The Effects of Salvation
By the sacrifice and resurrection
of Jesus Christ, we are justified. To "justify" means to declare
someone righteous, or to acquit. Its meaning is opposite that of
We are sinners who deserve to be
condemned. But if we are baptized into Christ through faith, Christ's
righteousness becomes ours. We become justified freely based on the merit of
Christ's saving work. "Since, therefore, we are now justified by his
blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Romans
5:9). We are spared from the condemnation of God's law.
When we fail and sin in our
Christian walk, Christ is there to speak on our behalf. "If anybody does
sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the
Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins..." (1 John 2:1,2 NIV). Thanks be to God for the
continuing mediation of Christ!
Sinners live in constant guilt and
fear because as lawbreakers they are under God's wrath. But through our Lord
Jesus Christ, who is our mediator, we may come to God with confidence.
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because
of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you
by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight,
without blemish and free from accusation" (Colossians ,22). Having
reconciled us to himself, God pours out his love,
peace, joy, and comfort into our lives.
Those who have peace with God also
live at peace with others. They can love others instead of hate. They can
forgive others instead of retaliate. In the church, believers from different
ethnic and social backgrounds can unite as one body through the blood of
Christ. The reconciliation of Christ makes peace and harmony a reality.
Regeneration means being born
again, or receiving a new life. This new life is the eternal life for those who
believe in the Lord Jesus. It is also a transformation in our day-to-day lives.
"Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has
passed away, behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians ).
Regeneration is possible because
of the gospel of salvation. "You have been born anew, not of perishable
seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God" (1
Peter ). God through
Christ and his promise gives his life to us, the believers.
Regeneration is through the
baptism of water and the Holy Spirit. The Lord told Nicodemus, "truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and
the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom
of God" (John 3:5).
Through baptism, God raises us from spiritual death. He gives us his Holy
Spirit to create a new being within us. Therefore, we who have been baptized
may live a renewed life--a life pleasing to the Lord.
While we were in sin, we were
strangers to God's household. But through our belief in Christ, God adopts us
as his children and makes us a part of his household, the church. "So then
you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with
the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians ).
Not only does God forgive us, he
calls us his own. He also gives us the Holy Spirit as evidence of the adoption,
for "it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are
children of God" (Romans ).
As children of the heavenly
Father, we may receive grace, peace, and a place in his kingdom. We are
entitled to the heavenly inheritance, which is given to all who put their faith
in Christ. When Christ comes again, God will also transform our bodies into
spiritual beings like the glorious body of the resurrected Christ.
Sanctification is the setting
apart of believers to conform to God's perfect nature. God calls believers out
of darkness into light through the blood of Christ and gives us a new identity
as citizens of heaven. He frees us from a sinful and meaningless lifestyle and
enables us to be the light of this world through good deeds.
In addition to giving us a new
identity, by his grace God continues to purify us with his word and his Holy
Spirit throughout our lives. "God chose you from the beginning to be
saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2
Thessalonians ). If we
always examine our thought, speech, conduct, and goals with God's Word and seek
the fullness of the Holy Spirit, God will keep us blameless at the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:1623).
With the power of God, we will
receive glory at the coming of Christ. "Beloved, we are God's children
now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).
When our lowly bodies become like
the glorious body of Christ, salvation will be fully realized. "Our
commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus
Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the
power which enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Philippians