Coming to Terms: Salvation

Terms in the Bible are specialized words of particular significance. In Coming to Terms we explore the significance of these terms to deepen our understanding of biblical truth through a question and answer and fill in the blank format.

(Fill in the blanks where applicable to gain a deeper understanding of the term. I’ve used the New Living Translation for the Scripture passages.)

Unpacking the term

While the word “salvation” can apply to physical rescue or deliverance it also has special significance in Scripture as a term referring to spiritual salvation. That is, rescue and deliverance from the consequences of man’s sinful condition.

At creation, God designed man to have loving fellowship with Him. The world was made for humans to flourish and where we could live in joy in the presence of our Maker, worshipping God by loving Him and one another forever. What was the command and warning He gave to Adam and Eve? “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

But they rebelled, ate the forbidden fruit, and disobeyed God’s command. What was the immediate consequence they experienced? They fell into a sinful condition where sin—like a disease—contaminated every aspect of their being, mind, will, and emotions (Jeremiah 17:9).

How did Adam and Eve’s sinfulness affect their relationship to their holy God? They were alienated from Him and were in need of rescue from their sinful condition (Isaiah 53:6).

Since they represented all humanity how did their disobedience affect their posterity? Now, we are born with a sinful nature and our attitudes and actions declare ourselves enemies of God. We are all sinners in need of saving (Romans 3:23). And because sin infects every aspect of our being (Psalm 51:5), we are helpless to save ourselves (Ephesians 2:9).

What happens if we die in this sinful condition? The consequence of continuing in our sinful state is remaining under God’s judgment (John 3:18) and eternal separation from Him (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Instead of carrying out an immediate physical death sentence God responded with grace and began the process of redemption and restoration. His first act of salvation and grace was the promise of a Saviour (Genesis 3:15).

His second gracious act was shedding the blood of animals and using their skins to atone for their sin, covering the couple’s shame and guilt, and restoring their fellowship with God (Genesis 3:21).

God’s third gracious act was to banish Adam and Eve from the garden and the tree of life so they couldn’t eat it and live for eternity in a sinful state and sin-cursed universe (Genesis 3:23).

Salvation was God’s master plan for redeeming His world and rescuing fallen sinners. This was better than living eternally in a sin-cursed universe. His master plan came in the Person of Jesus Christ. God Himself entered the world to renew and restore His people.

The history unfolded throughout the rest of the Bible is the story of how God brought salvation to man. Bible history is His story of salvation. The grand narrative of Scripture climaxes with the death and Resurrection of ________.

The many stories, words, and concepts in Scripture help us understand the breadth and depth of God’s salvation.

Stories like the deliverance of Israel from ______ demonstrate God’s power to save.

Words like justification (Romans 4:25 NASB), reconciliation (Romans 5:11), and regeneration (Titus 3:5) unfold new facets and dimensions of salvation.

Concepts like redemption (Romans 3:24), adoption (Romans 8:23), and inheritance (Colossians 1:12) all deepen our understanding of the nature and extent of salvation.

Does the story of salvation end with the death and Resurrection of Jesus? No. The book of ________ recounts how the good news of salvation was carried throughout the world. The New Testament letters were written to Christians to explain this great salvation and how we should then live.

What is the final chapter of our salvation story? In Romans 8:18-23, God promised the restoration of all things and to renew the whole _______.

How will the restoration of all things take place? The Bible gives us a peek into this glorious future and the final phase of the story. Second Thessalonians 1:7-10 says ________ will return to judge sin and evil and He will usher in righteousness and peace. Revelation 20 and 21 says God will purge this world of evil once and for all and His people will live with Him ________.

What aspect of this great salvation is most meaningful to you and why?