Bible Study Opportunities
You Cannot Be Saved Without These
By Jon W. Quinn
What does it take for my soul to be saved? What are the necessary ingredients to salvation? Opinion varies widely. Some think that salvation itself is a myth. They sat there is no such thing. Others will say we are saved by one thing. Sometimes they say that one thing is faith. At other times, the same folks will say we are saved by grace. Then at other times they say we are saved by Christ. I think they must not be very good at math. 1+1+1 does not equal 1.
Others say sincerity saves. Still others say being a relatively moral person, or a kind person saves. Some say causing other people to be happy saves.
Perhaps we should consider what God says about it. To do so, we look to His revealed word, the Scriptures. There we find the speculations of man put to rest.
God is the Primary Cause of Salvation
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
The “these things” of this verse refers to the things which accompany salvation (vss. 17-19). God desires all to be saved (2 Timothy 2:3-6). Because of this desire, He has allowed His Son to take our guilt with Him to the cross, paying our debt. This was God's plan. Without it, there would be no salvation.
Christ is the Sacrificial Cause of Salvation
“...so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly wait for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28).
Jesus became the price paid for our guilt when He died on the cross for us. Because of this, He “became to all those that obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” (Hebrews 5:9). Without His love for us, He would have not had the motivated to suffer in our places. Salvation apart from Jesus is impossible (Acts 4:12). When He comes again, He will bring salvation with Him for those who wait.
The Blood is the Procuring Cause of Salvation
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7).
The blood of Christ saves us by erasing the estrangement and conflict that exists between ourselves and God because of our sins. Our sins make us God's enemies; but Christ's blood makes us His friends (Romans 5:8-11) We cannot be saved apart from the blood shed by Christ on the cross because all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23; cf. vss. 24-26).
The Holy Spirit is the Revealing Cause of Salvation
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you unto all truth...” (John 16:13).
Jesus promised the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them unto all truth. The result of the Spirit's revealing work through the apostles and prophets is that we have, in the Scriptures, God's mind on salvation (1 Corinthians 2:9,10). We do not have to stumble and guess about salvation; the truth has been revealed. All the truth, in accordance with Jesus' promise. That is the reason it is so important to tell others exactly what the Bible says concerning salvation (Romans 10:13-15).
The Gospel is the Instrumental Cause of Salvation
“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
This is somewhat related to the previous point, but not identical. The Spirit is the revealer; the gospel is that which He has revealed. It is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the message of what Jesus has done for us, and instruction on how to receive His grace, and an invitation to respond. If we do not obey the gospel, then we shall be lost (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Our Faith is the Appropriating Cause of Salvation
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Faith is the necessary response we must make to the gracious offer of God to save us. It is by faith that we obtain our introduction to the benefits of grace (Romans 5:1,2).
Saving faith is working faith (Galatians 5:6; James 2:20-24).
Our Baptism is the Consummating Cause of Salvation
“Therefore we have been buried with Him in baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).
It is at baptism that one becomes a new creature. It is then that one begins to “walk in newness of life.” If one wants a new life of salvation, he must first be buried with Christ in baptism.
Our Hope is the Sustaining Cause of Salvation
“Now may the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).
Hope is what keeps us going In facing trials, it is hope that keeps us on track (Romans 5:3-5). Hope grows as we grow. “For in hope we have been saved... But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24,25).
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois March 8, 1998