What is salvation according to the bible? This is the first question anyone who wants to know the true meaning of salvation should ask.
This is because the word salvation can mean different things to different people, but when we narrow it down to the souls of men, and within the bible context, it means having a personal encounter with God.
That may sound weird in some ways, and one may be tempted to ask the question, can a person have a personal encounter with a God that is not seen physically?
The answer is yes.
Salvation means when a sinner who has been following his own ways without having any regard for God found out that he has been living wrongly, repent of his ways and start living according to God’s ways henceforth.
It is a spiritual experience which I will fully explain later.
Many people don’t understand or they choose to fashion out their own salvation, hence we will look at what salvation is not.
What Salvation is Not
- It is not being born into a Christian family. If your father and your mother, or one of your parents are Christians that means you are born into a Christian family.
Perhaps you have siblings that are Christians, that does not mean that you have salvation.
If you are brought up in a Christian way right from your young age, you know about the Bible, the ten commandments, you know about God’s will for man, or you attend Sunday school regularly.
You are taught how to live a good moral life, and may be in school you get very high grades in Christian religious studies, all of these as good as they are, are not salvation.
- It is not baptism
Baptism is a very important doctrine in Christiandom.
It is the outward sign that shows that we have repented from our sins, saved, died and resurrected with Jesus Christ.
According to Acts of The Apostles, baptism should follow after the conscious efforts of repentance and not before.
When you are baptized as an infant, or just because you are observing a doctrine of your church, and not because you have repented of your sins, then what you have is not salvation.
- It is not doing good works.
That is, paying offering and tithe, giving or sowing into the work of God, or any Christian ministry.
You can be doing a particular service diligently in the church, yet you may not.be saved.
Cornelius in Acts 10 was commended for good works, yet God made him to understand that he was yet to know what salvation is according to the bible.
He had to sent for Peter to show him the real truth.
Do not be deceived to believe that God can be bribed to accept you for whatever you are doing for Him.
He does not need that, He is God and He can use anything or anyone to achieve His purpose.
Whatever you are doing for God now can still happen without you.
- It is not having good morals or living a self righteous life.
The Bible says our righteousness is like a filthy rag before God. Isaiah 64:6.
God does not accept the righteousness or good morals of men, no matter how high the standard may be.
He has ordained His own righteousness which is in Christ, and that can only be obtained in His own way.
No one is good except God, hence when you claim to be good, you are disregarding the instructions and the will of God, and you are regarded as a sinner.
- It is not church membership.
Being a member of a living church is good and compulsory if you want to follow Christ.
We are admonished to do so in Hebrews 12:25. because we can get encouragement from fellowshipping with others.
It is totally wrong to believe that you can get salvation just by joining a church and attending services regularly.
Salvation is far more than that. If you are just a churchgoer, you will keep attending services yet you will not fully understand what they are doing, and definitely not be blessed.
The church is the gathering of God’s people, those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus.
If you have not gone through that process, you don’t belong there, no matter the number of years you have spent attending church services.
- It is not partaking in holy Communion. The last meal that Jesus took with his disciples before he was arrested is termed the last supper in the Bible.
Jesus instructed them to do it in remembrance of Him. I Corinthians 11:24-25.
That became a doctrine in the church till today, and it is called the holy Communion.
Many people are eating without knowing the significance, and they believe that is a sign that they have been saved.
How wrong they are.
- It is not going on holy pilgrimage. Many people embark upon travelling to notable places recorded in the bible.
They do this to search for God, peace of mind, healing and deliverance, and some see it as a means of getting salvation.
These are places where spectacular signs and wonders had taken place, like:
Golgotha where Jesus was crucified,
Getsemane where he prayed before he was arrested,
The tomb where his body was laid after he died, and where he resurrected from, etc.
Some of these pilgrims do come back with exhilarating experiences but they are far from salvation experiences.
When a man does not understand what is salvation according to the bible, he can pick any of the points mentioned above and turn it into salvation.
There are many things people are doing outside Christianity which they believe can link them with God and give them new life.
In all of these God cannot be found, because none of them is God’s approved way of getting saved.
