Why the need for Salvation and what does it even mean.
Over the past generation this subject has become so watered down that the subject is no longer fully understood. We now have an adaptation of the new age beliefs where all roads lead to God or God is all lovey-dovey so say this little prayer and you are all done. Even the term repentance needs to be defined as the meaning has become lost. The first thing that needs to be understood is why we need salvation in the first place. The word salvation is translated from this Greek word;
Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.
So the obvious question is, What do we need to be rescued from ? From what danger do we need to be saved from ? Well lets consider this little item. This is where Satan was attempting to bribe Christ.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Here you have to keep in mind is that this would not be a temptation unless the devil actually owned the kingdoms of this world and had the authority to actually give them away to whom he willed. The implication of this is that we are basically born into the kingdom of Satan and are subjects under his authority. The same thing is confirmed from the gospel of Luke;
Luk 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
Luk 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
Luk 4:7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Luk 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
The implication here is that we are born into the kingdom of Satan. This places us in a situation where we are cut off from God and doomed to be judged along with the kingdom of Satan at the end of the age and share the same fate as hell when that Judgment falls on all that the Devil holds. Hence the plan God put in place to rescue us before that time. This plan we call salvation ! This well known verse described the situation rather well;
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The kingdom of Satan is basically holding the descendants of Adam as a hostage, a case of saying to God, “If you punish us you have to punish the humans too”. But that falls short if someone else who is actually righteous takes our punishment for us. Basically a case of substitution. Jesus is the Son of God, as such he has the citizenship of heaven, He is Not a descendant of Adam. Not the citizenship of this world. Not trapped under the curse. Hence the importance of the virgin birth etc. The following verses explain it well;
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Now of course the question is, how do we apply this?
In essence we renounce our worldly spiritual citizenship and we submit to Jesus as our King and accept him as our saviour. There by openly proclaiming ourselves as adopted citizens of Gods Kingdom. This salvation cannot be bought, sold or earned. It has to be given and accepted for free. This deals with the philosophies between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.
You come into the kingdom of God as you are and then grow and learn spiritually. The idea of getting your act together and cleaning yourself up before accepting Christ is a non starter. You will not be able to do this on your own, you need Christ to help you do this. Naturally you can expect the kingdom of Satan to oppose this and that opposition comes in the form of persecutions and deceptions.
Now the actions or rituals involved in this is very simple.
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mar 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
The first requirement is to believe that Jesus is who he claims to be and that he will do that which he says he will do. This part is an act of faith and even this is not totally of yourself. The initial faith to believe is a gift from God himself.
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
This is achieved by prayer as in the sinners prayer and the persons confession to those around about them. You state that you accept Jesus as your King or Lord and trust in him to be your saviour. Next comes the ritual of water baptism. This is a solemn ritual that is preformed as a witness to both heaven and Satan as to your intentions and statement of faith. Kind of like pledging allegiance to the flag.
Now this is just the start of the pilgrims journey, later comes the baptism of the Holy Spirit etc but that is another subject.