- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
THE STUDY OF SALVATION (SOTERIOLOGY)
Grace Bible Church Gillette, WY Gillette Bible Institute
Pastor Daryl Hilbert
I. THE MEANING OF SOTERIOLOGY
A. The word “Soteriology” comes from two Greek words, sōtêría, which means “salvation,” and logía, which can mean “to study.” Therefore, Soteriology is the study of salvation.
B. Sōtêría can mean the rescue from physical danger (He 11:7) or in a spiritual sense, the salvation and safety of the soul (Ro 1:16; 2Co 7:10).
C. In regard to extra-biblical usage, sōtêría meant salvation by gods or men from serious peril, judicial condemnation, illness, battles, seas. (Kittel VII. 966). In a philosophical sense, the word meant an inner being or nature of men or things like salvation of the state by internal order.
D. Its usage in the O.T. (Septuagint), sōtêría was translated from the Heb. word yasha which went from the meaning to be roomy or broad and moved to deliverance, rescue, and save. Salvation is ultimately from the Lord (Ps 38:22; 79:9). The Greek name “Jesus” (Iêsoús) is a form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yehoshua) and means “Yahweh saves” (cp. Mt 1:21).
E. In the N.T., sōtêría is exclusively used for the salvation of one’s sins. Furthermore, Jesus is called the “Savior” (sōtếr – Lk 1:47). Salvation is only found in Christ (Ac 4:12). In addition, the Scriptures give the wisdom of salvation (2Ti 2:15).
F. Soteriology, then, is the branch of theology that deals with the salvation of man’s soul from sin. The Study of Salvation could be placed under the “Study of Christ (Christology).” However, because salvation is Christ’s pre-eminent work and the central study of the Bible, it is only right that it have its own place in Theology. This study will encompass the biblical view of salvation, various key biblical words associated with salvation, the value of Christ’s death, a discussion of election, and assurance of salvation.
II. THE SCOPE OF SALVATION
A. Even though there is a theological difference between “salvation” and “sanctification,” the Scriptures see God’s entire program as a part of God’s great salvation.
B. In fact, the scope of salvation could be broken up into three aspects:
1. Positional Salvation - is when salvation is received by faith and at that moment, the believer is placed in a new position described by the phrase “in Christ.” It is entered into by faith (Ep 2:8 - “having been saved” - perfect tense) and is a permanent status (Ti 3:5 - “you were saved” - aorist tense) that happens at a point in time.
2. Present Sanctification - is the ongoing process whereby God is transforming the present condition of the believer to be consistent with his positional status in the deliverance of daily sin (1Co 1:18 - “being saved” - present tense; cp. Ro 6:14; 8:2) and perseverance (He 7:25 – “being saved” – present tense; cp. Ph 1:6, 19; 2:12-13).
3. Future Sanctification - is the future and ultimate salvation in heaven where the believer is totally delivered from the presence of sin (1Jn 3:1-3; Re 21:4) and his salvation is consummated, completed, and eternal (Ro 13:11; 1Pe 1:5).
III. THE CONSIDERATION OF SALVATION
A. The first consideration for salvation could be man’s great need of salvation. Man needs salvation because he is sinful, lost, helpless, and depraved. Man’s depravity means that man has been affected by sin in every area, is completely alienated from fellowship with God, and does not possess the ability to save himself. Therefore, because man has been affected by sin in numerous aspects, man desperately needs God’s salvation.
1. Imputed Death (Ge 2:17; Ro 5:12)
2. Spiritual Death (Ep 2:1-3; Ro 6:23)
3. Spiritual Bondage to sin (Ro 6:12; 7:14)
4. Spiritual Wickedness (Ps 143:2; Je 17:9; Is 64:6)
5. Spiritual Rebellion (Ro 5:10; 1Co 2:14)
6. Spiritual Alienation (Ep 4:18)
7. Spiritual Inability (Jn 6:44; Ro 3:11)
8. Spiritual Helplessness (Ro 5:6)
9. Spiritual Judgment (Jn 3:36; 5:24; Ro 5:9)
B. Perhaps the hardest concept to grasp is why a holy God would save sinful man. The Scriptures give us insight as to why He saved man.
