Salvation (a 14-part study)

From the announcement of his conception, the mission of Jesus was linked to our spiritual recovery. The angel told Joseph that the child Mary was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The child was to be named Jesus "because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) This redemptive theme was echoed throughout the ministry of our Lord. He said that he had come "to seek and to save what was lost" and "to give his life as a ransom for many." (Luke 19:10; Matthew 20:28)

Forgiveness is not based on our good deeds no matter how many or how honourable they are. Forgiveness is a free, unmerited gift from God and we accept it by faith. Yet many try to earn their way to heaven. They entertain the idea that God will inspect their lives and, based on how they did while on earth, either let them into heaven or banish them for eternity.

"This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47)

by Edward Fudge (gracEmail)

A brother from a Bible church asks: "I wonder if you can explain why Peter, when asked on Pentecost 'what must we do?' didn't say, 'Why, there is nothing you can do, it has already been done -- just accept what we have told you and rely totally on the grace of God.'"

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one: he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence." (Hebrews 9:24)

Tom and I have been friends for over twenty years and on Sunday he will be baptised. His journey to faith in Jesus for the remission of his sins has been a long one. He really does believe, but one thing keeps bothering him: "What if I'm not good enough?" Like many new believers, Tom is fearful of failing, letting the Lord down, or not being able to live the Christian life. And so by way of encouragement I remind Tom of the following:

Jesus directed his parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else." (Luke 18:9-14) When the Pharisee prayed, he paraded all his deeds before God.

John Newton's famous hymn 'Amazing Grace' not only has edified the hearts of God's people for over two centuries, it is a hymn rich in praise of God's grace for sinners like us.

Saying that Jesus is the only way to God is often regarded as arrogant by those who believe that there are many ways to God: one can be a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, it doesn't matter since no one person or belief system has the exclusive claims on being the only way to God. There are many ways to God.