Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
By far the most common NT use of salvation has to do with salvation from sin, Mat 1:21, “And you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” To be precise, one is saved from:
- The penalty of sin, Luke 7:48, 50.
- The power of sin, Rom 6:12-14.
- The practice of sin as a way of life, 1 John 3:9-10; 5:18.
Yet, it is impossible to understand salvation apart from some notion of that from which one is saved, whether external physical threats or internal spiritual ones. In these, God saves first of all from doom and disaster, from natural and national catastrophes, and from enemies or energies. He “saves” us both in the spiritual and the physical realm. The Biblical language for salvation depicts the transition from need to fulfillment and from problem to solution.
That is why the “Helmet of Salvation” is given to us, to protect us from the problems of everyday living inside of Satan’s cosmic system. For example:
- The psalmist asks to be saved from defeat by enemy nations, Psa 44:1-8.
- Jesus’ disciples asked to be saved from the waves that threatened to swamp their boat, Mat 8:25.
- One may be saved from disease and physical defects, Mark 5:28, 34, (“well” = SOZO); James 5:15, (“restore” = SOZO).
- Many of the psalms contain “songs of deliverance” that attribute salvation to God alone, e.g., Psa 18; 30; 31; 34; 46; 91; 105; 106; 118; 136.
- The Bible speaks about salvation from spiritual dangers: Jesus’ exorcisms are signs that he has the power to release people from demonic possession and from the dominion of Satan, Mark 3:23-27; Luke 8:36.
- Equally important is deliverance from the wrath of God that falls upon sinners, Rom 5:9-10, and from the day of God’s judgment, Rom 2:5; 1 Thes 2:16.
Rom 5:9-10, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
The noun “salvation,” pertains to the positive effects of God’s saving action. In general, one is saved from bondage and brought to a state of well-being or blessedness. Three images in particular tend to dominate the Bible’s depiction of well-being.
1.) Salvation is a liberation, freedom from bondage.
a) The God of Israel is a Savior God, because He is a God who delivers, Ex 20:2.
b) Jesus was sent “to set free those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18.
c) Paul states that “for freedom Christ has set us free,” Gal 5:1, and explains that Christians have been liberated from the requirements of the law in order to be free to love and to serve, Gal 5:13-14.
Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
Gal 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”
2.) The blessedness of salvation is depicted in terms of health, wholeness, and soundness. Mark 2:17, describes Jesus as a “physician.” Jesus’ ministry was to make people well. In His ministry, the physical and spiritual aspects of healing miracles are linked together: When Jesus heals, there are transforming physical and spiritual effects. Jesus’ healings are signs both of His saving power and of the nature of salvation.
3.) The third image of the well-being that defines salvation, peace, or shalom, is found primarily in prophetic literature. The community of the saved is pictured by the prophets as living in a peaceful and just society in which people will live together in peace and harmony and “nation shall not lift up sword against nation,” Isa 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Zech 2:6-12.
The Bible is essentially the story of the one creature to bear God’s image (human being), with sin as the basic complication, Christ as the central character and salvation as the unifying plot. The Bible tells of an initial condition which is disturbed (the Fall), of the consequences of this complication (sin, death), of what is done to overcome these conflicts (the Cross) and of the resolution of the problem (resurrection and Pentecost), a conclusion that improves upon the original situation.
It is a mystery story, for it was not clear, before Christ, just how God could save the ungodly, Mark 4:11; Eph 1:9. The logic and scope of salvation develop as the story progresses. The first hint of salvation follows the account of the Fall, when God says to the serpent, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” Gen 3:15, though neither the identity of the Savior nor the means for reversing the Fall becomes clear until the NT. Nevertheless, “bruise his heel” already alludes to the cost of salvation, to the Cross of salvation and to the Christ of salvation.
Next, it concerns God’s dealings with the children of Abraham (that is, Israel), in the middle the focus turns to Jesus and His followers, and toward the end, the story embraces the Gentiles and the whole created order. The Biblical story pictures not only the act and effect of salvation, but its culmination as well, namely, the wedding celebration of the Lamb of God and His bride, the Church, Rev 19:6-9.
Between the beginning and the end of the story, the plot unfolds in the history of Israel and culminates in the passion of Jesus Christ, when salvation is accomplished once for all, and in the life of the Church, where salvation is celebrated and proclaimed. The Bible ends with Edenic imagery, the tree of life, and with the Savior’s promise to complete the saving work He has already accomplished: “Yes, I am coming quickly,” Rev 22:20.
The story of salvation has two main parts. The first recounts Israel’s history: The saving act, (exodus), and the resultant effect, (life in the Promised Land). The OT recounts a story of deliverance from captivity and oppression that culminates in Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. The second part describes a new exodus, Jesus’ death or “exodus” from this life, Luke 9:31, and its effect, (life in the promised Spirit). The NT tells the story of how a new deliverance, a release from the bondage of sin, was made possible by Christ’s departure from this life, Rom 6:9; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20, and by the “red sea” of blood that flowed from His Cross. Christ’s life, poured out on the Cross, is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Rom 1:16.
For this, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the partaking of the bread and wine, in remembrance and thanksgiving of Him and His efficacious work in death, resurrection, and ascension, 1 Cor 11:23-26.
Next, we note that there are about 115 passages that condition salvation on “believing” alone, and around 35 on “faith.” Unfortunately, man has added certain things to this one and only condition, for example; believe and repent, believe and be baptized, believe and confess sin, believe and confess Christ publicly, believe and promise a better manner of life, believe and pray for salvation, believer and do good works, etc.
“Faith,” as you know, is a non-meritorious act on the part of the believer. Faith is the only system of perception which is totally devoid of any human merit. Only the object has merit, and in salvation the object of faith is our Lord Jesus Christ. How much faith does it take to be saved? Just a little bit more than no faith at all.