1. God’s Love - The first insight was because of His great love and grace. John 3:16 is one of the most famous verses in Scripture because it teaches that God sacrificed His Son for our salvation because He loved us (cp. Ro 5:8; Ep 2:4).
2. God’s Glory - From God’s point of view, His ultimate reason for saving sinful man was for His own glory. Everything that God does, He does for His own purposes and for His own glory (Pr 16:4; Ep 1:6, 7, 12, 14).
3. Fellowship with Man - We also find out from Scripture that God desired to restore man, whom He created in His own image, to a right relationship with Himself. Though sinful man became an enemy of God, God desired reconciliation with him (Ro 5:11; 2Co 5:19).
4. Good Deeds - God also chose to save man because He not only wanted to redeem man, but He wanted to sanctify those He saved. Just as God is a God of good deeds, believers are to exhibit good deeds as evidence of their salvation (Ti 1:16; 2:14).
C. The comprehensive nature of salvation, when it involves God, shows that the entire Godhead was involved in man’s salvation (Ti 3:4-6; The Father planned salvation - Ep 1:3-4; the Son accomplished salvation - Ep 1:7; and the Spirit applies salvation - Ep 1:13-14). When we look at the comprehensive nature of salvation in regard to man we see:
1. The entire person is redeemed (Ro 8:23).
2. It involved all of man’s sin (Is 53:6).
3. It is the same salvation for every believer (2Pe 1:1; Jude 3).
4. Salvation provides every spiritual blessing (Ep 1:3; 2Pe 1:3; Co 2:9-10).
D. The final consideration is that there is a specific Savior. The Savior is Christ (Messiah) who had been prophesied about and has fulfilled those prophecies (Mt 1:21; Lk 2:11; Jn 4:42; Ac 5:31). Therefore, there can only be one Savior to which God accepts as man’s Mediator (Jn 14:6; Ac 4:12; 1Ti 2:5).
IV. THE EXPLANTION OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST
A. Substitutionary Atonement
1. Substitutionary Atonement is the heart of the concept of salvation. When a believer understands that salvation comes only when someone stands in the place of their punishment and atones for their sin, he has grasped the central meaning of salvation.
a) [Substitutionary Atonement is that Christ died a substitutionary death on behalf of sinners. His death is also called vicarious, meaning, “one in place of another. (Enns, P. P., The Moody Handbook of Theology pg. 232).
b) Substitutionary or vicarious atonement simply means that Christ suffered as a substitute for us, that is, instead of us, resulting in the advantage to us of paying for our sins. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, pg. 329)
c) The words “vicarious” and “substitutionary” are identical in meaning and refer to the suffering of one in place of another in the sense that by the suffering on the part of one, the other is wholly relieved.(Lewis Sperry Chafer)
d) …[the] doctrine of substitution … if Christ died for me, then I should not die; and that, if he paid my debt, it was paid, and I was clear. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Peace in Believing” pg. 378)
B. Vicarious Atonement
a) Personal Atonement
(1) Some have suggested that an individual could make their own personal atonement.
(2) The problem with this view is that the Bible teaches that man will receive the penalty for sins if he does trust in Christ (Ro 5:9; 6:23). However, man will never be able to atone for his sin no matter how much suffering he does. He will in fact, endure the penalty for his sins eternally (Mt 25:46).
b) Vicarious Atonement
(1) On the other hand, God has provided the only way for atonement. It is the through the atonement of Jesus Christ who vicariously (“Endured or done by one person substituting for another.” - American Heritage Dictionary) took the sinner’s place, sin, and punishment.
(2) Only Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice (He 7:27) is acceptable to God (He 9:12; 1Pe 3:18).
