Humanity’s Need for Divine Salvation.

Humanity’s Need for Divine Salvation/ 85-005 (Romans 3:9–20)/ Bible Study Guide/ An Introduction to Soteriology: (The doctrine of salvation) Part 1

Opening Remarks: “Scripture stresses that fallen human beings are cut off from God on account of their sin. All need to be saved, if they are to enter into a new relationship with God as their Creator and Redeemer. Salvation is not the result of human achievement, privilege or wisdom, but depends totally upon the graciousness of a loving God, supremely expressed in the cross of Jesus Christ. People must respond in repentance and faith if they are to benefit from God’s offer of salvation in Christ.” [Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, (London: Martin Manser, 2009)].

Lesson Outline:

  1. Our greatest problem: Sin.
  2. Our greatest need: Salvation.
  3. The greatest truth: Universal condemnation.
  4. The Spiritual Condition of unconverted men.
  5. The Present Condition of the lost.
  6. The Future Condition of the lost.
  7. Devotional Implication: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do?

Introduction: Scripture is clear in asserting that every last person in the world succumbs to sin: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV) “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.” (Psalm 53:1, NKJV) “Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” (Psalm 53:3, NKJV) “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10, NKJV) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NKJV) “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, NKJV)

OUR GREATEST PROBLEM: SIN.

Why do fallen man desperately need salvation? There are 8 elegant reasons—

[1] The reality of Sin. Sin is the ultimate human problem, for which divine salvation is the only solution. Beginning in pride and the desire to be like God (Gen. 3:4; Isa. 14:1–20; Eze. 28:1–19), sin is a universal actuality (1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chron. 6:36; Job 4:17; Ps. 14:1–3; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 9:17; Dan. 9:11; Rom. 3:9–11, 23; 5:12, 19; 1 John 1:8, 10).

[2] Sin cuts humanity off from God — “Behold, The Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2, AMP)  “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:18, NKJV) — [For Further Study Read: Gen 3:22-24; Eph 2:1-5]

[3] Sin enslaves humanity to evil — “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23, NKJV) — [For Further Study Read: Hos 5:4; Zec 7:11-12; Ro 7:14-20; 2 Pet 2:13-19]

[4] Sin results in universal condemnation and death — “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NKJV) “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:15, NKJV) — [For Further Study Read: Rom. 5:14–18].

OUR GREATEST NEED: SAVIOUR

The Scriptures teaches the following–

[5] Fallen man is in a dead and desperate state — “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:1–3, NKJV)

[6] Fallen man needs to be saved or else perish — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”” (Acts 4:12, NKJV) “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3, NKJV)

[7] Being depraved and dead in sins, fallen man cannot do anything to effect his own salvation — “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NKJV)  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5, NKJV)

[8] Because of sin, it is absolutely necessary for fallen man to experience salvation – (a free gift), if he were to have a new life and fellowship with God.

THE GREATEST TRUTH: UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATION.

  • (All men are guilty before a holy God– Jews and Gentiles alike).

Romans 3:9–18 (NKJV) — 9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.

  • NOTE: We will develop this section in the upcoming lessons.

JESUS ON THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF UNCONVERTED MEN.

Jesus spoke candidly about the present spiritual condition of unconverted men and women.

[1] When Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, Christ did not waste time, He went directly to the core issue: regeneration – “Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God. (John 3:3, AMP) “Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5, AMP)

  • “Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 171).

[2] In his encounter with Zacchaeus Jesus said, “the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost” (to apololos, Luke 19:10).

  • NOTE: In conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus implied that those who have not been born again are perishing (apollymi, John 3:16). The figurative notions of perishing and lostness connote the forfeiture of everything good and utter spiritual ruin. [Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, p. 28)

[3] Furthermore, the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11–32) graphically highlights the spiritual bankruptcy and moral degradation of unconverted rebels against the loving Father.

