Introduction To Salvation
Why Is Salvation Necessary?
What is salvation and why is it necessary? Romans 3:23 (NIV) tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is telling us that we are not living a life that is good enough to be in the presence of God. In other words, we fall short of what God expects of us and what is necessary to become a citizen of heaven.
Am I saying that there is a standard we must meet to become a citizen of heaven? That is exactly what I am saying. It is a standard that involves following the laws that God has set up for his creation. Satan, when he was Lucifer, didn’t follow this standard and rebelled against God. This got him cast out of heaven. Isaiah 14:12 (KJV): “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground.” Can we expect anything different?
We Are Not Qualified To Become Citizens of Heaven
But Romans 3:23 says that we have already disqualified ourselves from becoming citizens of heaven. If we cannot live a good enough life to qualify for entrance to heaven, how can we ever expect to live with God? We cannot, except for one very important fact found in Romans 6:23 (NIV): “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Meaning of Death
Death means separation. Physical death is the separation of our physical body from our spirit. Spiritual death is the separation of our spirit from the presence of God and that is what Romans 6:23 is talking about.
But God created us for a very special reason. He wanted to share his great love. It is that great love of God that brings us the salvation that we need. John 3:16 (NIV): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Because of our rebellion, we deserve to be separated from God for all eternity. But God provided a way so we wouldn’t have to be separated. God sent His one and only Son to die in our place, to take our punishment, so we could live with God forever. The Greek word translated “one and only” is “monogenace” which actually means, “a unique one, the only one of its kind.”
We Accept Salvation By Faith
We don’t have to understand all of this. We only have to accept it by faith. This is why Jesus talked about faith more than He talked about anything else. It is what we need to have a saving relationship with God. We are made righteous in the eyes of God though our faith in Jesus. Galatians 2:16 (NIV) says: “a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” And again in Ephesians 2:8 (NIV): “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
It does not come automatically. It is not forced upon us. We don’t have to live with God if we don’t want to. We don’t have to live under God’s rule if we would rather live by our own rules. But we do have to remember that in the spiritual world there are only two places to exist. One is the presence of God (heaven) The other is outside the presence of God (hell). But we do have a choice.
We Must Reach Out and Accept God’s Gift
If we want to live forever in the presence of God we have to take the appropriate steps. We have to reach out and accept God’s gift. If I offer you a present and you do not reach out and accept it, it will never be yours. The same is true with salvation. You must reach out and accept it. And this acceptance involves two steps, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Acts 3:19 (NIV) says: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.” Repentance means to be sorry for your rebellion against God and a desire to change your way of life. First, you put yourself in a position to be forgiven and be saved. This is through repentance.
How We Receive This Salvation
Then, Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) tells us how we can receive salvation: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
This second step boils down to three simple things.
1. Believe that Jesus died in your place
2. Believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.
3. Confess this by telling someone what you believe
So, is salvation necessary? Only if you want to spend eternity in heaven with God. You will not automatically get there. Yes, it is a gift from God. But to receive it, you must reach out and accept it. Have you done this yet? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?