What is Salvation?
Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation. And this is what I want to talk about in this article.
Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison.
Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;”
More often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance. When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he must do to be saved, he was referring to the jailer’s eternal destiny.
Acts 16:30 “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Jesus equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God.
Matthew 19:24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?”
What are we Saved from?
In the Christian doctrine of salvation, we are saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin.
Matthew 26:39 KJV. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And what does that verse mean?
I'm glad you asked!
Bible commentators have debated, downplayed, exaggerated, and otherwise argued over the meaning of Jesus' words in this prayer. After asking Peter, James, and John to watch with Him, Jesus moves a bit away from them and falls on His face (Matthew 26:36–38). This posture is used throughout the Bible, and history, by those taking the most humble and submissive position possible. In prayer, before God, this reflects a person making a request of great urgency. Jesus is also clearly exhausted in this moment. Other Gospels note the incredible stress He is experiencing (Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44).
The word cup is often used in Scripture to describe God's judgment or a time of great suffering. Jesus Himself asked James and John if they could "drink the cup" assigned to Him, meaning the suffering that He would soon endure (Matthew 20:22). Jesus knew He would soon experience God's judgment for the sins of humanity on the cross. He also knew He was nearing some strain, beyond human comprehension, of His communion with the Father (Matthew 27:46), for the first time in His eternal life.
As One fully human (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus seems overwhelmed and saddened to the point of death by this anticipation. He appears to pray, face to the ground, that God the Father would keep this from happening, if possible. Taken entirely out of context, this could raise questions about Christ's role in His own sacrifice. In some sense, Jesus does not "want" to experience these things. No human being "wants" to suffer humiliation, torture, and death. That's the point of His prayer: He is asking that "if" there is a possible way to avoid it, that He might avoid it.
Critically, though, Jesus immediately binds His request to submission. In virtually the same breath as He makes His appeal, He resolves to obey the will of the Father. Even more powerful than the anguish of His human emotions is Jesus' absolute commitment to obeying God. There is never a question as to whether Christ will follow through on His mission. This prayer is a cry to God, declaring both natural emotions and perfect faithfulness (Philippians 2:8).
This attitude when making requests to God is the perfect model for Christians, in all possible situations. It is good to ask the Father for exactly what we want; we are told to do this when we pray (Philippians 4:6; James 4:2). However, a Christlike prayer not only asks for something, but also commits to obeying God's will, even if the answer should be "no."
Mark 10:38, KJV “But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
Jesus' rebuke to James and John appears surprisingly gentle. Perhaps this is because He knows they will suffer for Him and the gospel before they receive any glory.
To "drink someone's cup" means to share in their fate. The tense used for the verb "drink" here may mean that Jesus is in the process of drinking, not that the "cup" is yet to come. But it also may refer to an action in the future that is so assured it can be considered already present. The Old Testament frequently uses "the cup of God's wrath" as a metaphor for His judgment for humanity's rebellion against Him (Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Ezekiel 23:31–34). It is this "cup" that Jesus drinks when He hangs on the cross, the Father's face turned away (Mark 15:34).
The reason Jesus came is so that we will not have to drink the cup of God's wrath, and Jesus does not ask us to drink the cup of God's wrath with Him. He asks us to drink the cup of His blood, so we are covered by His sacrifice and protected from God's wrath (Mark 14:22–25), as the Israelites were during the Passover (Exodus 12).
Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”
The bible defines sin as breaking God’s law (1 John 3:4). This makes it a legal debt that separates us from God, and the consequence of sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” — Romans 6:23
Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves the removal of that legal sin debt. This debt has been paid on the cross (Colossians 2:13-14), and once the debt is covered the debt no longer exists.
How do we receive Salvation?
We are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection
Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”
Then, we must believe—fully and trust the Lord Jesus
Romans 1:16 “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.”
This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin; forsaking it and following after Christ,
Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” by calling on the name of the Lord.
Romans 10:9-13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Some considerations to help you teach about salvation in Jesus
1. You need to be able to summarize God’s plan of salvation.
What is “of first importance”
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to …” — 1 Cor. 15:3-4
At some point people do need to know why Jesus had to die for our sins and how they must respond in order to be saved, yet the basic Gospel message can be weaved throughout one’s teaching.
2. You must use terminology your audience can understand.
Some of the words used in Scripture are difficult for even adults to remember and define, albeit young children. In an attempt to simplify, be careful not to confuse. Young children are generally literal thinkers. For example, saying to “ask Jesus into their heart” might not make sense to them. When teaching about salvation, you should be as clear as possible and not let terms that they might not be familiar with or might not be able to understand, muddy the water. As they grow, they will become more familiar with specific words and expressions. Initially, understanding the concept of a term is more important than knowing the term itself.
3. You need to take your audience beyond a detailed cognitive look at the doctrine of salvation to helping them understand the difference it makes for them right now…today, and not just in eternity.
Be careful not to weigh down and over-complicate salvation. The bottom line is that Jesus did for us something that we could never do for ourselves. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” — Eph. 2:8-9
That same grace that saves us is also what enables us to live victorious today.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” — Titus 2:11 KJV
We look back at how Jesus bled and died on the cross in order that our sin could be justly forgiven and we could be brought into a right relationship with God the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John. 14:6). The cross was part of God’s eternal plan of salvation, not a last ditch effort.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” — 1 Peter 1:18-21
Words used to describe Salvation
conversion (Acts 15:3), salvation (Rom. 1:16), redemption (Rom. 3:24), regeneration (Titus 3:5), born again (Jn. 3:3)... and other variations of these words.
While these words have some distinctions, they all convey the idea of a change or transformation wherein we are taken from one place to another. We are delivered from something negative, to something good. From idolatry, to the true and living God. From sin, to righteousness in Christ. From enslavement, to freedom. From death, to life. From darkness, to light.
Hence, Jesus paid the price for our sin so that we can be made new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:7
Words Used to Describe How to Get Saved
There are numerous terms within Scripture regarding the kind of response we should have in order to be saved. Believe (John. 3:16), call on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13), faith (Rom. 3:25; Eph. 2:8-9), receive (John. 1:12-13), repent (2 Pet. 3:9).
All of these terms, even combined, would be insufficient apart from grace. Salvation is a free gift (Rom. 3:24; 5:15; 6:23), which is something we cannot earn nor do we deserve.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:8
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” – Ephesians 1:33
When we have Salvation, we will live with God forever.
Sources on this article are from the following….
Google search, askquestions.com, bibleref.com, Bible versions used… KJV, ESV, ASV, and Literal Word.
Thank you for reading,