Unveiling the Path to Acquiring Knowledge of the Divine: Acts 4:12 states, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
THE QUEST FOR PERSONAL ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE DIVINE
Termed as justified, saved, forgiven, entrusted to Christ, converted, or born anew, all these phrases convey the same fundamental truth. The terminology employed is insignificant compared to the transformative experience itself. The word “saved” frequently resounds in biblical verses, notably in Acts 4:12, which declares, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Romans 10:10 equally emphasizes salvation: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
To effectively engage with others about their spiritual journey, one must gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of salvation. The enormity of this doctrine is staggering; it is an intricate tapestry that will occupy all eternity for God to fully elucidate to us. To embark on this exploration, let us begin by elucidating some frequently misunderstood biblical terminology:
Synonymous with salvaged, forgiven, spared, or liberated from the clutches of sin and damnation. Acts 16:30 inquires, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Ephesians 2:8-9 underscores salvation as a gift of divine grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The process of compelling one to acknowledge their transgressions. Acts 7:54 recounts, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” In this instance, the crowd was deeply convicted of their wrongdoing. Similarly, John 8:9 tells us, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one,” illustrating that a profound sense of guilt permeated those who were present. Such conviction is a prerequisite for salvation.
The act of altering one’s mindset and purpose, transitioning from a life of sin to a life devoted to God. Acts 2:38 underscores the importance of repentance, stating, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Comparing salvation to a military command, it can be described as “Halt! Attention! About Face! Forward March!” Some misconstrue repentance as a demand for a sinless existence before receiving salvation, but this is a fallacy. One must invite Jesus into their life, and He will undertake the transformation, akin to allowing a maid into one’s home to clean and rearrange it.
To repose unwavering trust in Jesus as the Savior who fulfills His promises, transcending mere acknowledgment of His existence. Acts 16:30 inquires, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Belief involves entrusting one’s soul to Him for deliverance.
A divine bestowal of unmerited favor. Ephesians 2:8-9 asserts, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The incomprehensible act of God’s grace is encapsulated in the acronym, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
The audacious act of relying on God’s promises and putting them to the test. Hebrews 11:6 underscores faith’s indispensability, stating, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Salvation necessitates faith in the existence of God and His role as the ultimate rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.
Salvation – Hear – Believe – Repent – Confess – Be Baptized
Faith comprises three essential facets:
- Knowledge: A comprehension of the salvation process, as articulated in 2 Timothy 3:15: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.”
- Belief: Entrusting the veracity of the Bible’s teachings on salvation.
- Trust: A tangible step of action, vividly portrayed in Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
To elucidate this with an analogy, consider the story of poisonous snakes in the desert. When the Israelites were bitten, they were instructed to look upon a brass serpent affixed to a pole, foreshadowing Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Their salvation hinged on the command to “LOOK & LIVE.” Similarly, a famous tightrope walker once challenged a spectator who professed belief in his abilities to walk across a canyon with a wheelbarrow. The spectator’s belief was put to the test when he was invited to get inside the wheelbarrow. This demonstrates the profound nature of faith.
The United States Secret Service, in their quest to combat counterfeiting, invests significant effort in studying genuine currency to discern counterfeit bills effortlessly. Likewise, we delve into the minutiae of salvation to be astute in recognizing false teachings.
There exist two divergent beliefs on salvation:
While “Works” emphasizes self-effort, “Christ” underscores the exclusive role of Jesus in salvation. It’s crucial to understand that salvation hinges solely on Jesus, not on additional elements like baptism, church attendance, or good deeds. Jesus’ declaration on the cross, “It is finished,” underscores the completeness of His redemptive work.
TWO PREREQUISITES TO SALVATION
- The Word of God: This imparts knowledge about salvation and establishes the recognition of guilt.
- The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and draws individuals toward salvation.
Salvation necessitates hearing the Word of God, be it through reading, preaching, explanation, or quotation, coupled with the Holy Spirit’s inner conviction. The moment of salvation initiates a profound change—an act of justification. “Justification” signifies that God regards the believer as if they had never sinned, a divine exchange of a sinful record for Jesus’ flawless one.
2 Corinthians 5:21 illuminates this transformation: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” However, as believers, we may still falter and sin. When this occurs, our closeness to God can be disrupted, akin to a strained relationship with our parents after disobeying them. Yet, we need not seek salvation anew but merely ask for forgiveness to restore our proximity to the Lord, as outlined in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
Salvation is a multifaceted journey, one that transcends mere words and concepts. It fundamentally alters our relationship with the divine and reshapes our existence. This transformation is not a solitary event but a continuous progression through three distinct stages:
1. Justification (The Day You Became Saved): The moment you embraced salvation, your spirit underwent a profound transformation, coming alive in the presence of the divine. This act is immediate and absolute, described vividly in Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.” Justification signifies a clean slate in the heavenly records, forever severing the penalty of sin—eternal separation from God.
