Salvation 1: God and Saviour

List of Studies  

1. Introduction

When Adam and Eve (mankind's first parents) sinned, they threw away the righteousness of God and became deserving of death, placing themselves under Satan’s rule.  However, God's love for Adam and Eve, and every subsequent member of the Human race, was/is so strong that He could not abandon mankind to sin and death. 

Consequently, as we see in study: ‘The Triune God’, the Bible takes it as understood that God longs to draw the whole human race to Him that He might save them.  Accordingly, Scripture is replete with God’s love and saving grace.  

This study traces in Scripture both why and how God has saved mankind. 

Note. The Scriptures given in this study are not exhaustive, but are representative of the topic.

2. Our need of salvation

Mankind’s greatest need, whether they know it or not, is to be reconciled to God - there is nothing more important.  

For those desiring salvation, the first step is to understand our true condition - only then can we understand how much we need God’s intervention to rescue us from the captivity of sin.

Scripture tells us plainly the seriousness of our condition, as follows.

2.1 We are unclean

Is 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 

Note. ‘Filthy’ in this verse is translated from Strong’s H5708, which carries the meaning: soiled by menstrual flow.  This is unpleasant, but it emphasises the filthiness and futility of any pretence of human righteousness.

2.2 We have no goodness or righteousness

Ps 14:3  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

Ro 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 

2.3 We inherit sin and death from Adam

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Ro 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 

Ro 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 

Adam made a conscious decision to sin, thus separating himself from God, Who is the source of all life. Death followed as a natural consequence. 

It is true that we have not made a conscious decision, as did Adam, to fall into sin.  However, we are Adam’s offspring, and we can inherit from Adam only what he was able to pass on to us: his fallen sinful nature.  Consequently, like Adam, we suffer death.  

Because of inherent sin, mankind remains separated from God, and is helpless in a state of sin (see study: ‘Sin’,6.1).

Job 14:4  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. 

As a consequence of inherent sin, mankind remains separated from God, helpless in sin. 

It is clear, now, that we must rely entirely on God if we are to be saved.  We may wonder why God saves such sinful creatures as mankind.  Scripture provides the answer, next.

3. Why God has saved mankind

Eze 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD [JEHOVAH], I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Because of mankind’s helplessness in sin, God’s heart was touched with infinite love and great pity:

3.1 He loves mankind

Je 31:3  The LORD [JEHOVAH] hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. 

Jn 3:16  For God [ho Theos, Almighty God - see study: 'The Triune God'] so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God [ho Theos] sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

God’s heart of infinite love could not abandon mankind to sin and death:

“Grace and love, like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above, And Heavʼnʼs peace and perfect justice Kissed a guilty world in love.”

Words from Hymn: ‘Here is Love vast as the ocean’

3.2 He understands and pities mankind

Ps 103:14  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 

Is 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 

Joe 2:18  Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 

Ja 5:11  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 

3.3 He loves to be merciful

La 3:22  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 

Ps 98:3  He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 

Ps 103:8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 

Mi 7:18  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

4. Love and Salvation

4.1 The plan of salvation

Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

The moment sin entered the world, salvation was promised.

Rev 13:8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

The plan was laid that Christ, the Lamb of God, would become as mankind (He 2:17; Php 2:7,8) and give His life to redeem all.

God’s promises never fail.

Jos 21:45  There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. 

4.2 God sent Christ to save the world

Mt 15:24  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 

Jn 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 

Jn 6:38,39  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 

39  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 

We see in study: ‘The Triune God’,5 that Christ was 'Almighty God' with us - He was sent to be the once-for-all complete sacrifice for sin.

Ac 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Lk 19:10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 

Jn 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 

Jn 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

1Jn 3:5  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [Strong’s G3875: parakletos, advocate, comforter] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator [Strong’s G3316, reconcilor] between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

He 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator [G3316] of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.  

Christ is our advocate (one who speaks for us) with the Father.  He is our mediator, who  stands between sinners and the Father to argue the case for the repentant.

4.3 Christ sacrificed Himself for us

Of His life Christ said:  Jn 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Being the Sacrifice for sin was not imposed upon Christ - He willingly gave Himself for us.

Mt 20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 

Ga 1:3,4  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 

4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 

Ga 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 

Jn 10:15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

Jn 10:17,18  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 

18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 

1Jn 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 

4.4 Christ bore our sin

Is 53:5,6  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 

6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

Is 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 

(The whole of Isaiah Chapter 53 foretells the suffering Christ: Is 23:1-12).

He 9:28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. 

Ro 5:6  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 

1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 

Ga 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 

The greatest measure of love

Jn 15:13,14  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 

Christ our friend (Mt 11:19; Lk 7:34) died for us - those who love and obey Him are His friends.

