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Common Salvation Questions
The following are some of the common salvation questions and views that are heard in the religious world. Plain Talk hopes these answers will help the seeker find the way of salvation. For a more in depth response please consult other articles. Plain Talk welcomes questions or comments even if you do not agree.
Plain Talk holds that salvation is by grace through faith which obeys in love, not by works.
Who and what saves?
Salvation is not of ourselves, it is of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father saves us in that He devised the plan of salvation before the creation of the world. God the Son, Jesus Christ executed the plan by willingly tasting death for everyone, thus paying the penalty for our sins. God the Holy Spirit works to convict the world, then to renew and sanctify. The word of God is the power of God to salvation to those that believe. (Ephesians 2: 8; Romans 1: 16, 17)
The Scriptures cite some twenty factors in addition to grace and faith that save. These include repentance, confession, baptism, hope, sanctification, renewal, the word, enduring to the end. etc. Please see the article, Factor That Save.
Do they save in the same way?
No they do not.
Does grace save, grace alone?
We must all recognize that grace, particularly the sacrifice of Christ, is the basis and the foundation of salvation. The Scriptures never say that salvation is by grace alone but salvation is only by the grace of God. The very fact that salvation is through grace through faith indicates that grace is not alone. Ephesians (2: 5, 8)
Those of the Calvinist persuasion, who believe in grace alone, believe that God unconditionally gives the Holy Spirit to the elect. The Spirit irresistibly works in them to produce faith and ultimately salvation. The Scriptures, however, state that the Spirit has been promised to those that believe and obey. (John 7: 39; Acts 5: 32)
Does faith save, faith alone? In what way is faith unique?
The Scriptures affirm that salvation is by faith but never that faith alone saves. However they do affirm that without faith it is impossible to be pleasing to God. Faith is our connection to the grace of God which saves. (1 Corinthians 1: 21; Hebrews 11: 6)
Faith is unique in that God has determined to reckon faith for righteousness. But faith without love is nothing and faith without obedience is dead an inactive. Justification is by faith. (Romans 4: 1- 12)
Is salvation in Christ alone?
Salvation is not in Christ alone in the sense that the Father and the Spirit also both work toward or salvation. Salvation is in Christ alone in that He alone died for our sins; He is mediator between God and man in this unique way. (Hebrews 2: 9; 1 Timothy 2: 5)
All spiritual blessing are “in Christ.” This relationship is repeatedly stressed in the Scriptures; without it we would be like a branch cut off from its vine. We by faith are baptized into Christ and by faith remain in Christ and He in us. Both the Father and the Son abide in us and we in Them by the Holy Spirit which God gives to dwell in the body of those that believe and obey. (Ephesians 1: 3; Romans 6: 3)
Does the obedience of faith save? How
Let us make no mistake, regardless of our religious heritage, the Scriptures affirm that obedience that proceeds from faith, motivated by love, saves. Jesus said that those who do the will of the Father will be received by Him. Jesus, Himself, though a Son learned obedience even unto death. If He had not obeyed, He would not have fulfilled the will of God. He is our example. (Matthew 7: 21; Hebrews 5: 8, 9; Acts 6: 7; Romans 1: 5; 2: 6- 10; 16: 260
There is no merit to us in obedience; when we have done all that is commanded we have done only which we ought to have done. Similarly there is no merit to us in believing the truth; this is what we should do. (Luke 17: 19)
The Scriptures teach us to obey because we are saved but the obedience of repentance, confession and baptism also lead to salvation, We do not obey to earn or merit righteousness. (Ephesians 2: 10; 2 Corinthians 7: 10; Roman 10: 10; 1 Peter 3: 21)
Does love save? How?
According to the Apostle Paul, love is the greatest quality and without it, nothing, including faith avails. Logically we would conclude that those who love will be saved. This conclusion is confirmed by James who states that God promises a crown of life to those that love Him; by John who says that the one who does not love does not know God and by Paul who says those that do not obey and know God await eternal destruction. (1 Corinthians 13: 2, 13; James 2: 12; 1 John 4: 8; 2 Thessalonians 2: 8, 9)
Love activates and makes faith effective so that it produces the obedience of faith which perfects faith. (John 14: 15; James 2: 14- 26)
Must we be baptized to be saved?
Jesus, Himself, placed the stamp of approval on baptism when he was baptized by John the Baptist not for the remission of sins (He had none) but to fulfill all righteousness, do what God commands. (Luke 3: 21)
The Scriptures affirm that baptism saves and that he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Since this is counter to the “faith alone” teaching of many evangelicals, many deny baptism as a part of salvation. Repentance and baptism are for the remission of sin; this is true for John the Baptist and Jesus and His Apostles. (1 Peter 3: 21; Mark 16: 16; Acts 2: 38)
The new birth of water and the Spirit presupposes baptism in water and the Spirit. The scriptural view of the new birth confirms the necessity of baptism, because Jesus said one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless he has been born again. (John 3: 3, 5)
Must we belong to a particular church? Keep the sacraments?
Many claim that one must be a member of their church to be saved. The Scripture take the opposite tact; they say that God adds those that are saved to the church. No man or organization has a lock on the way of salvation. (Acts 2: 47)
Christ is the head of the church and that headship has never been relinquished. No man or group of men has authority over our souls. The Apostles have no successor as one of the prime requirements of apostleship was to be a witness of the resurrection of our Lord. (Ephesians 1: 20: 23)
We must of course, observe all ceremonies and commandments instituted by Christ. If this response does not proceed from faith motivated by love it is, in the opinion of Plain Talk, nothing more than a work which does not avail. Infant baptism always and extreme unction often seem to fall into that category.
Must we keep the Ten Commandments to be saved?
The Ten Commandments are an expression of the righteousness and will of God as given to the nation of Israel. They we not given to the other nations however all recognize the moral requirements contained therein. We are not required to keep the Ten Commandments as the teaching of Jesus supercedes the righteousness of the Ten Commandments. All of the Law including the Ten Commandments is fulfilled in loving God and our neighbor. (Colossians 2: 14; Matthew 5: 17, 21- 48; Romans 13: 8-10)
Christianity does not operate under law but under grace. The law of Christ is not a law of works, it is a law of faith. God’s will is expressed to us as a promise not a law. (Romans 4: 13- 20; 6: 14)
Do works save? Is there a difference between the obedience of faith and works of righteousness?
Works, responses which do not proceed from faith, motivated by love, do not save. These include works of the law, works of righteousness and works of which we may boast. The obedience of faith does proceed from faith and is motivated by love. (Ephesians 2: 8- 10; 1 Timothy 1: 8, 9; Titus 3: 5; Galatians 2: 16)
We cannot be save by the works because salvation by law puts God in obligation which is the antithesis of grace. We cannot be saved by works because works rests on perfect and total obedience (which is not possible). (Romans 11: 5)
The obedience of faith is a sound, scriptural concept. Paul received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles. Sounds very important to this writer. How about you.. Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to those obey Him, Jesus, Himself, even though He was the Son of God, became obedient to the point of death. That should open our minds to our responsibility. Eternal destruction awaits those who do not know God and who do not obey.(Romans 1: 5; 16: 26; Philippians 2: 8; Hebrews 5: 8, 9
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Last Update 09/26/12