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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!




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.


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 and 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.



Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780.

Jesus is teaching a bunch of folks, seems like it might take place in His own house, as I look at the various tellings between Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Four men have a friend who is paralyzed, and they bring him to Jesus to be healed. They can’t get into the house, so the climb up on the room, and using some ropes, lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

So – What are you going to do now Jesus? You have the home field advantage, and this guy everyone knows has been crippled for ages. You could show them once and for all that you are in fact moving with the finger of God here on earth. You could stop all the naysayers, and get your own hometown behind you. You might even get some of the Pharisee’s to believe.

But Jesus jumps the rails. He gets tossed this easy pitch, and what does He do? He  changes the game.

Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. ~ Matthew 9:2

Sins? Who said anything about sins?

You may say that Jesus talked about his sin because that was his deeper need, and that is true, but I believe we can get at least one more lesson here.

Forgiveness and healing are never far parted in the Bible.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases ~ Psalm 103:1-2

But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ~ Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

Why the link? Why does Jesus stop the show and show us both healing and forgiveness?

Perhaps He is demonstrating to the people in the room, that He was not just an amazing healer, but that He was here to bring deliverance to the whole man.

Perhaps He was bringing attention to this permanent link between forgiveness and healing.

"But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins--then He said to the paralytic--“Rise, take up your bed, and go home." ~ Matthew 9:6

One piece of this that is of interest to me, is that forgiveness is not immediately visible from the outside, whereas healing is. When Jesus forgives the sins of this man, there is no visible change.

This may lead us to believe it takes more faith to be healed then to be forgiven, but this is not so.

The problem is the good news about forgiveness has been preached for hundreds of years, and the good news about the fact that Jesus heals has been much less prevalent. As we meditate more and more on the total salvation offered by Jesus, we see more and more men and women saved, healed and delivered.

I am so glad Jesus took the time to give us this lesson in His wonderful salvation.

Ben NelsonAren’t you?

See you again soon.


By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

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.


Ben NelsonSee you again soon


Yesterday we took a look at an encounter a Canaanite woman had with Jesus and the disciples. I want to poke around just a bit on one portion of their conversation today.

And He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.

But she (the Canaanite woman) said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Matthew 15:26-27 NASB

Perhaps you will remember that she came to Him begging for Him to heal, or perhaps I should say exercise her daughter. The daughter was “cruelly demon-possessed” as it says in verse 22.

This next bit interests me. He tells the disciples (He does not address her directly yet) that you don’t just give the “children’s bread” to dogs.

This word bread is not the sliced loaf of wonder bread you might find in the grocer’s aisle today. It was a bread that was meant to be broken, not sliced. It was the bread used in the Passover meal, the same kind of bread they kept in the temple.

This bread He referred to was, well, Him. He was is the Bread of Life that had to be broken for our sozo, our salvation.

Sozo is a transliteration of the Greek word that means Salvation. This is one of the greatest words in the New Testament. It is translated many different ways. Here are a few examples.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Luke 8:12 “And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Matthew 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Mark 5:23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

(All of the above are from the KJV)

As you can see, the word describes salvation, healing, and deliverance from demonic possession and oppression.

When Jesus speaks of Himself as the Bread of life, broken for us, this breaking brings us this full salvation – as the writer to the Hebrews puts it – salvation to the uttermost.

When we celebrate communion, we take both bread and wine. The wine signifies the Blood of the Lord Jesus. This blood, the blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish, is effectual to wash away our sins.

Bread!So why did He insist that we must eat the bread, His body broken for us.

Next time you take communion, I want you to consider that Jesus' body broken for our salvation, for our healing, our deliverance, our “wholeness.” By the stripes He bore in His body, we are healed, delivered, made whole, put back together the way we were designed.

And get this. Just the crumbs that fell off the table were enough for the full healing of this woman’s demon possessed daughter, how much better for the children sitting at the Master’s banqueting table?

Take – Eat – His Body broken for you!

BenThanks for stopping in.

See you tomorrow


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