The Benefits of Salvation
Basic Christian Doctrines 35
1. We Are Saved.
Salvation is the general term that the Bible uses to describe the miracle of grace God performs for us. It is the greatest event in our life. It has three main aspects or stages: past, present and future (cf. 2 Cor. 1:10). We were saved at a point in the past. This is when we were born again, believed, repented of sin, and were justified. It happens only once (born again, not born again and again and again). It is perfect and complete. We were rescued from danger, delivered from harm. Now we are saved and safe. Second, we are being saved in the present. Christ's blood keeps us safe from the wrath of God and He daily rescues us from Satan. Third, we will be saved in the future, at death and at the Judgement Day. These three stages are inseparable.
2. The Holy Spirit Indwells Us.
The Spirit enters the believer at the moment of regeneration and never leaves. He enters our whole being, even our body. It is the heavenly counterpart to being demon-possessed. He fills us. Romans 8 is the great chapter on the indwelling of the Spirit. Also, this is the miracle of the baptism of the Spirit, misunderstood by Pentecostals. The Spirit comes into us, with the result that He is in us. At the same moment, he puts us into Himself, with the result that we are in the Spirit. He in us, we in Him. It is not a second experience, but part of salvation. From there, we are to walk in the Spirit, go on being filled with the Spirit, etc.
3. The Christian Knows God.
Every person knows that God exists (Rom. 1), but only the Christian knows God personally. This is true knowledge. It is a heart-to-heart personal relationship. It is part of having eternal life (John 17:3). God granted us this privilege (Matt. 11:27). We know Him because He first knew us (I Cor. 8:3, Gal. 4:9). It is a personal, deep and intimate knowledge. We are friends. We are also lovers. And we grow in this knowledge deeper and deeper (Phil. 3:8, 10).
4. We are United to Christ.
This is similar to the union of the Holy Spirit. We are put into Christ's Body (I Cor. 12), with the result that we are "in Christ". At the same moment, Christ is put into us and is in us. In one sense, we were united with Him in the eternal Covenant, but we were united with Him in our experience when we were saved. We are united to Him and draw life from Him, and cannot do anything without Him (John 15). We are also united with Him in spiritual espousals. We are engaged to be His bride. One day, this will be consummated at the great heavenly marriage.
5. We are Adopted into God's Family.
Once we were children of the Devil. God took us out of that family and made us His own children. Now God is our Father, other believers are our brothers and sisters, and Christ is our elder brother. Being His children, we are also His heirs. We can now call God "our Father in Heaven". Adoption is not the same as regeneration. Regeneration affects our nature; adoption affects our relationship. Regeneration precedes faith, which precedes adoption. But it happens in a moment, with no interval or exception. So, we are doubly God's children.
6. We Are Reconciled to God.
This is a great benefit of salvation that we often overlook. 2 Cor. 5 is the great chapter on it. We were once God's enemies; now we are His friends. We are reconciled. It is more than a truce; it is the end of hostilities. The war is over. We have peace with God. We were once against God and God against us. Now He is for us and with us, and we with Him. Properly speaking, it is we that are reconciled to God, not God to us. We apologize, not He. Yet, on His part, the righteous enmity was removed when His wrath was appeased when Christ died for us.
7. We Are No Longer Under Wrath.
We were once sinners under the wrath of God - condemned, doomed, facing judgement. All that has changed. We will never be judged. God is not angry with us, but smiles on us in Fatherly love. God saved us from several things: sin, Satan, death, Hell. But most importantly, He saved us from His own wrath. God saved us from God. Lost sinners are still under His wrath (John 3:36). But not us. As fierce as His wrath was against us then, so intense is His love for us now.
8. We Are Cleansed From Sin.
Our sins were filthy and disgusting. Even our religious acts were filthy rags. But God changed all that. He cleansed us (I Cor. 6:11). He washed away the black guilt by the blood of Christ. We were baptized in the blood of the Lamb. Our sins were drowned in the Red Sea of His blood. Only Christ's blood, not the waters of baptism, can cleanse us in this way, for water cannot touch the soul. In one sense, we are already totally cleansed. In another, we need daily cleansing for the regular sins we commit (see John 13). This does not mean we get saved all over again. It only means that we need fresh applications of the blood of Christ (I John l:7).
9. We Are Transferred From Satan's Kingdom.
Col. 1:13 says that God transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Christ, not Satan, is now our King. We defected from Satan's evil empire, became traitors to his wicked regime, and now are God's spies engaged in espionage and commandoes involved in sabotage. We have been rescued from Satan's claws; he cannot ever have us again. We are on another team, part of another body, have different allegiances. We were once for Satan and against God; now we are against Satan and for God (Matt. 6:24). If God is for us, who can be against us?
10. We Cannot Lose Our Salvation.
One of the great glories of salvation is that it is permanent. It has a ratchet-effect. Once saved, always saved. It is not because of our own selves, or even our own faith. It is ultimately dependent on God, for it was He that saved us in the first place. If it depended on us, none of us would get saved or stay saved. God elected us to salvation (Rom. 8:29-30) and completes what He started (Phil. 1:6). He has sworn to preserve, keep and guard us forever (Psa. 37:28, 66:9, 97:10, 145:14, 20, I Tim. 1:12). He keeps us by His omnipotent hand (1 Pet. 1:5), keeps us safe from Satan (I John 5:18, John 17:11, 12, 15), and seals us with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 4:30). The saints in Heaven are happier, but not more secure, than we are. Simply put, God loves His people too much to let them go. He holds us firmly and lovingly in His arms of love, from which no one can snatch us out (John 10:28).