Regeneration Adoption Justification Imputation Sanctification Reconciliation Propitiation Redemption Summary
The following is a set of eight outlines intended to help a born again Christian better understand his salvation. Many Christians neglect to study the doctrines that define New Testament salvation and miss the rich blessings that understanding them brings. Salvation has many different aspects; no single term or principle can adequately define it. To show believers the extent of what they have in Christ, the Holy Spirit put no less than eight separate doctrines in the Bible to explain New Testament salvation. Each one describes it from a slightly different perspective. A good understanding of these doctrines is essential for a Christian to become mature in the faith and truly appreciate what God has done for him. Every Christian should be fully acquainted with the terms justification, sanctification, regeneration, etc., yet many have only a shallow knowledge of these doctrines if any knowledge of them at all. However, if the believer will study the scriptures as the Lord commands him to (2 Timothy 2:15), the Holy Spirit will reveal these truths to him (John 14:26). He will then have a greater confidence in the permanence of his salvation and also be better equipped to serve his Saviour.
Furthermore, the primary reason God has given man the Bible was so he could learn doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16). God wants the sinner to learn that without Christ he is lost and headed for Hell, and He wants the Christian to learn what happened to him when he received Christ. Apart from the scriptures no one could know either. In several places in the Bible the Holy Spirit pleads with believers to not be ignorant of doctrine (Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 12:1; etc.), and the doctrines that are the most profitable for any believer to learn are these eight on salvation. Once they are mastered, the saint will be better prepared to understand some others that are more difficult.
The reader is to study all the references given below in his Bible. He is NOT to use these outlines by themselves as a substitute for this study. They are intended only to aid him in finding out what the Bible says about the subject of salvation. The Bible alone (KJV) should be the Christian's final authority for this matter (and every other matter), so a believer should never let any other reading material, Christian or otherwise, stand between him and his personal study of it. Personal study is the only way he can know for certain what the Bible says and determine if any teaching or doctrine he may be confronted with is scriptural. Many believers because of failure to do this are confused about many aspects of Christianity and often fall away from the truth. Every Christian should have the same attitude towards the Bible as the "Bereans," who after hearing the apostle Paul's words, "...searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11-12). Since the Holy Spirit commended these people for checking the words of an apostle against the Bible, how much more should believers today check everything they read and hear with the Scriptures also?
The reader will find that the names of these eight doctrines are not terms Christians generally use to describe salvation. They usually describe what God has done for them by saying their sins have been forgiven, remitted, or pardoned. Though all three of these words can be found in the Bible in some form, they are not words the Holy Spirit places emphasis on. The above words are not even mentioned in the books of John, Romans, and Galatians (except "forgiven" quoted in Romans 4:7), and these are the books which tell us the most about salvation. Of course, salvation includes forgiveness and remission of sins, but it goes much beyond the meanings of these terms. It contains eternal life, a standing of righteousness, perfect holiness, a new birth, a new nature, and a host of other virtues, all purchased by the death and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. All who personally receive Christ are freely given these blessings, and it is only fitting that each believer have a good understanding of what they are.
Also, dear believer, please understand that these doctrines speak of blessings and virtues you possess NOW. They do not refer to something the Lord will give you in the future, or to rewards you earn by obedience; they became fully effective in you the moment you received Jesus Christ. It is your UNION with Christ that makes them your own. Dear saint, please do not cheat yourself by neglecting these precious doctrines. God has rich blessings for those who invest in the study of them. The time it will take you to "search the scriptures" and learn them will be nothing compared to the rich dividends you will reap for the rest of your life!
Again, Christian, KNOW these doctrines. Meditate on them until they become familiar friends (1 Timothy 4:15); study them so you can give a good answer to a sceptic (1 Peter 3:15); memorize them so you can help others understand (Psalm 119:11); and rely on their truths so you can have the "...peace of God, which passeth all understanding..." (Philippians 4:7). Once you really grasp what God has given you, and realize what all salvation contains, NO ONE will be able to talk you out of your security in Jesus Christ. No matter how many "good words and fair speeches..." (Romans 16:18) someone may use to try to convince you otherwise, you will KNOW that you have "...passed from death unto life" (John 5:24) and will dwell with your Saviour for ETERNITY!
