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Salvation or saved (soteria) denotes deliverance, preservation, salvation and is used of material deliverance from danger, and spiritual and eternal deliverance of the soul. In a broad sense it includes all the blessings bestowed by God on men in Christ through the Holy Spirit. More specifically “salvation” represents the means whereby God in His grace rescues men from eternal damnation and bestows on him eternal life now and eternal glory in heaven.

The verb "to save" is used in the Bible to describe the most important event of man's experience with God. God took the initiative in human history to rescue lost people from a situation in which they could never saving themselves. God intervened by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins as our substitute. It was an act of pure love. What sinful man could not do, God in free grace did through His Son.

The apostle concluded a message stating the great truth: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12, NET). 

Ephesians 2:5 reminds us that God, "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)."

“How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?" asked the writer of Hebrews. Then he said this great salvation “was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him” (Hebrews 2:3 NET).

The apostle Paul made it very clear "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

We have been saved.

Spiritual and eternal salvation is granted freely and instantaneously by God to everyone who repents and believes on Jesus Christ. Our salvation begins the moment we repent and believe on Christ as our personal Savior. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Our salvation is so secure that the person who trusts in Christ is saved forever. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). The NET Bible brings out this great truth clearly. "I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24, NET). "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one" (John 10:28-30, NET).

The apostle Paul stated this same truth when he wrote, "And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 1:13, NET). 

The only way a spiritually dead person can communicate with God is to be made alive. He must be raised from the dead spiritually. God has to breathe into Him His kind of life. Therefore, the only way a dead person can be made alive is for the one who is Himself alive to give life to the spiritually dead. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Because believers have been "made alive" spiritually with Christ, they have been and are now saved. We are sinful creatures destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Christ is our propitiation. He turned away the wrath of God by His own sacrifice for sin.

The New Testament speaks of salvation as an event that takes place the very moment we were born again. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

There is perfect peace to everyone who believes. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1, NET). "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:2). 

We are being saved.

Salvation can also refer to our present sanctification whereby God delivers the believer from the bondage of sin. Salvation includes a change in position before God since we have been set free from the slavery of sin. It also includes a change in our attitudes, appetites, ambitions, action, etc. "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).

The work of the Holy Spirit is to transform us in character and likeness to Christ. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is not a once and for all act. It is the gradual transformation that is going on as we yield to His presence within us. "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, NET). 

This daily sanctification is what Paul has in mind in Philippians 2:12-13. "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13, NASB95). 

We shall be saved.

The words saved and salvation also refers to the believer's future deliverance at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:11; 1 Thess. 5:8-9). We look forward to the coming of our Lord in glory. The apostle Paul expressed that hope when he said, "we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers" (Romans 13:11, NET).

The apostle John reminded believers: "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2, NASB95). 

It is our deliverance from the wrath of God (1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:14; 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:15). We “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5).

Everything that God begins He will always finish. "But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13, NET).

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters" (Romans 8:28-29, NET).

Our final and complete salvation will arrive when we see Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. The believer looks forward to that day with anticipation. "And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation" (Hebrews 9:27-28, NET). 

The “salvation” Christ will bring to us at His second coming will be our “eternal inheritance.”

The New Testament views salvation in three tenses: past, present and future. We were saved the moment we believed on Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are being saved right now as the Holy Spirit works in our lives to conform us to the likeness of Christ. And one day we shall be saved when we are presented to God the Father complete in Christ.

I invite you today to trust the Lord Jesus and receive from Him salvation by grace alone. 

Key Scriptures

Ephesians 2:5, 8-10; 6:17; Acts 4:12; John 3:16, 36; 10:9; 14:6; Romans 1:16; 10:9-10, 13; Hebrews 2:3; 9:28; Revelation 7:9-10; 1 Peter 1:3-5; John 10:26-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Abiding Principles and Practical Applications

1. When we understand the depths of our human depravity and sin then we will appreciate the infinite reaches of God's saving grace.

2. If we repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved for all eternity (John 10:27-30). Yes, we can know that we are saved (1 John 5:11-13).

3. When we experience salvation we enjoy peace with God, the forgiveness of all our sins, and a spiritual birth that issues in an intimate personal relationship with our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

4. Salvation by grace and salvation by works are completely incompatible with each other (Galatians 2:16).


For Further Study

Genesis 6:9 Ark of Salvation of Salvation 
Look Unto Me, and be Saved  
Philippians 2:12-18 Work out Your Salvation 
Romans 8:28-30 Salvation in Five Words 
Salvation by Grace through Faith in Christ 
Free Salvation 
Salvation from Penalty, Presence and Power of Sin 
Saved by Grace 
What Must I do to be Saved? 
What does it mean to be Lost? 
Romans 8:28-30  Salvation in Five Words 
Sweet Sovereign Saving Grace 
Saved by His Life







Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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