MAJOR BIBLE THEMES
By Dr. Louis Sperry Chafer
The studies presented
herein are a continuation
of Major Bible Themes which, Lord willing, will
eventually be presented
in its entirety. Major Bible Themes may serve as a wonderful outline for personal or group
Links to previous studies in the series may be found in our
pages. ~ editor
revelation concerning salvation should be mastered by every
child of God,
I. THE MEANING OF SALVATION
According to its largest meaning as used in the Scriptures, the word salvation represents the whole work of God by which He rescues man from the eternal ruin and doom of sin and bestows on him the riches of His grace, even eternal life now and eternal glory in Heaven. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Therefore, it is in every aspect a work of God in behalf of man, and is in no sense a work of man in behalf of God. Certain details of this divine undertaking have varied from age to age. We are assured that, beginning with Adam and continuing to Christ, those individuals who put their trust in God were spiritually renewed and made heirs of Heaven's glory. Likewise, the nation Israel will yet be spiritually born in a time as brief as the beat of a foot (Isa. 66:8 Lit.). It is also said of the multitudes who are to live on the earth during the coming kingdom that all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest (Jer. 31:34). However, the salvation which is offered to men in the present age is not only more fully revealed in the Bible as to its details, but it far exceeds every other saving work of God in the marvels which it accomplishes; for, as offered in the present age, salvation includes every phase of the gracious work of God.
II. THE THREE TENSES OF SALVATION
1. The Past Tense of
III. TWO ASPECTS OF THE WORK OF GOD
When contemplating the
work of God for lost men, it is important to distinguish
between the ﬁnished work of Christ for all, which is
completed to inﬁnite perfection, and the saving work of God
which is wrought for, and in, the individual at the moment
he believes on Christ.
IV. THE GUILT AND PENALTY OF SIN REMOVED
Among the stupendous works of God just mentioned, the guilt and penalty of sin is seen to have been removed; for it is said of the saved one that he is both forgiven all trespasses and is justiﬁed forever. God could not forgive and justify apart from the cross of Christ; but since Christ has died, God is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him by Christ Jesus.
V. SALVATION CONDITIONED UPON ONE THING ALONE
In the New Testament in about one hundred and ﬁfteen passages, the salvation of a sinner is declared to depend only upon believing, and in about thirty-ﬁve passages to depend on faith, which is a synonym of believing. The Scriptures everywhere harmonize with this overwhelming body of truth. God alone can save a soul and God can save only through the sacriﬁce of His Son. Man can sustain no other relation to salvation than to believe God's message to the extent of turning from self-works to depend only on the work of God through Christ. Believing is the opposite of doing anything; it is trusting another instead. Therefore, the Scriptures are violated and the whole doctrine of grace confused when salvation is made to depend on anything other than believing. The divine message is not "believe and pray," "believe and confess sin," "believe and confess Christ," "believe and be baptized," "believe and repent," or "believe and make restitution." These six added subjects are mentioned in the Scriptures and there they have their full intended meaning; but if they were as essential to salvation as believing they would never be omitted from any passage wherein the way to be saved is stated (note John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:29; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16; 3:22; 4:5, 24; 5:1; 10:4; Gal. 3:22). Salvation is only through Christ, and men are therefore saved when they receive Him as their Saviour.
1. Name three reasons why
the truth concerning salvation should be understood by every