Faithlife Corporation

So Great a Salvation

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Ralph Sorter


            Soteriology – the doctrine of salvation centers on Jesus Christ, and spans both Old and New Testament.  It’s all about God reconciling sinful man to Himself, to restore the broken relationship that sin produced.

With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, along with the outpouring the Holy Spirit in our hearts, redemption was accomplished.  The result is that we are in God’s eyes a new creation; the old is passed away and all things are new.

There are quite a variety of views concerning salvation – all the way from a works-based approach and law keeping, to extreme predestination where man has to do absolutely nothing.  We will be examining in depth salvation by grace (Eph. 2:8).

To cover all the aspects of salvation, we must look at the source of our salvation, the content of our salvation, and the way in which God saves us.

1.      What would make “salvation by works or law-keeping” attractive to some?  (Give me a checklist of 10 things I need to do to be saved so I can work at it and then know that I’m saved.)

2.      What makes salvation by works such a burden?  (My salvation is based upon my performance.) 

3.      What makes salvation by keeping the Law such a burden?  (Man cannot keep all 613 of them, much less remember all of them.)  Rom. 2:12-13; 3:19-20; 7:7-11

4.      What do Rom. 3:23 & 3:20 reveal about the inadequacy of salvation by keeping the Law?  (Everyone under that system would be destined for eternal death because everyone has sinned.)

5.      Define for me the word “grace” as you understand it.
Insight: Basically it means unmerited favor; but the root word in the Greek, charis,” has the general meaning “a gift that brings joy.”  Certainly salvation is God’s gift that brings us much joy.  
Insight: Grace sets us free from the necessity of trying to enter heaven by any law code; under grace we break the commandments, but escape the penalty.  Titus 2:11

6.      Why should God want to save sinners?  Why send His only Son to die for those who rebel against His goodness?  (It is the greatest way God could express His love towards us.)

7.      What does vicarious or substitutionary atonement mean?  (Christ suffered and died for our sins in our place.)  Rom. 3:23-26; Mk. 10:45

8.      How is the doctrine of salvation unique with Christianity?
Insight: It’s unique in that outside of the Bible, the way to salvation is always by works, merit or achievement.  This is why, in part, so many avoid conversations about salvation; and it’s because they don’t want to “add a list of do’s and don’ts” to their already-busy list.

9.      The basis of salvation by grace is rooted in what God does in justification.  What is the doctrine of justification?  (We are made right in the eyes of God, not on the basis of what we have done, but on the basis of what He did: He sent His Son to die in our place.)  Rom. 5:1-2, 9-11, 17-19  (Read in several translations.)
Insight: Justified = Just as if I’d already paid the penalty for sin; justice satisfied.

10.  Connected with justification is “imputed righteousness.”  What is that?  (Impute = to credit, to attribute.  God’s own righteousness credited to the sinner’s account.)  2 Cor. 5:21;  Phil. 3:8-9

11.  Since justification is our state declared by God, and He credits His own righteousness to our account, is that all there is to it, or do we have a responsibility in righteousness?  Phil. 3:12-16;  Col. 3:1-2;  3:4-5  (Graph out practice & position; sine wave of our practice.)
Insight: When we are born again in Christ, we are a new creature.  Our sins are gone and the old man died with Christ at the cross.  The trouble is that our old nature keeps resurrecting itself because we have a memory.  Therefore our old memories have to die a little bit every day – where we choose to walk a little closer to the example of Christ.  This is the battle of walking in the Spirit vs. walking in the flesh.
Illustration: When we are sick and go to the doctor and get an injection, flowing through our blood is the cure.  But it takes time for the antibodies to find their target and destroy the bug that made us sick.

12.  This process of matching our righteousness with the righteousness of God is not a process we are left to achieve on our own.  God is at work in assisting us in walking the talk…matching the practice with the position.  This process is called regeneration and sanctification.  Upon salvation, what inner change is effected towards sin’s tempting pull?  (Jesus changes the desire in us; He puts to death the desire to sin, and puts a new desire in our heart to please God.  He puts the Holy Spirit in our heart to alert us to the lie of temptation and give us the power to resist.)  Rom. 6:6-22; Gal. 5:16-18

13.  According to the following verses, map out what you believe to be a logical flow of the process of salvation.  They may not be in order.  Rom. 10:8-10;  Acts 2:38;  3:19-20;  8:36-38;  Rom. 10:13-15;  Matt. 10:32-33

14.  Read the following verses and give me a proper definition of the doctrine of eternal security.  John 10:27-28;  1 Jn. 4:15;  5:11-13;  Heb. 4:3-6;  10:26-29

15.  How does Rom. 8:28-30 guide us to an understanding of the meaning of predestination?  (God’s foreknowledge knows who will choose Jesus as Savior.  Man has a free-will to choose or reject Jesus.  But all those who choose Christ are predestined to ultimate conformity to Him.  Illus. – train ticket from Sacramento to Miami.)


            Hallelujah, what a wonderful plan…this plan of salvation.  Woven through the pages of the Bible from beginning to end is a scarlet thread of redemption for the salvation of sinful man.  One has to ask why did God create man in the beginning when He knew He would have to crucify His only Son to save sinful man from eternal damnation.  Yet Scripture says He knew He would send His Son from the foundations of the earth.  1 Pet. 1:18-21 

            What man needed most, but was helpless to obtain, was given as a free gift to all those who believe in Jesus’ atoning death as full payment for our deliverance.  His supreme act of sacrifice restored our position of favor before God.  Satan’s cruel reign has no dominion over the one who is covered with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 

            “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  (Jn. 12:32)

            “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”  (Rev. 22:17)

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