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15) and let all praise, honour, and glory go to God the Father, and His Son, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Regeneration means to be given or imparted life. Concerning the Christian it refers to the life and nature he receives when he is born again and made a new creature in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word regeneration is found only two times in the Bible. First, in Matthew 19:28, where it speaks not of the new birth of the Christian but of the restoration of the earth at the second coming of Christ. It is mentioned the second time in Titus 3:5 where one finds the actual renewing and rebirth of the believer mentioned.
A. The Need For Regeneration
1. Since the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden (Genesis Ch. 2-3), every person (except Jesus Christ) has been born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Ephesians 2:1-7). To correct this every individual must be born a second time unto righteousness and life (John 3:5-6).
2. Also, every individual on earth has inherited the evil nature Adam acquired at the fall. Therefore, each person needs another nature that is not evil, but righteous and holy, before he can have proper fellowship with a righteous God (Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9; Matthew 13:38-42; Luke 11:13; 16:23; John 3:36; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15).
3. This evil nature, and the sins resulting from it, is totally contrary to God and brings His wrath on the individual (John 3:18, 36; Galatians 3:10; 4:8; Ephesians 2:12; 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:5; etc.). Those who refuse God's gift of regeneration will permanently feel His wrath in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
4. Jesus told Nicodemus, a very moral man and a ruler of the Jews, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:1-12).
B. The Method Of Regeneration
1. A person becomes regenerated when he hears the gospel, repents, and by faith receives Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour (John 1:12-13; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; Peter 1:23).
2. Regeneration is a literal birth into God's family where the believer actually becomes God's child (Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 3:1-2; 5:1; 1 Peter 1:3).
3. When a person receives Christ , his spirit, which was dead in Adam, is instantly reborn by the Holy Spirit (John 3:6). After this, he is no longer in Adam but "in Christ" (Romans 8:1-11).
4. This birth is as real as a person's physical birth from his parents (John 3:5-6).
5. It enables the believer to call upon God as his father, and upon the Lord Jesus Christ as his elder brother (Romans 8:15-29; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 2:10-13).
6. It also makes the believer a "new creature." This is because he has been given another nature in addition to the evil one he was born with (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
7. This new nature is Jesus Christ's very own nature, thus it carries with it all of His moral attributes (Romans 6:8, 8:9; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:10, 4:24; Colossians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:4).
8. Since the new nature is Christ's nature, it is in every way contrary to the believer's fallen, Adamic nature which he still has (Romans Ch. 6-8; Galatians 5:16-26; Colossians 3:9-10).
9. Every Christian is to grow and become mature in his new nature and make no provision for the old (Romans 13:14; 2 Corinthians 5:15, 7:1; Galatians 5:16; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
C. The Permanence Of Regeneration
1. Since the life a Christian receives is Christ's own life, it is therefore eternal life (John 3:15-16, 5:24, 6:40,48, 10:28-30; Romans 6:22; 1 John 2:25, 5:11-13; etc.).
2. The father and child relationship between God and the regenerated believer cannot be broken. Regardless of what may happen in a Christian's life, he will always be God's child (John 10:28-30).
3. The believer is born again by "incorruptible seed" (the word of God), thus he "liveth and abideth forever" (1 Peter 1:23).
Adoption refers to God placing a believer as an adult son (heir) into His family and giving him access to all the privileges that go with it.
A. The Biblical Use Of The Word
1. There is some confusion among Christians about this doctrine because of the modern use of the word adoption. The modern meaning, to take a child born of one family and place him into another does not consider the fact that a believer becomes a member of God's family by regeneration (see Regeneration). A Christian is literally born into God's family, not just placed into it still having only the nature of another.
2. In the scriptures, adoption is not so much a word of relationship but of position. It speaks not of how the believer became a member of the family but of the fact he already is a member because of regeneration. God has placed him in the position of an adult son, and he has all the rights and privileges that go with it (1 John 3:2).
B. How Adoption Became Available
1. God's justice required Jesus Christ's death on the cross to deal with sin before He could place any person in His family. His death and shed blood fully redeemed the believing sinner and made regeneration and adoption available (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:4-6).
C. The Privileges Of Adoption
1. The believer has a father that loves him (1 John 4), cares for him (1 Peter 5:7), protects him (Romans 8:31), corrects him (Hebrews 12:5-11), and promises to never leave him (Hebrews 13:5-6).
