W. Terry Varner
April 13, 2014

What does the noun SALVATION and the verb TO SAVE mean to you? When we understand how these terms were used in daily life of New Testament times, it helps us to appreciate and better understand how they are used in relation to spiritual salvation.

The terms SALVATION and TO SAVE were used in everyday life as follows: 1) deliverance or preservation, 2) of a man’s safe return to his home or country after being absent on a journey, 3) a guarantee, safety, or safety against danger, and 4) most often the terms were used in relation to one’s bodily or physical health.

Why Man Needs Salvation. Man needs salvation because he sins. Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). As a result sin takes man on a journey away from God. When one sins and separates himself from God, he separates himself from the presence of God. Sin is dangerous, and if not forgiven, has wages that affects one eternity—death. When one is dominated by sin, it describes poor spiritual health; whereas, when one is saved from sin it describes good spiritual health.

Salvation of Man is God’s Aim. In the Bible, the initiative of salvation is with God. Man is “not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation” (1 Thess. 5:9). This means that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). This explains Peter’s words “that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (1 Peter 3:15). God makes possible our salvation by sending Jesus into the world as our Savior. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

Therefore, because salvation is the initiative of God and because God created man a free moral agent, man can refuse and reject God’s offer of salvation. There is no escape when we neglect God’s offer of salvation. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3)? God has given man His will to obey or to disobey. Paul says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philip. 2:12).

Salvation is Only in Jesus Christ. This is a strong statement. It produces the question, “What about the other religions in the world?” Allow the Bible to answer this question. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This helps explain the statement of Jesus. “I am the way, [and] the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus is “the captain of [our] salvation” (Heb. 2:10) and “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). We are to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

Salvation’s Conditions. While salvation is a gift from God and free to all who will obey, salvation requires man to meet God’s conditions. Faith involves joyful conviction that Jesus is Savior conjoined with obedience. Repentance involves “godly sorrow [to] repentance, leading to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10). Confession “that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). Baptism because “it saves us” (1 Peter 3:21). Endurance or faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus (Acts 2:42). We cannot and must not be daunted by opposition from without and discouragement from within. “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22).