Facets Of Salvation
Salvation in itself is a simple word, but it represents a whole complex of experiential and positional phenomena taking place on earth and in heaven. Some of these are:
1. ATONEMENT: When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jews, without much thinking they said again and again: “we will do it” (Ex. 19.8; 24.3,7). But they broke every commandment of God. It is impossible for a holy God to go along with a sinful people. Therefore He gave them detailed instructions regarding sacrifices to atone for their sins. These sacrifices were a way for the sinful man to approach the holy God. The sacrifices were a bull, a goat, a lamb, or a dove without blemish. But it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins (Heb. 10.4). But these sacrifices were for the atonement of the sins of the one who offered it. The meaning in the Old Testament is that these sacrifices atoned, or ‘covered’ the sins from the sight of a Holy God. These sacrifices were offered year after year because the ones who offered it were conscious of their sins
God had told Moses that He would meet with him and speak to him from over and above the mercy seat. The mercy seat is the lid covering the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies. Inside the Ark were the Tables of Stones, the Ten Commandments, which are called the ministration of death (2 Cor. 3.7) which should always be covered. It was on the basis of the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat, which covered the commandments, that a Holy God could speak to man. With this thought in mind, Kind David thanked God: “Blessed is the man whose sin is covered (Ps. 32.1)
Likewise Jesus Christ Himself became the mercy seat for us. The Old Testament sacrifices were only a shadow of the Cross of Calvary. The Son of God offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sin of man. He is perfect man and fully God. It is His perfection that gives character to His sacrifice. The wrath of God is against sin and ungodliness. When the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God was offered, God’s anger was appeased and in a sense it was fully wiped away. Therefore God was propitiated. Jesus Christ himself is the propitiation for the sin of the whole world (1 Jn. 2.2).
In the Old Testament the sin was only covered for a time, but now the sacrifice of the Lamb of God without blemish, completely carried away our sins. God does not remember our sins any more. (Heb. 8.12).
2. RECONCILIATION: The atonement of Christ has reconciled us to God. But what does this mean? Sin made man an enemy of God. God is never said to be an enemy of man at any time. It is the God of love who took initiative in reconciliation. God has not changed and man also has not changed.
Even god cannot reconcile us without making proper provision for it. The blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary was the means by which God has reconciled us. (Col. 1.20, 21).
But because of the atonement made by Jesus Christ man is persuaded to forsake his enmity and accept the reconciliation offered by God.
3. REDEMPTION: Jesus Christ said: “He that commits sin is the servant of sin (Jn. 8.34) He is sold under sin (Rom. 7.14). This is a picture of a slave sold in the slave market. Sin uses the law against the evil desires reminding one that such desires are wrong and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within one (Rom. 7.8). It is impossible for man to free himself from this bondage. If Jesus Christ therefore, makes you free you shall be free indeed (Jn. 8.36).
Jesus Christ came to the world for this purpose. It is written that: “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many”. Redemption means ‘to deliver by paying a price’.
It was man who sinned and the law demanded that man should be punished. Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9.22). But if a sinner pays by his blood, he has to die and there is no more redemption possible for him. Therefore a sinless substitute, a Man, had to be found. Jesus Christ was such a man. He is God Himself, yet He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. If He was only a Man, though perfect, he could have redeemed only one sinful man. But since He is God also there is infinite value in His blood.
There are three distinct words that explain to us the meaning of the word “redemption”. Jesus Christ paid the purchase price and brought the sinner in the market. This is the idea contained in 1 Cor. 6.20 “you are bought with a price”. (see 7.23; 2 Pet. 2.1 etc.)
He is also ransomed the sinner and bought him out of the market. “He has redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3.13; 4.5). The transaction is final. The sinner is no more for sale.
The third word is found in 1 Pet. 1.18. He has also redeemed us from the vain manner of life. The redeemed sinner is set free. Though Jesus Christ paid the price, it is the Holy Spirit who makes deliverance actual in experience.
A repentant sinner is viewed as forgiven and justified and delivered from the guilt of sins (Rom. 3.24). He is also introduced into a new life of liberty or ‘newness of life’. The redemption effected is not simply from the consequences of the transgression but from the transgressions themselves (Heb. 9:15).
Though a sinner is redeemed when he believes, his redemption also is said to be in future. This is the redemption of his body. This will be effected only Jesus Christ comes again.
Jesus Christ paid the price for my redemption from sin and death. But what shall I do to be saved? Or what did I do when I was saved?