2. He is a fellow citizen with the "...Saints and the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). Also, he is an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
3. He has within him the "Spirit of adoption" (the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:17) who bears witness in his heart that he is God's son and leads him to cry upon God as his father. The Spirit will also raise up the saint's body at the second coming of Christ (Romans 8:11-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Galatians 4:4-6; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
4. God has predestined the believer to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ and has promised to openly reveal him as His son (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:5).
D. The Final Adoption
1. Even though a believer is now fully God's child (1 John 3:1-3), God has not yet fully revealed him as such. However, the "firstfruits of the Spirit" is a guarantee that He will. This is the main emphasis of adoption, the day when Christ returns and redeems the saint's body making it "...Like unto his glorious body" (Philippians 3:21). In that day, God will openly show all creation those who are His regenerated and adopted children (Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
Justification means to be pronounced righteous. It is the legal and judicial act where God declares the believer righteous in Jesus Christ. It is not only the taking away of the believer's guilt, but also the imputation of Christ's righteousness in its place. The believer is not righteous in himself but only in Christ.
A. The Two Aspects Of Justification
There are two distinct aspects of justification:
a. The forgiveness, remission, and taking away of the believer's sins.
b. The imputation (see Imputation) of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
1. As mentioned before, man generally thinks of salvation in terms of forgiveness or pardon. God, however, knew man needed much more than just his sins forgiven. If salvation only meant forgiveness, the believer would still be bound to his sin nature and unable to quit sinning. He would be forgiven for his sins but still hold the position of a sinner in God's sight. God did not want such a weak and practically useless salvation for believers. He devised one that not only takes the sins away but also puts righteousness in their place—both imputed and imparted righteousness. When He looks on a believer, He does not see someone who is still a sinner and only forgiven, or someone who is just innocent of the guilt of sin. He sees that saint completely justified with the righteousness of His son Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22-26, 10:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:22-23).
2. The term justification in itself only speaks of God imputing righteousness to the believer's account. However, the Christian not only has righteousness reckoned to him (see Imputation), he also has it IN him. It is one of the characteristics of the "divine nature" he received the moment he believed (2 Peter 1:4; see Regeneration). This imparted righteousness can also be found under the doctrine, Sanctification.
B. The Method Of Justification
1. Justification is apart from any work of the law (the ten commandments, Sabbath keeping, the sermon on the mount, the golden rule, etc.), but is only obtained by faith in the finished work and shed blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 1:16-17, 3:21-30, 4:5, 5:1-9, 10:4; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 2:16, 3:8, 22).
2. If one could be justified by keeping the law or by good works, then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21, 3:24).
3. The reason God gave man the law was to show him that he is a sinner and unable to live up to God's righteous standard. Then, after the sinner realized this, its purpose was to lead him to Christ for salvation (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:24).
C. The Extent Of Justification
1. Many believe that salvation only puts the believer in the same condition Adam was before the fall; that is, in an innocent state. Again, this is only forgiveness. Innocence and forgiveness in themselves do not speak of righteousness in any way. As Adam proved, it only takes one act of disobedience for a person to lose his innocence. On the contrary, the justified believer gains much more in Christ than he lost in Adam (Romans 5:12-20).
2. As mentioned before, justification includes forgiveness and the remission of sins (Acts 10:43; Colossians 2:13), but it does not stop there; it brings with it "the righteousness of God". This the believer cannot lose; it is a gift God has given with no conditions (Romans 5:17-21, 6:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
3. When a sinner receives Christ, he receives a death he did not die, satisfying the curse of the law against him (Galatians 3:13); and a life he did not live, a holy and righteous life which only Christ could supply. Thus, every Christian is a partaker of Christ's death and resurrection. His position before God is the same as his Saviour's, dead unto sin and alive unto righteousness (Romans Ch. 6; Galatians 2:20).
4. Although the believer is legally dead to sin in God's sight, he is not yet dead to it physically. This leaves him still able to sin. This ability to sin, however, does not affect the saint's standing or position before the Lord. To God the old sinful nature is forever dead, and a dead man cannot sin! God wants every Christian to reckon (account) himself that way so he won't sin (Romans 5:17-18, 6:1-14, 8:10; Galatians 2:19-20; Colossians 3:3; 1 Peter 2:24).
