“Salvation” is a term which stands for several Hebrew and Greek words, the idea being safety, deliverance, ease, and soundness. It basically means to be delivered from something unto something else.
The four Hebrew words are:
- “yeshuah” – meaning “safety or ease” (e.g., Gen. 49:18; Isa. 12:2).
- “yesha” – meaning “safety or ease” (e.g., Psa. 18:46; Isa. 45:8).
- “moshaoth” – meaning “safety or deliverance” (e.g., Psa. 68:20).
- “teshuah” – meaning “safety or ease” (e.g., Psa. 37:39; Isa. 45:17).
The two Greek words are:
- “soteria” – meaning “safety or soundness” (e.g., Lk. 1:77; Acts 4:12).
- “soterion” – meaning “safety or soundness” (e.g., Lk. 2:30; Acts 28:28). It virtually stands for the Savior.
Put simply, “salvation” can mean physical deliverance from danger and apprehension either nationally (e.g., Lk. 1:69, 71; Acts 7:25) or personally (e.g., Acts 27:34; Phil. 1:19; Heb. 11:7) unto safety or ease. Or it can mean spiritual deliverance from sin unto holiness of life (e.g., Eph. 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:5).
This can be broken down into three tenses of salvation (so to speak):
Past tense – the believer was saved when he believed. He was delivered from the penalty of sin unto a position of holiness (e.g., Eph. 2:5, 8; 2 Tim. 1:9).
Eph. 2:8 What does Paul say has happened by grace through faith to these Christians?
Have you been delivered from the penalty of sin (i.e., going to hell) unto a position of holiness (i.e., completely forgiven and viewed by God as perfect or declared righteous)?
If so, how did this happen, and when?
2 Tim. 1:9 What does Paul say that God has done according to His own purpose and grace?
Were you delivered from the penalty of sin (i.e., going to hell) unto a position of holiness (i.e., an eternal, right standing with God) because of God’s favor toward you that was undeserved, or was it because of all your good works, and why?
Present tense – the believer is being saved as he lives in obedience to God. The believer is being delivered from the power of sin unto a practice of holiness (e.g., Phil. 2:12; Heb. 2:3).
Phil. 2:12 What are these Christians to work out (not for) with fear (i.e., great respect for God and the import of the task)?
Are you working/living out a holy life by practicing/applying obedience to God’s will/commands rather than being a slave to sin?
Heb. 2:3 If these Christians neglect what, will they not escape a just recompense (i.e., discipline)?
Are you neglecting to live a holy/obedient Christian life and instead living under the power of sin’s influence over you?
1 Cor. 1:18 For whom was the word of the cross (the gospel) the power of God?
Are you being delivered from sin’s power over you and instead becoming progressively more holy/Christ-like since you believed/trusted in the word of the cross (i.e., the gospel of Jesus Christ paying for all of your sins on the cross)?
Future tense – the believer will be or is yet to be saved when Christ returns. The believer will be delivered from the presence of sin unto a perfection of holiness (e.g., Rom. 13:11; 1 Thes. 5:8-9; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5).
1 Cor. 3:15 Even though a Christian builds into other people’s lives wrongly by teaching them falsehoods and will, therefore, suffer loss of rewards in eternity, what will be true of the person himself?
Even though you will lose rewards in heaven if you taught the Bible incorrectly to others (i.e., your work is burned up), do you still anticipate going to heaven at least, and why?
Rom. 13:11 What is nearer to these Christians than when they (first) believed?
Are you one day closer to being delivered from the presence of sin in this world and being experientially holy/perfect as God because you’re one day closer to death or being raptured to heaven at Christ’s return to get you?
1 Thes. 5:8-9 God has not destined these Christians for wrath, but for what?
Has God destined you for obtaining deliverance from this sinful world and being perfectly holy in heaven?
Heb. 9:28 What shall Christ appear a second time for?
Are you eagerly awaiting for Christ to deliver you from this sinful world and unto a perfect state of holiness in heaven?
“Grace” in Greek is the word “charis”, and is used in several different ways:
- That which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; beauty or graciousness (e.g., Lk. 2:40; Col. 4:6).
- On the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds (e.g., Acts 14:26), and there is stress on its freeness, universality, and spontaneous character (e.g., Rom. 4:16; 11:6).
- The effect of grace, the spiritual state of those who have experienced its exercise (e.g., Rom. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:18); the sphere of unmerited favor.
Put simply, “grace” is unmerited favor. In relationship to its general New Testament use, it is that spontaneous act of God that came from the infinite love in His heart, in which He stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of human sin, thus satisfying His justice, maintaining His government, and making possible the bestowal of salvation upon the sinner who received it by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became a Sin-offering for the sinner.
Rom. 11:5-6 A remnant of Jews had become Christians according to God’s gracious choice. Their coming to salvation (being a chosen remnant) was on what basis?
Do you see how God chose certain Jews for salvation (as His chosen people) based on His favor toward these particular ones that was unearned by them rather than because of their good or religious works?
[Otherwise, undeserved favor would no longer be undeserved if this favor could be earned.]
