Friday, March 20, 2009

The doctrine of salvation: by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone

Of The Fall Of Man

We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice; and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse.

Genesis 3:1-6,24; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18,20,28,32; 3:10-19; 5:12,19; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1,3
Of The Atonement For Sin
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Who by appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ, the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all sufficient Savior.

Isaiah 53:4-7,11-12; Matthew 18:11; John 3:16; 10:18; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14; 7:25; 9:12-15; 12:2
Of Grace in the New Creation
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.

Luke 5:27; John 1:12-13; 3:3,6-7; Acts 2:41; Romans 6:23; 2Corinthians 5:17,19; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:1; 5:9; Colossians 2:13; 1John 5:1
Of the Freeness of Salvation
We believe in God's electing grace; that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.

Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 11:28; John 3:15-18,36; 5:40; 6:37; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:29-30; 10:13; 1Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 3:12; 1Thessalonians 1:4; 1Timothy 1:15; Titus 1:1; 1Peter 1:2; Revelation 22:17
Of Justification
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done; but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood, His righteousness is imputed unto us.

Isaiah 53:11; Habakkuk 2:4; Zechariah 13:1; Acts 13:39; Romans 1:17; 4:1; 5:1-9; 8:1; Galatians 3:11; Titus 3:5-7; Hebrews 10:38
Of Repentance and Faith
We believe that Repentance and Faith are solemn obligations, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; thereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior.

Psalm 51:1-4,7; Isaiah 55:6-7; Mark 1:15; Luke 12:8; 18:13; Acts 2:37-38; 20:21
Basic truths:

[1] Man is a sinner condemned to an eternal separation from a holy God and to punishment in a literal hell.

[2] Jesus Christ, the God-man, has met God’s standard of holiness by His sinless life and has paid the penalty by means of His sacrificial death.

[3] Man must respond in repentance and faith so that he can be justified in God’s sight as a result of Christ’s sinless life and sacrificial death being credited to him.


Man’s sinful condition (please review The fall of man and The sinfulness of man)

[1]. A person cannot be saved through general revelation alone (Romans 10:8 17). The Word of God is the means by which a person can get saved (Romans 10:17).

[2] Unbelievers are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; cf. 2:5). They are under the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2-3). Every person is born into the world as a son or daughter of Adam (Romans 5:12-19).

All persons enter this world as slaves of sin (Romans 6:6, 17, 20). Their wills are in bondage to evil, and they have no desire to do what is right or to turn to Jesus Christ.

God, however, because of his amazing grace, has “made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). God has regenerated his people (Titus 3:5). He has breathed spiritual life into us where there was none previously.

[3] Worldly or human wisdom will never lead someone to salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18 21; 2:1 5)

The true nature of repentance (please review What is Biblical repentance?)

[4] Repentance and faith are the human conditions for salvation. While these are initiated and empowered by God, man plays an active and necessary role.

[5] God gives repentance (Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, and 2 Timothy 2:25).

[6] True repentance involves “turning” from sin like idolatry, murder, sorcery, immorality, theft, etc. (Revelation 9:20 21)

[7] A person turns to God when he repents (Acts 20:21).

[8] Repentance is not simply sorrow for sin (Matthew 27:3)

[11] Repentance is not the un-Biblical Roman Catholic doctrine of penance where a person confesses his sins to a priest; and the priest pronounces absolution or restoration to good standing by an assignment of works to do or prayers to say.

[12] Repentance requires a knowledge of one’s sin (Psalm 51:3); a genuine sorrow for one’s sin (2 Corinthians 7:10); the rejection of one’s sin (Hebrews 6:1); a desire to seek God’s pardon for one’s sin (Psalm 51:1-2)

[13] Repentance involves a change of mind regarding God (Acts 20:21); Repentance results in changed behavior (Acts 26:20).

Saving faith

[14] Faith does not originate or begin in man (Acts 14:27 and Philippians 1:29)

[15] We must trust Christ in order to have our sins forgiven (Acts 16:29-31 and Romans 3:21, 26).

[16] Saving faith will result in good works (James 2:14-26).

[17] Saving faith requires knowledge (Romans 10:17).

[18] Saving faith requires a person to know that the facts personally apply to him. (Matthew 13:23)

[19] Saving faith requires that a person exercise his will or make a commitment.

[20] The object of saving faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31; Romans 3:22)

[21] Saving faith does not come from human logic (1 Corinthians 1:21); it originates with God (Acts 14:27; Ephesians 2:8).

[22] “What it means to accept Christ” by A. W. Tozer (1963)
A few things, fortunately only a few, are matters of life and death, such as a compass for a sea voyage or a guide for a journey across the desert. To ignore these vital things is not to gamble or take a chance; it is to commit suicide. Here it is either be right or be dead.

Our relation to Christ is such a matter of life or death, and on a much higher plane. The Bible instructed man knows that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and that men are saved by Christ alone altogether apart from any works of merit.

That much is true and known, but obviously, the death and resurrection of Christ do not automatically save everyone. How does the individual man come into saving relation to Christ? That some do we know, but that others do not is evident. How is the gulf bridged between redemption objectively provided and salvation subjectively received? How does that which Christ did for me become operative within me? To the question “What must I do to be saved?” we must learn the correct answer. To fail here is not to gamble with our souls: it is to guarantee eternal banishment from the face of God. Here we must be right or be finally lost.

