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Salvation and Jesus

7th November 2007, mgh

 

1) Salvation

What is Salvation? This is a Biblical concept

A principle theme of the Bible is that of 'Salvation', and specifically the way in which people can be saved from eternal death.

The word 'salvation' occurs many times in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The Psalms speak of God and salvation in the following way.

“Our God is the God of salvation and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.” (Psalm 68: 20)

The phrase “the issues from death” summarises a central theme of the Bible. Only the Creator can save mankind from death. Jonah states that,“Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2: 9)

Isaiah wrote that the Lord said his salvation was forever,

“The earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Isaiah 51:6)

The Psalmist draws a relationship between salvation and sin,

“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.” (Psalm 79:9)

The article Soul demonstrates that the Bible shows that humans are mortal, dying creatures.

Origins of Sin and Death

In the opening chapters of the Bible, Adam and Eve were given a clear command that they were not to eat of a certain tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was in the Garden of Eden. They were told that “in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”(Genesis 2:17) The serpent encouraged Eve with the lie that if she ate of the tree, “You shall not surely die.”(Genesis 3:16) Eve ate of the tree and persuaded Adam to do likewise. Adam and Eve had disobeyed a divine command, which was sin. They were condemed to “dying die.”

It was in this way that “sin entered into the world and death by sin.”(Romans 5:12) The Bible clearly teaches that “The soul that sins shall die”(Ezekiel 18:4). The apostle Paul also states that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). As all humans sin, all humans are mortal and thus die, as Adam and Eve were condemned to die.

At that time an important principle was established for all humans for all time. A lamb was slain to 'cover' Adam and Eve's sin. The sacrifice of the lamb showed that the only way sin could be covered and forgiven was through the shedding of blood. This principle of sacrifice for the remission of sins was established as the means of redemption.

The faithful people in the Old Testament offered animals in sacrifice. The Law of Moses required the sacrifice of animals for sins to be forgiven. From the time of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, humans became dying creatures. The apostle Paul writing to the Romans explains it in the following way.

“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.”(Romans 5:12)

2) Jesus and Salvation

The opening chapter of the New Testament explains that there is a hope of salvation from sin and a hope of life beyond death for humans. A man named Joseph was told that:

“She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.”(Matthew 1:21)

The Bible says the power of God overshadowed Mary who conceived a son. This child was both son of man and son of God. From his mother he derived the nature which is common to all mankind, but from his Father, Yahweh, he developed the spiritual qualities that enabled him to develop the mind and strength to overcome all temptation. God directed that his name should be called Jesus, in Hebrew Yeshua (seeThe name Jesus), which has the meaning 'Yah shall save'.

There are many references in the Bible to a 'Saviour'. The 'Saviour' is always Yahweh, who in the past has used humans 'saviours' in various situations in the history of Israel to save them from annihilation by their enemies, such as Moses and Joshua. Jesus Christ, was sent to open the way for Jew and Gentile to obtain salvation and life eternal. When Simeon saw the infant in the temple, he recognised that this child was the means by which the faithful would be redeemed from death and given glory.

“Lord now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for my eyes have seen thy salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 1: 29-32)

A human who did not sin

Jesus born in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago, bearing our human nature with all its propensities to sin, was was obedient to all God's Laws and did not sin. The Apostle Peter said,

because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:(1Peter 2:21-22)

Unlike Adam, who disobeyed God's law, Jesus was obedient even to death, that is to give his life to be crucified.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. (Phillipians 2:8)

The perfect sacrifice

The last book of the New Testament explains that the animal slain in the garden of Eden as a sacrifice to cover sins pointed forward to the Lord Jesus Christ who is figuratively represented as the “Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”(Revelation 13:8)

As the sinless representative of man, Jesus became the single sacrifice that would cover the sins of the faithful. The writer to the Hebrews put it like this,

By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. ... . who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:22-27)

3) The Gospel and Salvation

It is through the sacrifice of Jesus that humans have a hope of salvation. The Gospel, or the good news, is the hope of the Kingdom of God and knowing that Jesus brought to all the world knowledge of the gift of God and the hope of life and immortality. In other words Jesus showed the way to achieve salvation and life beyond the grave.

There are many references in the New Testament to Jesus's role proclaiming the gospel in the Creator's plan of salvation for humans. Paul writing to Timothy spoke about Jesus' mission.

“He has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (2 Timothy 1: 10)

The gospel is about belief in the name of Jesus

“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (i.e. non Jews).”(Romans 1:16)

It is through an understanding of God's promises in the Bible and a knowledge of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God on earth that we can learn how to obtain the promise of life beyond the grave.

“The holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”(2Timothy 1:3-4)
“John the Baptist was the prophet of the Highest...to give knowledge of salvation unto the people by the remission of their sins.”(Luke 1:76-77)

The connection between Jesus and salvation is summarised by John the Apostle in the following way.

“This is life eternal to know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.”(John 17:3)

How do we obtain Salvation?

The Biblical concept of Salvation is of a life beyond death, of an everlasting existence, or life eternal, in which our mortal, dying bodies are changed into immortal bodies. For those who have believed and and are dead, there is to be a resurrection at the return of Jesus to the earth (seeResurrection). To become a part of this promise we must believe in the all powerful Creator and His son Jesus Christ and obey Yahweh's commands.

The apostle Paul in Romans chapters 5 and 6 clearly defined the steps to salvation. A few quotations from these chapters are given below. The death and sacrifice of Christ was the fulfilment of the principles of the Law of Moses, by which sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of animals was a covering for sin.

“For yet when we were without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”(Romans 5:6)

From the time of Adam and Eve, death has been the destiny of all mankind. The sinless and righteous life of Jesus Christ has opened the way for eternal life to the faithful.

“As sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Romans 5:21)

Yahshua says an essential act on the part of a faithful believer is the act of baptism, which is a complete immersion in water.

He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.(Mark 16:16)

Baptism is an acknowledgement of our sinful state, an identification with the death of Christ and rising to a new life of dedication and service to the Lord.

“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”(Romans 6:3-5)

To those who believe and are faithful there is 'the gift of God,' the promise of a resurrection to eternal life in God's future Kingdom on this earth.

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”(Romans 6:8)

There is no other hope for salvation than that which is offered through association with Jesus by Yahweh, the Saviour and Creator of all.

“For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Romans 6:23)

The only way that we can be saved from everlasting death and a return to the dust of the earth is to search out God's promises and the means by which He offers salvation to mankind. The Bible is unique in that it promises life beyond death and in addition explains how it can be achieved.

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