• 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 (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) 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 (Philippians 1:19).
  • More often, however, the Bible uses “salvation” or “saved” to refer to an spiritual deliverance, that is everlasting.
  • In Acts 16:30-31, 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.
  • Also, it seems that Jesus equated one’s salvation with being in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24-25)

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 Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9, we are saved from God’s wrath, which Romans 1:18 shows is the result of God’s judgement on sin.
  • If the wages (penalty) of sin is death (Romans 6:23), 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. (Ephesians 2:8)

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 (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5)
  • Only God can save us.

How did God save us?

  • Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God (Ephesians 2:5, 8)
  • God has rescued us through Christ (John 3:17)
  • More specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that made our salvation possible (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7)
  • God saved us IN Christ … We were saved because we were IN Christ when He rose from the dead.
  • Note what Romans 5:10 says … We were reconciled by the death of Christ, BUT we shall be saved by His LIFE.
  • In other words, we were not saved because Jesus died … We were saved because He lived again, after He’d 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 (Ephesians 2:8).
  • Salvation is accessed ONLY through faith (Acts 4:12) … but that faith is a “gift” from God (note the last part of Ephesians 2:8).
  • 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.

What does REPENTANCE have to do with salvation?

  • As discussed above, salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
  • First, a person must HEAR the Gospel — the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13) — then, he must BELIEVE the Gospel (Romans 1:16).
  • That belief, however, involves repentance, which is a change of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19).
  • 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.


What is salvation?

It is the restoration of human communion with God and the deliverance of the entire creation from the bondage of sin and death. In saving us, God grants us reconciliation with him, forgiveness of sins, adoption into his family, citizenship in his kingdom, union with him in Christ, new life in the Spirit and the promise of eternal life. (2 Cor. 5:17-19; Col. 1:13-14; Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 2:19-21; Rom. 6:3-5; Titus 3:4-5; John 3:16)

14.6 Why is salvation needed?

Ever since the first human beings, the human race has rebelled and distrusted the perfect goodness and holy love of the triune God and therefore alienated themselves from their Creator and rejected the fellowship they were created to have with him as their God. As a result, the human race has:

  • Cut itself off from the source of its life and existence, resulting in physical death and subjecting itself to eternal spiritual death.
  • Promoted a lie about the nature and character of the triune God their maker, bearing false witness to God’s name and reputation by rejecting his faithfulness, goodness, grace and holiness.
  • Undermined and at times even attempted to destroy the faith, hope and love for God and so stop the good, right and life-giving worship of the triune God by others, thereby incurring spiritual guilt and shame before God, which only God himself can remedy and has done so in the atoning work of Christ.
  • Exposed itself to being manipulated by and enslaved to the power of sin from which it cannot free itself, leading to the corruption, warping and twisting of human nature itself, which it cannot undo.
  • Experienced disharmony between the human soul, mind and body, leading to broken and even destructive and evil relationships between parents and children, between men and women, between nations and ethnic groups, and between human beings and the natural environment.

14.7 How are people saved?

Salvation is accomplished for us through the life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Salvation is freely given to us by the grace our triune God. It is personally received and experienced through faith in Jesus enabled by the ministry of the Spirit. It is not earned by good works or through personal merit. (Rom. 8:21-23; 6:18, 22-23; 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:3-6; Matt. 3:17; Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:4-10) 

14.8 Is there any way of salvation other than through Jesus Christ?

No. The apostle Peter said of Jesus that “salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only one who can save us from our damaged and twisted nature and reconcile us to God so that we can live according to God’s ultimate purposes for human beings. He is the only one who can enable us to share in God’s eternal life, free from the power of evil and its consequence, which is death. (1 Tim. 2:5)

14.9 Will all people be saved?

All who call upon the Lord will be saved. No one who seeks after God will be turned away. God’s work of atonement was accomplished for the benefit of all. Jesus is Lord and Savior over all persons, though Scripture does not say that all people will necessarily receive the salvation that is theirs in Christ, or that none will irreversibly reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit to unite them to Christ. Salvation is the fruit of a relationship with the triune God—a gift that is complete in Jesus and that must, through the work of the Spirit, be personally received in order for its benefits, especially eternal life in eternal communion with God, to be fully enjoyed. (Heb. 10:31; Rom. 11:32; Matt. 18:12-14; Eph. 2:8; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; John 3:17-18; Ezek. 18:32; 2 Cor. 5:14-15)

14.10 Through salvation, do humans eventually become God?  

No. Though ultimate salvation does not make us God (or parts of God), it does give us a full sharing in the sanctified and glorified humanity of Jesus Christ. We remain human, becoming fully and truly human as Jesus was and still is. Through the incarnate Son of God, we enjoy union and communion with the whole of God, while remaining fully human.



From The GCI Statement of Beliefs:

Salvation is the restoration of human fellowship with God and the deliverance of the entire creation from the bondage of sin and death. Salvation is given by the grace of God and experienced through faith in Jesus Christ, not earned by personal merit or good works. God calls on every person to enter that divine fellowship, which has been secured for humanity in Jesus Christ and is embodied by him as the beloved of the Father at the Father’s right hand. 


Why do we need to be saved?

Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, humans do not trust wholeheartedly in God as Lord who alone is worthy of worship. By nature, we do not welcome being God’s creatures, nor do we embrace God’s design for human life and the wisdom of following his ways. We do not implicitly trust in God’s goodness and judgments about what is evil. We do not freely receive God’s grace, as our dependence upon him offends our pride of self-sufficiency. We do not gratefully receive all of his blessings, including daily lifelong communion with God and a share of God’s own goodness and rightness, justice and mercy to pass on to others. God must work individually in our lives through his Son and by his Spirit to give us renewed hearts, minds and wills set free from bondage to our self-will, our prideful commitment to autonomy, and our distrust and unbelief in God our creator and redeemer.

Will all be saved?

The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to set all free with the freedom won for them in Jesus Christ. But the biblical warnings require us to take seriously the almost impossible possibility that some people might somehow refuse the freedom the Spirit brings to them to surrender to the grace of God in Jesus Christ and receive all the benefits of living in a good and right worship relationship with God in which we receive his forgiveness by faith and accept his free gift of salvation daily and so live under his lordship. The limits to salvation, whatever they may be, are known only to God. Three truths above all are certain: 1) God is a holy God who is not to be trifled with, 2) no one will be saved except by grace alone, and 3) no judge could possibly be more gracious than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If some do manage to resist the Holy Spirit and reject God’s forgiveness and grace stored up for them in Jesus Christ, it will not be due to any lack or limits to God’s gracious provision made for all. 


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