Biblical Salvation Made Plain
The fact that man needs salvation raises several questions: Why does man need to be saved? From what does he need to be saved? How is one saved? Is there more than one way of salvation?
I. Salvation Presupposes a Destitute Condition – 2:1-3
A. Our Former State of Alienation – Eph 2:1a; Cols. 1:21 -“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…”
All mankind is in serious trouble with the law of God and is destitute as far as being able to fix his sin problem. In Eph. 2:1-3, and in 2:12‑13, the Bible reveals the condition all of us are in by nature: we are separated from God, dominated by our appetites, dictated to by the world system, and directed by the devil himself.
Someone said that there has never has there been a heresy, but that it had something to do with an insufficient estimate of sin.” I think this is especially true of our day and times.
We are told in Eph. 4:18 that by nature we were estranged in our affections, enemies in our attitudes (Roms 5:8,10; Col 1:21) and Eph 4:17-18) and behaving in an evil way in our actions (Eph. 4:21) - hostility, enmity, disunity, and carnality is the condition of every person in sin without Christ!
As SINNERS we do what comes naturally - SIN! Sin is treason against God. It is an attempt to overthrow the moral government of God and install the unholy trinity of "ME, MYSELF, and I” upon the throne. Sinners are little god‑players!
B. Our Former Sphere of Activity - 1b – “dead in sin” -
Man is born spiritually dead. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). In the Bible, death basically means “separation,” not only physically, as the spirit separated from the body (Jas 2:26), but also spiritually, as the spirit separated from God (Isa 59:2).
C. Our Former Standard for Achievements – Eph 2:2 – “following the course of the world…”
1. We were dictated to by the spirit of the age, i.e., the world system.
The word “world” as used in this verse describes a system of thought and values. The Greek word translated world is "kosmos." Linked with the word "way" or age this phrase means, "the present evil age" (cf. Galatians 1:4). Those without Christ are captive to the social and value system of the present evil age, which is hostile to Christ.
2. We were dominated by the spirit of the air – the Devil.
The irony of fallen man’s dilemma is that he doesn’t even realize his condition until after he is saved. Lost men, blinded and deceived by Satan, think they are really “living it up,” when in reality they are dead. They think that by living in sin they are enjoying life to its fullest, but they are not. They suppose that they are free, subject to no one, but they are really enslaved.
D. Our Former Subjection to Our Appetites – 2:3a, “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,”
The word 'flesh does not refer to our physical bodies (skin and bones) but to the whole of our fallen, self-centered, and corrupt nature. Take note, passions or lusts of the flesh should not be restricted to sexual or sensual sins. It’s a self-indulgent lifestyle that consists of two things: (1) doing the desires of the flesh, and (2) doing the desires of the mind (lit., thoughts). In the latter he has in view intellectual pride, arrogance, ungodly ambition, malicious and bitter thoughts, and intents, etc.
E. Our Former Situation Under God's Wrath - 2:3b, “children of wrath…”
If a person dies physically while they are dead spiritually, then they will be forever separated from God, existing in a condition known as eternal death. The Bible describes this in Revelation 20:14, as being "the second death." The person who dies physically while dead spiritually will find themselves abandoned to a place called Hell.
II. Salvation Provides a Divine Solution
A. Salvation is a Rescue from a Position in Sin - Eph. 2:1‑3 -
To provide salvation, the Father had to send the Son of God to purchase and the Holy Spirit to get us to receive it.
When Jesus came down to earth to redeem His Bride, He saw Her lost, wicked, ungodly, enemies and children of wrath - yet in compassion and love for Her, He clothed Himself in our nature, took our law place, and bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood! Sealed my pardon with His blood! Hallelujah! What a Savior! How deep is the love of Christ? It is deep enough to reach the lowest, the meanest, the vilest, the least, the loveless, the most lost of sinners!
B. Salvation was Made a Realty by a Person of Love - 2:4, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,"
1. God’s Mercy – 4a - Mercy is the Greek word eleos which often translates the Hebrew word hesed which speaks of God's loyal or steadfast love, His unfailing love and His tenderness. Eleos in the New Testament describes kindness or concern expressed for someone in need. Mercy indicates the emotion aroused by someone in need (all mankind dead in their trespasses and sins) and the attempt to relieve that one and remove his trouble. Mercy is the outward manifestation of pity, which assumes a need on the part of him who receives it and resources adequate (God is "rich") to meet need on part of him who shows.
2. God's motive - 4b - Paul begins with the motivation of God, which prompted Him to provide a way of escape from our condition of sin and eternal death. God was motivated by His mercy and His love for us. Divine grace was not bestowed on us because we were so worthy, or because God found anything good in us, but because of the goodness which is in God Himself.
C. Salvation has Raised Us into a Powerful Life - 2:5‑6
He has plucked us from the tomb of sin - Eph 2:5, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.” We were dead in sin, BUT GOD!
He has placed us on the throne with the Son - 2:6, “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…” 1 Samuel 2:8, "He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. "
Every Spirit-birthed child of God has been delivered into the Royal Family of Almighty and Sons - not as redeemed slaves or even royal subjects, but as real sons of the Father - who is also the King! Out of this experience develops an Ever-Loving Relationship with the Father. This in turn begins the "training for reigning" exercises that produce an Ever-Lasting Rulership with Him as co-partners and a co-rulers in the Family Firm of Kingdom Enterprises Universal!
D. Salvation is Based Upon a Glorious Purpose - 2:7, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
1. God's desire to express His kindness to us - Salvation originates from the special love of the Father, the sacrificial labors of the Son on the cross, and the securing life of the Holy Spirit.
2. His design to exhibit us as trophies of His grace - God’s purposes are not merely temporal, they are eternal. God’s purpose in saving sinners is not just to make men happy, to provide blessings, or to enable men to escape the torments of hell. His preeminent purpose in all he does is to glorify His name, to magnify His worth and excellence. He created all things for His pleasure.
Ephesians2:6-7, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (NIV) God has made the church a spectacle in the world and in the heavenly realms. It is through each of us that he has chosen to make his grace known to the world. God has chosen to make known his manifold wisdom to the world through the church.
E. Salvation is Received Through the Path of Faith - 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
1. Salvation is exclusively of God - by grace – Why is this true? Because saving men from their sins required One who was able and who possessed all the capabilities.
2. Salvation is eternally given - "have been saved" is in the perfect tense, which means something happened at a given point in the past with the results continuing into the present and will continue into forever!
III. Salvation Produces a Dynamic Transformation
A. Salvation Results in a Life of Productive Works - 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
The word that is translated workmanship is “poiema”, which has the connotation of masterpiece, work of art. You are God's masterpiece. You are the product of His creative genius. You are the expression of His wisdom. You are the delight of His eyes.
Savior and salvation contain a sense of urgency. If our house caught fire, we would urgently call for the fire department to save our house. If our bodies were sick, we would urgently seek out a doctor to save our lives. If we were drowning, we would cry out for the lifeguard to save us.
Hear me, if you or family and friends are without Christ, you are in grave danger of perishing, you are diseased by the deadly virus of sin, you are detained in the bondage of Satan, self, and the system of this age. You need a Savior, and I can tell you that King Jesus is the only One that is able to save and satisfy; to redeem and restore, to secure and make eternally secure! Cry out to him, Lord, save me!
Saved by His power divine, saved to new life sublime - life now is sweet and my joy is complete cause I'm saved, saved, SAVED! Glory to God!
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