Eph. 2:5, 8-9 By what is a person saved (has a right and eternal relationship with God)?
Was your salvation obtained because of God’s favor toward you that was undeserved by you and was consummated through your faith (that God gave you to believe) in Jesus Christ as your Savior?
Jn. 1:17 What were realized through Jesus Christ?
Have you realized God’s favor toward you that was undeserved by you because Jesus paid for all your sins so that you could be totally forgiven and given eternal life in heaven?
If so, when?
2 Tim. 1:9 How did God save and call these people?
“Gospel” in Greek is the word “euangelion” meaning “good news”. In the New Testament it generally denotes the good tidings of salvation through Jesus Christ, on the basis of His substitutionary death for mankind, His burial, and His resurrection (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Acts 15:7-9; 20:24; Rom. 1:1-6; 1 Cor. 9:12).
1 Cor. 15:1-5 What is the gospel that we are saved by through believing it (1 Cor. 15:3-5)?
Gal. 1:3-12 What is the gospel as described here (Gal. 1:4)?
Eph. 1:3-14 What is the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:7)?
“Reconciliation” in Greek are the words “katallasso”, meaning a thorough change (e.g., 2 Cor. 5:18-19); or “apokatallasso”, meaning to thoroughly change from (e.g., Col. 1:21).
Reconciliation is to change a person from a strong, settled feeling of hatred to that of friendship. It is that aspect of Christ’s death on the cross which removed the barrier of all the sins and their consequences for those who would believe and thus took the guilt away which was the cause for the hatred against God. It was sufficient and effective for those who accept this reconciliation personally by faith.
Col. 1:19-22 What did God do through Him (Christ) – Col. 1:20?
For what purpose?
Have you changed your hatred toward God to that of viewing Him as a friend?
If so, how did this happen?
Rom. 5:6-11 When and how were they reconciled to God?
While you were helpless (Rom. 5:6), a sinner (Rom. 5:8), and an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10), were you changed from an attitude of hatred to that of friendship toward God through the death of Jesus?
2 Cor. 5:14-21 How did God reconcile us to Himself (2 Cor. 5:18)?
How were you brought into friendship relationship with God?
“Propitiation” in Greek are the words “hilasterion”, meaning the place of satisfaction; whereas “hilasmos”, means an amending or extinguishing of the guilt by sufferance of penalty or some equivalent, to make satisfaction for; to make atonement for; it is that which appeases or satisfies.
In the biblical usage of these words, the thought is not that of placating the anger of a vengeful God, but that of satisfying the righteous demands of God’s justice so that His government might be maintained, and that mercy might be shown on the basis of justice duly satisfied. God’s holy character demanded that man’s sin toward God be paid for. Only Jesus Christ qualified to pay for mankind’s sin because He possessed the righteousness of God and had no sin of His own to pay for. So Jesus Christ chose to bear all the holy wrath of God which was due the human race of those who were believers. In doing so, He satisfied the just demands of God’s holy character against the sins/sinfulness of those who would become or were believers.
Rom. 3:21-27 In what did God publicly display Jesus as a propitiation/satisfaction for the payment of the believing sinner’s sins (Rom. 3:25)?
Is God satisfied that all of your sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ because of your faith in Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of all your sins, and why?
1 Jn. 2:2 For whom and for what is Christ the propitiation?
Do you believe that Jesus satisfied God’s justice for the sins of all believers world-wide?
1 Jn. 4:9-10 How did God demonstrate His love for those who would believe
As a believer, has God demonstrated His love toward you in this way?
“Redemption” in Greek are the words: “exagorazo”, meaning to acquire out of the forum or to buy out (e.g., Gal. 3:13; 4:5); and “lutroo”, meaning to loose or release by price or paying a ransom (e.g., Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18) in order to set free. Every person is born into the slave market of sin (Rom. 5:12-19). Only a free (sinless) person could pay to set him free to become a son of God (Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5). One must accept the provision in order to be released (John 1:12).
Eph. 1:7 Through Whom and what do we have redemption?
Have you been acquired/bought out of sin, been forgiven for all sins?
If so, how?
Col. 1:13-14 What is the result of our redemption in Christ?
Are you positive that you’ve been released from all your sins because Christ paid for them with His blood?
Heb. 9:11-12 How and what did Christ obtain (for believers)?
Did you realize that you were eternally bought out of sin, eternally forgiven through Christ’s blood when you believed?
“Justification” in Greek are the words “dikaiosis”, meaning the act of pronouncing righteous by acquittal from guilt (Rom. 4:25; 5:18); a setting right; and “dikaioma”, meaning a concrete expression of righteousness and its effect (e.g., Rom. 5:16); a judicial sentence.
Put simply, justification is the act of God removing from the believing sinner his guilt and the penalty incurred by that guilt, and bestowing a positive righteousness, Christ Jesus Himself in Whom the believer stands, not only innocent and uncondemned, but actually righteous in point of law for time and eternity.
Justification makes no one righteous, neither is it the bestowment of righteousness as such but rather declares one to be righteous whom God sees as perfected once and forever in His Son, Christ.
