The theme of the Bible is clearly God’s plan for the salvation of humanity. In reading Matthew 25:34, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 3:11 and 1 Peter 1:20 one can learn that God had from the beginning of the world an eternal plan to save mankind. God, the Father, decided that the blood of His only begotten Son would be a suitable payment for the sins of mankind. Notice Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” We learn that the motives for God’s actions were His love and His grace. That is why the scriptures speak about being saved by the mercy and grace of God. Our salvation is dependent upon God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s plan or method to save us. Our salvation also depends on the willingness of Christ to do His father’s will. Christ willingly died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. The Holy Spirit has revealed unto us the mind and will of God unto mankind. When one reads the scripture the Spirit convicts the heart of the reader and lead them to obedience.
In considering our salvation we need to first understand that the scriptures tell us of what deity or the Godhead has done so we can be saved. Then we need to understand that the scriptures also speak of what we must do in order to be saved. As with any Biblical topic, it is important to consider all that God has revealed in the New Testament concerning our salvation.
The first thing we learn in scripture is that faith is essential. Without faith it is impossible to please God, (Hebrews 11:6). If one does not believe in God or in Jesus our Savior and the revealed word of God then we in no way will be saved. It is our faith in God and His word that makes us seek salvation. Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Concerning faith Jesus said in Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”
It is our faith that leads us to recognize the sin in our own lives and our need for forgiveness. Our forgiveness is linked with our willingness to repent. Repentance is absolutely essential. Without it no one can be saved. Luke 13:3 and 5 clearly states, “…except, ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Jesus said He came to call sinners to repentance, (Matthew 9:13 and Luke 5:32). This is why Peter, on the day of Pentecost, told the people to “repent and be baptized”, (Acts 2:38). In the book of Romans 2:4 we learn that the goodness of God leads us to repentance.
This same obedient faith leads us to be willing to confess our faith and loyalty to Christ. Notice Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus told us in Matthew 10:32 that “whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Prior to the Ethiopian ruler’s baptism he confessed his faith in Jesus as the Son of God, Acts 8:35-38.
It is our obedient faith that convicts us to be baptized for the forgiveness of sin. On the day of Pentecost Peter led by the Holy Spirit, told those that needed salvation that they must “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins”, (Acts 2:38). The purpose for these being baptized was the forgiveness of sins. We pose the question, can a person be saved before their sins are forgiven and before their sins have been washed away? In connection with Paul’s conversion we learn that God told him to be baptized to wash away thy sins, (Acts 22:16). I encourage you to turn in your own Bible and read 1 Peter 3:21. I include the passage here for your convenience. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” In Romans 6:3-6 baptism is described as a burial. We are buried in water in baptism. In this symbolic burial the old man of sin is destroyed and buried. We come in contact with the death of Christ when we are baptized and then raised out of that baptism in newness of life. This is a part of being born again.
After our initial faith, repentance, confession and baptism for the forgiveness of sin we are saved, however, we must not leave the impression that that is all one must do. The Bible clearly teaches we will be held accountable for our words and deeds. Romans 14:12 and 1 Peter 4:5clearly teaches we will give an account for how we live and what we say and do. Once we are saved we must then continue to walk in the light as Christ is the light, (1 John 1:6-9). John, led by the Holy Spirit, tells the Christians to “be faithful unto death and I (Jesus) will give thee a crown of life”, (Revelation 2:10).
We encourage every sincere person with an open heart to turn to God. Jesus said: “Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus is described as the author of eternal salvation “unto all those who obey him”, (Hebrews 5:9).
If you would like to study in more depth the topic of salvation please contact the Manchester Church of Christ. Our desire is to help people prepare to meet God and secure their salvation.