What is Salvation?

From a theological perspective, the word "salvation" comes from a Greek word "soteria" and when it is coupled with the word "logos" which means "doctrine" you have the study of the doctrine of salvation which is recognized in theological circles as "Soteriology". In the Bible there are many discussions about the holiness and love of God, as well as the sinfulness of every man. These extremes between God and man have a great distance between them and God says that that distance is infinite.

God knew this ahead of time and planned for man's salvation before the foundations of the earth. In fact before God created anything he knew that Satan would fall, that his followers would fall, and that he would convince mankind to fall. God was not caught unaware, for he new (foreknew) everything and made a plan to redeem fallen man. God made his plan of salvation known since the very beginning, and he made it so simple that even a child could understand and receive the transforming power of God's promise and the Holy Spirit. Yet God's plan of salvation is so profound that the most intelligent would not be able to find it except by coming God's way, which is by coming with the faith of a child.

The core message of God's plan of salvation centers around the the message of a mediator, a go-between, someone who could stand in the middle and connect fallen sinful man with a perfect and holy God. In the Old Testament there was a man named Job who realized that he was a sinner and that God was absolutely holy. He felt this great distance and he said "God is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront one another in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both". (Job 9:32, 33).

This is exactly why Jesus Christ came, he became the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the only one who could stand in the gap and touch them both and bring them together. He did this by becoming man's substitute and bearing the penalty for man's sin (Hebrews 2:14-17). Jesus became a man, a qualified representative of the human race through his mother Mary, and put himself on the altar of the cross, bore the judgment and penalty of God and became a blood sacrifice. He did this once and for all, that all mankind could be saved, if they would come to faith in Jesus Christ as their substitute who died for them. If someone would choose not to come they would have to bear the punishment and wrath of God themselves to pay for their own sins (Romans 6:23). This became a reality when Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the dead on the morning of the third day, ascending into heaven and being exalted to the right hand of God. Salvation becomes a reality when a person repents and comes to Jesus through faith, he becomes justified, he receives the Holy Spirit and is regenerated and born again, he becomes adopted as a son of God, his sins are cleansed and he is sanctified forever, given the assurance of heaven, and the promise that Jesus will be with him not only in this age but in the age to come.

Devotional Answer

Salvation was born within the greatest love-story of all time. It involves the daring rescue of mankind by man's Creator, who must leave Heaven and enter the strife and terror of earth to pay the ultimate price to save mankind from eternal destruction. Mankind is blind to their need so they judge the Rescuer as evil, and fight Him to the death. But this was the plan that the prophets had foretold; God must come and be killed by man, to save man, whom He desperately loves. What a story salvation is! As it unfolds and is unveiled through God's book the Bible, it has every thrilling twist and turn one could imagine.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

God is absolutely holy and absolutely loving. So holy that no one could stand before him without instant self-condemning awareness of every wrong thing they have ever done. But God is also so loving that no one could stand in His presence without wanting with all their being to be like Him, loved by Him and and want to be with Him forever and always. God must eliminate our guilt to be with us.

This loving and just God created man and woman in His spiritual likeness, with the ability to be loving and good. But they misused their God-given freewill and rebelled becoming sinful and self-serving, guilty and separated from that blissful fellowship. They and their offspring were doomed to a life blinded by unending cravings, anger, grief and warring self-will because satisfaction can only found in fellowship with God. As a rose cut off from the stem, man and woman would now start life off beautiful and vibrant, but then slowly wither and die. This is mankind's state.

The holiness of God demands punishment for this rebellion and the terrible results produced. But the love of God absolutely must rescue man from this consequence. What is God to do with a seemingly impossible contradiction? If He judges man he violates his own love. If He loves man and ignores His sin, He violates His eternal Holiness. Can you dear friend watch someone you love continually violate someone else you love? We feel the need for justice as well throughout our days on much smaller occasions. We can hardly be insulted on the freeway without feeling violated and wanting to lash out.

God is ultimately loving and ultimately just. And the object of His love has turned to evil. God concludes that He Himself must bear his own punishment and die in order to save mankind. This He accomplished when the Son of God received our penalty and satisfied the Father's justice by dying on a Roman cross. Now He offers us the great exchange; our sin for His righteousness and a new beginning, with the seeds of a new nature growing again in us. This is salvation. The greatest deal in the history of mankind. We are saved by accepting this grand and high-priced solution. This is the Gospel, the good news. Decisively, with loving intentions from eternity, Jesus Christ died for our sins that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

"Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:18,19

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21


Dear Father, dear God...could this story of redemption be possibly true? It sounds so much like a fairytale. A great hero rescuing the damsel in distress. But why does my heart leap at the thought of your love coming to rescue me in such a way? Why do such stories of deliverance through the self-sacrifice of another move us to tears in our deepest emotions? Dear Lord I want to believe the good news. Help me believe. Jesus, you came to earth, please come to me now and show me the truth. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. I want your salvation with all my heart. Forgive me of my sins. Make me a new person! I am Yours forever.

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