Rom. 5:8-9 How is a person justified?
And what will that result in?
Have you been declared righteous/perfect before God because Jesus paid for all your sins with His blood?
Rom. 5:1 How is a person justified?
And what is its result?
Have you been declared right with God because of your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior?
Rom. 3:24 How is a person justified?
Have you been declared righteous before God because of God’s favor toward you that was undeserved, but was achieved through Jesus Christ redeeming you as a gift?
1 Cor. 6:9-11 Who can be justified and how?
Gal. 2:16; Rom. 3:19-20 How isn’t a person justified?
Are you trying to be declared right before God by keeping the commands in the Old Testament, and why?
“Sanctification” in Greek is the word “hagiasmos”, meaning:
- separation to God (e.g., 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Cor. 1:30; Heb. 2:11). Sanctification then, is to place in a relation to God answering to His holiness and into which a person enters by faith in Christ (Acts 26:18) based on the death of Christ (Heb. 13:12).
This positional sanctification (separated to God as holy/perfect) is an act of God performed by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thes. 2:13) at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2) and is secured for eternity (Heb. 10:10).
Acts 26:15-18 How is a person sanctified, and what is its results (Acts 26:18)?
Have you been separated to God as holy by your faith in Christ as your Savior so that you’ve been forgiven of all your sins and will get an inheritance in heaven as a result?
Heb. 10:10 The death of Christ on the cross (which was God the Father’s will which Christ came to do) was and is the basis for what?
2 Thes. 2:13 What is the channel or means by which a person receives salvation?
Has God’s Spirit separated you to God because He chose you from the beginning of time and beyond for salvation?
- the course of life befitting those so sanctified (e.g., 1 Thes. 4:3-4, 7). Sanctification is also the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life (1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 10:14). This is called progressive sanctification.
- When our Lord sanctified Himself, He sets Himself apart for God to do His will, whether as a Sacrifice for sin or for evangelism (Heb. 10:7; Jn. 17:19).
“Atonement” in Hebrew is the word “kaphar”, meaning to “cover”. (It carries a similar idea to that of reconciliation as used in the New Testament.) Atonement means “a making in one”; it is the covering over of sin, in order to bring the reconciliation between God and man, accomplished (the sin and its penalty being taken away) by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross for us.
Lev. 17:11; Ex. 30:10 What made atonement for people’s souls?
Why is blood the element that makes atonement (combine the thought in this verse with that of Rom. 6:23)?
Num. 15:28 When the priest made atonement for someone who sinned, what resulted?
Lev. 9:7-8; Ex. 29:38 What was offered for the atonement of people in Old Testament times?
And what qualifications did the animal have to meet (Lev. 9:2-3)?
Jn. 1:29 What did John the Baptist say about Jesus?
[Whereas the blood of the animals only covered over the sins of the sacrificer, Jesus’ blood actually takes away the believer’s sins.].
Heb. 9:11-14 What did the blood of animals sanctify?
What does Jesus’ blood cleanse?
Is your conscience clear rather than guilt-ridden because your sins are all forgiven due to Christ’s sacrificial death rather than because of doing dead works (i.e., religious rituals, activities, or good deeds)?
Heb. 9:11-26; Jn. 1:29 What did Christ’s death accomplish?
[Gk. “ephapax” – once for all time, Heb. 9:12, 28; 10:10; 7:27].
Heb. 10:10-14 To what extent and value did Christ’s one death-sacrifice cover for believers?
Did you know that as a believer (one who is being sanctified, i.e., set apart from sin and made acceptable to God through the merits of Christ), you have been perfected (i.e., made complete) forever?
1 Pet. 1:18-19 How are we redeemed?
1 Pet. 2:24 What did Christ do on the cross for us?
Col. 2:13-14 For how many sins (transgressions) are we forgiven through Christ?
Did you realize that all, not just some or most, of your sins are forgiven as a believer because of Christ’s death?
Acts 13:38 What do we have through Him (Christ)?
Have you noticed by now that forgiveness of sins is not based on getting baptized, keeping God’s commandments, or doing good deeds?
[NOTE: Jesus was the Savior not just for His time/era (Heb. 9:26, 28), nor just for His geographic location (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), nor just for His disciples (Jn. 1:29).].
“Christ’s Resurrection” (a physical body resurrection, Jn. 20:17, 20, 27; Lk. 24:36-39)
Matt. 28:1-6 What did the angel say to the woman?
Acts 2:24-32 What had been prophesied in the Old Testament?
Acts 4:2; 17:18; 26:6-8 For what were the apostles criticized?
Rom. 8:10-11; 1 Cor. 6:14 Who raised Christ from the dead (Jn. 2:19-21)?
1 Cor. 15:3-8 To whom did Christ appear?
1 Cor. 15:12-20 If Christ was not resurrected, what would be the result?
“The Only Way”
Jn. 14:6 What did Jesus say about Himself?
Acts 4:12 How must we be saved (have a personal relationship to God, eternal life, and assurance that we will go to heaven)?
[“name” – means “person”].
1 Tim. 2:5 Who is the mediator between God and men?