5. Also, justification brings peace with God. Since the law that cursed the saint has been satisfied by Christ, there is no longer any enmity between him and God. The believer can rest in the assurance that he will never experience God's wrath, for God poured it all out on Christ (Romans 5:1-10; Colossians 1:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9).
D. The Permanence Of Justification
1. The justification that God gives the believer will extend throughout eternity. The reason is the saint is in an eternal Saviour (Revelation 22:13), who purchased with an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), an eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9), that supplies him with eternal life (John 10:28)! Furthermore, since the saint is sinless, more than that righteousness in Jesus Christ, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died..." (Romans 8:33-34). If the Holy, Righteous, Sinless, Perfect, and Eternal God of Heaven cannot find anything wrong with the standing of the justified Christian, who can?
Imputation means to put something on a persons account or charge. To attribute or reckon something to an individual. Philemon 18 states it as "Put that on mine account".
Concerning sin and salvation there are three different imputations in the scriptures:
a. The imputation of Adam's sin to all mankind.
b. The imputation of the world's sins to Jesus Christ.
c. The imputation of the righteousness of God to the believer.
A. Of Adam's Sin To All Mankind
1. When Adam disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3:6), he not only brought death upon himself, but he also brought it upon all of his descendants. Adam, the first man, represents the whole human race.
2. Romans 5:12-21 plainly states that men die not because of their own sin, but because of Adam's one sin in Eden. Since Adam is the father of all mankind (all except Jesus Christ), God attributes his sin to all his offspring. This makes every person a sinner. God does this because all humanity was in Adam when he sinned; so, in effect, when Adam sinned, WE sinned (vs. 12). As further proof, verses 12-14 indicate that all the people who lived from Adam until Moses did not die because of their own personal sins. They died because the sinned in their father—Adam (see also Romans 4:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
3. God is showing us in Romans 5 that all born of Adam are sinners and die, but also that all born of Christ are righteous and alive (vs. 17-19). He is showing us how the head or representative of a family acts in behalf of his offspring. Since all are condemned by the actions of one man, all CAN BE saved by the actions of another. All men are born of Adam, and all men can be "born again" into Christ.
B. Of The World's Sins to Jesus Christ
1. The primary reason Jesus Christ came into the world was to die for its sins and take them away (John 1:29; Galatians 1:4; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 1:3, 9:28, 10:4-14; 1 John 2:2; etc.). This was a voluntary act of love on His part; He did not have to give His life and redeem man but could have sent the whole world to Hell and been just in doing so (John 3:16, 10:18; Romans 5:8).
2. While Jesus was suffering on the cross, God laid all the sins of the world, past, present, and future on Him. His father treated Him as the lowest sinner, as one who had committed the most wicked crimes, though personally Christ was sinless and guilty of nothing (2 Corinthians 5:21). And since Adam was not his father, there was no inherited guilt in Him to compel His death, but He died anyway. Why? Because of sin, IMPUTED SIN. Since God charged sin to Him, and "the wages of sin is death", He had to die to pay for them (Romans 5:12, 6:23).
3. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 leaves no doubt that God made Jesus to be sin in the world's place. He placed His wrath not on the guilty, but on his guiltless Son. The just suffered for the unjust so He could save all who would receive Him. Those who refuse Him must suffer for their sins themselves (John 3:18,36; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; etc.).
C. Of The "Righteousness Of God" To The Believer
1. This imputation was covered under the previous outline titled, Justification, where the believer is justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
2. Comparing this imputation with the last one shows us how real a doctrine imputation is. Since every true Christian believes that Jesus died for his sins because God imputed them to Him, he should also believe that he has been justified with Christ's imputed righteousness. If imputation is real enough to cause a sinless man's death, the imputation of righteousness must be just as real (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)! God treated Christ as a sinner so He could treat the "sinner" as righteous (1 Peter 2:24).
Sanctification means to be set apart unto God for God's use; to be set apart from sin unto holiness. It is an act of God where He consecrates the believer unto Himself.
The topic of sanctification (or holiness) is found over one thousand times in the scriptures. It is a doctrine the Holy Spirit wants believers to especially understand.
