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Yesterday we started to look at this entry from my church home’s 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

I posed a few questions as a way of pressing through the faith tenants presented in this statement. The meat of this statement can be separated into three main topics.

1)    Salvation is a free gift, not earned or deserved.
2)    Salvation comes through faith.
3)    Salvation is secure.

The questions I offered are as follows:

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?

As I detailed in my first post on this topic, the word in Greek – sozo – saved – includes more than “salvation” as it is has been used in the Church for centuries. But this word salvation does seem to imply a sense of rescue.

So we come to our question of the day

From what do we need saving?

Why do we need rescue in the first place.

In this ‘Foundations’ class we have spent a lot of time talking about the biblical doctrine of man’s fallen and sinful state.

We have looked at the statements in John 3:18 and 36, that we are condemned and under the wrath of God, and the fact that John 3:16 clearly indicates that without Christ we will perish.

But the very first ‘salvation’ verse I shared yesterday, gives us a good starting point to answer today’s question.

"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

Yes – sin is rebellion.
Yes – man chooses sin and turns his back on God.
Yes – we sin when we are drawn away by our own lusts.

But in essence, sin is our captor! Man without Christ is enslaved by sin.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? ...

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. - Romans 6:16, 20 ESV

Yes our will and our choices are involved here, but you can’t by any power of your own will. break free from this slavery to sin. It is a bigger master than you can take on. The root of your slavery goes back to the day sin enter our species with Adam and Eve.

Jesus came to break the power of this slavery by His own death.

Death is actually the only way to break the grip of this particular slavery.

We learn of this in Romans Chapter 6. [OK – I admit it, Romans 6 is also on my top 10 list and I would love to do a verse by verse study of it here, but not today.]

Check this out

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. - Romans 6:6-7 NASB

Christ was crucified, and we with Him, so that sin and death no longer reign in our lives.

Understand, beloved, that this freedom from the slavery of sin is not the freedom to sin, but the freedom from sin.

Paul actually goes on to contrast our former life as a life enslaved to sin, and our new life as enslaved to righteousness. We then served sin to gain its wages – death, we now serve righteousness to gain its wages – life.

So then – this salvation – this wonderful sozo – sets us free from sin and free to righteousness – sets us free from death and free to life – sets us free from the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of satan and sets us at large in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of His dear Son, Jesus.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Ben NelsonSee you again tomorrow when we look at

3)    How do I get faith, if I can’t earn it and I don’t deserve it?

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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