The term salvation comes up often in our conversations when we gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ and share testimonies with each other, but what does it mean? Let’s see what we can learn about this word.
What is Salvation?
Salvation is a gift from Jesus. We can receive this gift when we repent of our sins and Jesus extends His forgiveness to us. Having salvation means we are no longer a sinner destined for eternal damnation. The penalty for our committed sins is removed. So instead of being judged as a sinner, after receiving this great gift, we are justified in Christ. The very mission of the Son of God coming to earth was to bring us the gift of salvation. This gift is the remedy for lost sinful men, women, boys, and girls.
What does it mean to be lost in sin and how do we fix it?
“10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
If we have not repented of our committed sins, we are lost in sin. Jesus solves the sin problem for us, by the remission of sins. Remember we talked about this word while learning about repentance? Remission means to cancel as in a debt or a penalty. After receiving salvation, we are no longer accountable for the sins Jesus cancels. Jesus’s willingness to lay down His life for us makes it possible to have our sins removed forever. Because Jesus brings salvation to our lives, we are no longer lost. So salvation is not just a gift but also the act of saving or delivering. Jesus literally saves us from our sin. We can not fix the sin problem ourselves, Jesus fixes it for us when we turn from sin and turn towards Christ.
What if I did horrible things? Can Jesus save me?
“15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
These are the words of the Apostle Paul. From his youth, Paul was a devout Jew and grew up a very religious man. The Apostle Paul was respected, and over the years, he acquired high status among his religious peers in the temple. Paul faithfully practiced the rituals his religion required him to do. But no matter how hard he tried, the Apostle could not overcome his endless struggle with sin. Paul was guilty of murdering innocent people for professing Jesus. It wasn’t until after Jesus saved him from his lost condition that Paul could experience life without the propensity to sin. His testimony being, “I was chief among sinners.” Meaning he considered himself to be the worst of the most wicked. But because Christ came into the world to save sinners, Paul was delivered and finally free to live the life he wanted for God. The Apostle Paul received the gift of salvation. In theological use, salvation simply means the deliverance from the power and penalty of sin.
Can Jesus really take away all our sin?
“21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
“5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
The scriptures we just read declare the reason Jesus came into this world. Notice that He was never meant to leave us in our sin. That is not what the scripture says Jesus’s purpose was to save us from sin! Take us completely out! Just as the scripture tells us! He was manifested to “take away our sins.” So is it possible to live a life without sin? Yes! Absolutely! Anyone that tries to tell us that we are destined to continue sinning is misguided. The idea of staying a sinner but having faith in Christ does not agree with the scriptures. The truth is Jesus made it possible for us to be delivered out of sin, and we can live a life without committing future sins. But some people choose not to believe, and they neglect to receive true salvation at a cost.
What if I decide salvation is not for me?
“1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”
The Hebrew writer is saying, how can we refuse salvation, which was made known to us by Jesus, and those who later received the message? He starts in verse one by telling us we need to pay attention to the truth of the scriptures and do not let them become unimportant. He uses the words “Give the more earnest heed.”. Then he reminds us there is a penalty for sin. So as long as there is salvation, there is no escape if we neglect this gift. The Hebrew writer is teaching us that we will not escape the penalty of death and eternal damnation by neglecting salvation. Jesus makes this gift available to all of us. But some people will disregard the call, sealing their own fate of eternal destruction.
I understand what it means to repent but how do I receive salvation?
To receive this gift, we must simply believe the scriptures. This is where faith becomes important. By faith, after we repent, we accept this gift, and God is faithful to deliver. Salvation is a reality to those who believe at the time they exercise faith to receive.
This story in Acts tells us about a man who simply believed the gospel’s truth and received salvation immediately upon hearing the message of deliverance.
The Apostle Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel in Macedonia. Unfortunately, they encountered a situation with a young lady possessed of an evil spirit. She was what we would call a fortune teller today. Fortune telling, contacting the spirits of dead people, or using witchcraft to inquire about the future or other reasons are evil practices. These things need to be repented of, and sometimes bad spirits need to be cast out of people who practiced such things. Paul was sad this young lady and the men that controlled her followed them as they preached. So he cast the evil spirit out the young lady! Once the evil spirit was gone, the young lady could not foretell the future for people anymore. So the men she worked for became angry because she made them lots of money and now they would have nothing. They beat Paul and Silas and then threw them into prison. Do you know what Paul and Silas did? They began to worship God! They prayed and sang songs of praises! Then God sent an earthquake to open the prison doors. Awaking out of sleep, the guard panicked as he realized the prisoners were loose. He was going to throw himself on his sword when Paul stopped him. “Do thyself no harm! We are all here!” The guard ran toward Paul, fell to his knees, and asked, what must I do to be saved? Proceed to Acts 16: 31 in the reading below.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
By believing the gospel, this man and his entire family received salvation! The scriptures following teach us that confessing our sins to Jesus is also an important part of receiving salvation.
“9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
So if you confess your sins to Jesus and believe He can deliver, you too can experience the gift of salvation.
I know I need to be saved but how do I know when Jesus wants me to give him my heart?
2 Corinthians 6:2
“2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
We are not promised a tomorrow, and God does not want us to wait. If we can have faith that God can deliver, then now is the time for salvation.
In closing, when Jesus came to the world, he became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because of His extraordinary gift, we can know what it is like to receive live a life that is free from sin. God’s word teaches that the power to overcome this world is achieved by having simple faith in God and believing. Do you believe that Jesus can save you and keep you from sin? If yes, my next question is, are you still living in sin? Because if you are still sinning, you don’t need to continue. Now is the day of salvation. You can stop today because Jesus paid the ransom for your redemption when He died on the cross. Your gift is waiting for you.