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The Means Of Salvation
What must one do be to saved? This is a natural question that comes to the mind of everyone who feels the need of salvation.
There are two very important words we should understand in connection with salvation. They are (1) Repentance and (2) Faith.
Jesus Christ told his disciples to make disciples of all nations. For this He asked them to preach repentance and remission of sins (Lk. 24.47).
When Paul and Silas were in Europe they were put in prison in Philippi for the testimony of Christ. At midnight there was an earthquake and the prisoners were loosed from their bonds. The Jailer was so afraid of the extraordinary things happening around him he cried out: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul immediately answered: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved” Acts 16.30.31).
Except a persons repents and turns away from his sin he cannot be saved. “Except you repent you shall all likewise perish” (Lk. 13.3) are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Repentance is not simply being sorry for one’s sin. Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ was sorry for his mistake but went and hanged himself. There was no salvation for him. There was only remorse in him because of his wrong deeds.
In the Old Testament we find another character, Esau, who sold his birthright for some potage. He was filled with remorse but he did not repent. There were many others in the Bible like Pharaoh the emperor of Egypt, Saul the first King of Israel etc. who said: “I have sinned”, but they did not repent. What then is repentance?
Repentance is a change of mind about sin, self and God. It is a change of the path in taking the opposite direction from the one in which he was travelling.
When David sinned, he realized that sin is an affront to a holy God. He knew that his sin was against God. Every sin is against God, because, sin is the transgression of the law of God. He confessed his sin and turned to the same God he offended for salvation.
Job tried to justify himself before God spoke to him. But when God spoke to him, he said “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”. Sin is falling short of the standard of God. Every man is fallen. (Job. 42.5, 6).
Paul testified to the Jews and Gentiles repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20.21). Repentance and faith are the two sides of the same coin. In salvation you cannot have one without the other.
Faith is not simply passive intellectual ascent. Without knowledge you cannot believe, but knowledge alone is not faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10.17). Faith is not simply consenting that the word of God is right, but acting upon it. Faith is belief in action.
In trying to explain saving faith, James said: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. The demons also believe and tremble,” (Jas. 2.19) Therefore, he said, faith without works is dead.
Faith is acting upon God’s word. One a man with a withered hand came before the Lord Jesus. He asked the man to stretch forth his hand. That was his problem. He cannot do that himself. But believing the One who told him to stretch forth his hand, he stretched it forth and his hand became whole. That was exercising faith (Matt. 12.10-13).
On another occasion ten lepers came to the Lord Jesus Christ asking for mercy. He asked them to go and show themselves to the priest. Their problem was that they were lepers and they could not go into the society. But they went to show themselves to the priest. As they went they were cleansed (LK. 17.11-14)
So salvation is believing the word of God that all men are sinners and Christ had paid the ransom to redeem them. You repent of your sins and believe God and turn to Him for salvation. His words are: “He that comes to me, in no wise I will cast him out (Jn. 6.37).
When a person is saved, or when he is born again, many things happen in his life simultaneously. Though it is very difficult to say chronologically what happens first and what happens next, there seems to be a logical order.
A person who is born again is justified in the presence of God; a new nature from God is given to him, which we call regeneration; he is adopted into the family of God; he is also sanctified and glorified. Therefore we would consider briefly these aspects of salvation, viz. Justification, Regeneration, Adoption, Sanctification and Glorification.