“What Is Salvation?”
Hello and welcome to “Key to the Kingdom.” My name is Bret McCasland. Someone recently told me that the idea of salvation, or being saved, has one meaning in the Bible and another meaning reserved for general use. I wonder though, is that right? To me salvation means only one thing, although it has different uses. The bottom line seems to be this, salvation is being rescued, or set free from, something bad and moved, or transferred, into something good. Jesus’ ministry revolved around bringing salvation to people's lives. He made a difference by offering a better way to live, and He still does that today. He is in the business of changing life from bad to good, from sadness to joy, and from darkness to light. In our lesson today on "Key to the Kingdom", we will look at some of the ways Jesus offers salvation. We will notice, from Scripture, how He changes us when we choose to follow Him. I hope you will stay tuned to this station for the next few minutes as we think about what salvation means to us. Please open, now, your heart and your Bible as we study together.
When was the last time you heard the words saved or salvation used in a conversation? Oh, perhaps more recently than you think. Maybe someone shared with you something like this, “My new job saved me from financial ruin.” Or, perhaps someone else said, “I saved someone from being hit by a car.” Or, perhaps you heard something like this, “My wonderful new relationship is my salvation from a previous experience.” Yes, the terms saved and salvation are used in a variety of ways. And these examples all basically say the very same thing, and that is; salvation is deliverance from something bad and into something good. Well, salvation also has to do with one's spiritual life. When talking about being saved spiritually, we usually think about what God did by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. We think about Jesus purchasing our salvation by taking away our sin and by setting us free from Satan. Oh, salvation can mean being right with God, or escaping His wrath, and His punishment, and His judgment, and having a place in heaven. It represents being saved from hell and having the hope of someday seeing God. Now for those who believe in receiving the salvation of the Lord, nothing else can compare to it. Nothing else is as important as that. It is an anticipation of receiving something far greater than anything this world has to offer. Take just a couple of minutes to watch the following video, which illustrates that very point: a video clip that is entitled “Anticipating Heaven”.
The story is told of a mother sharing with her young daughter about the family vacation they are planning. They are going to Disneyland. The mother is describing for her all of the wonderful things they will enjoy, the amusement park, the rides, the fun, the food, and all of the activities; how fun it will be. After she finishes, the daughter responds by saying, “Mom, I just want to go to the park.” Yes, sometimes we are content with what we have right before us. We like our parks, and our activities, and all of the things we can see and do here upon this Earth. Let me ask you a question. Are we content with that to the point that we forget about heaven? Are we really anticipating the coming of the Lord? Are we anticipating Him coming back and making all things new? Yes, that is something to look forward to and to expect. I think about the words of John, found in Revelation 21:2. As he looks into heaven he said, “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven, as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Yes, that is a beautiful sight, isn't it? Oh, I hope and pray that we are looking forward to that day, to the coming, to the return of Jesus Christ. Or perhaps, this is a question that we need to consider first. Are you prepared for that day? Are you prepared to see Jesus and to spend an eternity with Him? If you are then you can look forward to and anticipate heaven.
Oh, when we read about anticipating heaven, and spending an eternity with the Lord, we get excited, don't we? We think about receiving that gift of salvation, think about spending an eternity with God and being in His presence forever. And that's something to talk about, that's something to look forward to. But then we ask the question, is that all there is to the idea of salvation? Isn't there something more? Well, the word salvation is mentioned in over 150 verses throughout the Bible, and in most of them it basically means one thing, as we already mentioned, it means moving from something bad and into something good. The main thing we know about salvation is that it comes from Jesus Christ. In fact, He is the only one who can provide it. We think about the words of Acts 4:12. -"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”- Yes, we know Jesus is the author of our salvation, and that's some good news. God wants us to receive that salvation. He wants to forgive our sin and to rescue us from Satan. He wants to have a relationship with us. However, salvation also includes more than just being saved from sin, and Satan, and eternal punishment, and death. It is the process of being saved for something good and something beneficial. When we think about salvation, we realize it is not just a one-time event. Salvation also gives us a purpose and a direction for our lives. It gives us a meaning, and a future. In fact, that was the primary purpose for God saving people in the Old Testament. Let me offer a couple of examples for our consideration. The first one comes from Exodus 14. Moses is about to, through the hand of God, bring the people out of Egyptian captivity and lead them into the Promised Land. But there was a problem because as they were leaving the Red Sea stood in their path and the people did not know for sure what to do. They were anxious. They could not see any way out. And so, Moses told them, in verse 13 of that 14th chapter, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Yes, Moses knew, without a doubt, that God would deliver him and his people from Egyptian captivity and into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. And that's exactly what happened. Here's another example. Hannah rejoiced in God's salvation because her prayer for a son was answered, in 1st Samuel 1. She was saved from the