2. Biblical Concept of Substitutionary Atonement
a) Seen As God’s Design
b) Adam and Eve - Ge 3:21 is the first time God revealed His plan for substitutionary atonement. Adam and Eve attempted personal atonement by covering themselves with fig leaves (Ge 3:7). But God made them garments of “skin” which meant that some animal had to have been sacrificed.
c) God’s precedent had been set and we see the outworking of substitutionary atonement in the lives of other Bible characters:
(1) Abel - Ge 4:4
(2) Noah - Ge 8:20
(3) Abraham - Ge 15:9
(4) Moses & Israel - Ex 12:5-7, 13
d) Seen in the OT Sacrificial System
(1) The Levitical instruction on bringing sacrifices teaches substitutionary atonement (Lev 1:4-5).
(a) This meant transmission and delegation, and implied representation; so that it really pointed to the substitution of the sacrifice for the sacrificer. - Alfred Edersheim
(2) Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) - Le 16:11-15 cp. He 10:1-3, 10
(a) The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was performed only once a year on the tenth day of Tishri (September).
(b) It was the only time of the year that the High Priest was permitted into the Holy of Holies.
(c) First, the High Priest had to make atonement for his own sins (11).
(d) Smoke of the incense metaphorically concealed the High Priest and his sins (12-13).
(e) Then the blood from the sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar, which was called the “mercy seat” (14).
(f) The High Priest then made atonement for the sins of the people (15).
e) Seen From Two Greek Prepositions
(1) The Preposition antì
(a) The root meaning of antì is “face to face,” “opposite to,” or “one taken over against another.” The classical meaning was “in place of.”
(b) The NT meaning is “instead of,” “on behalf of,” or “for the sake of” in a general way (Mt 2:22; Lk 11:11) or with a soteriological meaning (i.e. substitutionary atonement):
(i) Mk 10:45 - Christ was a ransom “for” (antì - “instead of” i.e. substitutionary atonement) many.
(ii) 1Ti 2:56 - As the only mediator, Christ voluntarily gave Himself as a substitute for all.
(2) The Preposition hupèr
(a) The root meaning of hupèr is “over,” “upper,” “for one’s benefit.” The classical meaning is “benefit” or “substitution.”
(b) The NT meaning for hupèr is “for the sake of” and “in place of” (Ro 9:3; Philemon 13).
(c) The soteriological meaning (substitution atonement) is clearly seen in the following passages:
(i) Ga 3:13 - On our behalf, Christ became and took our curse for us (Ga 3:13).
(ii) Christ gave himself as a substitute for our sake to redeem us (Ti 2:14).
(iii) Christ died for our sins as the righteous on behalf of the unrighteous (1Pe 3:18).
(iv) In a demonstration of Christ’s love, Christ died in place of sinners (Ro 5:6-9).
(v) Christ who knew no sin, became sin for the sake of the sinner (2Co 5:21).
V. TERMS OF SALVATION
a) …It denotes the means by which salvation is achieved, namely, by payment of a ransom (Baker’s Dict. of Theo.,p.438)
b) Its meaning centers in the atoning work of Christ as the price paid for human redemption. (Unger’s Bible Dict.,p.914)
c) Redemption means liberation because of a payment made. To believers that concept has a special significance since the payment was the death of the Lord Himself. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, p.290)
2. Redemption in the OT
a) Redemption as a Kinsman (“Kinsman-Redeemer” - Heb. gaal, redeem, ransom, do the part of a close relative)
(1) A Kinsman-Redeemer (Heb. goel) in the OT denotes a person who was the nearest relative and charged with paying the debt of a relative.
(2) The obligations of the Kinsman-Redeemer include:
(a) To redeem and buy back a relative from slavery (Le 25:48-49).
(b) To redeem and buy back property of a relative (Le 25:25).
(c) To marry a brother’s widow and to give a son as are heir (Dt 25:5-6; Ru 3:9, 11).
b) Redemption as Commercial Transaction
(1) The Heb word padah means to redeem but without any obligation arising from a kinsman.
(2) It is a ransom by payment of a price (Nu 18:15-18).
c) Redemption from Bondage and Slavery
(1) The Hebrew word kopher means the price of a life or ransom (Ex 21:30; 30:12).
