Both the nature of salvation and man’s need for salvation motivate Christians to share Jesus with lost people. Salvation in Jesus is a glorious, gracious gift provided by God for every person. Salvation enables people to live meaningful lives on earth and assures them eternity with God in Heaven after they die. Let’s look at the nature of salvation and man’s need for it.
The Nature of Salvation
God is sovereign. He is in complete control. He is above everyone and everything, lofty and exalted, ruling and reigning over the universe. God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present), and omniscient (all-knowing). He is eternal, without beginning or end. He is self-sufficient, needing no one or nothing to endure. He created all that exists. He is holy, righteous, and sinless and because he hates sin, He must punish it. Yet this same awesome, imposing, magnificent God is also loving, gracious and merciful toward sinners. He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ.
These biblical facts concerning God explain why the nature of salvation must be by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ.
Salvation Is by Grace Alone
Salvation is God’s gracious gift to man. Man is sinful. He cannot save himself or earn his salvation. Man does not deserve salvation. All humans are born with sinful natures. When we reach the point that we comprehend we are breaking God’s laws, we become responsible before God for our sins. We are no longer sinners by nature only, but also sinners by choice.
This is why God must offer salvation by His grace. Grace means that salvation is a gift from God to man. Man is too sinful to earn salvation through good works.
God says through Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” Salvation is an undeserved gift from God to man, not a payment to man for his religious works. If man could earn his salvation, he would boast about it.
Every other religion apart from Christianity requires man to earn his salvation by working his way up to God. However, God knew that man could never do that because man is are sinful and God is holy. So, when we could not work our way up to God, He graciously came down to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul said in Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
When Jesus came to this earth through the virgin birth, God offered to all sinners His love and forgiveness so He could reconcile them to Himself in salvation by grace alone.
Salvation Is through Faith Alone
The only way sinful man can appropriate and receive the grace of God is through faith. Again, Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” Sinful man must trust Jesus to save him. That involves more than assenting intellectually to the facts that Jesus died for sins and rose from the dead. Sinful man must trust that Christ died for his sins and rose from the dead to give him eternal life.
In his renowned Greek commentary, the late Dr. A.T. Robertson, professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, made this astute observation regarding the relationship between grace and faith in salvation based on Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace (τῃ γαρ χαριτι [tēi gar chariti]). Explanatory reason. “By the grace” already mentioned in verse 5 and so with the article. Through faith (δια πιστεως [dia pisteōs]). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse 5 to make it plainer. “Grace” is God’s part, “faith” ours. And that (και τουτο [kai touto]). Neuter, not feminine ταυτη [tautē], and so refers not to πιστις [pistis] (feminine) or to χαρις [charis] (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (ἐξ ὑμων [ex humōn], out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God’s gift (δωρον [dōron]) and not the result of our work.
God gives grace, but it is our responsibility to believe in order to be saved. God does not believe for us!
Salvation Is in Jesus Christ Alone
The object of one’s faith for salvation is crucial. There is only one way to be saved, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is not the best way to God; He is the only way to God. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Referring to Jesus, Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under Heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul taught in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” These passages all stress that salvation is in Jesus alone.
Buddha cannot save you. Allah or Mohammed cannot save you. Your religious works cannot save you. Only Jesus can save you. If you don’t know Jesus in salvation, you don’t know God. If you die without knowing Jesus in salvation, you will spend eternity in Hell, not Heaven.
This brings us to our next emphasis—man’s need for salvation.
According to Scripture, why does every man need to be saved?
Man Is a Sinner who Needs a Savior
Every person needs to be saved because each of us is a sinner. We have broken God’s laws. We are spiritual lawbreakers. Our “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). We are born with a sinful nature (Ps. 51:5). By nature, we are “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). We have a propensity toward sin.
In time we all choose willfully to sin. The Bible says in Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” Paul said in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners who need someone else to save us. The only person who qualifies is Jesus.
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