IV. Salvation

from the Baptist Faith & Message 2000:

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15 | Exodus 3:14-17 | Exodus 6:2-8 | Matthew 1:21 | Matthew 4:17 | Matthew 16:21-26 | Matthew 27:22-28:6 | Luke 1:68-69 | Luke 2:28-32 | John 1:11-14,29 | John 3:3-21,36 | John 5:24 | John 10:9,28-29 | John 15:1-16 | John 17:17 | Acts 2:21 | Acts 4:12 | Acts 15:11 | Acts 16:30-31 | Acts 17:30-31 | Acts 20:32 | Romans 1:16-18 | Romans 2:4 | Romans 3:23-25 | Romans 4:3ff. | Romans 5:8-10 | Romans 6:1-23 | Romans 8:1-18,29-39 | Romans 10:9-10,13 | Romans 13:11-14 | 1 Corinthians 1:18,30 | 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 | 1 Corinthians 15:10 | 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 | Galatians 2:20 | Galatians 3:13 | Galatians 5:22-25 | Galatians 6:15 | Ephesians 1:7 | Ephesians 2:8-22 | Ephesians 4:11-16 | Philippians 2:12-13 | Colossians 1:9-22 | Colossians 3:1ff. | 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 | 2 Timothy 1:12 | Titus 2:11-14 | Hebrews 2:1-3 | Hebrews 5:8-9 | Hebrews 9:24-28 | Hebrews 11:1-12:8,14 | James 2:14-26 | 1 Peter 1:2-23 | 1 John 1:6-2:11 | Revelation 3:20 | Revelation 21:1-22:5

My random thoughts:

I talked with someone recently who expressed displeasure in the wording of the Baptist Faith and Message. He argued that the weak wording allowed for too much ambiguity and fostered a dumbing down of our rich theological heritage. I see some validity to that point.

For example he pointed to the wording in this article which reads, “Salvation… is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ.” He saw a problem in placing man in the active role of “accepting” Jesus and making that action the contingent deed enacting the offer of salvation. I have to agree, the framers of the document could have used more biblically accurate and stronger language.

On the other hand, elsewhere this same article asserts, properly so, that God’s initiative effects salvation prior to human response. In other words, regeneration precedes faith. “Regeneration… is a work of God’s grace… to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I’ve also heard criticism coming from the other side of the fence, arguing that we should abandon loaded doctrinal language because folks in this day and age do not have the theological aptitude to understand the specialized terminology. I strongly differ. If our seventh graders can learn scientific terminology like metamorphosis, photosynthesis and fission; then maturing believers ought to learn terms like regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification along with their definitions so that they can more deeply appreciate the glory of our salvation in Christ.