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Monday, March 11, 2013

God's Faithful Promises - Spiritual Salvation

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The New King James Version of the Bible mentions the word "salvation" 166 times. Salvation is a constant theme throughout the Bible, therefore, it must be something that God wants us to understand. 

What does salvation mean? And through God's promise of salvation, what can we expect?

According to salvation means: 

1. The act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc. (a physical deliverance from things in this world)
2. Deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption (a spiritual deliverance)

The most widely used scripture for the basis of spiritual salvation is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." 

It says that God loved the world. This means that He loves everyone, those who believe in Him and those who do not believe in Him. To save everyone in this world, He gave His only son, the most important thing to Him as a sacrifice. The only requirement to receive the gift of His Son, is to believe in Him. If we do this one act--believe--we will not perish with the rest of the world, but have everlasting life. This doesn't mean that we won't die a physical death, because our bodies are mortal and will die on earth, but this is referring to the salvation of our spiritual body (soul).

This spiritual salvation is first explained in further detail in John 1:12-13.

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." 

If this is a birth not of blood or flesh, then it must be a spiritual birth the moment we believe in this scripture as truth. This gives us the spiritual promise of eternal salvation, a life after death. It also gives us a physical promise of being children of God while still living on this earth. We are no longer sons and daughters of the earth, but of God, because we are adopted through our belief (in Jesus Christ) in the spiritual promises of these scriptures. 

The Bible takes this promise and adds another promise to it, making the gift even more fruitful. Not only will we who believe will have everlasting life, but we will be raised up at the last day. This is the reference to the resurrection that Christians believe will take place at  the end of time. 

"And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)

The Book of John says that God loves all mankind, men and women. This is expressed again concerning His promise to mankind in 2nd Peter. It points out that God will do what He promises, because He is not slack, but we have conditions in order to receive it. Those who refuse to believe and repent will not receive this promise. It is offered to everyone, but not everyone will choose to receive it. We are given free will because God is not a dictating God. 

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:13)

God goes on to give us more promises concerning our spiritual salvation. These other promises are wonderful for those who are His children, but horrible for the rest of the world. Here are more promises on Resurrection Day, even though the Bible doesn't use the word "resurrection" itself. 

The Lord will descend from heaven. We will be able to see Him. He will come with the voice of an archangel. We will be able to hear Him. He will come with the trumpet of God. We will hear His call. The dead in Christ will rise first, this means anyone who has died and believed in Him will rise to meet Him. Then those of us who are still alive, and believe, will rise in the air to meet Him. The next promise is that we will ALWAYS be with the Lord.

"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

Then there is a promise of what will happen to those who remain on the earth. The earth and all that is in it will one day be destroyed melted away by heat and fire. If we have everlasting life in the spirit, then our physical bodies will be burned up with everything else, but our spiritual body will continue to live in the new heavens and earth that God will create. 

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:10-13)

This is the promise of eternal salvation!

Is this the first time you have heard this promise? What part do you have questions about?