(2) It can apply to prisoners of war, slaves, or pawned articles.
3. Redemption in the NT
a) Commercial Transaction (agorazō)
(1) In reference to business it referred to buying and selling (Mt 13:44; 21:12 - agora means marketplace or public gathering).
(2) Christ paid the price for mankind (2Pe 2:1)
(3) The price was death paid for by the blood of Christ (Re 5:9)
(4) We were purchased out from (exagorazō) the curse (Ga 3:13; 4:5)
b) Release Through Payment (lutróō)
(1) Its root is luō and means to loose or release.
(2) It was used of the national deliverance of Israel (Lk 24:21).
(3) It can apply to an individual’s redemption (Ti 2:14; 1Pe 1:18-19).
c) Release From Bondage (apolutrosis)
(1) Redemption is found “in Christ” and is included in the believer’s position (1Co 1:30).
(2) The blood of Christ is the means through which we have redemption (Ep 1:7).
(3) Redemption is the means through which God can justify the believer (Ro 3:24).
(4) The Holy Spirit has sealed the believer for the day of redemption (future and complete redemption, even the believer’s body, Ro 8:23; Ep 4:30).
4. Considerations On Redemption
a) Redemption implies that the believer’s penalty from sin has been paid for in full by the Lord Himself.
b) The ransom that the Father was willing to make was the death of His own Son, so that we might also be His sons and have His life.
c) Not only has the believer’s debt been paid, but the believer has been reclaimed as a precious possession of the Lord.
d) Having been redeemed and set free from the power of sin, the believer is free to serve the Lord.
a) A change from enmity to friendship. It is mutual, i.e., it is a change wrought in both parties who have been at enmity. (Easton)
b) Reconciliation means a change of relationship from hostility to harmony and peace between to parties. (Ryrie)
2. General Terms
a) The basic sense of allássō is “to make other than it is,” used in both the active and middle voice “to alter,” “to give in exchange,” “to take in exchange,” and intransitively “to change.” TDNT
b) Diallassō (to be reconciled, to renew friendship with one) is used to bring two people together (Mt 5:23-26).
c) Katallassō (return to favor with, be reconciled to one) means to gain the favor of another (1Co 7:11).
d) In regard to reconciliation with God, there are two parties in disharmony (2Co 5:18 - katallassō) brought back into harmony (Ep 2:16; Co 1:20; apokatallassō - to bring back a former state of harmony)
3. The Mode Of Reconciliation
a) The mode of reconciliation is through the death of Christ (Ro 5:10 – dia (gen) through the agency).
b) Christ is the Mediator who intervened between a holy God and sinful man (1Ti 2:5 - mesítês - one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form g compact or ratify a covenant. Thayer).
c) God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and removed the sin barrier (2Co 5:19).
4. The Parties Of Reconciliation
a) Man - When man chose sin, he became an enemy of God. It was man who moved away from God, not God away from man (Ro 5:10).
b) God - However, God’s fellowship with man was barred by sin. Sin must be removed before God can fellowship with man. Furthermore, it was God who initiated reconciliation with man through the death of Christ.
c) Reconciliation - When we think of reconciliation between God and man, we must understand that it was not the reconciling of two sinful and disgruntled parties, but of God reconciling sinful man to Himself by removing the barrier of sin.
5. The Application Of Reconciliation (2Co 5:18-20)
a) God reconciled the world through Christ (2 Cor.5:19)
b) The world is in a savable position (5:19)
c) Men must accept that reconciliation (5:20)
d) Those who believe on Christ are reconciled and recieive Christ’s righteousness. (5:21).
e) Believers, because they have been reconciled, now have the ministry of reconciliation (5:18, 20).
6. Considerations On Reconciliation: Is God Your Enemy?
a) Not only has God reconciled us in Christ, but He is on our side, or better yet, we are on His side. It is the basis by which we can claim with Paul, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro 8:31).
b) Reconciliation means a “change” for believers, that is, a change in our relationship with God, a change in who we are now able to view as a friend, and a change in who we now view as an enemy.