There are three distinct tenses of sanctification concerning New Testament salvation:
a. Positional, which refers to the initial act.
b. Progressive, which refers to the believer's present life.
c. Final, which refers to the completion of its work.
A. Positional Sanctification
1. This is the instantaneous sanctification the believer receives the moment he trusts Christ. At that time, Christ sets his soul apart from sin and imparts unto him His own holiness and righteousness. God's law, a reflection of His nature, demands that man be perfect and holy. This, however, is impossible for the natural man because he is by nature sinful and unholy (Romans 8:8; Ephesians 2:1-4).
2. God's work of sanctification supplies every moral virtue He requires man to have. When a person receives Christ, he gets all of Christ's moral virtues with Him—he meets all the law's requirements in Him (Romans 10:1-4).
3. When God looks at the position of a Christian, He sees the separated, sanctified, righteous, and perfect life of His son Jesus Christ. The saint need never fear of losing this standing before God because it is his union with Christ that brought it about. This union can never be broken (see Regeneration; Justification; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:3-4; Hebrews 2:11, 10:10,14, 13:12,21; 1 Peter 1:2).
4. Also, the instant one believes, his soul is cut loose from his flesh by a spiritual circumcision performed by Christ (Colossians 2:10-15). As a result, the believer is no longer a slave to his old, Adamic nature (though he can still yield to it); he is set free to serve his new righteous nature which is Christ's. The saint is now capable of living a holy life that is pleasing to God (Romans 6:11-23; Colossians 3:1-4).
B. Progressive Sanctification
1. This tense speaks of how the Christian's present life is to become holier and more Christ like day by day. Since the believer's soul is sanctified in Christ, God expects this holiness to affect his behaviour and be manifested in his daily walk. He wants him to follow his Saviour and live a clean, separated life (Romans 12:1-4; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Thessalonians 2:12, 4:1-7).
2. Before a person is saved it is impossible for him to live a holy life. However, after salvation he can; he has the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist him. The Spirit prompts him to live "...not conformed to this world...", but after Christ. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him" (Colossians 2:6). See also: Romans 12:1-4, 16:19; 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, 19-20, 7:23; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, 7:1; Philippians 2:15, 4:8; Colossians 3:5-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-4; James 1:24-27, 4:4; 1 Peter 2:11-12, 24).
a. How To Resist Temptation And Live Above Sin
1. Every Christian knows what it means to be tempted. However, being tempted to sin is not a sin in itself. The Lord was tempted in all the areas we are, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 2:17-18). God will allow His people to be tempted for several reasons. Some of them are: to try their faith (1 Peter 1:7), to keep them humble and dependent on Him (1 Peter 5:6), to cause them to know the victory that is in Christ (Hebrews 2:18), and to enable them to win the crown of life (James 1:2-4, 12).
2. The Bible gives the believer some guidelines to follow concerning temptation.
a. He is to watch and pray that he enters not into it (Matthew 26:41).
b. He is to stay away from any thing or situation that may lead him into it (Romans 16:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
c. And he is to be transformed from worldly thinking to godly thinking by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:1-4).
3. Nevertheless, even after abiding in these guidelines, temptation may still come. The Christian can defend himself against it by following three scriptural principles. He should:
a. Follow his Saviour's example and resist the Devil by rebuking him with scripture (Matthew 4:1-11; James 4:7).
b. Yield himself to God and reckon himself dead to sin (Romans 6:2-11; Galatians 2:19; 1 Peter 2:24).
c. Earnestly watch for the way of escape God has promised, taking it immediately once it is discovered (1 Corinthians 10:13).
4. If the believer will sincerely and prayerfully follow all three of these principles when he is tempted, he will, by the power of God, overcome the temptation. Furthermore, the experience he gains in dealing with it will make him stronger and better able to serve the Lord. However, if a believer gives in and does sin (and all Christians do at times), it is because he neglected one or more of the above means of defence.
5. When a Christian sins he must remember that God will by no means abandon of forsake him. He is still his Father no matter what happens! God will instantly forgive any believer when he confesses his disobedience as sin (1 John 1:8-10). He may have to pay in the flesh for the sin (reap what he has sown), but he will not suffer eternal condemnation. Though sin cannot break a saint's relationship with God, it can cause a break in fellowship until he confesses it as sin and forsakes it.
