All people need salvation from sin and condemnation. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died and rose to earn that salvation for us. The Bible helps us understand some truths about how that salvation is applied to us. We can see that God has an eternal plan for salvation, and He graciously works to complete our salvation to the glory of His name.
Read Ephesians 2:8-10
Discuss: How and why are people saved?
God's sovereign plan of salvation
"Election is an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure." - Grudem (Romans 8:28-30) (Ephesians 1:4-6) (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Read Acts 13:48.
Discuss: Who does it say, "Believed"?
The reason God chooses to save us and call us to Himself has nothing to do with our works, but only His undeserved grace. The doctrine of election teaches that I am a Christian and have salvation simply because God decided to love me. This should lead us to praise Him.
God is sovereign and yet man makes real choices that have real results. Man is also responsible for their choices. (2 Thess. 2:8)
"Effective calling is an act of God, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which He summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith." - Grudem (1 Peter 2:9) (1 Corinthians 1:9) (John 6:44)
Read 2 Corinthians 4:6
Discuss: Who is the one who gives the light of the knowledge of the gospel?
The gospel is proclaimed to everyone, but only those that God draws to Himself will believe in Jesus. Effective calling is God's work in the heart of a sinner to open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. We do not know who God has chosen, so we are compelled to share the gospel with everyone, trusting that anyone who believes will be saved.
Regeneration is an act of God to give spiritual life to those previously dead in sin.
Read John 3:3-8
Discuss: How does Jesus speak of our need for regeneration?
Means of Salvation
Conversion (repentance and faith) is our willing response to the gospel call, where we repent of sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation.
Repentance is turning from sin. A heartfelt sorrow and renouncing commitment to forsake sin and obey Jesus. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
Faith is turning to Christ, depending completely on Him for salvation. (Romans 3:28) (Galatians 3:26)
True saving faith is more than belief in facts. It is a personal trust in Jesus Christ to save us.
Read Acts 20:21
Discuss: Repentance and faith go together, why can someone not have true saving faith without repentance?
Justification is a legal act of God to declare us to be righteous in His sight. (Romans 5:1) (Romans 8:30)
Read Romans 8:1
Discuss: What is true about those in Christ?
God counts us right in His sight because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus into our account through faith. (Rom. 4:6)
Justification means that God thinks of our sins as completely forgiven and that Christ's perfect righteousness belongs to us.
Adoption is an act of God to make us a part of His family. (John 1:12, Eph. 1:5)
Sanctification is a progressive work of both God and the Christian that makes us more free from sin and like Christ in our lives. (Romans 6:11-14)
Read 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Discuss: Into who are Christians being transformed?
Sanctification is a life-long process of applying grace to become holy. It takes work on our part, but is impossible apart from Christ.
Evidence of salvation
Genuine saving faith shows itself in a few ways.
Faith that works
(James 2:18) (Ephesians 2:10) (Titus 3:8)
True saving faith obeys Jesus Christ and produces good works.
Read John 15:8.
Discuss: How does Jesus say that we prove to be His disciples?
Love that labors
(1 John 2:9) (1 John 3:14)
Read 1 John 4:7-8.
Discuss: What is true of a person who is born of God?
Hope that endures
(John 8:31-32) (Matthew 10:22)
Read Colossians 1:22-23.
Discuss: How do we ultimately know we will be saved?
Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus alone. True saving faith is seen in the fruit of a person’s life. Saving faith obeys Christ, loves others, and endures in trusting Christ for a lifetime. Simply having knowledge about Jesus, religious involvement, or outward morality is not enough.
How does the doctrine of election grow thanks and praise to God?
How does your life show continual growth in these evidences of salvation?
Biblical Doctrines by Wayne Grudem