WHAT WE BELIEVE – SALVATION
The good news of our salvation from sin and restoration to God in Christ by the Spirit is the central focus of the Bible, the heartbeat of our faith.
The gospel message is this:
• God created us to know him and live for him.
• We have separated ourselves from him and his purposes through our sin, bringing death and hell upon ourselves.
• In order to bring us back to himself and rescue us from sin and death, God the Father sends God the Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life in our place, die the death we deserve as a just penalty for our sin, and rise from the dead to bring us life.
• When we believe that Jesus did this for us, turn from all other ways of living, and follow him as our Savior and King, our relationship with God is restored and we are rescued from sin and death.
• We then become citizens of God’s kingdom, meant to live with him and for him in all things.
Our statement of faith says this about what we believe concerning salvation: “We believe that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, received through repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Following Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. We believe that every person who has truly received salvation is eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ and will persevere in their salvation until the end of their life.”
Our statement of faith says this about what we believe concerning sanctification: “We believe that sanctification is God’s goal for all believers. Sanctification is the experience of being led by the Holy Spirit toward moral and spiritual maturity in Jesus Christ.”
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states this concerning our understanding of salvation:
• Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
• A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
• Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
• B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
• C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
• D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
God saves us through the cross of Jesus Christ because of his love and justice. As 1 John 4:9-10 states, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” When we respond to God with faith and repentance, everything that Jesus did for us on the cross is applied to us. As Acts 10:43 states, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Ultimately, this present life in Jesus Christ is just a foretaste of the life to come. As Romans 8:28-30 states, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
Praise God for the cross of Jesus Christ! Praise God for our salvation from our sin!