Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
Perhaps the best way to open this discussion is to ask what does it mean to be saved? To be a Christian and to be saved are the same thing. Go with me to the book of Acts where we read, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
Those who received the preaching and teaching of the apostles were baptized and continued in the doctrine taught them (Acts 2:41-42). Remember that Peter was sent to Cornelius’ house to tell him words that would save him and all his house. Following the message by Peter, the Holy Ghost fell on the congregation and then they were baptized (Acts 10:48). In other words, they became Christians.
Being saved is another way of stating there has been a definite lifestyle change. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:11-13). There are several points of interest in this scripture selection.
Salvation comes by grace, thus telling us it is God’s work and not ours. You can’t earn it, you can’t buy it, it only comes by grace – this means it is undeserved.
Secondly, there is a change that occurs in a person’s daily life. He acts differently, talks differently, because he is different. A Christian is a “new creature” (II Cor. 5:17). This all happens because of what occurred at Calvary. Jesus died for our sins so we could be set free from the power of sin.
Dying for us, however, was not good enough. Paul stated clearly, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:24-25). The point I am making is that there had to be something more than dying, there had to be a resurrection. Jesus died for our sins but was raised again for our justification. This is the act of declaring man free from the guilt of sin. We are justified by Christ’s rising from the dead and by His possessing the keys of death and hell. As a result, death has no power over our soul and spirit, only our body. We even read of a day when even that power will also be broken. As we go through the Easter season this year, please remember the real reason for this holiday.
Jesus arose from the grave, breaking the power of death, and making a way for our justification before God Almighty.