What we are saved from?

Many believers, who are born again and leads a quality spiritual life do not know what we are actually saved from. Some thinks that we are saved from ourselves, some others think that we are saved from satan and a few knows that truth that we are saved from the wrath of God against a sinner. 

From pre-historic time onwards, humans face a bundle of problems without any solution. In fact all human problems that we face today, are not new but a repetition or continuation of what we have been going through from the beginning. And human problems contain an inner paradox in itself.

The world struggles through famine in the midst of prosperity; the advanced modern medical science has been defeated again and again by deadly diseases; humans strive hard to bring peace in this world, but wars increase; nations are under unrest; our educational system has improved a lot, but our youths are missing the purpose of life; environment is more and more polluted and all advance of technology are separating humans from each other into self-centered cells.

Certainly, there is something wrong with the world; but what is it?

 

Bible has the real answer to the root cause of human problems. The real problem of man is sin and guilt. All human beings are fundamentally sinners.

It doesn't matter whether you're among the haves or the have-nots, whether you have great expectations or none at all, whether you're consumed by your passions or exhibit a degree of self-control and discipline, whether you are educated or illiterate - you are still a sinner.

Humanity's real destroyer is sin and the guilt for sin damns us to eternal hell.

The crucial but unpleasant truth is that humans have broken the law of God and He's angry about it.

 

That is why people need to be saved, rescued, and delivered. And gospel of the Kingdom of God offers the only way for salvation from sin and guilt.

The gospel message is that, God has sent Jesus Christ to rescue us from the slavery and all the consequences of sin.

 

Gospel is primarily not a way to escape from bad habits. Church is not a place to instruct and train you to live a better man.

Gospel speaks of Man’s sin, God’s wrath and Salvation from it. Gospel says the story of, how God has sent His Son into the world to save His people from their sins.

The angel who appeared the imminent birth of Jesus, told Joseph: " And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21 - NKJV)

 

John 3:16 is the key to the salvation message. Many are happy with the verse because it says, “God so loved the world”. But it also says, “perish”.

The verse clearly classifies two categories of people, those “whoever believes in Him” and those who may “perish”.

God loves us and wishes us not to perish. But there is a possibility to perish. So God is inviting us to believe in Jesus to escape from perishing.

Verse 18 makes it clearer: "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (NKJV)

 

Our greatest need is to be saved from perishing. But what does perish mean?

In the same chapter, verse 14, Jesus refers to the “serpent in the wilderness,” which Moses lifted up in the desert.

Jesus was referring to a deadly episode in Israel’s history. During the exodus, the people had complained against God, so the Lord sent fiery serpents among them, and many people were bitten and died.

This illustrates the warning in John 3:16 that without faith we will perish, that is, we will die eternally.

 

The background story begins in Numbers 20: 14.  On the way to Canaan, Israelites had to cross over the land of Edomites. But they denied the permission. So, Moses turned the people southeast to make a long, difficult journey around the land of Edom.

At this point, the Israelites grew impatient. So they grumbled against God and Moses. “And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread." ((Num. 21:5 - NKJV).

They grumbled and despised God’s gracious provision of manna and His taking care of them in the wilderness all these years. So the Lord became angry and sent fiery serpents among the people as judgment. The serpents bit the people; and many of them died.

This time the people acknowledged their sin, came to Moses and asked him to pray for a remedy. And Moses prayed for them. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Everyone in Israel that had been bitten would live if they would look to the serpent.

The people in the wilderness were dying because of their sin. They did not deserve to live, because they had rebelled terribly against God and His goodness toward them. And so He sent the snakes among them as a judgment because of their sin.

This story is conveys the message that God cannot overlook sin, and, we cannot pay for our own sins. All our good deeds are filthy rags in God’s sight. Our good deeds cannot erase the penalty for our sins, which is the second death.

This raises a question: How can a God who loves the world permit anyone to perish this way?

In our modern scientific, cultured, multicultural, and multi-religious times, we do not preach the unpleasant truth about the wrath of God.

But scripture speaks about the holy wrath of God.

 

Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…”

 

What is God’s wrath?

The word “wrath” appears ten times in Romans alone; it is a controlling concept in this epistle. Surprisingly, the Bible speaks more about the wrath of God than the love of God.

The God of the Bible is active and personally involved in the affairs of his world.

Because God is holy, he must punish sinners. Yet because God is love, he also plans to save sinners from his wrath. He saves all who repent and believe in his Son.

 

God’s wrath is his perfection, glory, and very nature. It is his holy hostility toward all evil in angels and humans.

God’s wrath expresses the settled and active opposition of his holy nature to everything that is evil. The God of the Bible is not both good and evil, He is all good. He is all holy.

 

We cannot understand the cross of Christ without first understanding the wrath of God because the cross not only reveals the love of God but also the wrath of God against sin. On the cross God’s wrath against his elect sinners was poured on his own Son, the One who knew no sin.

