I can still remember the day I was saved. It happened on a Sunday morning. The preacher preached a gospel message and called for a response. I went to the front of the church and told him I wanted to become a Christian. I distinctly remember change. I recall telling a family member that I felt like a brand new person. Since that time, I have often remarked on how I didn’t fully understand what happened at the time of my salvation. I knew I was different, but I didn’t comprehend much Bible doctrine. Since my conversion, I’ve learned more about what the Bible teaches. On the day I was saved, several supernatural things took place. No wonder I felt so different! Consider four things that happen at salvation.
is the act of buying something back. The Bible uses the concept in relation to salvation. It says, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Prior to salvation, each of us was shackled to sin and slaves to our own desires. We were in bondage to death and destined for an eternity in hell. Through the ransom of His own Son, the Father bought us back from the slave market of sin. He released us from the penalty our sin deserves.
is the aspect of salvation which involves the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of it when He said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Theologians often use the word “regeneration” to refer to this act. It involves the new birth. Although everyone is born once in a physical sense, only those who accept Christ’s salvation are born twice. According to Scripture, the Holy Spirit comes to live within the soul of those who place their faith in God’s means of salvation (Galatians 3:2). Because of this, it is as if the believer is a brand new person (2 Corinthians 5:17). His or her body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and he or she has a supernatural ability to live a different type of life (Galatians 5:16-23).
is a legal concept from the first century courtroom. It was a word that referred to a defendant who was cleared of all charges. But a justified individual was not just declared not-guilty. He or she was pronounced innocent as well. This is what God has done for us through the sacrifice of His Son. Paul spoke of how we “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Because of Calvary, we are exonerated and emancipated. All guilty charges are dropped! On top of that, however, the just Judge of all eternity has pronounced us righteous! When God looks at us, He no longer sees us and our sin. He sees the righteousness of His Son! We are justified!
is an act whereby God accepts us into His family. As a relational being, the Triune God doesn’t just want mere followers. He wants family members. At salvation, we receive a Father who sticks with us through the thick and thin of life. Scripture says, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Romans 8:15). What a great salvation we have!
Dr. Patrick Latham