What is Salvation?

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In the dictionary salvation is defined as the preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. In Christianity salvation is the deliverance from sin and its consequences. Adam’s original sin, resulting in the fall of mankind, had with it the major consequence of separation from God both in this life and in eternity. Salvation is achieved by faith in Jesus Christ. This is what makes one a Christian.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast. —Ephesians 2:8-9

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. —John 3:16-17

If “Salvation” is Being Saved – What are We Being Saved From?

As was described above, salvation means deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. As a Christian what we are saved from is the fallen nature of mankind and eternal separation from God. This salvation also includes our being saved from the consequences of our sin against God.

Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father is perfectly able to save those who come to God thru him because he lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:20-28 tells us that Jesus does in fact live to make intercession for us. He is our High Priest who is holy, separate from sinners and is higher than the heavens.

What Must I Do to be Saved?

There is only one thing that has to be done in order to receive this gift of salvation thru Jesus. In Acts 16:30 the story of the Philippians jailer is the premier account of what is required for a person to receive salvation.

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? ‘ So they said,  ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. ‘ —Acts 16:30-32

Why is it Necessary to be Saved?

John 3:16-17 says that the reason we need to be saved is that we do not perish but have everlasting life.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. —John 3:16-17

Do Good People Go to heaven?

Not without having accepted Jesus as their Savior – not without being saved. What has to be understood is that mankind is living with a fallen nature. This was the result of Adam’s rebellion and sin. It is this fallen nature that has to be dealt with and that is accomplished by accepting what Jesus did by dying on the cross for our sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. —Romans 3:23-24

The Holy Spirit is the One Who Reveals the Need to Accept “Salvation” Thru Jesus

No person comes to Jesus unless the Holy Spirit draws them. The work of the Holy Spirit is crucial in the role of the Christian. It is the Holy Spirit that is responsible for us being saved, or born-again (John 3:5). It is the work of the Holy Spirit by which we put to death the deeds of the body so that we don’t perish (Romans 8:13). The Holy Spirit is the one who sanctifies us by his work in us (2 Thessalonians 2:13). This passage further states that God chose us for salvation thru the process of sanctification and belief in the truth. The Holy Spirt is the one who works on us to accept the work of Jesus on the cross. Without the work of the Holy Spirit no one would be saved.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44

Where Does the Word “Salvation” Come From in the Bible?

In the New Testament the word salvation comes from the Greek word soterion. In the Old Testament the word is translated yashuwah. The word salvation is found 164 times in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

In one sense the entire them of the Bible is salvation. In the Old Testament salvation was something more physical than spiritual. God came to the rescue of his people Israel in the Old Testament on many occasions. Genesis 7-9 is the story of Noah who was saved by God from the flood. Israel was saved or delivered from slavery in Egypt. Jeremiah 3:23 states that God is the salvation of Israel. While salvation as we understand it in the New Testament wasn’t the overarching concern for Israel in the Old Testament it wasn’t entirely always about physical deliverance. Many of the Old Testament prophets spoke of Israel being delivered from sinful conduct.

REFERENCES:

The Hebrew Meaning of Jesus
salvation (soterion) – New Testament word #4992
salvation (yashuwah) – Old Testament word #03444
New Testament Bible Verses About Salvation
Salvation – William T. Arnold – Bible Study Tools
John 3:16-17
Ephesians 2:8-9

Hebrews 6:4-6
Revelation 22:18-19
Philippians 2:12
Jude 1:3
Matthew 1:21
Romans 10:9
Acts 4:12
Hebrews 5:9
2 Thessalonians 1:9
1 Corinthians 15:22
Titus 2:11

Philippians 16:30-31
John 6:44
Jeremiah 3:23
Hebrews 7:20-28
John 3:5
Romans 8:13
2 Thessalonians 2:13

Gregg F. Swift, J.D.