Maybe you are a small group leader. Six months in, you discover that some are more committed than others. A few are always engaged. One or two seem disconnected. You begin to wonder, What am I doing wrong? It’s not what I expected. Or maybe you are a Christian parent. You determine...
As Christians, we know that salvation is a wonderful and incredibly important reality for our lives. We know on an individual level. We believe that Jesus Christ paid for our sins on the cross; If we are in Him, then we have salvation. But what about on a larger scale? What is the overview for salvation for all believer in Jesus Christ?
The New Testament offers these (at least) three overviews of the whole of salvation (idea originally from Sinclair B. Ferguson’s The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction). Read these and reflect on how they reveal God’s glory.
1.) Romans 8:28-30
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
These verses are some of the most joy-bringing verses in the whole Bible! Romans 8:28-30 is God’s promise to His people that He has a plan, and that He always had that plan!
I’ve often heard the first part of this verse personalized: “God will work all things for my good.” Yes, it’s certainly true that God cares and has a plan for individuals. However, it seems to me the full glory of this passage comes from its grand perspective. It’s talking about God’s intimate plan for His bride—all believers in the Church.
So, this passage reveals to us that God’s plan of salvation is secure. He knows what He is doing and He has never wavered from His plan.
2.) Ephesians 1:3-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Everything related to salvation happens in, through, and for the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessing of God comes in Jesus, God chose us in Jesus, God is making us holy and blameless so we can stand before Jesus, and God adopted us into His royal family through Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the center of biblical salvation. Is He the center of your life?
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
When you think of God’s salvation for His people, do you think of God begrudgingly looking over sins? Waiting to see what you do next? This is so far from the truth! Paul describes God’s grace here as “riches” that He “lavished” on us.
There is a great inheritance to enjoy! Consider, the riches of a relative passed on after their death are a testament to their achievement, not the recipients’. And so, this biblical inheritance is not a testament to our glory. It is a testament to Christ’s glory!
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Biblical salvation includes the work of all three persons in the Trinity. It necessarily includes God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3.) John 1:12-13
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
This passage leads you into greater worship of the Lord the more you reflect on its word. First, it shows the importance of God’s people receiving Christ. So this is a charge to everyone out there: Make sure you receive Christ. Believe in His name.
Then, it ends by talking about that those who believe in Him are born “of God.” If we are to ask God, “How is this possible for man to do? How we obtain salvation if we must be born of God?” perhaps we would receive the same answer our Lord Jesus gave to His disciples:
With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)
Praise God for His grace, and His wonderful truth about salvation as revealed in His Word!