To this anxious question evangelical Christians provide three answers, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” “Receive Christ as your personal saviour,” and “Accept Christ.” Two of the answers are drawn verbatim from the Scriptures (Acts 16:31, John 1:12), while the third is a kind of paraphrase meant to sum up the other two. They are therefore not three but one.

Being spiritually lazy we naturally tend to gravitate toward the easiest way of settling our religious questions for ourselves and others hence the formula “Accept Christ” has become a panacea of universal application, and I believe it has been fatal to many. Though undoubtedly an occasional serious-minded penitent may find in it all the instruction he needs to bring him into living contact with Christ, I fear that too many seekers use it as a short cut to the Promised Land, only to find that it has led them instead to “a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.”

The trouble is that the whole “Accept Christ” attitude is likely to be wrong. It shows Christ applying to us rather than us to Him. It makes Him stand hat-in-hand awaiting our verdict on Him, instead of our kneeling with troubled hearts awaiting His verdict on us. It may even permit us to accept Christ by an impulse of mind or emotions, painlessly, at no loss to our ego and no inconvenience to our usual way of life.

For this ineffectual manner of dealing with a vital matter we might imagine some parallels; as if, for instance, Israel in Egypt had “accepted” the blood of the Passover but continued to live in bondage, or the prodigal son had “accepted” his father’s forgiveness and stayed among the swine in the far country. Is it not plain that if accepting Christ is to mean anything there must be moral action that accords with it?

Allowing the expression “Accept Christ” to stand as an honest effort to say in short what could not be so well said any other way, let us see what we mean or should mean when we use it.

To accept Christ is to form an attachment to the Person of our Lord Jesus altogether unique in human experience. The attachment is intellectual, volitional and emotional. The believer is intellectually convinced that Jesus is both Lord and Christ; he has set his will to follow Him at any cost and soon his heart is enjoying the exquisite sweetness of His fellowship.

This attachment is all-inclusive in that it joyfully accepts Christ for all that He is. There is no craven division of offices whereby we may acknowledge His Saviourhood today and withhold decision on His Lordship till tomorrow. The true believer owns Christ as his All in All without reservation. He also includes all of himself, leaving no part of his being unaffected by the revolutionary transaction.

Further, his attachment to Christ is all-exclusive. The Lord becomes to him not one of several rival interests, but the one exclusive attraction forever. He orbits around Christ as the earth around the sun, held in thrall by the magnetism of His love, drawing all his life and light and warmth from Him. In this happy state he is given other interests, it is true, but these are all determined by his relation to his Lord.

That we accept Christ in this all-inclusive, all-exclusive way is a divine imperative. Here faith makes its leap into God through the Person and work of Christ, but it never divides the work from the Person. It never tries to believe on the blood apart from Christ Himself, or the cross or the “finished work.” It believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole Christ without modification or reservation, and thus it receives and enjoys all that He did in His work of redemption, all that He is now doing in heaven for all His own and all that He does in and through them.

To accept Christ is to know the meaning of the words “as he is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17). We accept His friends as our friends, His enemies as our enemies, His ways as our ways, His rejection as our rejection, His cross as our cross, His life as our life and His future as our future.

If this is what we mean when we advise others to accept Christ we had better explain it to him. He may get into deep spiritual trouble unless we do.

Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Are you for or against the altar call and sinner’s prayer?

[2] Materials by Charles H. Spurgeon

Around the Wicket Gate or, A Friendly Talk with Seekers Concerning Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Preface; Awakening; Jesus Only; Faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus; Faith Very Simple; Fearing to Believe; Difficulty in the Way of Believing; A Helpful Survey; A Real Hindrance; On Raising Questions; Without Faith No Salvation; To Those Who Have Believed
The Soul-Winner or How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour
What is it to Win a Soul? Qualifications for Soul-Winning—Godward; Qualifications for Soul-Winning—Manward; Sermons Likely to Win Souls; Obstacles to Soul-Winning; How to Induce our People to Win Souls; How to Raise the Dead; How to Win Souls for Christ; The Cost of being a Soul-Winner; The Soul-Winner's Reward; The Soul-Winner's Life and Work; Soul-Winning Explained; Soul-Saving our one Business; Instruction in Soul-Winning; Encouragement to Soul-Winners
[3] Materials by David Cloud
[4] Materials by Ray Comfort
  • True and False Conversion (available in PDF or mp3)
  • Hell's Best Kept Secret (available in PDF or mp3)
[5] Resources from 9 Marks (Reformed, SBC-affiliated ministry)
[6] Romans 10:9-14: Sinner’s Prayers for Salvation? An Exegesis and Application of Romans 10:9-14 for Soulwinning Churches and Christians, by Thomas Ross

[7] The “Altar Call” Is it helpful or harmful? by Fred G. Zaspel, published by Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, PA

Sermons on Ephesians 2
(Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] But God, by George Mansfield

[2] A Believer's Message of Reconciliation, by Aaron Giesler

[3] Where's the Grace? by James Harris

[4] The Dilemma of us all, by David Harp

[5] The Power to Change, by Earl Unger

[6] Extreme Makeover, by Jerome King

[7] Defence of the Unworthiness, by Jerry Canupp

[8] Alive from the dead, by Chris Woolley

For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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