For a believer in Christ, Salvation means that a person is redeemed, justified, and will live eternally with the Lord.
- Redemption: From the beginning of time, God has required the shedding of blood for the cleansing (forgiveness) of our sin. When a person sinned, they were required to offer a blood sacrifice for the ‘redemption’ of their sin. When Jesus became the blood sacrifice for our sin, He redeemed us. He paid the price for our sin.
- Justification: when the offering was accepted by God, He justified the person. In other words, God’s eyes the person had not sinned. Because Jesus paid the price for our sin, in God’s eyes we become sinless.
- Grace: when Christians sin, God overlooks our sin. We remain justified. In other words our behavior does not affect our salvation.
- Eternal life: was made possible when God caused Jesus to be victorious over death. Because of this victory, Christians will also share that victory and spend eternity with God
Salvation is accepted by faith. Faith is believing that God has, or will cause something to happen even though it has never happened before. The Message Bible says it this way:
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. Hebrews 11:1-2(MSG)
Salvation is not dependent on what we do or not do, it is dependent on our faith in God. It is possible that a Christian could commits a sin and not lose his/her salvation. That sin may even be murder, lust, improper sexual activity, etc. but the truth is that they have not lost their salvation because of those acts, even though many Christians wish it were otherwise…which by the way, is also sin.
Works refers to the activities that we do in our lives whether good or bad. You may ask: “What is the importance of works?”
The works that a Christian does determines the rewards they will receive when they get to heaven. In fact, the Bible tells of two books used in determining rewards.
The one book is list of the names of the people who, by faith accepted the gift of salvation. The second book is the list of things that Christians have done. Because of God’s grace, only the good things a Christian has done are recorded in this book.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15(NIV)
The second book is used to determine the rewards that a Christian will receive when he/she gets to heaven. This is what the writer of Hebrews telling about when he tells about faith in Hebrews 11.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6(NIV)
A person can do every good deed conceivable and never receive a reward because they do not have faith in God. In other words, not everyone that does good deeds will receive a reward in heaven unless their name is recorded in the Lambs book of life. However, they have already received their reward on earth.
Matthew 6 gives several examples of people who have already received their rewards. Some of these people are people who are:
- practicing your righteous acts so you can be seen by others (v.1)
- giving to the needy to get attention for themselves. (v.2)
- praying to impress others. (v.5)
- make a big issue out of fasting, so other people will see them. (v.16)
People who do good deeds for the purpose of bring attention to themselves, have already received their rewards, albeit temporary. Those who do good deeds so God is glorified, will receive an eternal reward.
Doing good deeds does not make one a Christian but being a Christian will cause one to do good deeds.
NOTE: All scripture in this blog were downloaded from Biblegateway.com