For too many, salvation is little more than another life decision. In their mind, they decided to follow Jesus, so they joined a church and got baptized. Just as they got married and had children, it was a decision they made. Their allegiance to Christ is simply another life priority which exists alongside others. Jesus and the church are checkboxes to be checked-off of an overly busy to-do list. Instead of being the purpose and priority of life (Philippians 1:21), Christ is only a part of such people’s life. The reason for such a shallow view of the faith is found in our understanding of the gospel. To remedy our lackluster Christianity, we must recapture the grandeur of the gospel. Consider four activities involved in our great salvation.
Christian salvation isn’t something which simply occurs in the here-and-now. It is something which began in eternity past, and it is something which will continue into the aeons. Paul referred to the timeless nature of salvation when he said that God “predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). The word “predestined” speaks of a person deciding something beforehand. Used in reference to salvation, it depicts the way in which God had a pre-creation awareness of who would be saved. Our salvation isn’t something of a flimsy whim. Salvation is something of timeless decree (Revelation 13:8)!
is an aspect of salvation which is closely related to predestination. The Bible speaks of it, saying, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Election is different from predestination in that it focuses on the end result of God’s selection. It emphasizes our special nature. Just as Israel was the apple of God’s eye under the Old Covenant, we are His choice people through the blood of Christ.
is the special work whereby God woos us to Himself. His Spirit performs a convicting work which draws us to salvation. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). Paul spoke of this calling in 2 Timothy 1:9. The doctrine teaches us that the summons to salvation doesn’t begin with man. It is initiated by God. In the end, none will glory in self-achievement. The only boast we will have will be in the gracious invitation of the King who invited His guests to His wedding party (Matthew 22:1-14)!
means that those who are saved will never be lost. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish —ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). Believers don’t have to worry about their eternal standing before God. Once a person is saved, he or she is permanently sealed by God’s Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). God’s work of salvation cannot be undone by any temptation, tragedy, or test. We can rest assured and secured. Our Heavenly Father holds us in His hand! Thanks be to God for His great grace and salvation!
Dr. Patrick Latham