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Paul said: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."  (1 Timothy 1:15)

The following are six facts set forth in the Scriptures concerning salvation.  These facts embrace what it means to have salvation, how one obtains it, and how one lives when he receives it.

FACT I:  The substance of Salvation is Everlasting Life.

The dark shadow that hangs over the human race is that each person is born to die.  The words of Scripture are most evident:  " It is appointed unto men once to die. "  {Hebrews 9:27}  The same verse continues,  " But after this the judgement. "  Sacred truth declares a righteous God's indegnation against sin.  There would be no hope for any of us escapting death and judgment were it not for the fact that God provided a way of deliverance for His people.  The substance of this salvation is everlasting life.  The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"  {Romans 6:23}.

FACT II:  We are Incapable of Saving Ourselves.

It is a common notion today that men can obtain eternal life by their obedience to God's laws.  This notion is not true.  Those who believe they keep enough commandments enough times to obtain salvation should read Galatians 3:16:  " by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. "  You are not by nature good; you are sinful.  The word of God declares " There is none righteous, no, not one. " {Romans 3:10} and again, " All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. " {Romans 3:23}

     The truth which glares throughout the Bible is simply that a man is incapable of freeing himself from sin, he cannot perform good in the sight of God, and therefore he falls short of gaining life.

The unsaved man neither can nor will initiate service pleasing to his Creator.  The bible says, " The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. " {Romans 8:7,8}

The unsaved man cannot comprehend spiritual things.  1 Corinthians 2:14 says: " The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto Him: neither can He know them, because they are spiritually discerned. "

Finally, an unsaved man cannot on his own even come to Christ for salvation.  The Lord said: " No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My father. " {John 6:65}

FACT III:  Salvation is by the Grace of God.

Seeing then that you are incapable of obtaining eternal life by means of works, the Bible teaches salvation is a free gift bestowed by a loving God to sinners.  Salvation is by grace.  Grace means unmerited favor.  If salvation were earned by obedience it would not be by grace.  The Scripture says, " By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. " {Ephesians 2:8,9}

FACT IV:  God Decreed the Salvation of an Elect People.

God planned the salvation of those who come to eternal life.  The bible teaches that God from all eternity chose a remnant from the human race and these He determined to be saved.  Paul, the Lord's apostle, speaks of both election and predestination in Ephesians 1:4,5: " According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."

FACT V:  The Plan of Salvation is Executed by Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The gift of everlasting life which the Father planned for His people is accomplished by means of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.

Christ's major purpose in coming to earth was to " Give eternal life to as many as the Father hast given Him." {John 17:2}  Joseph was told by the Lord's angel concerning the son unborn in Mary's womb:  " Thou shalt cal His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. " {Matthew 1:21}  Christ redeemed us by shedding His blood for us on the cross.  The Bible says of Christ,  "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. " {Colossians 1:14}

The Holy Spirit regenerates God's people.  the Lord taught Nicodemus both the necessity of the new birth and the fact that regeneration is accomplished by the Spirit when he said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." {John 3:5}

FACT VI:  The Fruits and Evidences of Salvation are Good Works.

Although good works are not the means of obtaining life, they are the fruits and evidences of salvation.  All good works flowing from the lives of God's people are but products of God's work in their lives.

God's love for us causes us in turn to love God:  " We love Him (God) because he first loved us." {1 John 4:19}

Faith is given to those who have been elected to salvation:  " As many as were ordained to eternal life believed. " {Acts 13:48}

Repentance is of the Lord and so Jeremiah prayed:  " Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou are the Lord my God.  Surely after I was turned, I repented ." {Jeremiah 31:18,19}

In conclusion, the Scripture teaches that we who are saved by grace are " His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. " {Ephesians 2:10}

Elder David Mattingly