Tagged: salvation

Article IV-B of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000: Justification

“Blind Lady Justice”

Following is another in a series of columns on The Baptist Faith & Message 2000.

In justification, God declares us righteous. In sanctification and glorification, God makes us so.

Article IV-B of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

“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 into a relationship of peace and favor with God.”

In justification, God declares us righteous. In sanctification and glorification, which we explore in future columns, God makes us so. These interlocking works of God ensure that, one day, we are fully conformed to the image of Christ.

The Greek noun dikaiosis, or justification, describes the act of God declaring sinners righteous on the basis of the finished work of Christ. Believing sinners are acquitted – freed of all guilt – as their sins are transferred to the account of Christ and exchanged for Christ’s righteousness.

Theologians often refer to justification as forensic, which means “having to do with legal proceedings.” This legal declaration does not change our internal character. A judge does not make defendants guilty or innocent; he simply declares them to be one or the other. 

Regeneration, indwelling, and sanctification are ways God works salvation in us, making us spiritually alive, taking up permanent residence in our spirits, and conforming us to the image of Christ. But justification occurs outside of us. Put another way, the location of justification is heaven, where God declares believing sinners in right standing before Him. 

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Article IV-A of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000: Regeneration

Following is another in a series of posts on the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.

Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings a sinner from spiritual death into spiritual life.

Article IV-A of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

“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 and Lord and Saviour.”

Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings a sinner from spiritual death into spiritual life. While Christians may disagree about such issues as the relationship between regeneration and baptism, or whether regeneration precedes faith, it is biblically faithful for a follower of Jesus to say, “I am regenerated.”

While the Greek noun palingenesia appears only twice in the New Testament (Matt. 19:28; Tit. 3:5), the concept of regeneration, or new birth, is a consistent theme of Jesus and the New Testament writers. Jesus makes it clear that people must be “born again,” or “born of the Spirit,” if they are to see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3, 5). 

The work of the Holy Spirit, making an individual a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), prepares that person for the future work of Christ as he creates “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Pet. 3:13). All those the Spirit regenerates are assured a place with Christ when he refurbishes the cosmos, purging it completely of sin and its stain.

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Article IV of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000: Salvation

Salvation is God’s remedy for the sin that has ruined everything and alienated everyone from him.

Article IV of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

“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.”

People use the words salvation and saved in a variety of settings, from sporting events to political campaigns to natural disasters. Even within Christian circles, there is disagreement as to what it means to be saved and how salvation is acquired. So, it’s critical for us to begin with a definition.

Stated simply, salvation is God’s remedy for the sin that has ruined everything and alienated everyone from him. The Lord reveals this remedy as soon as Adam and Eve rebel against him. He promises a future redeemer who crushes the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15). Then, he provides additional promises throughout the Old Testament, granting us more than 400 prophecies, appearances, or foreshadows of the Messiah. 

Jesus of Nazareth bursts onto the scene at just the right time (Gal. 4:4). He lives a sinless life and dies on a Roman cross, taking upon himself our sins and paying the penalty of death for them (2 Cor. 5:21). Then, he rises physically from the dead on the third day, conquering Satan, sin, and death, and freely offering forgiveness of sins and everlasting life by grace through faith in him. 

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promises to return one day to fulfill all things – that  is, to complete his work of salvation, judge every person, and set everything right. 

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The Trinity and Scripture

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

We know the Bible as the Word of God. That means God is the source of Scripture, revealing truths we are incapable of knowing without divine help. 

The Bible is special revelation in that it is a record of God’s work before time, in time, and beyond time, with a particular emphasis on creation, sin, redemption, and restoration. As such, Scripture complements God’s general revelation, which all people witness in creation and conscience (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:14-16).

In the Bible, God is revealed as one being in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While these divine persons carry out distinct roles in creation and salvation, they are unified in purpose. 

The holy, loving, self-giving persons of the Godhead set the standard for how human beings created in God’s image should relate to God and to one another. At the same time, without Scripture, we would not be able to comprehend God as a Trinity.

Our ability to observe the natural world points us to a divine Designer. Yet, nature itself cannot adequately explain how Yahweh is one being in three persons. And mankind’s universal conscience compels us to conclude that there is a divine moral Law Giver. Even so, conscience can’t tell us the reason behind or the remedy for our violations of standards that have been written on our hearts. 

It takes special revelation from this divine Designer and divine moral Law Giver. That’s where the Bible steps into the picture.

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The Trinity in salvation

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

In his book Reordering the Trinity, Rodrick Durst notes that there are 75 Trinitarian references in the New Testament. Many of these passages reveal the collaborative work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in securing our salvation. Space does not permit a full exploration of every reference, but we list several for the purpose of demonstrating how the Trinity is woven into the fabric of the greatest story ever told.

Romans 8:14-17 – “For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs – heirs of God and coheirs with Christ – if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”

Followers of Jesus have received the indwelling Holy Spirit, who also serves as the agent in our adoption as sons and daughters of the Father. As adopted children, we are coheirs with Jesus in His inheritance of all things. This includes glorification, which is received when we are resurrected from the dead and clothed in Christ’s immortality. Paul shares a similar message of the Trinity’s work of adoption in Galatians 4:4-7. 

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