• Based on what most dictionaries say, “salvation” could be defined as “preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin or loss.” 
  • So, salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering
  • … and to be saved is to be delivered or protected from danger or suffering.
  • The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation.

What does the Bible mean by SALVATION?

  • Given that salvation can be understood to mean “deliverance from harm, ruin or loss“, it seems natural that the word “salvation”, as used in the Bible, would refer to “deliverance from some spiritual harm, ruin or loss”.
  • Indeed, one definition of the Christian doctrine of salvation is “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.” Salvation is available in Jesus alone and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security.
  • Sometimes, the Bible uses the idea of salvation to refer to physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison.
  • More often, however, the Bible uses “salvation” or “saved” to refer to an spiritual deliverance, that is everlasting.
  • When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he needed to do to “be saved”, he was referring to the jailer’s spiritual deliverance and eternal destiny.

Why does the Bible explain salvation in so many ways?

  • To explain salvation, the Bible uses many different words, such as adoption, deliverance, forgiveness, justification, ransom, reconciliation, redemption etc.
  • The reason is that different people see their problem differently —
  • For those who feel dirty, there is cleansing … For those who feel enslaved, there is redemption, or purchase … For those who feel guilt, he gives forgiveness … For those who feel separated, there is reconciliation … For those who feel alienated, there is friendship … For those who feel worthless, there is inheritance … For people who don’t feel like they belong, there is adoption … For those who are tired, there is rest … For the fearful, there is hope … For the anxious, there is peace.

What are persons “saved” from?

  • Given that salvation, in the spiritual sense, is “deliverance from sin and its consequences” … it could be said that persons are saved from the consequences of sin.

What are the consequences of sin?

  • According to Paul, we are saved from God’s wrath, which he says, in his letter to the Romans, is the result of God’s judgement on sin.
  • If the wages (penalty) of sin is death, then persons are “saved” from death.
  • Our own experiences, however, should teach us that sin also causes suffering, as well as death.
  • One could say, therefore, that the consequences of sin are suffering and death.

Who needs salvation?

  • According to Romans 3:23, “all” have sinned, which is to say that all persons have sinned.
  • If we understand that in light of Roman 6:23 (which tells us that the wages of sin is death), then we understand that all persons deserve death, because all persons have sinned (and earned death).
  • This means that, ultimately, all persons needed salvation.

What can a person do in order to be saved?

  • Nothing … absolutely NOTHING.

How, then, can a person be saved? 

  • A person can only be saved by grace.

What does it mean SAVED BY GRACE? 

  • According to Ephesians 2:8-10, we are “saved by grace … not by works” lest any should boast.
  • To be saved BY GRACE means that everything about our salvation is as a result of what God has done … and we had nothing to do with our salvation.
  • If we had contributed even one i0ta to our salvation, then we would have had something to boast about (given that others, who had not been saved, had contributed even less than we had) … BUT we didn’t contribute anything, so we have nothing to boast about.

Who does the saving? 

  • Only God can remove sin and deliver us from sin’s penalty.
  • Only God can save us.

How did God save us?

  • Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God.
  • God has rescued us through Christ.
  • More specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that made our salvation possible.
  • God saved us IN Christ … We were saved because we were IN Christ when He rose from the dead.
  • In his letter to the Romans, Paul says we reconciled by the death of Christ, BUT we shall be saved by His LIFE.
  • In other words, we were saved, NOT because Jesus died, BUT because He lived again, after He had died.

When were we saved?

  • We were saved when Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
  • Please NOTE, however, that there is a difference between “being saved” and “receiving salvation”.

How does as person receive salvation?

  • A person receives salvation the moment he/she believes in Christ alone for his/her salvation.
  • Once a person understands that he cannot ever do anything to save himself, and that only Christ can save Him … in the sense that he could only have been saved because of what Christ did … then he receives salvation.
  • Some put it this way … It is when he BELIEVES in Christ that he is saved, subjectively, having been saved objectively when Christ rose from the dead.

What does GRACE have to do with a person’s salvation?

  • We are saved by grace … but we receive salvation through faith.
  • Salvation is accessed ONLY through faith … but that faith is a “gift” from God.
  • That simply means that the FAITH that enables a person TO BELIEVE (and trust) in Christ IS A FUNCTION OF GOD’S GRACE in that person’s life.

To learn more, and see what the Bible says in support of the points above, please go to the page on Salvation.

What does REPENTANCE have to do with salvation?

  • As discussed above, salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • First, a person must HEAR the Gospel — the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection — then, he must BELIEVE the Gospel.
  • That belief, however, involves repentance, which is a change of mind about sin and Christ.
  • This is so because BELIEF, in one sense, is really REPENTANCE of the sin of unbelief.
  • When a person is told he must “repent and believe”, it should probably be understood as “repent by believing”.

Can a person lose salvation? 

  • No … because the person is not saving himself … The person’s salvation depends NOT on his ability, on anything he has done or anything he can do, but on Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.
  • What a person can lose is his assurance of salvation.

What is the Assurance of Salvation? 

  • Assurance of Salvation is a confidence in the reality of eternal security.
  • It is a confidence that one has after realizing that he has been saved … by God’s grace and not because of anything he or she did.
  • It is a confidence one has that he or she will endure to end … because it is Jesus who is doing the saving.
  • It is a confidence that one has by faith.

What is Eternal Security?

  • Eternal security is the surety that a believer will be in Heaven with God for all eternity.
  • It is a reality that is sure because it depends on God’s ability to save, not on Man’s ability.
  • It is a fact, whether we believe it or not … It does not depend on one’s belief.

How is Assurance of Salvation different from Eternal Security?

  • Eternal Security is a fact … Assurance of Salvation is a belief.
  • Eternal Security is a reality that does not depend on belief … Assurance of Salvation is a confidence that depends on one’s faith.
  • Eternal Security is something that God has given … Assurance of Salvation is something that Man can receive.
  • NOTE …
  • Unlike eternal security, which does not depend on belief, the assurance of salvation does depend on belief.
  • So, a person can lose the assurance of salvation (if he stops believing he will be saved), BUT he cannot lose his eternal security (even if he stops believing) because his security does not depend on his belief.


To learn more, and see what the Bible says in support of the points above, please go to the page on Salvation.

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