6. Finally, concerning doubtful things (thoughts and actions the believer is not certain about), the Holy Spirit has given some more principles to guide Christians.
a. Can the believer do the action he is thinking about in the name of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)?
b. Can he give thanks to God for it (Colossians 3:17)?
c. Can he do it with the belief that it pleases God (Romans 14:23)?
d. Would he like the Lord to find him doing it when He returns (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)?
The safest and surest way to deal with doubtful thoughts, actions, and circumstances is, "when in doubt, don't."
b. The Means Of Progressive Sanctification
1. The Lord Jesus Christ prayed to His Father that all believers be sanctified by the word of God (John 17:17). The scriptures can sanctify because they reveal God's nature and show the saint where he needs correction and instruction (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Before a believer can continue to live a godly life he must read, study, and submit himself to the Bible. By doing this the Holy Spirit will give him all he needs to live above sin.
C. Final Sanctification
1. This tense refers to a future event where God sanctifies the believer completely—body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This will occur when Christ comes back for His people at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Now, the believer's body is not yet sanctified, but in that glorious day it will be, making thehim unable to sin! God will separate his body from iniquity, as his spirit is now, and his old nature will become literally dead to sin (Romans 6:7). This event is also called "...the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30; also see Adoption). When the Lord returns, all His saints will have a glorified body like His, completely and totally separated from sin (1 Corinthians 15:35-38; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2).
The Term "Salvation" Also Has Three Tenses:
a. Past - The believer has been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin (Luke 7:50; 1 Corinthians 18-21; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Ephesians 2:5-8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Tit. 3:5; Hebrews 5:9; etc.).
b. Present - He is being saved from the power of sin in his daily life (Romans 6:14; Philippians 1:19, 2:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 4:16).
c. Future - He will be saved from the presence of sin at the second coming (Romans 13:11; 1 Peter 1:5.
Reconciliation means to be brought from enmity to friendship. To bring peace where there was once hatred and strife. God is not reconciled to man, but man to God.
A. The Need For Reconciliation
1. When Adam disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden tree in the garden he became alienated from Him (Genesis 3:23-24). Before, when he was innocent, he could have fellowship with God; but after he ate, a barrier of sin was erected and this fellowship was broken. All of Adam's descendants are also alienated from God because they sinned in him (see IMPUTATION).
2. God, because of His love, desired that man be reconciled back to Him. Since man is unable and unwilling to deal with sin and make matters right, God had to initiate the reconciliation. He does this by redeeming the believer from sin and bringing him up to His righteous standard by the intermediary work of Christ.
B. How Reconciliation Was Obtained
1. Before man could be reconciled to God there had to be a mediator to represent both parties (Galatians 3:20). Job, who thought matters were not right between himself and God, yearned for someone to mediate between them (Job 9:32-33). The only person who can represent both God and man is the "...man Christ Jesus." He is fully God and fully man—"God manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 2:5, 3:16).
2. It took the obedient life, sacrificial death, shed blood, and bodily resurrection of Christ to reconcile man back to God (Romans 5:10, 10:15; Colossians 1:20-22). He paid the sin debt man owed, tore down the wall of partition (Ephesians 2:11-22), and made peace with God for all who will receive Him (John 16:33; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1, 10:15; Ephesians 2:14).
3. While He was on earth Christ suffered through life much as all other men do. He learned what it was like to be tempted, slandered, ridiculed, hated, poor, forsaken, condemned, and also to die. This fully qualifies Him to represent man. On the other hand, He can represent God because He is God—the second person of the Trinity (John 1:1-3; 1 John 5:7). Now, since He is in Heaven, He ever lives to make intercession for the believer against all the accusations of Satan (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15, 5:8, 7:25).
4. Jesus Christ is the believer's advocate (Romans 8:33-34; 1 John 2:1). If anyone, anywhere, throughout eternity, challenges the standing of any Christian, Christ takes the position of a defence attorney to represent him. He declares the saint regenerated, justified, sanctified, redeemed, and reconciled to God. He can say this because He paid for the believer's sins Himself and is the source of every virtue he has. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31; see also, Justification; Sanctification; and Redemption).
