lusts for riches as if wealth is the panacea of life. The panacea for life is instead Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). The promises of riches, wealth, and health are not part of the plan of salvation. Consider the following scripture, which is wrongly taught in the prosperity circles.

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.

The healing here refers to the healing of the spirit not the body. Yes God will heal us but not all are healed. That is evident if we would truthfully acknowledge this. Some are healed and some are not and we don't know why. However, Jesus Christ heals the spirit of man from its sickness.

I should also bring your attention to the fact that the Bible's concept of prosperity is not the same as you hear in many Charismatic circles. Just take a look at the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five for example and note how blessing is perceived. However, the main thing that I would like to point out here is that prosperity is not synonymous with salvation. Not all will be prosperous but we all should love and trust God.

God's Calling

One of the most important things you should know about salvation is that it was initiated and completed by God. God calls us to salvation and if he hadn't then we would be eternally lost. However, God's love for us caused Him to provide a way to life. Now we should keep in mind that salvation is not merely for you to go to heaven. God didn't call us to salvation just so that we could go to heaven and therefore escape hell. There is a lot more to God's calling to salvation than it appears if you don't see salvation in its entire scope.

God calls us to himself! God calls to a right relationship with Him. God wants you! Now that you are saved, you can fulfill your godly purpose, though we should consider that God uses the ungodly according to his will as well. One significant factor about your salvation is that it puts you in right relations with God and then we can fulfill our "original" purpose. The God of this universe chose you through the call to salvation.

Your Purpose

The culmination of our salvation is justification, which places us at peace with God. I can now do the things that God wants me to do and I can do them his way because I can now "see" the Kingdom of God. I am now equipped to obey God so to speak. You have answered the call to salvation, which is really a call to fellowship so to speak. Now you can live and fulfill your godly purpose since now you have Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We are all equipped to do something. This equipping does not necessarily have to do with ministry in the church organization. As a matter of fact, I believe you should not be concerned about the church organization because it is part of the problem of people not knowing God in the first place. It is in many cases the church organization that is in the way of a person really knowing God and therefore doing what He wants. OK. Enough of that.

What is your calling? The Bible says that ultimately our duty is to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Jesus also told us one thing that we should all live our life by and therefore called to do.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

If nothing else, we are called to love. After all, God is love (See 1 John 4:8,16). But how can we love if the love of God is not in us? How can we truly radiate the love of God and express that love towards God and others if the love of God is not in us? The answer is that we can't (See 1 John 4:12-13).

Do What's In You

Don't seek your purpose. Just do what is in you. Remember that you can now do the things that God wants of you because you are saved. You are empowered by His Spirit to live God's way. Sin doesn't have to be in your way anymore because you have the liberty of Jesus Christ flowing through your inner being. Just do what is in you, which is what God placed in you for your purpose. Don't think that purpose has to be something that is prestigious in the world system, which includes the church organization. Some are called to be good parents for example. Some are called to be firemen, policemen, housekeepers, librarians, doctors, lawyers, etc. Just do what God put in you to do.

I asked a pastor once how he knew that he was ready to pastor. That pastor told me that that's not the way it works. He said to just do what God put in you to do. Be who you are and develop the things that God has placed in you. I did just that and God has blessed me in ministry in a great way since those days in the early 1990's.

The Simplicity of the Gospel

Now we have covered quite a bit of material in regards to salvation. In particular, we looked at various concepts of salvation such as predestination, election, and foreknowledge. We also looked at different philosophies of salvation such as Calvinism and Arminianism. Do you know what the strange thing is? These really don't matter for those who are saved as long as you know them. The Bible simply says that if we believe in Jesus Christ then we are saved.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It doesn't matter if God predestined you to salvation or if you were elected. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? If so then you are saved. It's that simple. You don't have to worry about election, predestination, foreknowledge, the rapture, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, amillenialism, pre-millenialism, etc. None of those matter because the bottom line is that you are saved. Understanding what this salvation means will protect you from falling into false doctrine (See Galatians 1:6-7).

People will challenge your actions and challenge your Christianity. People will make you feel that God has turned his back on you because you did something so bad. The bottom line is that you are saved. The war is going on in your members and you will sin (See 1 John 1:8). However, remember that you are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and that your sins are forgiven. Regardless of how bad you think you are take refuge in the fact that your sins are forgiven and you are not unsaved.

If you are saved then you are righteous through Jesus Christ. Consider the following.

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

God doesn't condemn you (See John 3:18) nor does he accuse you and hold your sins over your head. God does not induce guilt to destroy you so know that anything that comes against you to separate you from the love of God is not of God. Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand (Matthew 12:25).

God called you to salvation and you answered if indeed you are saved. God called you to right relations with Him. That is the whole of it. It's not about prosperity, speaking in tongues, healing the sick, and all of the other things that you might think. Salvation is ultimate about the relationship between humans and God being restored. It is about us obtaining a right relationship with God the father and this can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ. Also keep in mind that God initiated this salvation as there is nothing we could have done to obtain it and there is no reason why sinful man would want to head to the light (See John 1).

So are you saved? If so then you have established right relations with God. Consider that God created all that there is and you have a relationship with Him. Do you see how liberating this is? Your security is in Christ not man. Your trust and allegiance is to God and not your church or pastor. Of myself, the only thing that I could do is bring you down. However, with the Holy Spirit working through me and in me, He can edify you. You don't have to do what you are told except to obey God. You don't have to blindly follow the rules just in case they are right. You only need to obey God. Do what God says. Strive to know Him and do what He wants you to do. Feel how liberating it is to forsake what doesn't matter to be faithful to God's purpose.

Philippians 3:8-12 (NKJV) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

God has called you to salvation and you have answered that call if indeed you are saved. God has called you to fulfill his purpose and live according to his kingdom and now you can since the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Have assurance of your salvation and don't let anyone rob you of the knowledge of the reconciliation that you have with the Father. The religious system will try to take that away from you so that you would be loyal to it instead of God.

Be on guard at all times so that you remain loyal to the Lord and not become oppressed and deceived by the religious institutions. Know that you are saved because you believe in Jesus Christ. Don't define your relationship with God by the doctrine and dogma of the religious institutions. Define your relationship with God according to the word. If you are saved then you are reconciled and have the righteousness of God inside of you. That's it. Don't allow yourself to be deceived by pastors, elders, bishops, and the like to rob you of the joy and fellowship that you have with Christ. Be certain of your salvation. Keep your faith in Christ and know that is all that is required. Remember that our overall duty is to obey God not the religious system. Remember the calling that God has on your life and do it. Amen.

 


THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
May 4, 2003
2003 William R. Cunningham

By: 
William R. Cunningham