Insight #311 – We Are Saved By…

God’s Word is not a cafeteria or buffet where we can select our favorites and pass up the rest. Rather, it is a full course meal, with “milk” and “solid food” (Heb. 5:11-14). And we are expected to “eat” it all. For example, consider the basic blessing of salvation. No simplistic concept can tell the whole story of all that is involved in this tremendous gift of God. Following is food for thought with book, chapter, and verse.

WHO Saves Us?

Deity
1. God – 1 Tim. 4:10 – “The living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”
2. Jesus – Matt. 1:21 – “You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”
3. Spirit – John 3:5 – “Unless one is born of water and Spirit, he can’t enter into the Kingdom of God!”

People
1. Preachers – Rom. 10:13-14 – “For, ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher?”
2. Brethren – James 5:20 – “He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death.”
3. Ourselves – Acts 2:40 – “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

WHAT Saves Us?

Via God
1. Love – John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
2. Mercy – Titus 3:5 – “According to his mercy, he saved us.”
3. Grace – Eph. 2:5 – “By grace you have been saved.”
4. Longsuffering – 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord… is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish.”

Via Christ
1. Death – 1 Cor. 15:3 – “Christ died for our sins.”
2. Blood – Rev. 1:5 – “Jesus Christ… washed us from our sins by his blood.”
3. Cross – 1 Cor. 1:18 – “The word of the cross… to us who are saved it is the power of God.”
4. Resurrection – 1 Cor. 15:17 – “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.”
5. Ascension – Heb. 8:4 – “If he [Jesus] were on earth, he would not be a priest at all.”
6. Life – Rom. 5:10 – “We will be saved by his [Jesus’] life.”

Via the apostles and other people
1. Gospel – 1 Cor. 15:1-2 – “Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News (Gospel)… by which also you are saved.”
2. Preaching – 1 Cor. 1:21 – “It was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.”
3. Scriptures – 2 Tim. 3:15 – “The Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation.”

Via Ourselves — “Steps” of Salvation
1. Faith – Acts 16:31 – “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
2. Repentance – Acts 2:38 – “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.”
3. Confession – Rom. 10:10 – “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
4. Baptism – 1 Peter 3:21 – “Baptism, which now saves you.”

Via Ourselves — Other Basic Principles
1. Love – James 1:12 – “The crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him.”
2. Calling – Rom. 10:13 – “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
3. Works – James 2:24 – “By works, a man is justified.”
4. Obedience – Heb. 5:8-9 – Jesus “became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation.”
5. Faithfulness – Rev. 2:10 – “Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
6. Love of the truth – 2 Thess. 2:10 – “They didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

“Not Only”

Attaching “only” to anything about salvation is an insult to God and trivializes the whole matter. There was so much involved to make our salvation possible. It all began in Eden (Gen. 3:15) and continued with all God’s dealings with Israel until it was time for the Messiah to come. Do those who mouth “grace alone” realize that God was not simply feeling gracious? A sacrifice for sin was required. He had to send His Son. Jesus had to suffer more than we can comprehend. There is no “only” in all that the Father and the Son went through to offer us salvation. How sad and selfish it is for some to think that we humans can get by with “only.”

The one verse that I know of with “only” or “alone” related to our salvation actually says, “not only” or “not alone.” Check out James 2:24 in your Bible if you don’t know it by heart. Those who teach “faith only” ignore this verse. And those who just use this verse as a proof-text for baptism also mostly ignore the verse in its context. Let’s delve into the fullness of God’s truth and not just be satisfied with our favorite “dish.”