C. The Christian's Duty Concerning Reconciliation
1. The reconciled believer has a duty to go into the world and tell the lost that they can be saved from sin and reconciled to God. Every Christian has been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-22). He is God's ambassador to the world and is to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to every creature (Mark 16:15), letting each know that he does not have to die in his sins. The Christian who is obedient in this greatly pleases the Lord.
Propitiation means to appease or satisfy someone; to make amends for a wrong that has been committed. It speaks of how God is completely satisfied with Jesus Christ's atonement.
The word propitiation is found three times in the scriptures. Once in the book of Romans (3:25), and twice in 1 John (2:2, 4:10).
A. The Scope Of Propitiation
1. The basis on which God saves the believer is the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God, through Christ, appeased His own wrath against the sinner by paying the penalty His justice demanded Himself. As a result, God can justify the believer without compromising His righteousness; He can accept him into His family without accepting his sin!
2. The Old Testament sacrifices were a shadow of Christ's coming atonement (Hebrews 10). To receive remission of sins then, a person had to apply the blood of bulls or goats on the mercy seat in the tabernacle (or temple). The mercy seat, which was on the ark of the covenant, was the place of atonement, the place where sins were forgiven and God's wrath appeased (Leviticus 1-16). These elaborate sacrifices, however, could not take away any sin; they could only cover it (Hebrews 9-10). They had to be offered continually because there was no offering yet available which could take the sins away.
3. God had no pleasure in the animal sacrifices. He established them to show man that he is a sinner, that sin requires payment (death), and that the payment could be paid by a substitute (Hebrews 10:5-8). These sacrifices continued for hundreds of years, yet the thousands of animals offered could not permanently satisfy God's wrath. They were to prepare mankind for the one to come who could (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:24).
4. When the fullness of time had come, God sent to earth the only person in the universe who could propitiate His wrath for eternity. It was His only begotten son (John 1:18). He came to shed His sinless blood and die a substitution death to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus took the place of the world (see IMPUTATION), and God poured all the wrath He had towards the world out on Him. His one sacrifice fully made amends for all its sins (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:12, 26, 10:12).
5. Though Jesus died for the whole world, the whole world will not be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). Each individual must personally accept Christ for His atonement to apply to him (John 1:12-13). Under the law God showed mercy at the mercy seat. Now, Jesus Christ is the mercy seat—the place of atonement. The only way a person can receive atonement for his sins is to go to the mercy seat (Christ) and accept His work in his behalf. The believer will never experience God's wrath; the sacrifice of his indwelling substitute (Christ) has eternally satisfied the Lord and His law's curse against him (Galatians 3:13).
Redemption means to purchase or buy back something that originally belonged to the purchaser. Concerning salvation, it refers to the death of Jesus Christ where He buys back the sinner, His blood being the payment.
Redemption is the foundation of salvation; it is the basis of the seven previous doctrines. Before God could provide eternal salvation to anyone, He had to pay the ransom required to release the sinner from his sins. GOD COULD NOT DECREE SALVATION UNTO MAN, HE HAD TO BUY IT!
A. Why Man Needs Redemption
1. Another result of Adam eating from the tree of knowledge is that he, in effect, sold himself to sin. He knew that his disobedience would bring death (1 Timothy 2:14), but he decided that he would rather die with Eve than live with God. As mentioned before, Adam's sin did not only affect him, it also affected all of his descendants (see IMPUTATION). The sinful nature he got when he ate is passed on to all humanity. Therefore, every person on earth is hopelessly bound to sin (as well as to its father—Satan, John 8:44); and unless he is redeemed by someone who is not bound to it, he will die and spend eternity in Hell paying for his sins himself!
2. God saw man's pitiful condition and according to His great love and grace devised a redemption plan to buy him back from his iniquity (Titus 2:14). The climax of this plan was the sending of His Son to earth to give His life (blood) as the ransom (Matthew 20:28). This is the main reason "the Word" became flesh (John 1:1-3). If Jesus came to earth but failed to die a redemptive death, His whole ministry would have been in vain. No matter what else He may have done (healings, miracles, etc.) man would still be in his sins, under a curse, and bound for Hell (Galatians 3:10-13).
