6. The Salvation Process
Much of this paper has focused on the aspect of the salvation of God, and there is an implicit assumption that it is a good thing to be saved. However, the Bible has a lot more to say about what it actually means to be saved, and what benefits it might offer you. The concept starts right back at the garden of Eden, but we can pick up a thread in the letter to the Galatians,
Galatians 3:16: Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. NKJV
This verse refers to a series of promises that were made to a man called Abraham, who lived some 2000 years before Christ. These promises (Gen 12:3,22:17) were given to just one man, that there would be a blessing which would be passed onto other people. Without these promises, we would really have no hope beyond death from the Bible.
Later in that chapter, the writer goes on to say how a faith in Jesus allowed someone to become part of that promise. So in this case, the motivating force is not just the faith itself, but that the faith allows the sharing in promises that were already there,
Galatians 3:26: For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. NKJV
So by being baptised into Christ, we are able to become adopted heirs into those promises that were given by God to Abraham. It is like being able to choose to become the adopted son of a rich man, and being able to receive the inheritance.
The book of Romans has a quite detailed explanation of this in Chapters 5 and 6.
Romans 5:6: For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. NKJV
So the death and resurrection of Jesus was critical to this salvation that we are offered, and it was a great act of love on the part of God. Later in that chapter, the salvation process is linked to the sin of Adam, and shows how there is a symmetry between condemnation of mankind to mortality, and the hope of life thought Jesus,
Romans 5:14: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. NKJV
The crux of the argument is that people die because they sin, and act against the will of God at times, and are descended from sinning beings. However, in Christ no sin was found, and as a result death did not have power over him. In Chapter 6, we see how that baptism allows us to participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus,
Romans 6:4: Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, NKJV
Romans 6 goes on to show that the hope of eternal life and reconciliation with God is not something that is to be earnt by being a good person, but rather it requires a very specific association with Jesus to obtain. That's why Jesus is importanat to all people.