2. Sanctification (Growth in Your Christian Life): Following justification, our souls, comprising our heart, mind, and will, embark on a transformative journey as they encounter the Word of God. Sanctification is an ongoing process, a divine sculpting of our character to mirror the likeness of Jesus and distance ourselves from worldly influences. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 emphasizes the significance of sanctification, urging us to abstain from sinful pursuits. It is, in essence, the refinement of our daily existence, a perpetual pursuit of becoming more Christ-like.
3. Glorification (A New Body When Jesus Returns): Glorification addresses the state of our physical bodies. In this final stage, we receive a perfected, incorruptible body, incapable of sinning. It is the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation journey. As Romans 8:30 declares, “whom he justified, them he also glorified.” This glorified state represents the eradication of sin’s presence, ushering believers into eternal communion with the divine.
Picture salvation as a priceless treasure discovered by a traveler on the side of a dusty road. Initially, it’s collected and placed within a bag, symbolizing justification. Subsequently, it’s transported to a recycling plant, where it undergoes a process of crushing and remolding, akin to sanctification. Emerging from this transformative journey is a pristine, brand-new treasure, ready for purpose, analogous to glorification. It’s an all-encompassing journey that envelops believers in profound metamorphosis.
The Inextricable Link to Salvation: What Changes Within?
2 Corinthians 5:17 poignantly articulates the transformative nature of salvation: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Salvation engenders a holistic change, affecting every facet of our being, for we are fashioned in the divine image—a triune composition of body, soul, and spirit.
- Body: This physical vessel houses our soul and spirit, serving as our earthly conveyance.
- Soul: Within the soul reside our heart, mind, and will. It is here that the Gospel takes root—our minds grasp its knowledge, our hearts grapple with conviction, and our wills make the pivotal decision to trust in Christ.
- Spirit: Before salvation, our spirit remains dormant. However, salvation quickens it to life, a transformation underscored in Ephesians 2:1: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” This revitalized spirit instills believers with an innate desire to serve God, setting them apart from those who remain spiritually inert.
The moment of salvation triggers profound changes: the awakening of the spirit and the indwelling of the Lord. Salvation unfolds in three distinct phases: Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. While justification transpires instantaneously, sanctification is an ongoing journey of spiritual refinement. Glorification, on the other hand, represents the culmination of our salvation, marked by the acquisition of a sinless, eternal body.
Salvation is more than a theological doctrine; it’s a life-altering metamorphosis. It reshapes our essence, redefines our relationship with the divine, and guides us through a transformative journey of justification, sanctification, and glorification. As we delve deeper into the profound implications of salvation, we discover the intricacies of our faith and our role in God’s grand design.
Butterfly – Metamorphosis: In Romans 12:1-2, the term “transformed” alludes to salvation. This transformation, akin to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly, represents our journey—justification, sanctification, and glorification. The caterpillar, initially attached to a living branch (justification), later weaving a cocoon and undergoing internal changes (sanctification), ultimately emerges as a resplendent butterfly (glorification). It is a testament to the profound beauty of salvation, where old things pass away, and all things become new.
Salvation, in its complexity, is a gift of immeasurable value, freely offered to all. Yet, it demands more than mere acknowledgment; it necessitates a genuine transformation of heart and life. It is an intricate tapestry woven by divine grace, a journey that beckons us to embrace its depth and significance.
Can Salvation Ever Be Lost?
A pivotal question looms: Can a saved individual lose their salvation? John 10:28 reassures believers, declaring, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” Yet, on the other side of this promise, Matthew 7:22 offers a sobering revelation: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Yes, salvation can be forfeited, but not without a relentless rejection of God’s grace. It necessitates a conscious choice to relinquish the divine connection. This is not a mere backsliding but a deliberate apostasy, marked by a complete surrender to sin, devoid of remorse or repentance. Such individuals have chosen rebellion against God, severing their spiritual bond.
As believers, we must convey the truth of salvation accurately. It is not a license for a life of unchecked sin but a transformative journey that demands genuine faith, repentance, and obedience. By embracing the fullness of salvation, we find not only eternal life but also a profound communion with the divine.