What is salvation?

Salvation is about being delivered from that which can injure or destroy. When someone is in danger and gets rescued, or is suffering and gets relief, it is said that he has been saved. But Christian salvation is about far more. It is victory in Jesus, spiritual wellness, and the gift of eternal life. The Philippian jailer who came to the Paul wanting to know how to receive salvation was asking about his eternal destiny (Acts 16:30-31). Paul acquainted the man with eternal salvation.

One might ask what specifically are we saved from? Primarily, we are saved from the wrath of God against sin that will surely fall upon sinners unless they are saved from that wrath. We are sinners by nature and by choice—because of the sin inherited from Adam and sin we commit because of our fallen nature, the consequence of which is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). Specifically, salvation is being saved from God’s wrath concerning sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

But we cannot save ourselves. Only God who created mankind can save rebellious, sinful mankind, and He has provided the way of salvation. We are saved only by faith through Jesus because of God’s amazing grace and power (Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). God saves us by providing the only means of salvation, the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus, on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:10). Because He died for us and lives again, so can we die physically, then live eternally with Him. We do not deserve salvation. Salvation is God’s gift (Ephesians 2:5, 8) which comes to us only though the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

We receive salvation by the gift of faith imparted to us as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), by hearing the “good news” of the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13) and believing it. But salvation is more than saying “I believe.” Salvation requires repentance, and repentance goes beyond saying, “I’m sorry.” Repentance involves a 180-degree turn away from sin; that is, to go in the opposite direction, to forget the attractions of the world and follow the teachings of Jesus the Savior (Matthew 6:24).

Salvation is defined as being delivered, by God’s grace, from sin and its consequence of eternal punishment and being raised to newness of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:4). Salvation comes to those who repent and, by faith, receive Jesus alone as personal Savior and Lord (John 1:12).