What is salvation? Why do we need it? How do we receive it and when? If salvation results in everlasting life—as Christianity teaches—what will those who are saved do for all eternity? What is the penalty for those who fail to receive salvation? If Christians rely on the Bible for their knowledge of these matters, why do we find so many differing beliefs?
What is salvation? Why do we need it?
You need to prove it from the Bible— because your happiness and your eternal life are at stake .
Salvation is God’s Plan
Salvation simply means the act of saving. When used in a religious sense, to save means to rescue someone from the eternal consequences of sin. Everyone needs salvation because, as the Bible tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and the wages of sin is death (Romans:3:23; 6:23).
God wants every person to be saved (1 Timothy:2:4). God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter:3:9)..
The Bible explains God’s plan for saving mankind. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “From childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy:3:15, New Revised Standard Version).
How can we receive salvation?
Eternal life is God’s gift to us. He tells us specifically how we can receive it: "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans:6:23). “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John:5:12). Jesus Himself said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John:10:9).
Once we sin and place ourselves under the penalty of death, we can do nothing of ourselves that will ever free us from the sentence of death. Rather we must receive forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ (Romans:3:24).
Redemption means to free or buy back someone or something by paying a price . It is akin to paying a ransom for someone who has been kidnapped. To redeem humanity, the price that was paid for the sins of mankind had to be greater than the total value of all human life . Because He was the Son of God who never sinned as well as the very Creator of mankind (Hebrews:4:15; Ephesians:3:9), Christ’s life was of sufficient value to purchase everyone and pay the price for all sins (compare Hebrews:2:9-10).
Sin maintains a claim over us until God redeems us through Jesus’ sacrifice. The apostle Paul writes of our salvation: “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians:1:14). Jesus died an excruciatingly painful death through crucifixion, shedding His blood for us. This is why the Father sent Him into the world: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans:5:8).
What must we do?
To have Jesus Christ as your Savior you must acknowledge that you have sinned, that your sins have placed you under a sentence of death and that you need forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice. You must then accept Jesus as your personal Savior, recognizing that He died for you.
Regrettably, many people stop right there and think that’s all there is to it. They fail to recognize the crucial necessity of personal repentance .
In recognition of Christ’s sacrifice and with a desire to change our lives to please God, each of us must forsake the sinful ways that brought the death penalty upon us and made Jesus’ sacrifice necessary in the first place. We must undergo a life-transforming change of heart and direction, a process the Bible calls repentance.
Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts:2:38). Remission means release—that is, release from guilt for your sins. When you are baptized, God forgives your past sins and clears your record.
Baptism pictures the washing away of sins and signifies our faith in the sacrifice of Christ as payment for them. After our baptism, Christ’s ministers are to place their hands on us and pray for the gift of God’s Spirit for us. It is at this point that God gives His Spirit to a repentant, baptized person (see Acts:8:18).
The Bible says that, through the Holy Spirit, God seals us, His Spirit serving as a guarantee of or down payment on our salvation (2 Corinthians:1:22). The reason for this guarantee is to assure us we will receive eternal life. In other words, our sealing with the Holy Spirit is the proof we belong to God and Christ. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans:8:9), and “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (verse 14).
After baptism and our receiving of God’s Spirit, we are justified—that is, we become righteous in God’s sight. God counts none of our past sins against us (Romans:3:25). If we stumble and sin after baptism, we must ask God’s forgiveness and return to Him so that our state of forgiveness is not lost by our return to our old sinful way of life (1 John:2:1-6). When we are justified, God deals with us as though we had never sinned; the death penalty has no hold on us.
We must endure faithfully to the end of our lives. If a Christian at some time during his life, after committing to serve God, turns away and renounces Jesus and God’s way in word or action, he will lose his salvation—unless he repents of his error.
What will salvation be like?
When Christ returns from heaven and our salvation becomes an eternal reality, what will we be like? What will be the form and appearance of those who receive eternal life? Does the Bible tell us? Indeed it does! The apostle John writes, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God ! ... Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John:3:1-2).
This may sound incredible, but when our salvation is complete we will have the same glorious appearance as Jesus Christ (see Revelation:1:13-16). Like Him, we will be glorified children of God—though He will forever be greater.
We will reign with Christ (Revelation:2:26; 3:21; 5:10) and help bring peace to the world.
We can live forever in God’s eternal Kingdom. This is what salvation is. This is what God offers you. God’s gift of salvation truly is good news for all.