The kinds of salvation that we have addressed to this point in our study have been related exclusively to what is temporary and physical. The second kind of salvation is almost exclusively focused on our spiritual well-being. While physical deliverance is important to us in this life, it is always temporary, and pales in comparison to the seriousness of the well-being of our soul. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus asks: What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? He answers the question in Luke 16 with a story about two men. One man was rich in this life and now is in hell. The other man was a helpless beggar whose physical health was broken, yet now he is in paradise. So which man was really better off? One of the purposes of this example was to get us to think about what really matters in life. There are three aspects to our spiritual salvation that are all different yet totally dependent upon the gospel. We will briefly mention them in this section of our study, and then go back to each in greater detail as we answer the question, is our salvation a process or a once and for all legal declaration by God.
The first aspect of our spiritual salvation deals with how a sinner can be delivered from the penalty of his sin. Notice what Romans 5:9 says: “Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” This kind of deliverance deals with the wrath of God being removed from the sinner and the sinner being legally declared righteous before God.
The second aspect of our spiritual salvation deals with how a sinner can be delivered from the power of sin over his life. Notice what Paul says in Romans 6:12-14 “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts, and do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin…for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” This kind of deliverance addresses how the sinner who is a slave to sin is freed from sin’s authority, and freed to walk in newness of life and practical godliness.
The third aspect of our spiritual salvation deals with how a sinner can be freed from the presence of sin and all its effects. Sin has affected every aspect of life as we know it. We experience guilt and shame as a result of sin in the world. Death pain and sickness are a result of living in a fallen world. Honestly and bluntly put, this world really is an awful place to live. It is full of the devastating effects of sin. Is there any hope of deliverance from these things? The wonderful answer is yes. Revelation 21:14 says that there is coming a day, when “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” These are wonderful words, but obviously we have not yet experienced the fulfillment of these words.
Before we move on to our next point, I would like to reiterate a word of serious caution. If we assume that the word salvation in the Bible is always talking about the same kind of salvation, we are going to start believing and teaching some very unbiblical things.
Think about the process of baking a cake. If we are baking a cake and we needs eggs, sugar, salt, cocoa, butter, and flour; it would be wrong to say that salt is a cake or eggs are a cake. We must have all the ingredients to bake a cake, before we can call it a cake. Even if all the ingredients are put together in the same bowl, it still does not make a cake. They must be mixed together in the correct way according to the directions, and they must be baked for the correct period of time, or we do not have a cake. When we are studying the Bible, we must have all the ingredients together that form a particular doctrine. Once assembled through careful study, they must be put together in the correct sequence, or our final result is not a correct understanding of that particular Bible doctrine. May God grant us the grace to do that on this very important topic!