Salvation is the theme of the Bible. Even before the world began and man was created, God, knowing that man would sin, devised a plan for his salvation (Eph. 3:9-11). The death of Christ was the plan by which He purposed to accomplish that salvation (Isa. 53). He died for our transgressions andthereby is the Progenitor of our salvation.
Salvation is just that, salvation — being saved from sin. Sin is man’s main malady. It will cause his soul to rot in hell if it is not taken out of the way (Ezk. 18:20; Gal. 6:8).
I want to make a few statements about salvation from a biblical perspective.
Faith is necessary to salvation (Heb. 11:6). But faith is more than just one’s admission that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jas. 2:22 says that “faith without works is dead, being alone.” James further states that “...as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead, being alone.” Faith is the foundation for all obedience; but it is only that, the foundation. There must be actions based upon that faith.
Repentance is necessary, but it is more than just a decision to turn and serve God: — It must result in activity. In 2 Cor. 7:8, we are told, “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal...” Repentance is not a staid decision that sits still. It causes the turn to something better, or it isn’t true repentance (Acts 2:42).
Confession is necessary, but it is more than an admission that Jesus Christ is the Son of God: — That’s important, certainly; but there’s more to it than that. Rom. 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? If you don’t confess there is no salvation for you; that’s what it says. But is that the end of the matter? Confession is a pledge of allegiance, one where Jesus is affirmed to be the captain of one’s soul; but it produces in the believer the desire to do something. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and hath not works, can faith save him” (Jas. 2:14)?
Baptism is necessary, but it is more than just “getting saved”: — While it is absolutely biblical to affirm that baptism saves (1 Pet. 3:21), just being baptized no more insures salvation than does a faith that does not work. Some of my brethren need to learn that fact. Baptism alone is no better than faith alone. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). To be risen with Christ is to be baptized into Him. Once one has been baptized, he is to start seeking things above. He is to worship, teach, learn, grow. He is to put off the bad and put on the good. In verse 17 of this same context, Paul admonishes that “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord...” There’s stuff to do once you’ve been baptized. You have to grow up after you’ve been born.
Just attending the services of the church does not guarantee salvation. There is more to do than what is done in the meeting house. That is not intended to minimize the importance fo the assembly; but it is to say that just meeting on the Lord’s Day is not tantamount to faithfulness. “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men...” (Gal. 6: 10). “Pure religion and undefiled before God is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keep oneself unspotted from the world” (Jas. 1:27). Christianity is a daily living process, one where you present your body “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
Salvation is our most vital concern. We should consider it carefully and long. And we should be aware that to be saved, we have to follow the Master. And that takes work.