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Foundations

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I am helping to teach a new class we are offering at Pascack Bible Church, my church home. We are going though the Church’s statement of faith and teaching those who are new to the faith, or new to the Church, and even those who have been in the faith for many years and want a refresher.

Foundations are so important. As Jesus said:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. - Matthew 7:24

As you can see here, foundations are not simply head knowledge, but a good foundation is actually putting into action those things that we hear. These foundational principals are so important for our transformation; I think it would do every follower of Christ good to look at these on a regular basis.

So as I prepare to teach these classes, I thought it appropriate to share here these wonderful principles with my brothers and sisters here.

Salvation

From the PBC Statement of Faith:

We believe that salvation is the free gift of God, entirely apart from human merit or works, and is received through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and that believers are kept secure in Him forever. Ephesians 2:8-9; John 10:27-30; John 3:16-18, John 14:6; Acts 4:12

As we walk though our statement of faith we find great importance is placed on Salvation. This is the third week in a row we are focusing on Christ’s work, beginning with the second birth, then redemption, and today salvation. At first glance I thought these three were essentially one topic, simply expressed three different ways, but as I study them out and look at the scriptures underlying this points in our statement of faith I can see the wisdom in looking at our great salvation from these three perspectives.

Today (and this week in blog-land) I will be digging around this idea of salvation. And as with the second birth series a couple weeks back, I would like to start with a few questions that spring to mind as I look at the above statement.

1)    What is salvation?
2)    From what do we need saving?
3)    How do I get faith, if I can’t earn it and I don’t deserve it?
4)    What must I do to be saved?
5)    Can I lose my salvation?

And one bonus question

6)    Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

Today we’ll attack question 1

What is Salvation?

The word salvation and it’s verb form ‘to save’ or ‘saved’ come from one of the richest words in the biblical Greek, σῴζω, pronounced sōzō.

You might ask, ‘What makes a word rich Ben?’

I’m glad you asked. I consider this word ‘rich’ because it is used in many contexts to demonstrate its many facets. One way to understand a word’s depth when you are not a scholar, (like me, that is to say I am not) is to look at how the scholars have translated this word in various translations of the Bible. This is where great tools like blueletterbible.org and biblegateway.com are invaluable.

Let’s dive in and see how this word sozo (I will use this form for this study) is used in various contexts.

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." - Matthew 1:21 NASB

But Jesus turning and seeing her said, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." At once the woman was made well. - Matthew 9:22 NASB

And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. - Mark 10:52 NASB

and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." - Mark 5:23 NKJV

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! - 2 Timothy 4:18 NKJV

"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12 NKJV

This wonderful word, sozo is used in reference to salvation from sin, but it is so much more. Sozo is about saving the whole man. Yes, God’s main design in sending Jesus was to restore – sozo – our relationship with Him, to remove that which separated us from Him. But as was so aptly demonstrated in the earthly ministry of Jesus, God was also interested in restoring man to wholeness, body soul and spirit.

My focus for the rest of the week will be on God’s ultimate work of salvation in our life, but I wanted to bring out the richness of His wonderful salvation.

Probably my favorite sozo verse is

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. - Hebrews 7:25 NKJV

I love that phrase – save to the uttermost!

How great is our God!

Ben NelsonCome back tomorrow and we will pick this up again.

Thanks for coming by.

Ben

For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” ~ Mark 5:8

Just a quick thought today.

Jesus comes face to face with a creature who could break chains. He was naked and wild. This creature frightened all the surrounding areas to the extent that no one would travel that road.

Jesus looked at IT and saw HIM, the man, the victim, the oppressed, the one with the need. Jesus spoke to the problem, and saved the man.

Hallelujah!

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1)    The gospel was preached
2)    The gospel was received
3)    Those who receive stand
4)    Those who receive are saved
5)    Those who receive hold fast

The past 2 days we have looked at the first three implications of the gospel in the Church of Corinth. Today we will finish up with the last two.

Those who receive are saved

I grew up in and around Church all my life. This word “saved” has always been part of my vocabulary. At a very young age I asked Jesus to save me

When I was a kid and even into my twenties, the meaning of the word “saved” was pretty simply rescued from a future burning in hell.

I grew up in a generation of evangelism that focused heavily on the punishment of unbelievers. They for sure understood what Jude was talking about when he said,

 save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. ~ Jude:23

Then I started to study this word “saved” and found it to be one of the most fascinating and compelling words in scripture.

The Greek word here is ‘sozo’ and its meaning are very similar to that of the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ I know when you hear the word shalom, you may be thinking peace – especially since it is used as a day to day greeting, it can lose its meaning pretty quickly. But the simplest and most profound definition I have heard for shalom is ‘whole – complete – nothing broken and nothing missing.’ I love that!

Sozo is like that. It is not simply that when you enter a covenant relationship with Jesus that He saves you from hell (and He does) but He also makes you whole.

In the gospels this word, sozo, is translated, saved, healed, delivered, and made whole.

I love the phrase the writer to the Hebrews uses:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25

So then – those who receive Him, who come to Him, He saves to the uttermost! Hallelujah!

Those who receive hold fast

So what does it mean to hold fast? Is this some kind of work of the flesh Paul is foisting on us? I don’t think so. No deed of the flesh can hold us or attach us to that which was given to us supernaturally.

Picture this:

There is an jumbo jet  - let’s call it a concord jet – one of those supersonic babies from the 90’s. It is flying across the pond headed to France. God has a plan to get you to France for a meeting He wants you to attend. So He reaches out of heaven (picture a giant Mickey Mouse glove) delicately picks you up by the collar and places you on the jet – not in but on. Then He tells you, “Ok, it is My will that you go to Paris and preach at Notre Dame. I have gotten you on the plane, all you have to do is hold on till you land in Paris. It should only be 3 hours.”

Hold On, We're almost there!

Yeah – no – I am pretty sure that in this strictly supernatural journey we are on there is no amount of our own holding on that will keep up on the plane. Jesus holds us!

So what are we holding fast?

He is talking about holding on to the truth - to the gospel – contending for the faith – holding what is true, and letting everything else go.

When I say holding the truth – there is an element of protecting it, but I believe the bigger job is protecting ourselves from the lies. Even lies like – you have to hold on to Jesus or you’ll end up in hell.

If we could hold on, we would not have needed Jesus to die and rise and present His precious blood to the Father.

Next we will look at the gospel in its simplest form.

Ben NelsonCome back Monday

See you then.

Tomorrow there are some great questions to toss around – don’t miss it.

Ben

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