[4] In addition, Jesus described the present condition of the unconverted in the language of judgment or condemnation. The Lord said, “whoever does not believe stands condemned already [ede kekritai] because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

NOTE: The true believer in Jesus experiences no judgment or condemnation; but the unbeliever has been judged already (perfect tense), and thus stands under the condemnation of the holy God. [Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, p. 29)

PAUL AND THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE LOST.

The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the present condition of the lost.

[1] The unsaved are spiritually depraved. To the Ephesian Christians he wrote that formerly “you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,” (Ephesians 2:1–2, NKJV)

[2] The unsaved are alienated from God. Paul urged the Ephesians that they must “no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17–19, NKJV)

[3] Further, He reminded them to remember that they “were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God’s agreements, His covenants].” And that they had “no hope (no promise);” that they were “in the world without God.” (Ephesians 2:12, AMP)

[4] To the Colossians, He reminded them to remember that they too were once “estranged and alienated from Him [God] and were of hostile attitude of mind in their wicked activities,” (Colossians 1:21)

  • The unsaved are cut off from the fellowship and privileges of God’s people, the Ephesians [as well as Colossians], prior to their conversion had no life in God, no hope in the present, and no hope beyond the grave.

[5] The unconverted are guilty and condemned.

Unable to keep the law in its entirety, the unsaved dwell under the curse of the law (Gal 3:10).

So Paul wrote that “The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation” (katakrima, Rom 5:16), and “the result of one trespass was condemnation [katakrima] for all men” (v. 18).

[6] And so “we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph 2:3b).

[6] The unsaved are hopelessly enslaved by sin, death, and the Devil. Paul described the unconverted as “controlled by the sinful nature” (Rom 7:5), taken captive and dominated by Satan (2 Tim 2:26; 1 John 5:19), and so as a practical manner of living, “slaves to sin” (Rom 6:16–17, 20).

[7] The writer of Hebrews recognized that the unregenerate live in bondage to the fear of death (Heb 2:15).

THE FUTURE CONDITION OF THE LOST.

Consider the following Scriptural facts depicting the future condition of the lost.

[1] Certain OT poetic and wisdom texts speak about the wicked perishing or being destroyed.

  • “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1:6, NKJV) “But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the Lord, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.” (Psalm 37:20, NKJV) “For he sees wise men die; Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, And leave their wealth to others.” (Psalm 49:10, NKJV) “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.” (Psalm 73:27, NKJV)
  • Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:28–29, NKJV) “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:30, NKJV)

[2] The prophet Daniel under inspiration of the Spirit wrote that the multitudes – (many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth) — “shall awake: some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt and abhorrence.” (Daniel 12:2, AMP)

[3] Christ gave a fearful warning to the Pharisees who rejected Him — “That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be—if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24, AMP) “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28–29, NKJV)

[4] It is significant that Jesus spoke more about the sorrows of hell than of the joys of heaven. The Lord taught that the unrepentant or unsaved would be consigned to gehenna, the place of eschatological punishment (Matt 10:28; 23:33; Luke 12:5).

[5] He constantly spoke of Hell and the ‘everlasting punishment’ — “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, NKJV) — [For Further Study Read: Matt 5:22; 18:9; Mark 9:43; Matt 25:41, 46; Mark 9:48; Matt 25:18:8)

[6] He candidly described hell as a place of “darkness” (Matt 8:12; 22:13), a fiery furnace (Matt 13:42, 50; cf. 5:22; 13:30; 18:8–9; 25:41; Mark 9:43, 48), and a place where the worm never dies (Mark 9:48).

[7] Paul, in strong and harsh language, wrote that “the Lord Jesus [will be]  revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–10, NKJV)

[8] The apostle John, in a foreboding vision of the future, saw the dead in resurrected bodies standing before the Great White Throne. The books containing the record of human deeds were opened, and each person was judged according to what was written therein. John’s concluding words are hauntingly sober: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

[9] John explained that “The lake of fire is the second death” (v. 14)—i.e., the state of agonizing exclusion from the presence of God (Matt 22:13).

