== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Salvation Study Summary

A group of us have recently finished a study on salvation and baptism. This involved reading through the New Testament to collect as many relevant passages as we could find (we ended up with nearly 300 of them) and then looking at them in a fair amount of detail to try to ensure that what we believe / teach is supported by what the Bible seems to us to be saying on the matter.

Here is the list of what we perceived to be the main points:

1. God can give salvation to anyone. He doesn't need us to do anything to "enable" Him to save us.
2. There is nothing that anyone can do to "earn" salvation.
3. God indicates that He will give salvation to those who genuinely come to Him in faith / belief.
4. If our belief (faith) and love are genuine, then they will be demonstrated in our willingness to respond to Him in any way that He asks (i.e. in our actions). A "belief" that is not accompanied by an appropriate response (change) is not the kind of belief that God is looking for.
5. A key part of the initial response that God wants from us is for us to be baptised. By being baptised we "sign" a covenant with God in which we pledge to become slaves to Him. This releases us from our former slavery to sin, transfers us to the new covenant and makes us part of Christ's body.
6. This does not mean that there is any power in the physical of baptism itself - it is God, through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, who gives salvation.
7. Once we are under this "new covenant", our sins are continually cleansed by Jesus' blood so we are continually perfect in the sight of God even though we fail to be perfectly sinless ourselves.
8. However, we can later choose to reject God and His gift of salvation. If we do so we remove ourselves from the "body" and return to our previous slavery to sin (fall away).

Slightly more detail of these points (and some others that we also noted) as well as examples of supporting passages) are included here: summary of baptism study (PDF).

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