SoteriologyThe Study of Salvation
Genuine Offer of Salvation
Since it is impossible for God to be unfair to any person, and since He loves all men equally, desires all men to be saved, is not willing that any should perish, and invites all men to be saved, He freely and graciously offers salvation to all men. The drawing ministries of the Father and the Son and the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit make it genuinely possible for any member of the human race to receive the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 45:21; John 3:16; 6:44; 12:32; 16:7–11; Acts 10:34–35; 16:31; Romans 5:8; 8:32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2).
We believe Scripture reveals two clear and indisputable lines of evidence. One line shows God sovereignly choosing His own in Christ; the other shows man possessing the function of volition, able to receive or reject God’s uniquely born Son (regarding sovereignty, see Job 42:2; Psalm 135:6; Isaiah 46:9–10; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:29–33; Galatians 1:15; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1–2; regarding human volition, see John 1:9–13; 3:16, 36; 6:47; 20:30–31; Acts 16:30–31; Romans 10:11–13; 1 John 5:9–13, as well as every command in the epistles).
Means of Salvation
We believe salvation is the gift of God brought to mankind by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. God neither overrules nor implants mankind’s volition in accepting or rejecting His provision of salvation. A human being appropriates salvation by the sole means of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, whose death and resurrection are the ground of man’s salvation. The means of salvation is to be properly correlated with and distinguished from issues related to discipleship (Acts 16:31; 4:12; John 1:12; 3:16, 18; 20:31; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:11–12).
No act of obedience (other than faith in Christ), whether preceding or following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such as commitment or willingness to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from sin, baptism, or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered a part of, faith as a condition for receiving eternal salvation. The saving transaction between God and the sinner consists simply of the giving and receiving of a free gift that is without cost to the believer (John 4:10; Romans 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5; Revelation 22:17).
A Christian, having believed in Christ as Savior at one moment in time, God forever keeps secure. However, God does discipline an erring son as a beloved child when necessary. Salvation once possessed cannot be lost. This belief in God’s merciful and secure salvation is not a license for careless living but, on the contrary, a powerful incentive for godly living (John 10:27–30; Romans 8:38–39; 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 1:4–9; 12:12; Hebrews 10:14; 12:6–13; 1 Peter 1:3–5).
One’s assurance of eternal salvation comes through faith in the promise God makes in His Word that everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ possesses eternal life. Good works, which can and should follow regeneration, are not necessary to a firm assurance of eternal life (John 5:24; 6:47; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8; 1 John 5:9–13).