“Salvation – The Message & The Method”

Posted: December 3, 2018 in Gospel, Salvation

“For I [the Apostle Paul] am not ashamed of the gospel of [concerning] Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [non-Jew] (Romans 1:16).

“Moreover, brethren, I [the Apostle Paul] declare the gospel…to you…by which also you are saved – unless you believed in vain. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).

Confusion. If there is one thing Satan, God’s adversary, would like to do, it would be to change the Gospel message and confuse people about the method (way) of salvation (deliverance) from the lake of fire to heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:17, 31). He would get his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15) to twist the Gospel message and the Scriptures to try to keep people from being saved (2 Peter 3:16). But if the Gospel message and the method of salvation are presented clearly, and in its entirety, God the Holy Spirit can do His work of convincing lost people of the sin of unbelief, of their need for Christ’s righteousness, and of the judgment (eternal doom) that will come on all those who reject Christ as their personal Savior (John 16:8-11).

Purpose. God’s primary purpose is to glorify Himself by making Himself known to His creatures (John 1:14-18; 17:3; See Ezekiel 6:7, 10, 14). One day, in the future, every tongue [will] confess [admit] that Jesus Christ is Lord [God], to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11; See Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). This verse is NOT teaching “universal salvation” for everyone. Even the fallen angels/demons acknowledge Christ’s deity without their being saved (Matthew 8:29; James 2:19). No salvation has been provided for them.

Message/Method. God has chosen to use a simple message concerning the Christ of the Scriptures, (not the Christs of the cults – Matthew 24:5) to save people. He is the God-man (Philippians 2:5-11), who was born of the virgin, Mary (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14), who lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day so any human being could be saved. He also chose a simple method whereby we could be saved – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31; John 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24). The word “believe” is used about 100 times in the Gospel of John to indicate the method of salvation.

Christ’s Death. Here are some false ideas about His death. At least one cult believes that Jesus didn’t die on a cross but on a stake. One religious group believes that someone else, who looked like Jesus, died on the cross. Then there are those who say that He didn’t really die; He only swooned on the cross and was revived back to life in the cool tomb. Some deny that He died for our sins, but they say that He died for us because of our great value. One cult doesn’t believe that Jesus finished the work of salvation and teaches that He needs to continually be offered up in the Mass for our sins. Here is the truth from the Scriptures. He died for all our sins once and for all (Hebrews 10:10) because all of us are sinners who have acted lawlessly (Romans 3:10-23; 1 John 3:4). He died for the sins of all mankind, not just for a few people (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2). [1] He died for our sins to pay the debt that we owed to God the Father. Physical death involves the separation of the spirit and soul from the body, not the annihilation of the wicked. Spiritual death will result in the eternal separation of a sinner from God in the lake of fire unless he/she believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and receives the gift of eternal life by faith during his/her life on earth (Romans 6:23; See Genesis 2:17).

Christ’s Burial. We bury dead people. There was no doubt in the Roman centurion’s mind that Jesus Christ was dead ( Matthew 27:54). One of the soldiers pierced His side and blood and water came forth indicating that He had died from a broken/ruptured heart (John 19:34). Jesus chose the time and method of His own death (Luke 23:46; John 12:32; See Psalm 22). Then His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. His burial proves that He had really died.

Christ’s Resurrection. It was a bodily resurrection, not a resuscitation as some others. His resurrection body had flesh and bones, but lacked blood (Luke 24:33-43; See 1 Corinthians 15:50). It took place on the third day as He predicted it would (John 2:19; 10:15-18). Had He risen from the dead on the first day, many would have doubted His actual death. Three days was the maximum amount of time He could have been in the tomb without His body starting to decay. Had it decayed, He would not have fulfilled the Scriptures (Psalm 16:10; Acts 13:35). His friend, Lazarus, was dead for four days and his body had begun to rot/decay/stink (John 11:39). Without His bodily resurrection from the dead, we’d have no sufficient Savior and no hope of resurrection ourselves (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19). The Apostle Paul insisted that the bodily resurrection be included in the Gospel presentation, for which he suffered persecution (2 Timothy 2:8-10; See Acts 23:6; 24:15; 1 Peter 1:3). His bodily resurrection guarantees the bodily resurrection of everyone – believers and unbelievers, each group in their own order (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). True believers will spend eternity with God (John 14:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:8; See Daniel 12:2); all unbelievers will spend eternity in torment in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels/demons (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Jude 1:13). Where will you spend eternity? Are you absolutely sure? You can be (1 John 5:13; Romans 8:16).  Need help?  Ask for it.

Christ’s Appearances. After His bodily resurrection out from among the dead ones, He appeared on more than 10 occasions to over 500 witnesses over a 40 day period of time before He ascended back into heaven in the presence of His disciples (Acts 1:1-11). To His disciple Thomas, who wasn’t there when Christ first appeared to His disciples and who doubted His resurrection, Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Today we believe the testimony of those who actually saw Jesus’ resurrected body. As Dr. Charles Ryrie wrote, “When we ask someone to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are asking something very difficult. We are asking the person to believe in someone he or she has never seen. Someone who lived in the very distant past. Someone who has no living eyewitnesses who can vouch for His character and the truth of His words. Someone whose biography was written very long ago and by those who were His friends.” So Great Salvation, Moody Press, 1997, p. 108

Salvation. It’s not gained by a mere knowledge of and a belief in the facts of the Gospel. Many people and even the demons do this (James 2:19; See Matthew 7:21-23). To be saved, we must change our minds (true repentance is a part of believing) [2] and transfer our faith/trust from ourselves and our good works over to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross through the message of the Gospel (See Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). One “believes in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:2) when he/she adds any good works to faith. Examples: Adding to faith baptism, church membership, promising God you’ll turn from your sins and never sin again, confessing every sin you’ve ever committed to God, raising your hand and/or walking an isle, or insisting that the “Social Gospel” of good works be required for one’s salvation, along with many other things. Confusing the many requirements for spiritual growth and development with the single requirement for salvation can lead to disaster. [3]

Help. We’re here to assist those who are teachable and willing to change if they’re convinced from the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 24-26; 3:16, 17). If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and also ask you to share it with others. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

[1] Limited or Unlimited Atonement? – http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/4whom23.htm

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/4wchdied.htm

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/4whom.pdf

[2] Repentance – https://voice.dts.edu/review/g-michael-cocoris-repentance/

[3] Lordship For Salvation – http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/lordshrq.pdf

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