Soteriology – Doctrine of Salvation
I. Substitution – Christ died in the place of sinners. God’s Holiness demands that the
punishment for sin be payed. All of humanity would be required to pay this debt of death(Rom. 6.23), but when Christ went to the cross He put Himself in the place of sinners taking the fullness of the punishment on Himself. The doctrine of substitution is important because it reveals how God’s righteous demands were met; it was a legal transaction in which Christ dealt with the sin problem for the human race (Enns 335). 2 Cor. 5.21; 1 Pet. 2.24, 3.18; Isa. 53.4-6; Heb. 9.28a; Matt. 20.28; Gal. 3.13; 1 Tim. 2.6.
II. Redemption – The word redemption is the translation of the Greek word “agorazo”
and means “to purchase in the marketplace” (Enns 335). The word has to do with slaves being purchased out of the slave market. The New Testament uses this imagery, referring to Christians as slaves to sin (Rom. 6.7,12,14). A second Greek word that should be noted is “exagorazo.” Whereas the first word indicates purchase, the second indicates a purchase and withdrawal of that which is purchased. “Lutroo” is a third greek word that relates to redemption meaning “to obtain release by the payment of a price.” The price that was paid for believers is the life of Jesus Christ Himself, making them a precious possession of God. 1 Cor. 6.20, 7.23; Rev. 5.9, 14.3,4; Gal. 3.13, 4.5; 1 Pet. 1.18; Tit. 2.14.
III. Reconciliation – The emphasis here is making peace with God. Sin came between man
and God and therefore broke the fellowship man had with God. Reconciliation is God removing the barrier and bringing man back into a relationship with Himself. Isa. 59.1,2; Col. 1.21,22; Jam. 4.4; Rom. 5.10; 2 Cor. 5.18,19.
IV. Propitiation – Propitiation is the satisfying of God’s wrath against sin. The death/payment of Christ
covers the faults of the believer, allowing God to accept the believer. Heb. 2.17; 1 Jn. 2.2, 4.10; Rom 3.25.
V. Forgiveness – The legal act whereby God removes charges against the sinner because proper
satisfaction or atonement for those sins have been made. Forgiveness is necessary because man possesses the problem/penalty of sin and needs to have it removed by God. There is a separate type of forgiveness in the life of the believer, this is forgiveness from sins committed in the daily christian life. That is not to say that Christians lose their salvation. Rather, the open fellowship between God and believer is hindered when a believer sins. Confession and repentance of sins brings the forgiveness needed to restore this fellowship. Col. 2.13; Eph. 1.7; 1 Jn. 1.9; Acts 13.38.
VI. Justification – – Justification is the legal act by which God declares a sinner to be righteous (on the
grounds of the work of Christ). Justification is a gift given by God at the moment a sinner places faith in Christ. The holiness and justness of God is not tarnished in this act since the punishment demanded by God’s righteousness is satisfied in the death of Christ. Rom. 3.24, 4.2-3,5-7, 5.9-11.
VII. Extent of the Atonement – There has been much debate over the question “Who did Christ die
for?” The Limited Atonement view states that Christ died only for the elect. However, the position that is more in harmony with Scripture is the Unlimited Atonement view, which states Christ died for all, both saved and unsaved. There are several reasons the Unlimited view is correct.
A. When taken at face value scripture presents an unlimited atonement.
B. Limited atonement is not so much based on exegesis of scripture as it is based on a logical
assumption that if Christ died for all but all aren’t saved, then God is defeated.
C. John frequently refers to the “world” when talking about the aim of Christ. This word always
refers to the entirety of humanity and is never limited to just the elect. (cf. Jn. 1.29; 3.16,17; 4.42; 1 Jn. 4.14)
D. 1 John 2.2 states that Christ is the propitiation of the sins of not only believers, but also the
sins of the whole world.
E. 2 Peter 2.1 especially militates against limited atonement. Peter describes heretical
teachers that spread false teaching. He states quite plainly that these teachers deny the Master (Christ), and that the Master bought these teachers. The context requires eternal punishment.
F. Other scriptures militate against this view as well: 1 Tim. 4.10; Tit. 2.11; Rom. 3.22; Isa. 53.6;
Heb. 2.9; 2 Pet. 3.9 (the Petrine passage may be debatable).
VIII. How Salvation is Obtained – The Bible is very clear in teaching that salvation is obtained by grace
through faith. There are three elements to belief:
A. Knowledge, involving intellect. There are certain basic truths that must be known before a
person can be saved. Namely, man’s sinfulness, Christ’s substitutional sacrifice, and His bodily resurrection (Rom. 10.9-10; Jn. 8.24, 20.31,31).
B. Conviction, involving emotions. This means that factual knowledge is not enough, there
needs to be an inner conviction of their truthfulness. (Jn. 16.8-11)
C. Trust, involving will. There needs to be an affirmation that what the Bible says is true, and
that the will must be conformed to the standards and demands of the Bible.