1. Definition of Propitiation
a) It is the turning away of wrath by an offering (Baker’s Theology)
b) It is the placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. (Ryrie)
c) Christ’s death satisfies God’s justice (or wrath). (Fairman)
2. The Concept of the Wrath of God
a) The wrath of God in the Old Testament
(1) It was impending and intense (2Ki 13:3; 23:26)
(2) It was against man’s sinfulness (Nu 16:40-50).
b) The wrath of God in the New Testament is:
(1) It is continuance (Jn.3:36; Rom.1:18)
(2) It is intense in degree (Re 14:10,19; 19:15)
(3) It is against man’s sinfulness (Ro 1:18; 5:9; 1Th 1:10).
c) Man’s great need therefore is to have God’s wrath against his sinfulness placated and satisfied through the death of Christ.
3. The Propitiation of Christ
a) In Ro 3:25, the word “propitiation” is used in the NASB, ASV, KJV, NKJ. Other translations are
(1) “as a mercy seat” (YLT, Darby)
(2) “as a sacrifice of atonement” (NIV, NRS)
(3) “as the sacrifice for sin” (NLT)
(4) “as an expiation” (RSV)
(5) “as the sign of his mercy” (BBE)
(6) “as a reconciliation” (GNV)
b) The Greek word for “propitiation” is hilastếrion and means appeasement of God’s wrath through removal of sin.
(1) The Septuagint (LXX - Greek translation of the Hebrew) translates kaphar into hilasterion.
(2) Kaphar is usually translated in English “atonement” but the basic root meaning is “to cover” (Ge 6:14), “to appease” ( Ge 32:20), and “to atone (Ex 30:10).
(3) Kaphar is related to the word kippur as in Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement (Le 25:9).
(4) All O.T. sacrifices temporarily “covered” and “appeased” sin, but Christ’s death pacified God’s wrath eternally (cp. He 10:1-4, 10-12; cp. Jn 1:29)
c) Christ’s propitiation was relevant to His ministries
(1) Christ’s propitiation was the reason for the Incarnation and the basis for His ministry as High Priest (He 2:17).
(2) Christ’s propitiation was sufficient for the whole world (1Jn 2:2).
(3) Christ’s propitiation demonstrated God’s love (1Jo 4:10).
d) The cross, where Christ’s died, was the place of propitiation (“Mercy-seat”)
(1) The “mercy-seat” (kapporeth) was described and explained by God in Ex 25:17-22
(2) the slab of gold on top of the ark of the covenant; on it and part of it were the two golden cherubim facing each other whose outstretched wings came together above and constituted the throne of God. (Gensenius)
(3) The “mercy seat” was the place where a holy God met sinful man on the Day of Atonement (Le 16:2, 11-16).
(4) Christ’s death on the cross was the mercy-seat
(a) It is figurative speech of the work of Christ (He 9:5, 8-14)
(b) Propitiation was accomplished on the cross (Jn 19:30)
(c) Propitiation is pictured in the curtain being rent in two (Mt 27:50-51)
(5) God pacified His own wrath with Christ’s death (Ro 3:25)
(6) God’s wrath is only pacified through Christ’s death (Jn 14:6).
4. Consideration on the propitiation of Christ
a) Through reconciliation, God is no longer our enemy. Through propitiation, God is no longer angry at us. The wrath and condemnation that is upon every person is satisfied and removed from the believing sinner.
b) To say that Christ would condemn us after He took our condemnation and He propitiated God’s wrath would be absolutely and biblically false (Ro 8:1, 34).
1. Definition of Forgiveness
a) Forgiveness is the legal act of God whereby He removes the charges that were held against the sinner because proper satisfaction or atonement for those sins has been made. (Moody Handbook of Theology)
b) Forgiveness of sin — one of the constituent parts of justification. In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner’s actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
2. Lexical Definition of Forgiveness
a) One of the main Greek words for forgiveness is áphesis and literally means to “send away” or “release.”