The salvation work of Christ on the Cross excludes anything being added to faith. No works of any kind are allowed. Salvation is by grace through faith, “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast,” Eph 2:9. Two OT passages indicate that “salvation belongs to and is from the LORD,” Psa 3:8; Jonah 2:9. Any system which tends to combine human responsibility with this Divine undertaking is wrong. Eph 2:8-10 relates good works to salvation produced by grace as an effect thereof, and not a cause.
Grace is all that God is free to do for unsaved mankind on the basis of the saving work of Christ on the Cross. Grace is extended to all members of the human race as unbelievers, living under spiritual death in total depravity and total helplessness regarding past salvation. Therefore, as a matter of grace, past salvation is entirely the work of God. If past salvation is totally the grace and work of God, then so is present and future salvation. As such, our salvation, in all its Biblical forms, is directly related to the work of all three members of the Trinity.
- It is the work of the Father in His plan of salvation, who sent the Son to carry it out. The plan of salvation reflects the purpose of the will of God the Father, who has sent the Son to carry it out, Eph 1:3-10, and His judging our sins, past, present, and future.
- It is the work of the Son in being judged for our sins, past, present, and future.
- It is the work of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace, past, present, and future.
This is why the way of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ, and faith alone with no works added to it. Works will be the result of our faith and salvation, but salvation is never the result of works.
In so providing salvation by grace, mankind can have salvation from sin, salvation or deliverance out of the world, salvation from the flesh, and salvation in relation to heaven. And because of Satan’s opposition to salvation, we have been provided the “Helmet of Salvation,” to stand firm against his opposition.
There is no salvation offered under grace which stops short of being eternal in its character. This is due to the fact that it proves to be altogether a work of God, and His purpose and power never fail, Phil 1:6.
Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began (Past) a good work in you will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”
We are eternally secure because of our past salvation, Heb 5:9; 2 Tim 2:10; Eph 1:13; cf. 4:30.
We will be eternally rewarded because of our present salvation, 1 Cor 3:10-15; Rev 2-3.
We will be eternally blessed with an inheritance at our future salvation, Heb 9:15.
Another important image of well-being or blessedness related to our salvation is unique to the NT; our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Here one might speak of “salvation in,” for there are several images and many passages that picture salvation as a matter of being related to the Savior, as the believer is “in union” with Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.”
Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation Eph 2:21-22, “In whom the whole structure is joined together … in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Cf. 1 Peter 2:4-5.
Col 2:7, “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Not only are the saved in Christ, but Christ is also in those who are saved, Gal 2:20. Cf. John 14:20; Eph 3:17; 1 John 4:16.
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The Meaning of Salvation
The benefits of your union with Christ are described in various ways. We can group the Bible’s many images into three distinct categories: new situation, new self, new steps. As we have seen and will see below, salvation in the Bible is a three-dimensional phenomenon, (Past, Present, Future; New Situation, New Self, New Steps; involving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In this section we are going to note the categories of new situation, new self, and new steps.
New Situation: – Salvation as objective change.
To be saved means that your legal status has changed, that you have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of your union with Jesus Christ. Four leading images depict the new situation brought about by God’s saving work.
1.) The first is the image of “redemption,” that reminds us of the marketplace, the place where things are bought and sold. The first time “redemption” is used in the Bible is found in Ex 21:30. In that usage, someone who owned and that gored another was liable to be put to death for manslaughter. Yet, if a “ransom” was paid, that individual’s life would be spared, “given back to him.” The word for “redemption” here is PIDHYON, פִּדְיֹן that means “redemption or ransom money.” Redemption signifies a transaction where some item is exchanged for payment. Its root PADHAH means to “redeem, ransom, or deliver.” It is only used here and in Psa 49:8, where the psalmist laments that the price of redemption of life, to escape death, is more than a mortal can pay.
Psa 49:8, “For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.”
The Lord, YHWH, was understood to be Israel’s redeemer, Deut 13:5; Isa 49:26.
Deut 13:5, “… the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery…”
Isa 49:26, “… And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Jesus also used the imagery of redemption to explain the nature of His ministry and death, Mark 10:45.
Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Luke uses the term redemption as a general term for salvation, Luke 1:68; 2:38; 21:28; 24:21.
Luke 1:68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.”
Paul used the imagery of redemption in, Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Col 1:14; Gal 4:5, and declares that the price of our redemption was the blood of Jesus Christ, representing the Divine life that is now in us, Eph 1:7; cf. Heb 9:12-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
And, we are reminded in 1 Cor 6:20, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Therefore, our “New Situation,” tells us that we have been redeemed from the slave market of sin, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, so that now we have a new life “In Christ.”
2.) The second imagery is that of “justification,” an image drawn from the court of law. To be justified is to be declared innocent by the presiding judge. As Isaiah states in Isa 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Here too, to be saved is to enter into a new situation, namely, the state of being acquitted that follows the legal verdict of “not guilty.” Paul makes it clear that sinners are declared righteous not on the basis of their own merits or achievements, (works), but rather on the basis of their standing “in Christ,” Rom 8:1; cf. Rom 3:21-31; Gal 3:11; Eph 2:8-9.
Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Only used in the NT in Rom 4:25; 5:18, “justification,” DIKAIOSIS, δικαίωσις that means, “acquittal or justification,” like redemption, depends on the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, Rom 4:25, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
Rom 5:7-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Rom 5:16, “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.”
Rom 5:18, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”
Therefore, the “New Situation” denoted by justification is that sinners who are “In Christ” have been formally pardoned from the guilt of sin and now live a new life in Christ.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-059 – 18-061
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!