What is salvation and Justification?
What does salvation mean? Simply, to be delivered or protected from suffering or danger. "Salvation" in the since of becoming a Christian, is being delivered or protected from sin. We were born into sin and have a debt of sin to pay. A debt that none of us can pay, the consequences for this unpaid debt is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Because of our inability to pay this debt God provided a way for us, through His Son Jesus (John 3:16).
Who does the saving? God is the only one that can remove our sin and deliver us from the debt we owe Him of sin. It is wholly of God by His grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His blood, and not because of anything we do in works or by our own merit. (Eph. 2:1-3; 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, John 1:12, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 2 Timothy 1:9).
How does God do the saving? Through the sacrificial death on the cross and the resurrection from the grave of His only begotten son Jesus (John 3:17, Romans 5:10, Eph. 1:7). The Bible is very clear that salvation is a gracious and undeserving gift from God and ONLY available through faith in Christ Jesus (Acts4:12, Eph. 2:5-8).
How is salvation received? Only by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ can we be saved from the curse of sin.
1) We must first hear and understand the true gospel, the good news of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Eph. 1:13, Romans 1:16).
2) We must fully trust, "believe", Jesus and that His sacrifice for our sin debt (Romans 1:16). We must fully trust that Jesus was born of a virgin, was God manifested into flesh, that He lived a sinless life, that He shed His blood for our debt of sin and after three days in a tomb was resurrected from death. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 is a very good explanation of the Biblical gospel.
3) In trusting it, it brings a person to "repentance of sin", this means a changing of the mind about sin and Jesus our Christ (Acts 3:19) and in repenting, a person is asking Christ to forgive them of their sins and asking Him to become their Lord over their life (Romans 10:9-10). A true repentant heart will understand the love that God has graciously granted them and accept His gracious gift out of love and not out of obligation.
"Salvation is the deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin, which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus." Quote by C.H. Spurgeon. Salvation is available in Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security.
"True salvation is not to be found through the mere reception of any creed, however true or scriptural. Mere 'head notion' is not the road to heaven. "You must be born again," means a great deal more than that you must believe certain dogmas. The study of the Bible cannot save you! You must press beyond this; you must come to the living, personal Christ, or else your acceptance of the soundest creed cannot avail for the salvation of your soul. Salvation lies in Jesus only!" ~ C.H. Spurgeon
"Justification is by grace alone (not mixed with our merit)"
Most churches ignore the work and teaching of justification and focus on a person's sanctification. In doing this people are being taught that the things they do and say are justifying and clearing their guilt before God. Basically they are taught to work their way into heaven. You work for a wage and the Bible says that "the wages of sin are death". This view takes the focus of the completed work of Jesus Christ and place's the emphasis on our performance. It is basically saying that the blood Jesus spilled on Calvary wasn't powerful enough for our sin debt and that His Resurrection from the grave wasn't powerful enough to conquer death! Some teachers either combine both justification with sanctification or put it out into the future where glorification is. Again, justification, sanctification and glorification are in God's souvenir hands not in ours (Romans 8:30)! Faith justifies the person, and works justify his faith.
"This is the rock where we stand when the dark clouds gather and the floods lick at our feet: justification is by grace alone (not mixed with our merit), through faith alone (not mixed with our works) on the basis of Christ alone (not mingling his righteousness with ours), to the glory of God alone (not ours)." quoted by John Piper
Simply put, to be justified is to declare you righteous, to make you right with God. Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Justification is Christ taking our unrighteousness off of us and placing it on himself and then taking all of His righteousness and placing it on us for eternity. Jesus sacrifice covers our sins (past, present and future), allowing God to see us as perfect and unblemished. We were declared justified the very moment of our salvation. It pronounces us righteous in the sight of God. It came by placing our entire faith (trust) in the finished works of Jesus Christ and not in our own works. Because as believers we are in Christ, God sees Christ's own righteousness when He looks at us. This meets God's demands for perfection, so He declares us righteous, He justifies us. (2 Corin. 5-21, Romans 3:21-26)
Justification allows the peace of God to rule over our lives. In understanding justification , believers can have the true assurance of their salvation. Justification enables God to begin the process of sanctification, the process by which God, daily, removes sin from our lives.(Phil. l:6,Phil 2:3,Eph. 2:10). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
1) God justified us at salvation (Romans 5:18-19), 2) Sanctification progressive until we go to be with our Lord Jesus, it is a lifelong process (John 17), 3) Glorification is God's final removal of sin from the life of the saints ( everyone who is saved) in the eternal state (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17). Understanding all three are crucial to our knowledge of the ongoing work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives after salvation (justification). Truly braking the chains that bind us, to live a joyful, peaceful life in Christ Jesus!
Reference: NKJV "The Holy Bible", Matthew Henry commentaries, MacArthur Study Bible,Q&Ministries
By: Clint Baker