embarrassment of not being able to bring a child into this world. God miraculously allowed her to do that, and she named that boy Samuel. As we think about salvation today, perhaps we are most mindful of what Jesus did in His ministry, here upon the Earth. We know that He set people free from sickness and disease. He healed people of leprosy and blindness. He even raised some people from the dead. We might put it like this; Jesus saved people from the bad and negative stuff in their life. But He didn't stop there; Jesus then empowered those very same people to live a better life. He told some to sin no more. He told others not to go back into that same town, because there was so much sin and evil. Yes, Jesus saved people from the sad and terrible things they encountered in life and then He lead them into situations that would make their life even better. He took away the bad and He replaced it with something good. I suppose one of my most favorite stories, about Jesus’ salvation, is found in Luke 19, and perhaps you are familiar with it. It's the story of a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus. Now, he had a position, he had a job, which was not very honorable. He was a Jew hired by the Roman authorities to collect taxes from his fellow Jews. Now certainly there is nothing wrong with that. They had to pay tax to the Romans. But the problem came when Zacchaeus, and others like him, would collect more tax than what was actually due, and whatever amount over and above what was due to the Romans he would simply put into his pocket. In other words, Zacchaeus was defrauding; he was cheating his own people out of some hard-earned money, and Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, which meant he was in charge of others doing the very same thing. Well, one day Zacchaeus heard about this man named Jesus, who was going throughout the countryside teaching, and sharing good news, and changing people's lives, and Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. So, he climbed up into this sycamore tree, hidden by those leaves, in hopes that he would get a glimpse of Jesus as He walked by, there in Jericho, knowing full well the streets will be lined with people, he just wanted to see Jesus. And he saw Jesus, and Jesus saw him. And Jesus said, “I want you to come down because today I will eat a meal in your home.” And that's exactly what happened. And as they shared that meal together, no doubt Zacchaeus was influenced and challenged by Jesus’ presence and by His teaching. And then he said this, in verse 8, “Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. If I have defrauded anyone of anything I restore it fourfold.” Zacchaeus was so touched by Jesus’ presence, and by His teaching, he said, I'm going to do something different. I will go in a different direction. I will give half of what I have to poor people. And then, instead of abiding by the law and repaying 2 times, I will repay 4 times to anyone I have defrauded or cheated. Now after he said that, Jesus responded with these words. He said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” What happened is that Zacchaeus realized he did not want to be a tax collector anymore. He was tired of cheating people. He wanted to turn around and go in a different direction, and do something better. Jesus basically transformed his life and He moved him from something bad and into something good. That's the salvation that Jesus brought to Zacchaeus and his house on that day. Well, the very same thing still happens today. Salvation transforms people's lives. We not only receive the forgiveness of sin and are set free from Satan, but we can also look forward to an eternity with God; to be with Him and to share in all of the glories that He has in store for us. And in that transformation process, we go through some very important changes. For the next few minutes I want us to look at several New Testament passages of Scripture that illustrate for us what it's like being a child of God; to be transferred out of a world of sin and darkness and into the kingdom of God, and His Son Jesus Christ. And this is what happens, to those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We begin with this passage, in Titus 2, beginning in verse 11. The apostle Paul writes; -For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.- Paul very simply writes about a transition. He states that Jesus redeems, or sets people free, from lawlessness, which is another word for sin. And He does it with a purpose. He does it so that one can now live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life, which leads that individual to a life of good deeds and works. That's a transition, that takes place in a believer’s life. Peter puts it like this, in 1st Peter 2:9 -You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.- Now did you notice the contrast there? We are called out of darkness and transferred into a wonderful light, and that's what happens when a person becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ. We are transferred into a new world. In Colossians 1, beginning with verse 13, we read, -He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.- Now again, we notice the contrast, delivered from darkness, transferred into God's kingdom. And again, in that kingdom good things await for those who are there. Yes, Jesus saves people from sin, and from Satan, and from a world of darkness and ungodly living. He saves people from God's wrath, and spiritual death, and judgment, and hopelessness, and a whole list of bad and negative things in a person's life. And that's something we can understand, how Jesus rescues us from that which is negative and bad. But again, He does not stop there. He does not leave us without a direction and a purpose for our life, and He empowers us to do good things, as we now become a part of His kingdom. He replaces the bad with the good. Here are a few more examples of that transition, or that transformation process. In Galatians 5:1, Paul states that part of salvation includes being set free. He writes, -You were called to freedom. Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.- Paul states, we are free in Jesus Christ to love and serve people. Now, how many ways can we do that? Here's another one. Jesus saves people to do good works. In Ephesians 2:10 we find this. -Therefore we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.