How does salvation work? Discover in the article below, written by Wayne Grudem and adapted from resources in the recently released Systematic Theology Pack: A Complete Introduction to Bible Doctrine.
- Election (God’s choice of people to be saved) 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. The New Testament teaches election as a source of comfort for believers (Rom. 8:28), as a reason to praise God (Eph. 1:5 – 6), and as an encouragement to evangelism (2 Tim. 2:10).
- Effective calling (proclaiming the message of the gospel) is an act of God the Father, 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 (Rom. 8:30).
- Regeneration (being born again) is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us (John 3:3 – 8).
- Conversion (faith and repentance) is our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation (John 3:16). Both faith and repentance continue throughout life (Matt. 6:12; Gal. 2:20).
• Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God (John 1:12).
• Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 7:9 – 10).
- Justification (right legal standing) is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight (Gal. 2:16).
- Adoption (membership in God’s family) is an act of God whereby he makes us members of his family (John 1:12).
- Sanctification (right conduct of life and likeness to Christ) is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives (Rom. 6:11 – 14).
• The baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to the activity of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Christian life when he gives us new spiritual life and cleanses us and gives a clear break with the power and love of sin (1 Cor. 12:13).
• The filling of the Holy Spirit can occur repeatedly in a Christian’s life and produces increased sanctification, increased power, and effectiveness in ministry (1 Cor. 12:31).
- Perseverance (remaining a Christian). The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again (John 10:27 – 39).
- Death (going to be with the Lord) is the final outcome of living in a fallen world, is not a punishment for Christians, and is used by God to complete our sanctification (1 Cor. 15:54 – 55).
In the intermediate state between death and resurrection there is a separation of body and soul. The souls of believers go immediately into God’s presence (2 Cor. 5:8) and the souls of unbelievers go immediately to eternal punishment (Luke 16:24 – 26), but the bodies of both remain on earth.
- Glorification (receiving a resurrection body) is the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own (1 Cor. 15:12 – 58).
Two Parting Notes
Common grace is the grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation (Matt. 5:44 – 45). God gives common grace in the physical, intellectual, moral, creative, societal, and religious realms. God gives common grace to redeem those who will be saved, and to demonstrate his goodness, mercy, justice, and glory.
Union with Christ is a phrase used to summarize several relationships between believers and Christ, through which Christians receive every benefit of salvation (Eph. 1:4). It includes the following aspects: (1) We are in Christ; (2) Christ is in us; (3) We are like Christ; (4) We are with Christ.
How to Use This Book
The Systematic Theology Pack will equip you or your small group with everything you need to gain an in-depth understanding of Christian teaching.
The pack equips you with several tools:
- Read and discuss the bestselling book used by thousands of churches, small groups, instructors and students: Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
- View chapter-by-chapter video lectures featuring the expert teaching of Wayne Grudem (57 videos—over eight and a half hours of content!)
- Enhance your learning with the laminated “cheat sheet” that summarizes the most important points of systematic theology
With this pack, you are guaranteed to deepen your understanding of God’s character and biblical truth.
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A Complete Introduction to Bible Doctrine