(1) It can mean release from captivity, liberation, deliverance (Luk 4:18);
(2) of an obligation or debt cancellation, pardon
(3) It is predominately used in relation to the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28; Mk 1:4).
b) Through Christ’s substitutionary atonement, the believing sinner is released from the penalty and guilt of his sin.
3. Aspects of Forgiveness
a) Forgiveness is only found in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:38).
b) In Christ, the debt of our sin has been canceled because of the work of Christ (Ep 1:7).
c) The payment for the cancellation of the debt of sin was the shedding of Christ’s blood (He 9:22).
d) Forgiveness is the basis upon which we were made alive in Christ (Col 2:13).
e) It would involve forgiveness of lawful deeds (Ro 4:7).
f) It is should affect horizontal relationships (Mt 6:14-15; Ep 4:32).
4. Considerations on Forgiveness: Are you guilty?
a) God does not wink at sin and His forgiveness is not based on such a notion. Rather, forgiveness is based upon the merits of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, which satisfies all the just demands of a holy God.
b) The believer’s conscience is cleared because in Christ all sins, every single one, past-present-future have been cleared and forgiven.
c) God goes to great lengths to assure the believer of forgiven status that his sins are…
(1) cast behind God’s back (Isa 38:17).
(2) cast into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).
(3) remembered no more (Jer 31:34).
(4) removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).
d) Guilt for a believer is a by-product of unconfessed sin (1Jn 1:9) or a lack of full understanding of God’s complete forgiveness of sins (Jn 13:8-10).
1. Definition of Justification
a) To justify means to declare righteous. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, p.299)
b) Christ’s sacrifice satisfied God’s righteous demands, and he now counts as righteous all those who trust in him. (H.Wayne House, Charts of Christian Theology, p.93)
c) It is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
d) Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone. (Westminster Shorter Catechism)
2. The Biblical Concept of Justification
a) It is apart from the Law (Ro 3:20)
b) It is based on Christ’s death and verified by the Christ’s resurrection (Ro 3:24-25)
c) It is bestowed at the moment of faith in Christ (Ro 1:17; 3:22, 28; Phi 3:9)
d) It is a judicial pronouncement that declares a believing sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness (Ro 3:26).
3. Four Types of Righteousness
a) God’s impeccable righteousness (Rom 3:5).
b) Man’s impoverished righteousness
(1) Man is inherently unrighteous (Ec 7:20; Rom.3:10)
(2) Man’s acts are unrighteous (Isa 64:6; Tit 3:5)
(3) Man is accountable for his unrighteousness (Ro 3:19; 2Pe 2:9)
c) Christ’s imputed righteousness (Rom 3:22; 4:3, 24).
d) Spirit’s imparted righteousness (Rom 8:4).
4. The Biblical Concept of Imputation
a) Romans 4 is the great chapter concerning the concepts of justification and imputation. Imputation is the idea of setting of something to the account of another. The Greek word logízomai , translated “credited,” is used some 11 times in Romans 4 (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24). It was used in commercial and financial dealings and means to “put to someone’s account,” reckon, or impute. It is Christ’s righteousness that God credits, reckons or imputes (Imputation) to the believing sinner’s account.
b) Adam’s sin was imputed to the entire human race (Ro 5:12).
c) Man’s sin was imputed to Christ on the cross (Is 53:6; Ro 8:3).
d) Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believing sinner (2Co 5:21; 1Co 1:30).
5. Consideration on Justification
a) Justification is more to the believer than the cliché, “justification = just as if I had not sinned”. The believer is not only forgiven, but is also declared righteous by a righteous God. Lewis Sperry Chafer writes, “Justification is more than forgiveness, since forgiveness is the cancellation of sin while justification is the imputing of righteousness. Forgiveness is negative (the removal of condemnation), while justification is positive (the bestowing of the merit and standing of Christ).” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry, “Major Bible Themes, p 200)
b) Perhaps Luther expressed it best in the Latin phrase, “simul iustus et peccator” which means “at the same time righteous and a sinner.” The believer still possesses the propensity to sin, yet because of Christ’s death and resurrection, God has judicially declared him righteous.