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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 8: Salvation
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Q1 What is salvation?

Salvation is God’s gift to mankind and comprises a number of life-changing blessings:

• Light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Lk 1:79)

• The grace of His calling (Eph 1:18; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 5:10)

• Freedom from the bondage of sin (Lk 1:77; Rom 6:17–18)

• Deliverance from condemnation, judgment and punishment (Rom 5:16; 1 Thess 1:10; Heb 9:27)

• Justification (Rom 3:24; Gal 2:16; Tit 3:7)

• Glory (Rom 5:2; 8:30; Heb 2:10; 1 Pet 5:10)

• The assurance of everlasting life (Rom 6:22–23)

God’s salvation is for everyone: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Tit 2:11); “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6). 

Q2 Why is it important?

Salvation is important because it entails that:

Our sins are forgiven (Lk 1:77; Acts 5:31). We are powerless to change our own sinful condition—we need the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7). God removes our sin and confers His righteousness and justification upon us—freely and graciously (Rom 3:21–26; 4:5–8).

We gain eternal life (Jn 10:28). After the fall of our first ancestors, we were destined to die in sin, physically and spiritually. However, the salvation of God has meant that “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life...” (Jn 3:36). This blessing is also referred to as the “grace of life” (1 Pet 3:7) and the “[passing] from death into life” (Jn 5:24). Paul says, “So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21). 

 Q3 Why does God want to save us?

God wants to save us because He loves us (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:10, 16) and because He is merciful and gracious (Lk 1:77–78; Tit 3:5). He has “loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace” (2 Thess 2:16) and is “rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” (Eph 2:4).

Q4 When did God reveal His plan of salvation?

God prepared His plan of salvation before the beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9) and spoke of it through the Old Testament prophets (Heb 1:1). Nevertheless, the full mystery was not revealed until the appointed time (1 Pet 1:10, 12).

Jesus Christ finally made known God’s salvation when He came to the world. Hence, when the devout Simeon saw the baby Jesus in the temple, the Holy Spirit inspired him to say, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples” (Lk 2:29–31).

Q5 How has God manifested His grace?   

The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not that of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). God revealed His grace through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14, 16–17), who came to the world to redeem us with His own precious blood (Eph 1:7) and to give us the hope of eternal life (2 Tim 1:10). Hence, John writes, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (Jn 1:16).

Today, we receive God’s grace when we hear and respond to the gospel with faith. Paul says, “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?...So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:14, 17). In other words, God calls us through the gospel, but we need to do our part by believing in Jesus (Mk 16:15–16), obeying the gospel (2 Thess 1:8) and holding fast our confidence to the end (Heb 3:14).

Q6 What does repentance have to do with salvation?

We need to repent because God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). It entails that we:

Humble ourselves before God. The Bible says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5; cf. Prov ​​3:34). In a parable of Jesus, we learn of a tax collector who was accepted by God because he knew to ask for mercy, unlike the proud and complacent Pharisee (Lk 18:9–14).

Acknowledge that we are sinners. We should confess our sins before God (Acts 2:38; Lk 19:8–9) and change our ways (Lk 3:8; Acts 3:26; Jas 5:19–20). Without repentance, our faith in God will be superficial and lack grounding in the truth.

Fear God. “Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him…” (Ps 85:9). We can learn from the devout Jews at Pentecost who, when cut to the heart by the gospel, accepted salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22–41).

Q7 Is faith alone not sufficient?

Faith in Jesus Christ is certainly important; however, faith alone cannot save us—we also need to follow through with our actions. Elder James says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (Jas 2:14).

The Bible records many examples to highlight the importance of faith with works. For example, when Jesus was healing a blind man, He instructed him to wash in the pool of Siloam (Jn 9:1–7). If the man had merely believed in Jesus, but failed to act, he would not have regained his sight (Jn 9:7). In another example, a woman suffering from a haemorrhage touched the garment of Jesus. Without this action, she would not have experienced His healing power (Lk 8:43–48). 

While it is true that we are saved by God’s grace through faith, it is also the case that He expects us to fulfil some practical requirements.

            But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

            Titus 3:4–6

Here, Paul points out that God saves us through His mercy—but it is a mercy that is revealed when we receive water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This truth is reinforced by Peter who preaches, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Also, Jesus Himself says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16).

In summary, we need to believe and have faith in Jesus for salvation. But we also need to manifest our faith by carrying out God’s requirements: to repent, receive water baptism and to ask God for the Holy Spirit.


© 2012 True Jesus Church.

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