What Is the Work of Salvation?

Who brought it about? How did salvation happen? Do we play our part to receive it?

Here is an old fashioned Bible study. Great for sermons.

1.. Salvation required the work of Christ.

He came to earth.

In 2 Cor. 8:9, Paul says that though Christ Jesus was rich (in heaven), he became poor (on earth). It is true that in comparison with heaven his life on earth was impoverished.

Phil. 2:6-8 says that the Son of God made himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant becoming a man.

He died on the cross.

John 3:14-15 says that Jesus came down from heaven, and he would be lifted up on the cross.

1 Cor. 1:18: the message of the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing, but for us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

1 Cor. 15:3-4 is the great summary of the gospel in a nutshell. Christ died for our sins … he was buried and was raised from the dead on the third day.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures ….

He shed his blood.

1 Pet. 1:18-19 says that we were not redeemed by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without defect (Lev. 4:32).

Rev. 5:9 proclaims in a praise song that Jesus redeemed all peoples with his blood.

He was raised from the dead (resurrection).

Rom. 10:9 teaches us that if we confess with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved. It is the basis of the so-called “sinner’s prayer” that is perfectly legitimate because it helps people enter the kingdom of God and be converted to Jesus.

1 Pet. 1:3-5 strongly says that God our Father gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of the dead.

He ascended on high (ascension).

Acts 5:31 teaches us that God exalted Jesus to his right hand as Prince and Savior so that God would bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.

So the exaltation or ascension is connected with salvation.

2.. Salvation comes as a gift from God.

It is a gift of his love.

Rom. 5:8-9 teaches that someone might die for a good man, but while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and since we were justified (declared righteous and forgiven) we have been saved from God’s justice-wrath-judgment.

According to Titus 3:4-5 God’s love and kindness appeared and he saved us not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.

1 John 4:9-10 teaches that the clearest way God showed his love to us is by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. God’s love is active and demonstrative.

It is a gift of his grace.

In Eph. 2:5 Paul says God made us alive in Christ when were dead in our transgressions, so it is by grace we have been saved.

Eph. 2:8 teaches that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith. Grace starts with God, and faith is the instrument or channel through which we receive his grace.

Titus 2:11 straightforwardly teaches that God has appeared and offers salvation to all people.

It is a gift of his mercy.

Tit. 3:4 says that he saved us not by righteous deeds he has done, but because of mercy.

1 Pet. 1:3 teaches that in his great mercy he has give us new birth.

3.. What must we do?

Know the Word.

2 Tim. 3:15 explains that a servant of God must be diligent to handle the Word of God correctly. I add that one has to study and understand the two covenants, old (obsolete) and new (alive today). However, this does not mean we have to be students of the Word before we get saved, but after we get saved we can grow in salvation that he already gave us.

Believe in Jesus.

John 3:16 is the famous verse that says that God loved the world in a way that he gave his one and only Son, so whoever believes on him would not perish but would be saved.

The context of Acts 16:30-31 shows us that Paul and Silas were in jail, and they praised God at midnight. An earthquake shook them loose and opened the doors. The jailer was afraid because if anyone escaped he would be executed for incompetence and possibly providing a way to escape. Paul proclaimed to him that if he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall be saved and his household.

Eph. 2:8 says that by grace we have been saved through faith.

Faith and believing here does not mean just mental assent or a belief in doctrines—though those things are important. No, more than those things, people must put their full trust in Jesus.

F-A-I-T-H stands for

Forsaking All I Trust Him.

Repent of our sins.

Is. 30:15 wonderfully connects repentance and rest and salvation. When we repent, we rest in the sense that we do not have to be anxious about God’s salvation. We can rest in it.

In Acts 2:37-38, Peter just finished a strong word to the Jerusalem Jews, saying that they are the ones who hanged Jesus on the cross. They were cut in their hearts. They asked: What should they do? Peter responded that they should repent and be baptized.

In Acts 3:19 Peter is a little softer and tells the people they acted in ignorance. Nonetheless, they should repent and turn to God so that their sins should be wiped out.

2 Cor. 7:10 says in the context that Paul strong letter brought them sorrow, he reminds them that godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.

What Is Repentance?

Accept salvation as a free gift.

Is. 55:1 assures us that if we have no money, we can still eat and drink.

Rev. 21:6 has another water and drinking imagery. If we are thirsty, we can have water without cost.

Realize we can do nothing to earn it.

Eph. 2:8-9 is the great passage about God’s grace. This grace does not come from our own selves and strength and work, but it is a free gift from God.

2 Tim. 1:9 teaches us that he saved and called us to a holy life, but not by anything we have done, but by his purpose and grace.

Tit. 3:5—we have already seen this wonderful verse, and for good reason. It is a succinct explanation of God’s grace. He saves us through the washing of rebirth, not because of the righteous things we have done, but by the Holy Spirit, whom he has poured out on us generously.

What Is Grace?

We must count the cost.

Luke 14:25-33 explain that if a man builds a tower he must first figure out the cost; otherwise, he will not complete it and look foolish. And if a king was about to go to war with another king, the first one must calculate the cost and figure out whether his army could be victorious. If not, he would lose and be humiliated.

And so it is with following Jesus. We better count the cost, or we may get discouraged and walk away, after we made an initial commitment to him. We must give everything to be his disciples.

Give our all, in response to salvation.

In Matt. 13:44-46, Jesus teaches us that if a man finds a treasure in a field, he must give all he has to buy the field. And if a merchant finds a pearl of great price, he sells everything he has to buy it. So it is with finding Jesus and accepting his kingdom. We have to give our all, but then our reward will be great. We will have Jesus.

In Phil. 3:7-8 tells his readers that he has given up and lost everything; he considered all those things as garbage. Now he stopped keeping the law, but now he received righteousness through faith in Christ instead of working for legalized righteousness.

So how does this post help me grow in Christ?

You have experienced salvation. You can rest in Christ that he will never take it from you. Even when you sin, he works with you and draws you back to the paths of righteousness. Salvation depends on his grace. All you have to do is believe it.

Often we can understand a concept when we contrast it with a related one.

Justification is different from sanctification in these ways:

Justification Sanctification
Legal standing Internal condition
Once and for all time Continuous throughout life
Entirely God’s work We cooperate with God
Perfect in this life Imperfect in this life
The same in all Christians Greater in some than in others
Source: Grudem, p. 746

The only slight disagreement with that table is that God declares us holy only because he transfers us from darkness to light, from the profane to the sacred; we are consecrated to him, no longer to the world. But now we work it out. Justification and sanctification are linked, but distinct. Sanctification never launches God’s declaration of your right legal standing and your being born again (regeneration). Just the opposite. Justification and your being born again launches your sanctification process.


What Does ‘Salvation’ Mean?

Word Study on Salvation

What Is the Source of Salvation?

What Is the Work of Salvation?

How Do We Respond to God’s Salvation?

What Are Some Scriptural Images of Salvation?

What Is Repentance?

Regeneration: What Is It and How Does It Work?


Works Cited

At that link, look for the NIV Study Bible.

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