[10] Jesus told us that the second death is an event more fearful than the death of the body — “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.(Matthew 10:28, NKJV)

[11] John then added that “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8, NKJV)

[12] In graphic language, John describe the punishment of all those who will not heed the Three Angel’s Messages of Revelation 14 – (God’s Last Message of love to this dying world). Listen to this: “he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”” (Revelation 14:10–11, NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: Beloved, let me finish by restating the facts we began with: The reality of Sin. Sin is the ultimate human problem, for which divine salvation is the only solution. Sin cuts humanity off from God. Sin makes a separation between us and God. Sin enslaves humanity to evil. Sin results in universal condemnation and ultimate death –the second death!

Because of sin, unconverted fallen man faces the judgment of God. He experiences moral corruption, estrangement from God, forfeiture of eternal life, and everlasting punishment. His only Hope is Jesus.

THE GOSPEL’S VOICE: Beloved, only Jesus Christ can save us! Before He was born the Angel clearly stated His mission: Salvation. “She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].” (Matthew 1:21, AMP) – [cf. Acts 4:12; 15:11; Eph. 2:8–10].

His whole purpose in coming into the world was salvation — “The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15, AMP). Christ purchased [this great salvation] by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross of Calvary (Heb. 5:8, 9; 9:12).

The only merit upon which a sinner may be saved is Christ’s merit (Rom. 5:18, 19). Even the act of faith (Acts 16:31; Rom. 5:1), by which a man reaches out and receives Christ, is a divine gift, given on the ground of His righteousness (Eph. 2:8; Phil 1:29; 2 Pet. 1:1).

Beloved the message of salvation, the Cross, our need for the Saviour is the Gospel! “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NKJV)

BENEFITS OF CHRIST’S SALVATION.

Before we close, I want to give you 5 reasons why we need Christ’s salvation.

[1] The salvation which Christ imparts to His people will save us from the wrath to come — “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9, NKJV). [For Further Study Read Romans 1:18–32]

  • Here is what the unsaved will say on that great day:“And they called to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on (before) us and hide us from the face of Him, Who sits on the throne and from the deep-seated indignation and wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of His wrath (vengeance, retribution, indignation) has come, and who is able to stand before it? (Revelation 6:16–17, AMP)
  • [Contrast this with the JOY of those who will be saved — Isa 25:9; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Tim. 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Jam 5:7- 8; Rev 1:7; 22:20]

[2] It gives us a new legal standing with God: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1, NKJV).

[3] It gives us God’s precious promises, and makes us partakers of the divine nature — God “has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them we may escape the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

[4] It renewing us after the image of God, thus we “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24). We become “renewed and remolded” into fuller and more perfect knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created us.” (Col. 3:10)

[5] It assures us of eternity with Christ in the heaven He has gone to prepare — “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1–3, NKJV)

Beloved, if this text (John 14:1–3) does not persuade us to respond to Jesus and His salvation, I don’t know what else would. This is the gospel friends. What is the gospel? The good news of Jesus Christ? What is so unique about Jesus? Well, as the text says: He wants to save us, He wants to be with us, be with us forever in Heaven. It doesn’t get better that that.

We have shown you from the scriptures the problem of sin, the impending judgment, the need for the Saviour, and the solution of the sin problem-Jesus Christ. We do not respond to Jesus because of the fear of hell; His wrath (vengeance, retribution, indignation) –No.  But because of His wondrous love towards us; the facts the “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? [1] Believe that the Son of Man has been lifted up (on the cross) for you and me; [2] Look up to Him. Trusts in Him, clings to Him, relies on Him for your salvation, and the promise is sure –You shall not perish! [3] Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and “you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, NKJV) [4] Confess the Lord Jesus: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NKJV)

Have a Blessed Day:  “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22, NKJV)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guide/ Core Doctrines/ Salvation/ An Introduction to Soteriology: (The doctrine of salvation) Part 1/ Lesson # 5.