WE BELIEVE salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This experience is also known as the new birth and is an instantaneous and complete operation of the Holy Spirit whereupon the believing sinner is regenerated, justified, and adopted into the family of God and becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus, (Titus 2;11; 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:1) and an heir of eternal life.
The central message of the gospel is, “How man can be saved”. We have already seen how man was separated from God by sin, the price that was paid to atone for man’s sin and now we are going to look at what man must do to be saved.
I. TWO THINGS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION.
Acts 20:21 contains Paul’s simple message of salvation that he preached wherever he went, i.e. “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD.
(Greek ) – Metanoia – a change of mind. It involves a turning from sin and a turning towards God.
(Illustration) – The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:18 – Arose, left his sin and went to his father.
Signs of Repentance.
1. Remorse for sin.
2 Cor 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation …”
is more than just a sorrow for sins consequences. It is a sorrow that comes from the understanding of being wrong.
2. Hatred of Sin.
Psalm 51; David wrote this psalm once his sin with Bethsheba was exposed. It clearly shows the heart of a truly repentant sinner.
3. Confession of sin.
John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession is accepting responsibility for sin. It says, “I am guilty and I ask for forgiveness”. It is not blame shifting or making excuses for mitigating circumstances.
4. Renunciation of Sin.
is making the conscious decision – “I’m not going to sin anymore.” – (to the best of your strength).
Is 1:16, “cease to do evil”.
Is 55:7, let wicked forsake his ways.
Eph 4:22 “put off concerning your former conduct”.
5. Desire to make restitution.
If something can be put back to its rightful place and you have the power to do it, then restitution becomes a demonstration of true repentance.
Luke 19:8, Zaccheus repents and says, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold”.
II FAITH TOWARDS OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
a. What is Faith?
1. Belief by itself is not faith.
James 2:19 says, “Demons believe and even tremble”. But they are not saved.
2. Belief must be combined with a positive action.
James 2:17 says, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”.
b. Faith has to be directed towards Christ.
1. John 1:12, “to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God”.
2. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God, John 14:6. Therefore to place faith in Christ means renouncing any other gods, deities and belief systems that oppose Christianity.
3. Romans 10:9 tells us:
– To confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ.
– To believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead.
needs to be a radical action of making Jesus totally sovereign over our lives. Allowing Him to guide us, direct us and help us to make decisions that are Christ honouring.
III NEW TESTAEMENT WORDS DESCRIBING SALVATION.
a. Born Again (New Birth, New Creation).
Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”. Jn 3:3
This is a description of what happens upon entering the Kingdom of God. No one is naturally born a child of God. As heirs of the first Adam, we are born in sin. When a person repents, has faith in Christ Jesus then a second birth happens – the new birth. They are now children of God. Jn 1:12. They are separated from their past life and are now a new creation in God’s Kingdom.
2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new”.
This is an act whereby God gives man a new life. It is not the old life changed, but the impartation of a new life from above. It is not the turning over of a new leaf but a supernatural act of God that supercedes man’s natural abilities to change. It is a spiritual awakening quickened by God.
2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.
Justification involves two very important events.
The forgiveness of sins.
It is the total removal of sin so that there is no more sinful residue or guilt or impending punishment.
103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”.
The imputation of Christ’s righteousness.
This is forgiveness of sins taken a step further whereby we also receive the righteousness of Christ. God no longer looks at us and sees a sinner forgiven, but a person who is as righteous as Christ. Just as if we had never sinned.
2 Cor 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
d. The difference between Regeneration and Justification.
1.That which takes place in the believer’s heart.
2. The impartation of new life.
3 .God’s answer to spiritual death.
1.That which takes place before God
2.The declaration of righteousness in the eyes of God.
3. God’s answer to the problem of guilt
Adoption into God’s family.
This concept of adoption was a Roman one used by Paul to describe God’s total acceptance of the believer into His family. The Roman adoption was the establishing of the adopted son into an identical position with one born into the family. Romans 8:15, “you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out ‘Abba, Father’.” God has placed us into a very intimate position with full rights even to the extent where we are joint heirs with ‘His only begotten Son’ Jesus.
BENEFITS OF SALVATION
1. Access to God – Heb 10:19.
2. No condemnation – Rom 8:1.
3. Name in the Book of Life – Luke 10:20.
4. We will not be thrown into the Lake of Fire – Rev 20:15.
5. Heirs to eternal life – Titus 3:7.
6. Rights to God’s inheritance – Rom 8:14 -17.
7. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor 6:19.
1. Justified – legal term – Pronounced not guilty
2. Sanctified -temple term – Made holy
3. Redeemed – slave market term – Bought back, no longer a slave
4. Washed – bathroom term – Made clean
5. Adopted – family term – Made a part of a family
How wonderful it is to have experienced the grace of God that leads to salvation. Our desire should be that everyone gets a chance to hear this marvelous message and be given an opportunity to respond. My prayer is that God will raise up every believer and send us out as messengers of this exciting, life changing message.