And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Acts 2:21 (ESV)
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:8-10 (ESV)
Jesus, looking at him with sadness, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:24-27 (ESV)
Saved? What are we saved from? And what are we saved for? How does one go about being/getting/finding saved/salvation? Is salvation a one-time thing, or is it a process that lasts all of our lives? Much confusion surrounds the doctrine of salvation. Get these questions wrong and you come up with something less than salvation in the reconciled-to-God sense of the word. This week we are looking at Article 4 of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, on the doctrine of salvation.
What about the BF&M2000; does it accurately lay out the biblical doctrine of salvation? Does it say enough, and is it clear to the average reader? Is there enough in these brief paragraphs to lead a lost person to Christ? Is there enough here to teach you how to proclaim the gospel to a lost and perishing world? Does it accurately describe what Southern Baptists believe? Let’s dig into the contents of the doctrine of salvation in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man,
The word redemption involves the idea of buying something back. The most common illustration is one of someone buying another person out of slavery. God is described as redeeming Israel when He brought them out of the land of Egypt in 1Chronicles 17:21. Both Paul and Peter refer to the lost as being slaves to sin (Romans 6:16-20, Titus 3:3, 2 Peter 2:19). Salvation redeems us from the guilt and power of sin, through Jesus Christ.
The whole man is redeemed, body and soul. Being in Christ makes us new creatures now (2 Corinthians 5:17), and at the resurrection in the life to come (1 Corinthians 15:52-54). Christ redeems his people from the curse of the law (which brings death) in Galatians 3:13.
and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour,
I am sorry, but someone nodded off when this phrase was written. It should read something like this: and is offered freely to all, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I am assuming that this phrase was intended to express the idea of the gospel call and offer going out to all humanity. Neither Calvinist nor Arminian believes that the offer is limited in any way. As modified, we have in this phrase the free offer of the gospel (Matthew ll:28, John 7:37). The original wording implies, though probably not intentionally, that the offer goes out freely, but the all is limited by only those who believe. That is clearly not what Scripture says.
who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.
Christ’s blood, which represents his violent death on our behalf on the cross, is what has obtained (purchased) this redemption (1 Peter 1:18,19, Revelation 5:9). When you obtain something by paying for it, you are usually buying a set amount of something. Jesus did not merely make salvation possible, He saved a people (John 6:37, John 17:6-24) from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9). This one short phrase lends a particular, rather than a general flavor to the entire Baptist Faith and Message 2000. It was that way in 1963 version, as well.
This redemption is eternal. We were not leased or rented, we were bought. It shall never end (John 6:58)
In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Jesus Christ is the unique saviour, and that salvation comes through faith alone.
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart othat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9,10 (ESV)
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 (ESV)
And there is salvation bin no one else, for cthere is no other dname under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (ESV)
I underlined the word justification above, because it is the one word that is not present in the 1963 BF&M. The 1963 edition does go on to include justification in the definition list below, in effect combining point A and B into the first point. In every other respect, the 2000 and the 1963 are virtually identical. The 1925 BF&M, however, gives the doctrine of Justification its own separate article. Although the scope of this brief survey does not permit it, it would be interesting to study the changes also made from 1925 to 1963.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, (John 3:3) is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:2). It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin,
The sinner is saved by a gracious work of God. The believer is a recipient, passive in the transaction. Yes, man has to repent and believe, but even that faith that wells up in the heart of man is a gracious gift of God.
For 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
The word wrought is considered an archaic word, not a word used in modern English much any more. Gramatically, wrought is the past tense of the verb to work. As it is most commonly used today, the word wrought is used in connection with the beating and shaping of metals with an anvil and hammer.
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.
Jesus is not just Savior, He is also Lord. You can’t have one without the other. Repentance is just the first act of service (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
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.
Justification is a word act. The scene is the court room. God is the judge bringing the gavel down at the end of a trial, declaring the defendent not guilty. In justification, God doesn’t make us just; He declares us just, based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This declaration is gracious and full. It is gracious because we don’t deserve it. It is full because we do not need to bring anything to make it complete. It already is. Justification is the part of salvation that happens once, and only once, in an instant.
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.
This is the part of salvation that takes all of our Christian lives. It never ends until you die. The Christian walk is not easy. It is accompanied with trouble on every hand. We will fall many times, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will get up and continue on.
Notice that the reason that we are set apart are to God’s purposes, not ours. Sometimes it is impossible to know what God is doing in and through us, because it doesn’t seem to make us happy, or it doesn’t fit the way that we think would be best.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Either when we die, or when Christ returns, we will no longer be limited by our sinful natures. Glorification is that final part of salvation in which the believer receives the full measure of all that has been promised. Up until this point the believer has to rely on faith, but in glorification, the believer sees, tastes, touches all the blessings promised of God, even God Himself.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV)
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 ESV)
Later this week I am going to try to post some conclusions to this lesson. We probably won’t make it through this in one week, anyway. I apologize (if you noticed) for revising this post while online multiple times. Trying to patch the Ponderosa back together after our trip to Greensboro occupied most of Saturday, when I usually put the finishing touches on the lesson. Thanks for your patiences.
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #1 (An Introduction)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #2 (On the Doctrine of Scripture)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #3 (On the Doctrine of God)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #4 (On God the Father)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #5 (On God the Son
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #6 (On God the Holy Spirit)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #7 (On the Doctrine of Man)