- Oh, opportunities await for people to do good, for those who are set aside from the world of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light. Think about all the good things that we can do when we are not held captive by Satan any longer. Think about how we can minister to and bless the lives of people around us, our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones, our family members, how we can feed the hungry, and clothe those who are naked, and represent Jesus in this world. Here's something else. Jesus saves people to live righteous lives. We find that in 2nd Corinthians 5:21. -God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.- With sin now gone, and Satan no longer having a hold on us, we can live righteous lives, holy and acceptable in the sight of God. We can now live in a better relationship with God. We can live in closer communion with God. That in turn allows us to live in a better relationship with other people. Peter writes, in 1st Peter 2:24, -He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.- As Jesus take our punishment, and goes to the cross, and is wounded, even to the point of death, it is we who receive that healing. We are made new. We can overcome the effects of sin. And by what Jesus did on the cross, we can now live a brand-new life. We start all over again, with our sin not only forgiven but also forgotten by God. I love the way, Peter puts it, in 2nd Peter 3:11, as he describes the coming day of the Lord. He writes, -Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it's coming.- As the day of the Lord approaches there is no need to worry about our future. If we are a child of God, if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and if we have been identified with Him through baptism, we already know where we will spend eternity. That's already established. It is already set in stone. And we can know without a doubt, without any question, of where we will spend eternity, that's already settled for us. And as we anticipate the coming day of the Lord, we don't have to worry about it. And so instead what do we do? As Peter says, we can now focus on living godly and holy lives. Here's one more statement. It comes from Ephesians 2 beginning with verse 4. Paul writes, -Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.- Here's a question for you. Can you imagine being seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly realms? Wow! That's something special. That's fun to imagine, isn't it; what it would be like to be with Jesus at the right hand of God, with the angels of God all around, and enjoying His wonderful presence. Now, that is definitely being transferred into something good. Oh, life in Jesus Christ, salvation, is not only escaping and being transferred out of something bad, it is also about moving to something good. The salvation transforms us and makes a difference in the way we live. Yes, it is true, we are saved from sin, and death, and Satan, and eternal punishment. It is also true, however, that we are saved for God's love, and freedom, and good works, and holy life, and a relationship with the Lord. When we think about the idea of salvation it revolves around 2 things. Number 1, we are set free. We are delivered from Satan. Our sin no longer separates us from the Lord, and that's some really good news. That is reason to rejoice and celebrate about what God, through Christ, has done for us. But then number 2, salvation involves being empowered. We are set apart for God's glory, to do good deeds of work, service, and love. We are empowered to live holy and righteous lives. We are transferred into a relationship with the Lord. Oh, I want us to know something very important today. There is nothing greater than being saved from sin. There is nothing greater than being delivered from Satan. And, there is nothing more important than living out that salvation. There is nothing more important than doing good works of service and love, as we represent Jesus Christ in this world. And with that full assurance, of what Jesus did when He died upon the cross, we can now live as that dedicated servant of Christ. Not to earn our salvation, not to say God look at all the good that I am doing, certainly I deserve to be at home with You. That is already established. We're already there. Rather, we live as people who are focused on living a good life. A life filled with good works, of service, and love, and compassion, and kindness, as we represent Jesus Christ and as we live out the salvation already entrusted to us. Oh, salvation means lots of things to different people; most of all it means being delivered from sin, and death, and transferred into a life and a relationship with Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, His Son. It means moving from something bad into something good. I hope and pray you have experienced that transformation process. I hope and pray that you are transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. My prayer for you today is that you will experience the full salvation of the Lord and know what it means to be transferred “out of, and into”. Won’t you experience God's full salvation, today?
Thank you for watching today's program. I trust the message was beneficial and gave you some things to think about regarding salvation. Isn't it amazing the wonderful effects it has on a person's life? Jesus offers salvation in many different ways; and I hope you have had the opportunity to experience it. Keep in mind, salvation is a free gift offered by a loving God, and He wants you to receive it. His Son Jesus Christ paid the price so that we can be set free from something bad and transferred to something good. If you have not visited our website recently I hope you will take a minute to do so. We offer many different ways to study the Bible and each one requires no commitment or financial commitment. Visit keytothekingdom.com for the latest sermons, and daily devotionals, and short inspirational videos. A toll-free number is also available to request a free Bible study. Leave your name and address and we will be happy to mail one to you, this week. Again, thank you for taking a few minutes to watch today's episode and please join us again next time, as we study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom.”