Ro 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ died for unrepentant sinners - those that hate Him. There can be no greater measure of love:

“Here is love, vast as the ocean, Lovingkindness as the flood, When the Prince of Life, our Ransom, Shed for us His precious blood.”

Words from Hymn: ‘Here is Love vast as the ocean’

4.5 The outcome of God's love: Grace, the free gift

Ro 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

2Co 9:15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 

Ep 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

As a result of God's ultimate saving act, we have restoration through Grace: God's gracious act of mercy, a free gift for all who will accept it.  This encompasses all those who lived before the Cross and believed God's promise of a Saviour to come.

Apart from true Christianity the world’s religions require their adherents to earn salvation in some way.  This prompts a question: how do those of non-Christian religions know when they have done enough to appease their god(s)?

True Christians do not have that problem - salvation in Christ cannot be earned, it is the free gift of a loving God.

1Co 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 

1Co 7:23  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 

Christ has purchased us with His own blood - therefore we are not our own.  We belong to Christ, and He will take His own (the repentant) to be with Him for eternity.

4.6 Christ intercedes for us

Now that Christ has borne our sin and set us free He intercedes for us in the Heavenly Sanctuary (See study: ‘The Sanctuary in Heaven).

Ro 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 

He 7:25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost- [Strong's G3838, entire, complete] that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

5. THE CRUX: How Salvation works

Christ was made what we are, so we can be made what He is:

2Co 5:20,21 … we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

21  For he hath made [Strong’s G4160, to make] him to be sin [Strong’s G266, sinfulness] for us, who knew no sin [sinfulness]; that we might be made [Strong’s G1096, to cause to be] the righteousness of God in him. 

This verse ranks as one of the most important in Scripture - it tells us how mankind is saved.

Christ has saved us from what we ARE not merely from what we do.  

When Adam and Eve sinned, they fell from a state of righteous perfection into a state of sin - acts of sin are a consequence of the state of sin.  The state of sin is what we ARE. Thus the state of sin is by far the greater problem.

If we wish to destroy a plant, breaking off the leaves will not kill it - to kill the plant the root must be destroyed.  If the root is destroyed the leaves will also be destroyed.   Acts of sin are the 'leaves' of sin - the state of sin (sinfulness) is the root of sin. 

In the New Testament, the Greek word for sin occurs most often in the abstract form (Strong’s G266) - the abstract form refers to a state or condition.  Thus the New Testament is concerned more with the state of sin (i.e. sinfulness, the underlying problem), than with acts of sin. For example:

Ro 6:13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin [Strong’s G266, sinfulness]: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 

In this verse, we see unrighteousness, i.e. the state of sin (sinfulness), as the opposite of (the state of) righteousness (words ending in 'ness' refer to a state or condition).

Note.  This point is addressed further in study: ’Sin’,6.1.

Christ was made the state of sin upon the Cross, when, at the point of death, He cried in anguish:

Mt 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  (also Mk 15:34).

Separation from God is the consequence of sin (Is 59:2).  Thus Christ, in being made sin, at the point of death He had to be separated from (forsaken by) the Heavenly Father.

Christ endured the greatest mental anguish, so that we may have peace with God.

In 2Co 5:21 (above), the first instance of ‘made’ (G4160), which refers to Christ, is in the indicative mood, which denotes a simple statement of fact.  Indeed, it is a simple fact, in Christ we may have salvation - if we simply believe (Ac 16:31).

In 2Co 5:21 (above), we see that the redeemed are not merely declared righteous, they are MADE to BE no less than the Righteousness of God, i.e. Righteousness itself, which is Christ’s natural state.  Only in Christ, i.e. by His merit alone, may the redeemed be made so.

Again in 2Co 5:21 (above), the second instance of ‘made’ (G1096), which refers to mankind, is in the subjunctive mood, which denotes that it may or may not occur depending on circumstances.  Clearly, the circumstances here are whether or not a person is amongst the redeemed.

However, by taking the curse of sin upon Himself, Christ paid our sin penalty:

Ga 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 

He thereby ensured that we do not have to pay our sin penalty ourselves, and thus we may be assured of salvation - we may, in Christ, indeed be MADE righteousness itself.  Only then are the redeemed fitted for God’s Heavenly Kingdom.

Christ was made what He was not naturally, so that we can be made, in Him, what we are not naturally.

We may be sure that God’s method of saving mankind is utterly safe and certain - Christ saves ‘to the uttermost’ (He 7:25).

6. Summary 

God has given all of Himself to save fallen mankind.  He loves us with an everlasting love. He has left nothing undone that mankind may live with Him in joy throughout eternity.  

The free gift of saving Grace is available to all, without exception.  Thus we may have absolute confidence that we may be saved utterly, if we so desire. We may, in Christ, take our place amongst the unfallen sinless Kingdom of Heaven.

List of Studies