The Greek for salvation, owrnpia is used about fifty times in the New Testament. It refers to the estate of one who has been made whole.
1. Scope. The general doctrine of salvation includes the following lesser dogmas: substitution, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, conviction, calling, election, predestination, sovereignty, free will, grace, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification.
2. The Work of God. Two Old Testament passages indicate that "salvation belongeth unto the Lord" (Ps. 3:8), "salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). Any system which tends to combine human responsibility with this divine undertaking is wrong. Ephesians 2:8-10 relates good works to salvation wrought by grace as an effect thereof, and not a cause.
3. Three Tenses. Salvation has reference to the believer's past, present, and future. (a) The past tense, which releases from the guilt and penalty of sin, is wholly accomplished for all who believe at the time when they believe (Luke 7:50; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:9). (b) The present tense, which releases from the power of sin, is being accomplished now in those who exercise faith for it (John 17:17; Rom. 6:14; 8:2; Gal. 5:16; Phil. 2:12-13). (c) The future tense releases from the very presence of sin (Rom. 13:11; Eph. 5:25-27; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 3:1-2).
4. One Condition. About 115 passages condition salvation on believing alone, and about 35 simply on faith. There are certain things, however, often added by man to this one and only condition, like the following: believe and repent, believe and be baptized, believe and confess sin, believe and confess Christ publicly, believe and promise a better manner of life, believe and pray for salvation.
5. Dispensational Aspects. A study of this division of the subject is best approached by considering the revealed purposes of God in each of the various dispensations. The present age-purpose as manifested in the heavenly people, for instance, calls forth an exalted, divine undertaking not seen before on the earth (Eph. 3:1-6).
6. Relationships, Factors, and Forces. Note in particular: (a) the work of the Father in salvation, (b) the work of the Son in salvation, (c) the work of the Spirit in salvation, (d) salvation in its relation to sin, (e) Satan's opposition to salvation, (f) salvation or deliverance out of the world, (g) salvation from the flesh, and (h) salvation in relation to heaven. All these are treated fully in Soteriology (Volume III).
7. Duration. There is no salvation offered under grace which stops short of being eternal in its character. This is due to the fact that it proves to be altogether a work of God, and His purpose and power never fail (Phil. 1:6).
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