What is Salvation According to The Bible (Fully Explained)
How do we get salvation? The only way approved by God to get salvation can be found in the bible, starting from John 3:16.
The son that God gave to the world is Jesus Christ.
It means there is no other person who started a religion, and there is no other being, dead or alive who can give salvation except Jesus.
The salvation that Jesus brought is easy to attain. God makes sure that everyone no matter their race or status can get it because it is free.
Yes, salvation is free because Jesus paid for it.
As recorded in the book of Matthew 1:21, he was born to take away our sins.
He actually did that when he died on the cross and resurrected the third day.
5 Steps To Attain Genuine Salvation
i. Acknowledge that you are a sinner. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.
Stop shifting the blame for your sins on others. Sin is a nature we all inherited from birth, hence everybody is born a sinner.
God knows we cannot help it, by that inherited nature we must sin, hence He sent Jesus into the world to rescue all sinners.
ii. Settle it in your mind that you cannot help yourself.
Except you do that, you will still continue to look for what you can do for yourself to get out of the situation.
That may result to trying some of the steps listed under ‘what salvation is not’ above.
iii. Agree that you needs God’s help. This is what will help you to turn to God and seek Him diligently in order to get out of a sinful life.
Nicodemus, one of the leaders of the Jews knew he needed help.
He too needed answer to that all-important question – what is salvation according to the bible.
He knew that what he has is not the answer to that question, hence he secretly came to see Jesus in the night in order to get the right answer, and he got it.
iv. Confess your sins to God.
Just tell it to God the way it is. All what you have been doing in the secret that are contrary to His will.
He will forgive, no matter how bad the sins may be.
v. Ask Him for mercy. When God shows you mercy, He will be more than willing to wipe away your sins.
vi. Believe that you are forgiven. According to 1 John 1:9, God cannot but forgive you if you have taken the steps above with all sincerity, and from the depth of your heart.
vii. Never go back to your sins. Do not nurse the idea that you are still under the bondage of that sin.
Once you have taken steps one to six, you have met God’s conditions for salvation, And since God cannot lie, it means you are saved already.
Salvation is by faith, hence you need to believe in the steps you have taken, and begin to see yourself as a child of God.
You must have what is called the assurance of salvation, those things that will stands as proofs that you have been saved.
This will help you greatly to keep your faith.
How To Have The Assurance of Salvation
Your faith in Christ must be built upon the right foundation, and not on just personal experiences.
These are things that will assure you that you have been saved.
i. God promised salvation to all who confess and forsake their sins. If you have done that, your own case cannot be different. IJohn 1:9.
ii. Jesus paid the price. If you believe Jesus for those things said about Him in the scriptures, then you must believe Him for this.
iii. The Holy Spirit’s witness in you. You will begin to notice that as soon as you give your life to Christ.
A new joy will bubble up from your belly, and that will continue to increase as you live in obedience to Him.
That is the witness of the Holy Spirit, a rare privilege given only to those who belongs to Jesus.
iv. A new life that comes after. That is the physical results that follows your redemption as times goes on.
You will discover that some of the things you use to do before does not hold any meaning to you now.
You will discover you are loving God more, and you just want to please Him with your life.
These are assurances that you can rely upon to tell yourself, or anybody who asked for the reason for the new life you have found, that you have been saved.
They are established in the Bible, hence that is enough for you.
Any personal feeling or experiences will just be additional to these.
Know also that these assurances will make you stop doubting your salvation, especially in the faces of temptations and persecutions.
You will no longer seek answer to what is salvation according to the bible question, you now have the evidences to proof that you have it.
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Is Salvation For All?
The answer is yes. Everybody needs to take the steps for obtaining salvation highlighted above.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
That does not exclude those who are born into Christianity, it is the truth about every soul born of a woman.
Little children that have not attain the age of responsibility can be exonerated from this.
It is obvious that they cannot account for what they are doing.
They are simply innocent.
Never see yourself as someone who does not need God’s given steps for salvation, even if you feel you have never sinned.
You are a sinner by nature, and your record of sins does not depend on what you do personally alone.
Can Salvation Be Lost?
Salvation can be lost if it is not treasured and kept diligently.
This is what the devil is all out for. To make a child of God go back to his former life of sin.
