Eternal salvation refers to the once and for all forgiveness of all sin and the deliverance from God’s just condemnation; it includes relationship with God and the possession of eternal life. Eternal salvation, then, is all the work of God; man has absolutely no part in working to earn or gain or keep eternal life. Eternal salvation is ours by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Paul says it is “by grace [freely given by God] through faith [we believe the message]” (Ephesians 2.8-9).
- Mankind, because of his sin, is separated from God, who is perfectly righteous. The sin barrier explains the different ways that sin separates man from God (Romans 3.9, 23; Romans 6.23; 1 Corinthians 15.22; Ephesians 2.1).
- Jesus Christ, God’s eternal son, removed the sin barrier by his death on the cross and so made possible forgiveness of sin, relationship with God, and eternal life; God reconciled man (1 Timothy 1.15; Hebrews 9.28; 2 Corinthians 5.19-21; Ephesians 2.11-16; Colossians 1.20;1 Timothy 2.5).
- Certain biblical words summarize how eternal salvation becomes ours: Grace is the guiding principle; God freely gives eternal life to mankind (Romans 6.23; 4.3-6; 2 Corinthians 5.19; Ephesians 2.8-9; Titus 3.4-7). Reconciliation makes relationship with God possible (2 Corinthians 5.19-21). For us or substitution is the way God did it. (John 1.29; Romans 5.8; Titus 2.14; Galatians 3.13; 1 Corinthians 15.3-4; 2 Corinthians 5.21; 1 Thessalonians 5.10). The necessary mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ, who is both God and man (1 Timothy 2.5; Philippians 2.5-11; Hebrews 10.10). Faith is the means by which each person experiences personal reconciliation with God and gains eternal life (Romans 4.1-6; Ephesians 2.8-9; John 3.16-18).
- Eternal life is now available to everyone as a free gift from God that is gained or received by faith (Romans 6.23; Ephesians 2.8-9; Acts 16.31; John 1.12; 3.16-18, 36; 11.25-27; 20.31; 1 Timothy 4.10).
- Once one believes in Christ for salvation, that one is eternally secure (Ephesians 1.13; John 10.28-29; Ephesians 2.8-9; Romans 8.38-39). Furthermore, God wants every believer to know for certain that he possesses eternal life (1 John 5.13).
- Six words that help guide our gospel telling are God, Man, Sin, Christ, Grace, Faith. When we do talk about the gospel, we must say what we mean and mean what we say. Use Scripture verses and avoid popular Christian jargon such as commit to Christ, invite Christ in, ask Christ to change your life, and repent and believe. “Whoever believes in shall not perish, but have eternal life,” John 3.16.
Saturday, March 3, 2001