3. That God would go to such great lengths to redeem His enemy (Romans 5:8-10!) shows the extent of the love and compassion He has for him. Christ is the Giver and the Gift, the Offerer and the Offering, the Redeemer and the Redemption. Only through Him can a person be freed from his bondage to sin and death, for He alone can provide redemption (Acts 4:12).
B. The Actual Price Of Redemption
For something to be redeemed a specific price has to be paid, and the price to redeem the sinner is blood. According to Leviticus 17:11, "The life of the flesh is in the blood...it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul." So blood not only represents life, it is actually physical life itself. Before God would accept an animal sacrifice in the Old Testament, a priest had to apply it's blood on an altar in behalf of the offerer. The death of the sacrifice alone could not atone for the offerer's sins. The priest must apply its blood to complete the redemption. Again, the Old Testament sacrifices could not take away sin (see Propitiation). The shedding and application of animal blood which the Old Testament so vividly describes is only a picture of Christ's blood which can take it away (Hebrews. 10).
2. The blood of Christ can redeem sinners for at least three reasons:
a. It does not have any taint of sin in it. The Lord did not inherit a sinful nature from Adam as everyone else because a person's nature comes from his father. Since God is Christ's father, He has His nature (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35). Of course, Mary, His mother descended from Adam, but this does not affect Christ in this respect.
b. Adam's sin corrupted his blood and caused his death. The last Adam (Christ) knew no sin; His blood is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:18-19).
c. The blood that flowed through His veins was His Father's (Acts 20:28), and since He is God manifest in the flesh, is could be no less (1 Timothy 3:16).
C. The Application Of The Blood
1. Since God is a spiritual and eternal being, His blood has a spiritual and eternal application to the believer. There is more to Christ's blood than the physical components that were seen at the crucifixion, for it still exists and is available to all, but it is only applied to those who receive Him. You cannot get Christ's blood without getting Him, they are inseparable.
2. The moment a person believes on Christ, Christ literally washes him from his sins with His blood (Revelation 1:5), cleansing his soul from all sin (1 John 1:7), and supplying him with an eternal redemption (Romans 3:24; Hebrews 9:12). Furthermore, through Christ's redemption the saint has been completely freed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), from all iniquity (Titus 2:14), and from his vain life (1 Peter 1:18).
3. In summary, the precious blood of Christ did (and does) the following:
a. Purchased the Church (Acts 20:28)
4. The two ordinances of the church also speak of Christ's redemptive work. The first, baptism, shows His death to sin and the believer's identification with Him. The broken bread of the second, the Lord's supper, represents His tortured body, and the fruit of the vine, His shed blood (Matthew 26:26-30; Romans 6:3-8). God established these ordinances so Christians would not forget the price paid to redeem them.
D. The Believer's Responsibility
1. The believer must remember that since Christ has bought him he is no longer his own. He is not to do what he desires with his body but what his Owner desires. Every Christian is the steward of his own body and God will judge him according to the works he performs in it. It is God's will that he glorify his redeemer with a holy and obedient life (1 Corinthians 3:11-15, 6:19-20).
1. Regeneration A changed nature. The believer is no longer a child of wrath but is literally born into God's family and given Christ's nature.
2. Adoption A changed position. The believer is no longer a child of the world but is given the position of an adult son in God's family.
3. Justification A changed standing. The believer is no longer a sinner in God's sight because He imputes to his account the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
4. Imputation God put the sins of the world on the account of Jesus Christ, and He puts Christ's righteousness on the account of the believing sinner.
5. Sanctification A changed character. The believer is no longer defiled and unclean but is now separated and holy unto God in Christ Jesus.
6. Reconciliation A changed relationship. The believer is no longer God's enemy but now has peace with Him and is His friend.
7. Propitiation All the wrath of God that was once upon the believer has been appeased by the substitution death of Christ.
8. Redemption The death and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has bought the believer back from sin.
In conclusion, if the reader only learns one thing from the study of these doctrines it should be that the born again Christian is eternally secure in Jesus Christ. Each doctrine individually proves eternal salvation and collectively the proof is overwhelming. Everything God requires a person to be (righteous, holy, sinless, perfect, etc.) He supplies in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the believer's union with Christ that makes these virtues his own, so all who are in Him are as secure in their salvation as He is alive!