Based on the Word of God, learn answers to some of the most-asked questions about fundamental themes found in Scripture including, sin, salvation, and sanctification.
• What is original sin?
• What happens when we sin after we have been saved?
• How were people saved in the Old Testament?
• What is the purpose of salvation?
• Is “working out” our salvation the same as earning it?
• What is sanctification?
- Sin -
What Is Original Sin?
Adam and Eve were created in a sinless environment, but once they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been born with a sinful nature—that is original sin (Romans 5:12). Sin has been defined as “a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law of God.” Romans 1:18-22 elaborates on the definition of sin as the lawlessness and opposition to everything God is. Sin is what keeps us from a relationship with God (Genesis 3:6-8), and it is the cause of all the evil that is in the world. It’s not difficult to look around us and see the result that sin in our world has caused. None of us are innocent of sinning (Romans 3:23) and none of us are capable of avoiding falling into sin in this life. But when we confess our sin, we receive the unfailing and amazing grace of Christ that offers us a free pardon! The plan is clear. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Charles H. Spurgeon
What Happens When We Sin After We Have Been Saved?
Because we are frail human beings, we will inevitably make mistakes and sin after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Our salvation is not lost when we sin because Christ died for all of our sins—both past and future—but we do need to ask God to restore the joy of our salvation to us when we sin against Him. Praise God that “His mercy endures forever,” and while it grieves Him when we sin, He forgives us because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in our place.
- Salvation -
How Were People Saved in the Old Testament?
It’s argued that since all people who are saved are ultimately saved on the basis of the shed blood of Christ, people in the days of the Old Testament were saved because of their sure hope in the coming of the Messiah. They looked forward to the cross, and we look back at the cross and Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Hebrews 11 lists a number of Old Testament individuals who were saved by their “faith” in the promise of God.
What Is the Purpose of Salvation?
Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us, we are offered the gift of salvation from death and eternal damnation. Salvation is the only way for us to be united with God our Father—through salvation we are freed from the bondage of sin, and we pass from death into an abundant life through Him (John 10:10). Because of God’s gift, our eternal life starts now, while we are here on earth.
In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul gives a before and after picture with regard to our salvation. There is no better place to turn in the New Testament to understand the meaning of salvation. While it is a wonderful passage to share with a non-Christian, it is also a text for Christians to study to be reminded of what God has done in Christ for those who could do nothing to save themselves.
Is “Working Out” Our Salvation the Same As Earning It?
We must use care when evaluating the Scripture, “work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12), and supposing that it refers to us actually doing something to earn our salvation. The term does not mean we can earn our own salvation—only the blood of Jesus can grant us forgiveness for our sins. But we are called to work out what God has worked in us. The work of God delivers the gift of salvation to us. We then take that gift and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, diligently work to become mature followers of Christ. Unless gifts are put to use, they are wasted—gifts such as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) should be applied and seen in our lives. As recipients of God’s salvation, we are to become His light-bearers to the world. We are not saved by works, but we are saved for works through the Holy Spirit.
- Sanctification -
What Is Sanctification?
After a person accepts Jesus as their personal Savior, a new life in Christ has begun. This is the beginning of the process toward knowing and growing to be more like Jesus. It’s the starting line of a lifelong process called sanctification, in which we grow to be more Christlike in obedience to His Word. We don’t simply read the Bible to discover how to become a Christian. We read it to learn how to live the Christian life. Every day we will face situations that require decisions. If we are to make the right decisions, to “be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1), we must store up as much of His Word in our hearts as we can. That way, when those moments come, the Holy Spirit can bring to our mind the passage, principle, or concept from Scripture that will guide us. This is a pursuit of a holy life. Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Spirit, received through faith in Jesus Christ. (John 17:14-19, KJV; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, KJV; 1 Peter 1:1-2, 15-16, KJV; 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24, KJV)
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
In Answers to Questions About the Bible, Dr. Jeremiah has collated more than a hundred questions about the Bible to help you in your spiritual quest to know more about Him and His Word. Learn more about this powerful resource here.