We are separated from God. Sin caused man’s separation from God, however God Loves us so much, that He provides the Way back into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. His steadfast loving kindness leads us to repentance, His grace, and mercy, forgives us of all our sins, even though none of us deserves it. No one can earn forgiveness, and reconciliation to God, it is a free gift, to those who believe, and accept it by Faith.
The original sin of Adam and Eve brought devastation to all mankind and separation from God. All men and women are born with the same sin nature in their spirit. We all have impure spirits and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Isaiah 59:2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
According to Romans 5:8 (NLT)But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Why did Christ have to die for us? Because Scripture declares all men to be sinful. To “sin” means to miss the mark. The Bible declares Romans 3:23(NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. In other words, our sin separates us from God who is perfect holiness (righteousness and justice) and God must therefore judge sinful man. Sin entered in through the fall of Adam,(Romans 5: 12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.)
The doctrine of total depravity is an acknowledgement that the Bible teaches that as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:6) every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. In other words, sin affects all areas of our being including who we are and what we do. It penetrates to the very core of our being so that everything is tainted by sin and “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). It acknowledges that the Bible teaches that we sin because we are sinners by nature.
Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect.
What are we saved from? In the doctrine of salvation, we are saved from God’s wrath, that is, from God’s judgment of sin Romans 5:9(NLT)And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation
1 Thessalonians 5:9(NLT) For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us..
Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death
Romans 6:23(NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
In all the vastness of our world, in all of the diversity of religious beliefs, there are only two essential types of belief for salvation, works and Grace. There seem to be many differences between the world’s religions, but they are all essentially the same–they all center around human works. All involve human beings accomplishing a task or set of tasks to achieve a goal and receive a reward. The tasks may be different, the goal may have differing names, and the reward may be called many things (Heaven Paradise, Nirvana), but the principle underlying all of them is the same “this for that.” In the world’s religions, salvation (righteousness, oneness with the Infinite, perfect nothingness, or whatever is the term in a particular religion) is earned by what one does.
True Bible Christianity, however, is totally distinct from the world’s religions in this area as in so many others. The thing that makes Christianity far different from all other religions is the concept of Grace. To help us understand the difference, we need to look at the at the two basic paradigms for all religions. (A Paradigm is a model, an outline, a form that something takes, that we can diagram to help us understand it.)
PARADIGM #1: WORKS
(Followed by most religions, including much of “Christianity.”)
|World Religions||“Christian” Version|
|We work our way to God, salvation, Nirvana, Paradise.||In salvation, we are returned to where Adam was before the Fall.|
|God (or whatever represents deity) judges our progress as we go along.||Even after “salvation,” we still have God as our Judge|
|Attainment of Godhood, salvation, Paradise, Nirvana depends upon what we do.||Our will and our efforts determine whether or not we go to heaven.|
PARADIGM #2: SALVATION BY GRACE
1. Salvation is 100 percent a work of God–we are unable, because of our bondage to sin and rebellion, to do anything meriting God’s favor.
2. God reaches down to save people–He conceived the plan, He sent His Son to accomplish the plan–He does 100% of the work.
3. When we experience what the Bible calls the New Birth John 3:3-8 (NLT) 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”, we are then SAVED, we pass from death to life (Ephesians 2:1-6(ESV) 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
John 6:40(ESV) 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:47(ESV)Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
- As a part of the gift of Salvation, we become adopted children of God
Galatians 3:26(NLT) 26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:6-7(NLT) 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
- When we sin, God deals with us as a Father to a child
Hebrews 12:4-8(NLT)4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.)
- God’s Grace and actions are the determining factors in our salvation, even to include His working in our lives to develop a lifestyle consistent with salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
The Grace of God is so simple, and so profound that most of the greatest minds don’t fully understand it. It stands in opposition to the ideas that most of us have about earning our way in the world, about people getting what they deserve, about “fairness,” and about the independence of human beings.
The meaning of Grace behind that simple explanation is one of the most hated teachings in the world because it so totally undermines and removes all traces of human pride.
The Doctrine of Grace teaches that we are totally unable to save ourselves, to help in our salvation, to do anything to merit all or any part of our salvation, or to keep our salvation. We are saved totally as an act of God’s will, and we do not deserve it in any way. This is the most important first principle in understanding Grace–no one in the entire human race deserves any consideration from God, we are all rebels and sinners, and we all deserve Hell. Except for His own redemption plan, God could rightfully have sent the entire human race to eternal punishment long ago! The description Paul gives of believers before salvation fits the entire human race if they are without Christ:
Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT) Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
In spite of us deserving wrath, however, God has exercised His Grace toward us in Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-10 (NLT) 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
What is the meaning of Grace? We were dead spiritually; we were fit for nothing but wrath; we were rebels and in bondage to sin and Satan. In the midst of that condition, God saved us. We exercised faith, which is itself a gift of God
(John 6:44-47(NLT) 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life, and God blessed us with the greatest possible gift–eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! (John 5:24(NLT) 24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
John 6:37-40(NLT) 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
What is more, we can add nothing to Grace. Before we were saved, we had nothing to contribute to the process (Romans 3:10-11(NLT) 10 As the Scriptures say,“No one is righteous—not even one.11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.
