Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Essentials: Part V – Salvation By Grace Through Faith:

Salvation is God’s gracious work through Jesus Christ to reclaim humankind and all creation from sin and its consequences. Christ’s righteousness and atonement are the sole basis for human salvation. Faith in Christ is the only instrument by which this righteousness is received by individual believers, resulting in their justification.

Justification is the righteousness of Christ imputed to a sinful woman or man through faith alone in Christ. Their faith appropriates Christ’s atonement, resulting in their sins atoned for and forgiven and God reckoning them to be righteous.[1]

It cannot be highlighted enough that there is no other way, though humanity has long sought for it and, even, proclaimed it, through which persons may have a right relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  

Faith is accepting the message of salvation as true and trusting God to apply this salvation to us. Faith is “certain knowledge” and “wholehearted trust,” that is created in us by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. In faith we accept, receive, and rest “upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.”[2]

Christianity does not affirm any effort to earn salvation or work for righteousness – as though God’s favor or acceptance, salvation or righteousness could be obtained any other way than through Jesus Christ. Christianity does not affirm and teaching or belief that asserts that salvation can be obtained through other religions or that other religions have equally valid solutions to the human problems of sin and guilt, or that there is salvation in some other name besides Jesus Christ; that denies the radical sinfulness of human beings, their condemnation before a holy God, their lostness apart from Christ, or their need for a Savior; that teaches that God saves or will save all people regardless of their faith in Jesus Christ or whether they hear the Gospel or not or whether they put their faith explicitly in Jesus Christ or not.

In all this, the Good News remains that God does indeed save totally and completely any who come in true faith and repentance regardless of their past sins, that this gracious work recognizes that we are still people prone to sin and in need of the life-long work of this grace in our lives. This work, God joyfully realizes in us.

Pastor Craig

[1] The Essential Tenets – An Explanation by the Presbytery of Santa Barbara p. 8
[2] Westminster Confession, 6.080