What is Biblical Salvation?
If you’re not familiar with the Christian faith, you may be completely unfamiliar with what salvation is. Simply put, salvation is the deliverance from the consequences of sin, for which we are all guilty. In today’s culture this is typically referred to as the forgiveness of sins.
Outside of Jesus, there’s no person in the history of the world who has lived a perfect life. Therefore, the first step in receiving biblical salvation is accepting that you are indeed guilty of sin and in need of redemption from it.
The second step in receiving biblical salvation is believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus, being God incarnate, came to earth, died as a perfect sacrifice, and conquered sin by rising from the grave.
What does this mean for me?
This means that there’s nothing you can do to earn this salvation. Simply put, salvation is a gift from God. Just like any gift, it can be accepted or rejected, and there’s nothing that you can do to earn the grace and mercy that’s given by God.
Where can I find biblical support for this?
1. How do I know I've sinned?
Genesis 3 tells the story of the fall of man and how sin entered the world. The apostle Paul, in Romans 3:23 makes it very clear when he writes “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2. Why do we believe and confess?
We do both because Paul teaches in Romans 10:10 “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
3. Can I earn my way into Heaven simply by being a good person?
Paul continues his teaching from earlier by sharing how sin can be overcome. In Romans 3:24-25 he writes “…all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith.” Paul is very clear that the forgiveness of our sins is only made possible through the death of Christ and that it’s received through faith. The grace we’re given cannot be earned. If we could earn it, it wouldn’t be grace.
4. Aren't there multiple ways to be saved?
John records an account of Jesus telling His disciples how to get to heaven. In John 14:6 this is what Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The book of Acts goes even further to clarify this when it says in Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else,” referring here to Jesus, “for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
If you’ve made the choice to believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins, great! Be sure to tell us your story! Now, What’s next? Living a Christ-centered life.
Living a Christ-Centered Life
1. Do you believe what you say you believe?
Christian speaker and teacher Del Tackett lays it out very clearly by explaining that if you have really put your faith in Jesus then your belief in Him will be evident by the fruit in your life.
Actions speak louder than words. It’s a common saying in today’s world, but it’s one that actually has a basis in scripture. In John 15:5 Jesus is speaking and he tells us this: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Again, Jesus shares the importance of having a life that bears fruit.
2. What is the Fruit?
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Living a Christ-centered life will result in this fruit being evident in your life.
3. What exactly does a fruit-filled life look like?
To answer that, let’s look at what Jesus says. When asked by the Pharisees what is the greatest commandment, this is what Jesus replied in Mark 12:30-31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Now that it’s been established that living a Christ-centered life is revealed by the fruit we bear as Christians and that this is accomplished by loving God and loving your neighbor, how can that be accomplished?
a. How do you love God with all your heart?
Honor God morally, worship Him and give Him thanks, and draw into a deep relationship with Him.
Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “If anyone is in Christ, the new Creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Practically, this means that in a loving relationship with Christ we no longer are bound by the sin that once controlled us. Instead, our heart’s desire is to honor God and his plan for our life.
The New Testament identifies many different sins (too many to list here), but at their heart almost all of these sins can be boiled down to one thing: selfishness. We as humans have a natural inclination to do what pleases ourselves. It’s the reason we lie, steal, envy, lust, complain, boast, get angry, and the list goes on and on. We do these things because we haven’t given control over to God.
To love God and live for Him means giving up our self-centeredness. It means a full and complete submission to His plan for our lives. Both Peter and James quote from Psalms where the psalmist says “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
We must also worship God. Psalm 100:1-2 tells us to “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.” Because of his perfect, loving, and infinite nature God deserves ALL of our praise. He’s the God that created you and through Him comes “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17a).
Psalm 136 reminds us of the thanks we are to give to God: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love endures forever.”
In addition to our worship, we need to deepen our relationship with God. We do this through prayer, the reading of His Word (the Bible), and through meeting together as a body of believers (aka church). “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us. “Set your minds on the things above, not earthly things,” Paul shares in Colossians 3:2. Of course this doesn’t mean you need to become a monk and spend 24 hours a day in prayer, but rather to keep God in everything you do and make sure that what you’re doing and saying is in line with his plan.
Equally important is time spent reading the Word of God. The easiest way to know and have a mind like Christ is to read what God has shared with mankind through His Holy Scriptures. More than just reading and learning though, be sure to also meditate on His Word and be transformed through its teaching.
b. How do you love your neighbor as yourself?
Jesus also taught us how to treat our neighbors. Matthew 25:35-36 records these words of Jesus: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” These are the things we should do for our neighbor. When we see a need we are to respond to it.
You may ask, as have many others, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus answers this with the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In the parable, Jesus showed a man in need who received help from a person who would typically have been a natural enemy of the needy man. Jesus uses this illustration to show that your neighbor is not just someone who lives near you or someone you typically get along with, but instead can be anyone in the world no matter how big your differences. Jesus shares this same sentiment in Matthew 5:46 when he says, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
Do not however be deceived into thinking that you are doing these good things on your own will and merit, this will lead to pride. Instead in “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31b).
Real love, whether for God, your spouse, your parents, your children, or your neighbor looks like this:
“Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).
Living a Christ-centered life will fill you with a joy that is undeniable and incomparable. A life that is centered on Christ will lead to a more intimate relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Through the deepening of your relationship with God you will continue to be sanctified through the Holy Spirit. This means that as you grow spiritually you’ll become more like Jesus and act more accordingly to God’s plan for your life.
On this earth we are called to be progressively sanctified, producing more of the good fruit, and less of the bad fruit. While on earth we’ll never be fully sanctified, however, those who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation will one day receive full sanctification. This will occur when we stand face to face with Christ in heaven.
On that day everyone will give an account of himself to God. Those who have chosen to deliberately live a Christ-centered life will get to hear God say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’