He comes with all kinds of temptations and deceits to try to achieve this.
The Bible warns us not to be ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11.
Once saved is saved forever, is a common believe among many Christians today.
That is, once you have given your life to Christ, it does not matter what you do thereafter, you are already saved, even if you continue to sin.
That is a lie from the pit of hell.
It has given some people liberty to continue in sin, and pray that the grace of God should abound in their lives.
The Bible says God forbids. Romans 6:23.
You are to work out your salvation with trembling and fear while journeying through this world so that your garment will not be stained with sin.
The following steps will help you to keep your garment clean and remain rapturable until you see Jesus in glory.
How To Keep Your Salvation
One of the toughest things you will find yourself doing after getting saved is to keep the salvation you have received.
The day you gives your life to Christ you are immediately drafted into battle against the kingdom of darkness. Ephesians 6:12.
Devil and his cohorts will be after you, to try to put you back under their bondage.
Jesus assures you of victory.
You are not to fear because Jesus had defeated them all on the cross of Calvary, and gave you the victory.
Your duty is to trust in Jesus by faith, and appropriate that victory in your life, over all that is against the will of God around you.
Start taking the following steps quickly to remain saved.
i. Always Give God Top Priority: This means that you will consider God first in everything that you do.
It means that whenever you want to take any decision, you will consider what God will be happy with first.
This is called living in obedience to God’s will. It is the surest way to keep God’s presence around you always.
ii. Pray daily:
Prayer is compulsory for every Christians. It is a means of getting God’s attention over any issue.
When you pray, you are telling God about your helplessness, and inviting Him to come to help you.
Prayers will make God to focus on you, and grant your hearts desire.
You are to commit each day into God’s hands as you wake up, and as your schedule permits, spend some times with God in prayers during the day.
iii. Read The Bible Daily:
The word of God is your spiritual food, and upon that your faith must be based for you to be established and to grow spiritually.
The more the word of God dwells in you, the stronger you become, and the more you know your rights in Christ.
A well enlightened Christian cannot be easily shaken by any temptation, or challenges of life.
iv. Fellowship with Other Christians Regularly:
There is power and blessing in corporate worship.
It is the forum where iron sharpens iron.
That is, the faith of the strong ones will rub off on that of the weak ones.
God will have the opportunity to reveal His mind to His people, and help them discover what He has ordained for them, corporately, and individually.
A Christian that shuns fellowshipping with other brethren is exposed to danger, and can hardly get help from others when the enemy strikes.
v. Work actively for God:
All Christians have specific assignments that God has committed to there hands.
As the saying goes, an idle hand is the devils workshop, hence the Bible says we should occupy till he comes. Luke 19:13.
When you are busy working for God, you will not have the time to listen or give attention to devil’s temptations.
Look for where God wants you to serve Him. That is, your personal ministry, then commit yourself to it with all your strength.
vi. Study The Bible Regularly:
This goes deeper than reading, and it helps you to pay attention to details of what is in the bible.
This is the only way you can allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the word of God, and to catch the revelations in it.
In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel was studying the word and he discovered that they were to spend just 70 years in the land of captivity, which was already elapsing.
That discovery triggered his 21 days of fasting which led to his receiving a deeper revelation of the kingdoms that will reign on earth till the return of Christ.
When you study the bible, you are telling God that you want to get knowledge, and He will make that available to you.
vii. Choose New Friends:
The kind of friends you move with has a very great influence upon your life.
The Bible says:
If you are still keeping your old friends, that is, friends that you used to commit sins with when you were in the world, they will take you back to your former life.
You needs friends who are believers in Christ like yourself, those who can encourage you in the Lord, pray with you, and counsel you when the need arise.
This is very crucial in your new life.
viii. Witness for Jesus:
You need to tell others about Jesus, especially to hose who used to know you to be a sinner.
You don’t need to know the whole of the Bible to do this. All what you will do is to share your experience of how you met Christ, and what He has been doing for you since then.
Personal testimonies are powerful means God is using to convict sinners of their sins, and bring them to His fold.
The more you do this, the more your joy abounds, and your peace, confidence, and faith will grow the more.