Salvation is a major tenet of Christianity while many aspects of it are debated within the Church. Without a biblical description of our salvation, we are in danger of sharing a faith of which we do not understand.
God Is the Initiator
We cannot know God unless He initiates the connection.
Looking to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
- Common grace is the general kindness that God bestows upon all people.
- Special grace is the specific mercy that God does not automatically grant to all people.
- The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made (Ps. 145:9).
- But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:44-45).
- God graciously concerns Himself with the quality of life for all humanity – not just His people.
- “Francis Schaeffer once said that when it comes to matters of common grace, the Christian must work with all kinds of people who are not Christians” (Sproul 218).
- “When I march for the rights of the unborn, I will stand next to anyone, if they share the same concern…However, I will not stand shoulder to shoulder in a worship service with members of a Satanic cult or sit at a prayer breakfast with Muslims, because such events fall in the real of special grace” (Sproul 218).
- Regardless of the disagreements regarding salvation, a biblical approach must begin with God serving as the initiator.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:3-6).
- While the role of election may be debated, its presence cannot be denied.
- At the heart of election communicates the shocking realization that God would desire any of us.
- The gospel is the good news of what Christ has done – not the good wisdom of what we must do.
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16).
We Are the Responders
We cannot know God unless we respond to His call.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9).
- Protestant Essential Aspects of Saving Faith *Sproul 238
- Notitia refers to the content of faith, or those things that we believe.
- Assensus is our conviction that the content of our faith is true.
- Fiducia refers to personal trust and reliance.
- You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder (James 2:19)!
- Saving faith is a bold declaration that Jesus is the only appropriate substitute for sinners like us.
- Many people desire a Savior for sin but reject a Lord for obedience.
- Repentance is a necessary accompaniment to saving faith.
- While not complete and exhaustive, conversion should incorporate a genuine turning from a former way of life.
- “The Greek word for ‘repentance,’ metanoia, literally means ‘a change of mind’” (Sproul 240).
- The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentence (2 Pet. 3:9).
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.