Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
Fallen man is unable live up to the standards of a holy God. In spite of our best efforts, sooner or later we find ourselves sinning in word, thought or deed. Try as we may we cannot reverse this trend. And this concerns us because in our hearts we know that sin has to be judged.
But God knows our predicament. And in His wisdom and mercy He has devised a foolproof way of salvation that caters for our fallenness. In Christ He came down to earth and took on flesh. Then He offered Himself as our substitute and atoned for our sins in our place, on the cross at Calvary.
“Even God could not pay a vaster, costlier, more
awful or glorious price for our redemption than that of His
own incarnation in human nature and His own sin-bearing,
substitutionary self-sacrifice on Calvary.” (J.
Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart, page 202.)
“… [Christ] who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8, NASB)
Salvation is the story of a holy God’s undeserved, sacrificial love for sinful man.
Christ lived in this fallen, suffering world in the same way as we do. He shared in our problems, hardships, temptations, sorrows and joys. But unlike us He never allow Himself the luxury of giving in to the weakness of His flesh. His life was one of sacrifice and selflessness. Had He been guilty of any sin He would have been in the same predicament as we were. But He went to the cross blameless, as our perfect substitute.
When He asked the religious leaders, “Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin?” they remained silent (John 8:46). Pilate tried Him in a Roman court of law and declared “I find no guilt in this man.” (Luke 23:4). His disciple Peter, who’d been His constant companion for three years, testified that “He committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22).
Then on the cross at Calvary He paid the terrible price of our redemption.
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV).
Because of His own sinlessness, death couldn’t hold Him in its grip. His bodily resurrection was the glorious proof of His triumph over Satan, sin and death on our behalf. It also fulfilled His prophecy that He would arise from the grave after three days (Matthew 12:38-40).
“And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the
agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held
in its power.” (Acts 2:24, NASB)
“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4, KJV)
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7, KJV)
If we want to restore a broken relationship we have to be willing to bear the consequences of the other person’s wrong against us. This is exactly what God did.
“… God was in Christ, reconciling the world
unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto
them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)
“Not imputing their trespasses unto them” means that God no longer holds the sins of those who are trusting in Christ for salvation, against them. Judicially, the punishment for their sins was fully borne by Christ on their behalf on the cross at Calvary. Justice was vindicated. In God’s eyes the sins of those who belong to Christ have been wiped off the slate:
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” (Colossians 2:14, KJV)
In biblical times a debtor who was unable to pay was enslaved to his creditor. Our situation is that Christ took over our debt of sin and paid it in full. This means that we who are saved no longer own ourselves. We were bought by Christ. People in those days understood salvation in a far deeper and more meaningful way than they do now.
“…the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own
blood.” (Acts 20:28, KJV)
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20, KJV)
Salvation is a two-way transaction. First of all we repent of our sins. Then we put our trust fully in Christ alone and surrender all that we have and all that we are to Him, including our very lives. In return He saves us from condemnation, judgment, eternal separation from God and everlasting hell.
Christ gave His all for us, and now it is our turn to give our all to Him.
Salvation’s effects are in the past, present and future. The very moment we first believe in Christ for salvation we are saved from the guilt and penalty of our sin. Then we begin an ongoing process of being saved from the power that sin has over us. And finally, we will be saved from the very presence of sin in our lives.
“And they [Paul and Silas] said, Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31,
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12, 13 KJV)
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, KJV)
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. (2 Corinthians 3:18, KJV)
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3, KJV)
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23, KJV)
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect …” (Hebrews 12:23, KJV)
Salvation reverses the effects of the fall and in the resurrection we will be fully restored to the condition of man before the fall.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, KJV)
This article explains another aspect of salvation: Our Part in Salvation
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