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Salvation is one of the most controversial subjects among believers because there are so many different beliefs about it. Can you be saved by grace alone or do we need to follow the law as well? Can people of all races be saved or only certain races? Can people that worship false depictions of Christ be saved if they’re believing a lie about who he is? We’ll answer those questions and several more in this study on salvation.
“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” – Matthew 19:24-25
Words Worth Knowing
- Yasha (Strong’s #3467) – to deliver
- Sozo (Strong’s #4982) – save, heal, preserve, rescue.
The first act of salvation we encounter in the Bible is the saving of Noah and his family during the flood. Noah applies his faith in God to deliver him by following the instructions given to him to build an ark. This is the perfect example of faith without works being dead (James 2:20). While some point to this as an example of following the law, it was Noah’s faith in God about things unseen that led him to take action. The Most High gave him exact instructions on how to be saved. This comes into play later down the line when Christ is born.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” – Genesis 6:5-8
This is a good place to address Adam and Eve because their story forms a bridge between grace and sacrifice. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they sinned. Because they were the first to sin, there had to be a means of covering that sin or The Most High could’ve just started over. We see sacrifice in the animal being slaughtered and its skin used to cover their shame of being naked. Grace comes into play because God didn’t have to do it. He could’ve left them scared to die in their sins. After this act of salvation, we see sacrifice introduced into the Biblical narrative.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21
In the story of Moses we see both grace and sacrifice present again. It was by the grace of God that Moses wasn’t captured and executed for killing an Egyptian officer. It was by the grace of God that Moses wasn’t captured and executed when he returned to Egypt. It was by the grace of God that Israel was saved from Egypt. It was by the grace of God that Israel didn’t die of hunger or thirst in the wilderness. It isn’t until after Israel leaves Egypt that the Law of Moses was written. It is in the Law of Moses that we find the many sacrificial requirements to atone for sin.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” – Exodus 25:1-2
“And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings…” – Numbers 6:14
Scripture prophesied the coming of a Messiah that would save Israel from their sins. It is John The Baptist, cousin of Christ, that references the Law of Moses in order to identify Christ as the lamb that was prophesied to come and save the world.
Even after the sacrifice of Christ, there were still religious leaders that wanted to entrap Christ followers into law keeping in order to earn salvation. This led the apostles to pray for an answer, in which it was revealed that law keeping was no longer necessary to obtain salvation.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” – Acts 15:1-6
“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” – Acts 15:18-20
Before Mosaic law, everyone was saved by grace. Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith”. It gives a breakdown of everyone in the Old Testament that was saved by faith before the law and before the sacrifice of Christ.
When read in its entirety, the Bible is clear that salvation was originally be grace alone. When the law came into play, it was for the purpose of teaching us that salvation couldn’t be earned through endless sacrifice and ritual, which is why Christ had to step in to make the final sacrifice. Our sins are covered by his sacrifice. It doesn’t mean that we are to be lawless, but we are to be grateful and mindful of what was done to secure our salvation. Those that think following the law will save them are in error. While there is nothing wrong with keeping the laws for personal life benefits, there’s nothing about keeping the law that will lead to salvation without a personal relationship with Christ.
Questions For Group Study
- How was salvation achieved before The Law and Christ’s sacrifice?
- Is it possible to lose our salvation once we are saved.
- Will following the law lead to salvation?
- How are our sins forgiven if we break the law but can’t make a sacrifice to atone for our sins?
- Can we be saved if we follow the law, but don’t accept Christ as the savior?
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