A Study of Theology III – Part 1
Christ and Salvation (Dr. Thomas O Figart)
Salvation is wholly the work of God for man, not a work of man for God, including every divine undertaking necessary to deliver the believing sinner from his lost estate until his final presentation in glory. Religion is man’s effort to “bind himself back” to God; salvation is God seeking after man. This is the only true gospel.
A Study of Theology III – Part 1
Christ and Salvation
Dr. Thomas O. Figart
- Words used for Salvation
- In the Old Testament the word is yasha from which Joshua comes. Yasha means “spacious, free, ample, thus, to set free, to aid.”
- In the New Testament the noun soteria comes from the verb sodzo, “to deliver, to preserve.”
- Meanings of these words as used in the Bible.
- Deliverance. Acts 7:25
- Safety. Job 5:11; Psalm 12:5.
- Preservation. 2 Sam. 8:6: 2 Tim. 4:18.
- Health. Acts 27:34
- Rescue. Deut. 28:31.
- Healing. Mark 5:23.
- To save from sin. Isaiah 45:22; 63:1; Zech. 9:9;
Matt. 1:21; Rom. 5:9
- When used of the saving work of God in behalf of men, it includes these two ideas:
- Rescued from a lost estate. Rom. 8:1; Jn. 3:36. The demands of a righteous God must be met; no man can do this, but Christ has made full payment.
- Brought into a saved estate. Col. 1:12-13. No one can forgive his own sin, make himself righteous, nor write his own name in heaven; we need One Who is able to do this for us.
- The Scope of Salvation: There are at least 33 things in this all-inclusive word “salvation,” among which are:
- Grace 9. Propitiation
- Election 10. Forgiveness
- Calling 11. Justification
- Faith 12. Regeneration
- Repentance 13. Adoption
- Conversion 14. Sanctification
- Redemption 15. Preservation
- Reconciliation 16. Glorification
- The Definition of Salvation. Salvation is wholly the work of God for man, not a work of man for God, including every divine undertaking necessary to deliver the believing sinner from his lost estate until his final presentation in glory. Religion is man’s effort to “bind himself back” to God; salvation is God seeking after man. This is the only true gospel. Gal. 1:6-9.
- The Need for Salvation.
- Man is born into a lost estate and judged in Adam’s sin. Rom. 3:23; 5:12-13.
- Man thus partakes of Adam’s sinful nature. Eph. 2:3.
- Man is a sinner by practice. Rom. 3:10-12.
- Man is “sold under sin” and totally unable to save himself. Rom. 7:14.
- The Three Tenses of Salvation.
- Salvation past, from the penalty of sin; the possession of every believer. Eph. 2:8-9.
- Salvation present, from the power of sin; a possibility for every believer. Rom. 6:1-14.
- Salvation future, from the presence of sin, a promise to every believer. 1 John 3:1-3; Rom. 13:11.
- The Saviour
Introductory: There have been varying degrees of acceptance or rejection of the doctrine of Christology. As far back as 325 A.D, the Trinitarian controversy ended in the assertion of the full deity of Christ in the Nicene Creed. Much later, higher criticism, which robbed the Scriptures of any divine inspiration, also affected doctrine concerning Christ. Liberals of early 20th century denied the existence of Christ while mid-20th century neo-orthodox theologians swung away from liberalism, but at the same time denied verbal inspiration. To Barth and Brunner, for example, Christ is not to be studied from the historical but from the “contemporary” view. God now speaks to us through Christ; He is the medium rather than the Bible. Thus, they said, the real question is not whether the Scriptures are infallible, or whether Christ was uniquely divine, but rather our present “religious experience” with Christ. This, of course, leads to a breakdown of norms and standards, and eventuates in a vague existentialism.
- The Pre-incarnate Son of God. The eternal deity of Christ is involved. If we can prove that He is eternal, possesses the attributes of God, performs the works of God and claims the titles of God, then Christ is very God of very God!
- The Eternity of the Son of God. Christ is eternal, or else He was created in time and is vastly different from God. If He is eternal, then He is self-existent, not merely pre-existent.
- Testimony of the Old Testament to His eternity.
1). Micah 5:2: Keil & Delitzsch translate: “From of old, from the days of eternity.” These words cannot be restricted to “ancient times.” (Minor Prophets, Vol. 1, p. 480).
2). Isa. 9:6 “mighty God, everlasting Father” The title Eternal Father designates Him however, not only as the possessor of eternity, but as provider for His people even in eternity.” (K & D, Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 253).
- Testimony of the New Testament to His eternity.
1). John 1:1”In the beginning…” There is only one beginning, the beginning of time, since eternity has no beginning. Thus, when time began, the Word already “was.” Also, “was” is in the imperfect tense, signifying continuous existence before time; not merely pre-existence, but self-existence. “And the Word was with God….” The word pros (with) means that there are two distinct persons included, existing continuously before time, “and the Word was God” (Theos ho en logos). The so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses translate this, “and the Word was a god.” since there is no article used. What are the facts?
a). If the article had been used in this grammatical construction, it would equate Theos and Logos, and cancel out the previous statement, “the Word was with God.”
b). In Greek, where definite nouns (Theos) precede the verb (en), no article is used.
c). This anarthrous construction (absence of the article) brings out the character of the person involved; here, “the Word was characteristically God.” Cf. Jn. 1:14; 1:18; Heb. 1:2.
d). The deliberate position of the Greek words in reversed form is for emphasis: “God was the Word.” (Theos en ho Logos)
2). John 8:58 “Before Abraham came to be (aorist tense) I am (present tense). Christ is claiming eternal existence before Abraham was born.
3). Col. 1:15-17 “He is the firstborn (prototokos) before all creation.” The context shows that “firstborn” here refers to priority, not to chronology. John 1:3 confirms this: “…without Him was not one thing made that was made.” Thus, He cannot be a created being.