 

God’s requirement that a sacrifice is necessary to atone for sin is not a rule that He simply “made up.” God’s Law is not something that He arbitrarily created; the Law is an extension of His holy nature.

God’s laws flow eternally from the nature of God Himself.
God did not invent morality; He revealed Himself to us, and that revelation of His person is what morality is.


Sin is much more than thoughts or actions that God “dislikes.”

Sin is any thought or action that does not measure up to God’s holiness and absolute perfection.

Sin is anything that opposes His Holy nature. Lying is wrong, not because God has declared it so. God is Truth and lies are against His nature.

Murder is wrong, not due to an arbitrary rule made by God. God is Life and murder opposes His eternal character.

In fact God is not against sins, but sins are against Him and opposes Him. 

When God said, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), He was not concocting a rule or imposing a new punishment on us; rather, He was revealing to us an unalterable, eternal reality.

God is the only sustainer of life. In Him there is life and without Him there is no life. So if we depart from Him, we are logically cutting away ourselves from the source of life. Thus we lose a continued existence. And if there is no life there is only Death.

This is the proper understanding of God’s wrath.
We are saved from “wrath,” of God. The wrath of God is His judgment of sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Salvation is salvation from the wrath of God. 

Salvation and Holiness 

Salvation is choosing the holiness of God. Salvation is turning away from the sinful rebellious life. Salvation is stopping our opposition to God’s holiness. It is coming back into His holiness.

How can it happen? How can we reach back to His holiness?

It is surely not a onetime action. It is a continued process. It is a life long struggle and victory over sins.

Salvation as a process by which an unsaved sinner separated from God by sin and destined for hell, is redeemed from hell, reunited with God and destined for heaven.

So when we are saved, we come to Jesus Christ, receive Him as Savior by faith, repent of our sin, and receive from Jesus forgiveness of sin and the free gift of eternal life. However, this is not the entire message of the Bible regarding salvation.

Salvation is a longer process that begins with a decision prayer, by faith.

Once a person is born again, he is saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 2:5, 8), the power of sin (Rom. 6:11-14), and will ultimately be saved from the presence of sin when God takes him to heaven and gives him a new body like the body of Jesus (Phil. 3:20-21). 

We are saved in regard to yesterday, we are being saved in regard to today and we will be saved in regard to tomorrow. It is salvation, past, salvation present and salvation future.

We have been saved (Ephesians 2:8); we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18) and we will be saved (1 Peter 1:5)

 

Romans 8: 29, 30

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJV)

 

Justification

 

The first stage of salvation is that we have been saved. It is the past condition of salvation, for a born again believer. This stage of salvation is the justification of our spirit.

 A right understanding of justification is crucial to the whole Christian faith.

The truth of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and salvation based on good works.

 

The word ‘Justification’ is a legal term which declare ‘not guilty’.

Justification is the judicial act of God. As a judge He forgives the sinner of all his sins in the past, present and future. The judge declares a sinner righteous in His eyes and free from guilt and punishment. It happens just once in a person’s life by faith in the atonement of Christ for our sins.

That means a sinner is declared innocent of any sins. This happens through the blood of Christ. By His blood all the sins of a repentant sinner is wiped out.

This happens immediately as the sinner confess his sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9).

Justification is to restore the sinner back into innocence.

 

It is not that the sinner is made righteous but declared righteous. He is justified by God the Father based on the works and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The sinner actually puts on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NKJV)

Henceforth, God sees the sinner righteous and perfect in the righteousness of Christ. The sinner is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works.

The believer is declared just because the Savior, Jesus Christ, has died in his place and paid the penalty for sins. By His death, Jesus has satisfied God’s wrath against sinner.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (NKJV)

 

Sanctification

The second stage of salvation is our present life where we are being saved. This is the stage of sanctification.

Sanctification is not salvation by works. Salvation is made possible by the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. There is nothing left by Him for us to add to it. Our responsibility is to believe in the atonement.

 

But salvation is a continuous process that cannot be completed by a decision prayer. It is a long journey with Jesus, walking with Him throughout life and sanctifying ourselves so that we will be confirmed to His image.

That is what Romans 8: 29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

 

The basic meaning of sanctification is “separation” or “to be set apart.”  Sanctification is to set apart, by God, for God, from sin, unto a holy life. We are sanctified to be more and more holy through conforming to the image of Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 2:12, 13

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJV)

 

The Greek word for “work out” is katergazomai (kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee). The phrase means, to work fully, accomplish, to finish, fashion and perform. It means to bring to completion or to accomplish.

That means, Paul is exhorting us to accomplish, to finish or make complete our salvation. And Paul is careful to say in verse 13 that, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

We need to work out our salvation because, we are still living in this world and every day we face sin and temptations.

