The Doctrine of Salvation

Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow (1 Pt. 1:10-11).

I believe that salvation is accomplished entirely by the grace of God accessed by faith alone apart from any personal behavior or merit (Is. 64:6; Mt. 7:22-23; Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 2:5) on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross (1 Pt. 1:18-19). God has made sufficient provision for the salvation of all men (Ac. 17:30; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 1 Jn. 2:2), yet the benefits of salvation may be received only by those who have been born again (Jn. 3:3; 1 Pt. 1:23) through the expression of personal faith in Christ alone (Jn. 1:12; 3:16; Ac. 16:30-31; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 11:6).

I believe that saving faith requires more than intellectual recognition (Jam. 2:19); it requires a clear understanding of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Ths. 2:13; 1 Jn. 5:9-13) and a volitional response of the heart to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:25, 32; Jn. 3:36; 16:8; Rom. 1:5; Rev. 1:17) in which a sinner chooses to relinquish all misplaced reliances and depend exclusively on the finished work of Christ, the Son of God, on the cross (Heb. 6:1).

I believe that the details and plan of God’s salvation as it applies to individual people originates in the foreknowledge of God (1 Pt. 1:2) and has been initiated by God (Ac. 2:23; Eph. 3:10-11; 1 Pt. 1:20) for His own glory in love (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:7). Those who will be regenerated have always been known by God individually and personally as His children (Jn. 6:37; 10:26-27; Rom. 8:29) through the atoning work of Christ on the cross (Mt. 12:18; Ac. 2:23; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pt. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). On this basis, those who will be regenerated also have the assurance of being chosen by God for the privileges of union with Christ, being justified in a righteous standing before God, and being glorified, in the future, into the very image and likeness of Christ (Jn. 15:16; Rom. 8:29-30). Though not all will be saved, the offer of salvation is genuinely available to every man who will place his trust in Christ alone for deliverance (Jn. 3:16; Ac. 2:21; 10:43; 17:30; Rom. 10:13; Tit. 1:1-2; 1 Pt. 3:9).

I believe that God uses the glories of Creation (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:19-20) and the stirring of the conscience (Rom. 2:14-15) to appeal to all men everywhere in a general way, demonstrating His existence and man’s need for knowing Him personally (Jn. 12:32; Ac. 17:30). He specifically communicates to man through His Word (Ps. 19:7-14; Rom. 10:14; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; 1 Ths. 2:14; Heb,. 4:12) and the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8-11; 1 Ths. 1:5-6) to persuade men to repent of their lost condition and believe on the Son of God for salvation. As a result, all men are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Some freely choose to resist the convicting work of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 23:37; Jn. 5:40; Ac. 7:51; Heb. 3:7-1), while others respond willingly to God’s call by receiving the gospel (Ac. 17:4, 11-12; 28:24; Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 15:1-8). Apart from the divine drawing of men to Himself, sinful man is unable to believe the gospel and be saved (Rom. 3:11; Jn. 6:44, 65; 1 Jn. 4:19).

I believe that repentance is a change of mind, heart, and will that turns away from false reliances and a complacency towards personal sin and turns towards Christ alone as the only true God and Deliverer (1 Ths. 1:9; Heb. 6:1). True repentance is inseparable from saving faith and together constitutes conversion, the human response to God’s salvation (Ac. 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; 26:20; Rom.2:4; 2 Pt. 3:9). Biblical repentance must be distinguished from the false concepts of reformation, penance, mere emotional regret, or any other sense in which a person feels that they must somehow alter their behavior or make restitution in order to secure salvation. However, true repentance will always result in a change of disposition and behavior, though the degree of visible change may vary (Mt. 3:8; Ac. 26:28; 2 Cor. 7:11).

I believe that regeneration occurs at the moment of salvation and is entirely the work of God, supernaturally imparting spiritual life (Eph. 2:4-5; 1 Pt. 1:3). This instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit quickens a man’s previously dead spirit and renews the soul so that a he may genuinely know, love, and serve God (Rom. 6:13; 8:15-16; 1 Cor. 2:12; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). The new birth results in a new and permanent relationship with God that cannot be annulled (Jn. 3:3-16; 5:24; 10:28-29; 2 Tim. 2:13).

I believe that God graciously provides every believer with countless privileges secured and guaranteed by Christ’s redemptive work on the cross (Eph. 1:3; 2:7; 2 Pt. 1:3-4). These include forgiveness of sin (Ac. 10:43; 26:18; Rom. 3:25), redemption from the bondage of sin (Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:15; Rev. 5:9), justification before God (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:18-19), reconciliation with God (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:21-22), union with Christ (Rom. 6:2-10; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 2:20; 3:27), the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; ), and future recognition as full and joint heirs with Christ as true sons of God (Rom. 8:15-17, 23; Gal. 4:4-7).

I believe that every born-again child of God will persevere in saving faith and be preserved by God eternally (Jn. 5:24; 10:27-30; Heb. 10:39). They will be recipients in this life of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18, 22-23) through the Word of God (Jn. 17:17), influencing and enabling them to progress in holiness and obedience as they yield to this ongoing, supernatural work (Gal. 5:25; Php. 2:12-13; Heb. 13:21). While personal responsiveness and behavior will determine the nature of reward at the future judgment seat (1 Cor. 3:13; 4:5), only the good will and sovereign power of God guarantees the ultimate salvation of every born again believer (Jn. 6:37-39; Rom. 8:31-39; Eph. 1:13-14; Php. 1:6; 1 Pt. 1:5; Jude 24).

I believe that a child of God should regularly respond in simple, obedient faith to the ongoing work of God in his life to experience personal and practical cleansing from sin committed and victory over temptations and sinful tendencies (Gal. 2:20; Php. 2:13;  1 Jn. 5:4). Altogether this may be called sanctification. Those believers who ignore or resist the transforming work of God will experience chastening consequences administered by God in love for them as His children (Heb. 12:4-11). While a sinner is saved positionally at the moment of regeneration (Lk. 23:43; Rom. 10:13; 2 Cor. 5:17), he is subsequently begins to be saved progressively from the influence and power of sin as he allows the Word of God to transform wrong patterns of thought and the Spirit of God to empower him to overcome wrong patterns of behavior so that he increasingly demonstrates genuine Christlikeness (Rom. 6-8; 12:1-2; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 4:22-24; 5:18; 1 Pt. 1:14-16; 2 Pt. 3:18; 1 Jn. 3:1). Ultimately, I believe that the believer will be completely saved in the future when he is glorified with Christ, whereby He will fully be delivered from the presence and possibility of sin eternally (Rom. 8:16-23, 30; Eph. 4:13; Php. 3:20-21; 1 Jn. 3:2).

1 reply
  1. Tyler Robbins
    Tyler Robbins says:

    Whenever I read anything on the doctrine of salvation, I’m reminded of Article VII from the 1833 New Hampshire Confession:

    “We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen it expressed better. I particularly like the bit which reads, “effected in a manner above our comprehension . . . so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel.” Good stuff.

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