And we add nothing to it. The Bible makes plain that the mysterious supernatural experience called the New Birth is an act of God.
John 3:3-8 (NLT) 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
You might ask, “If this is all a work of God, where do I fit in the process?” The answer is you must believe, you must exercise faith in Christ for salvation.
Romans 10:9-10(NLT)9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
This exercise is not a work, however, because is involves no ability on our part and no effort on our part. That is the hard thing to understand about faith–it is not an action, it is a surrender, a throwing up of the hands and saying, “I can do nothing in myself.”
Justification by Faith
What does the term “Justified” mean? The Bible meaning of the word is to be totally blameless and totally guiltless–to be able to stand before God clean and pure in every way. Justification, in Christian theology is God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.A play on the word helps us to understand its meaning. If I am Justified, it is Just-as-if-I’d never sinned, and Just-as-if-I’d always been holy and done the right things. Remember our helpless position before God–as “children of Wrath,” we are unable to satisfy God–all His lovely and perfect Law can do is condemn us: Our Father, however, has devised a plan and made a way for us to stand righteous before Him. He has sent His own Son as a Sacrifice on our behalf, (Chapter 5) and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life, and shall be seen as righteous in God’s sight.
This is Justification, to stand before God with all accounts paid, and clothed in the righteousness of His only Son, Jesus Christ. To be able know that you have Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.–there is no more war between you and the Almighty.
Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer. After Justification begins Sanctification which is basically
the process of our dying to self, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. Galatians 5:24 (ESV)“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”. Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, that which pleases God.
And being obedient to the word and the Spirit that we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are considered righteous and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.
Justification – We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin. (Instant)
Sanctification – We are being saved from the Power of Sin (Process)
Glorification – We will be saved from the presence of Sin (upon Ressurection)
When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation.
The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians. He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish. There is no qualifier here. There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.” There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish. This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life.
Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish. But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand? No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved. Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.
There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation.
Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.
What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? There is none that I know of. Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross of Calvary. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?
The most powerful argument for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Please understand that eternal security is not a license to sin. The Christian is regenerated. He is changed from within–being made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.) Those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit will war with their sin and not seek to abide in it. Those who declare that they are eternally secure and then go out and sin on purpose in any manner they so choose are probably not saved to begin with since this is contradictory to what Scripture teaches. 1 John 2:4-5 (HCSB) The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him:
Again eternal security (the position that a Christian cannot lose his salvation) is not a license to sin. Such accusations are made by those who believe they can lose their salvation and thus have to maintain it either through obeying the commandments of God or by their deliberate act of remaining faithful to him. I have never heard any believer in eternal security ever make the statement that since he is secure in Christ, it’s okay for him to sin. In fact, I have always heard the opposite, and those I have encountered who believe in their security in Christ have universally sought holiness before the Lord Jesus.
Romans 6:1-2(HCSB) What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:6-8(HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him,
Those who truly are born again are also regenerate, and those who are regenerate have the Holy Spirit in them (Romans 8:9-10(NLT) 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) who convicts of sin John 16:8(NLT) 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. Also, those who are truly born again are new persons (2 Corinthians 5:17(NLT) 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!). In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin as is exemplified by the apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-25. And, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.
Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.“
1 John 1:6, “If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
1 John 2:4, “ The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
The message of Grace is God Saves Sinners. It is His Plan, it was His Son who died and rose again, it is His Spirit who enlivens the preaching and witness of believers to awaken sinners to their need of salvation and lead them to faith in Christ.
So, to be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, i.e., lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc., will not be upon us; that is forgiveness. But in addition, we get what we do not deserve–being in the presence of God.
Finally, the only way to be saved by grace is by putting your trust in what Jesus did on the cross. He never sinned, and He bore our sin in His body. He paid the price. He satisfied the penalty of the law by dying on the cross, Because our righteous deeds are filthy rags before God, then we have nothing that is pure to offer God. Therefore, the only thing left for us to do is to trust what Christ has done on the cross by faith. That is why the Bible tells us that we are made right before God by faith. Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be safe from the righteous judgment of God by the unmerited favor found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.