This does not mean that our good works saves us. It means that having received salvation through faith we are now to finish it. This scripture says that we must co-operate with God in His work of sanctification to save us from sin, on a daily basis.

This understanding is the base for his proclamation that, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, (Philippians 3: 13 - NKJV)

Sanctification is our goal as believers in Christ. It is not instantaneous but is ongoing until the believer leaves this world and goes to heaven.

 

Sanctification process may be further divided into three categories. The first is the positional sanctification, the second is progressive sanctification and the third is final sanctification.

 

Positional sanctification is the way in which God sees us the moment we first believe. It is instant and accompanies salvation. God, existing apart from time, sees believers as holy, as if the work is already complete. Positional sanctification is closely related to the biblical doctrines of election and predestination.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,  (NKJV)

Progressive sanctification is the present and ongoing work of God through which we become more Christ-like. This divine work is effective to the degree that we cooperate with it. This occurs from the moment we are justified until the moment in time that we are glorified.

It is an ongoing work since we retain the sin nature for the duration of our lives, even though we have been redeemed and justified (1 John 1:8).

 

John 17: 15 - 19

15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

16 "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJV)

 

The final sanctification is essentially the same as glorification. It is a point in future in which God sees us as holy. Then and there our salvation will be complete. We will be holy in our condition as well as our position.

 

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJV)

 

Romans 8: 30  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJV)

 

Work of Holy Spirit

Sanctification is the process whereby the believer moves from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. Over the time of sanctification, he learns God’s Word and makes right choices to live God’s will.

The Christian who advances to spiritual maturity does so only in the power of the Holy Spirit and on the basis of God’s Word daily learned and applied.

 

Sanctification differs from justification in several ways.

In justification our standing in the Lord is changed while in sanctification our character is changed. Justification occurs at the moment of salvation; it is a one-time work of God. Sanctification on the other hand is a continued process. It is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Sanctification is the process of making a person holy.

Sanctification is the process by which a believer transforms himself to more and more like God in His holiness. We are consecrated and set apart day after day till the day we die.

1 Thessalonians 5: 23, 24 says: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (23) He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (24) (NKJV)

Hebrews 13:12: “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”

 

In short, sanctification means spiritual growth unto the holiness of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

And this middle part of our salvation journey is of great importance.

 

Why we need a sanctification process? The basic reason why we need a process of sanctification is that the revelation of sin is progressive. Only when we come to Jesus do we actually realize what sin is. And as we walk with Jesus our understanding of sin becomes bigger and better. Things that we did not recognize as sin formerly, all of a sudden become sin to us.

When we come to Christ we are conscious of a few sinful habits. We gladly give these up. But as we grow in grace and more light of Jesus comes into our lives we are aware of other wrong things. Things we did five years ago we would not do today, and things we do today we would not do five years from now.

This is the process of sanctification or holiness. This is working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is salvation present.

 Eighteen years after his conversion Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (NKJV)

 Five or six years after writing to the Corinthians, he wrote in Ephesians 3:8, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” (NKJV)

And one or two years after Ephesians, he wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (NKJV)

 What was the matter with Paul? Had be become worse after being saved? No! He only realized more and more his own need for sanctification. Paul never professed in his life time that he had accomplished the complete sanctification.

Sanctification happens as we are co-operating with God, allowing Him to work in us for His good purpose. 

Glorification

The third stage of salvation will occur in future. It is the ‘will be saved’ part of it. It is also our Glorification.

Glorification is the final phase of the saved sinner’s salvation experience. This happens as he leaves this world, either by death or by rapture and is reunited with the Lord Jesus in heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

The believer never achieves sinless perfection until he is glorified in heaven. When we are glorified, our sin nature will be removed and is given a perfect glorified body.

 

Philippians 3:20, 21 

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (NKJV)

 

Jesus died on the cross to save us from eternal death and to grant us eternal life. He will come again to complete our salvation by transforming our bodies into immortal glorified bodies to live with Him for all eternity.

 

Glorification is the process that makes a person perfect. It is a one-time act that will take place when Christ returns to replace our mortal bodies with an eternal one.

Glorification makes a believer perfect. This last part of the salvation journey is the resurrection of our earthly body.

 

Conclusion

 

So Salvation is not a onetime event in our life. It is an ongoing process that we started with a decision prayer. We have to accomplish our salvation as we live on this earth. Our salvation will be completed when we receive a glorified body without sin nature.

So, in our present life, we should maintain a sanctified walk with Jesus, just as Apostle Paul did.

Let us deal with the present and allow God daily to work in us for His purpose and glory.

Let us grow in holiness by completely submitting to the lordship of Jesus in every area of our lives and continuously leaving the past behind of all things that are not right with God.

Let us live as Jesus wants us to live, allow Him to work in us, have His way in us and let us be always open and sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.


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