by Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday October 7, 2004
The Pattern for What You Believe
Ezekiel 18:4-13; Acts 2:21
Many people have an unscriptural concept of what the word "salvation" means, but the term is so basic to understanding Christianity that it merits our careful attention. We can define salvation as the gift of God's grace, goodness, love, and mercy, whereby He provides forgiveness for your sin and mine.
The Bible explains that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). We are all sinners deserving of death (Isaiah 53:6), but in His love and mercy, God made provision for our forgiveness: He allowed atonement to be made by the shedding of blood. (Leviticus 17:11)
All the Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed what was to come - that is, they pointed to the once-for-all, substitutionary death of God's sinless Son on the cross. Jesus took our place, receiving the punishment that was rightly ours. Indeed, mankind's redemption was the very purpose for which Christ came into the world. (Luke 19:10) And so, salvation is related to nothing else but the person of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist understood this. Upon seeing Jesus, he proclaimed, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
There is no acceptance before Almighty God - no way to come to Him - apart from the Savior. (John 14:6) Throughout Scripture, we see that salvation is a free gift that derives from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not a consequence of good works; rather, a person who is saved will naturally produce good works. Have you chosen to receive God's gift?
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