Man, salvation of, overview

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To save man from eternal death and restore him to eternal life, two things needed to be done for him:

  • Firstly, his guilt, by sinning against God, had to be dealt with. Sin needed to be punished fully; this could only be done by a perfectly righteous person dying on his behalf, so that he could once again stand before God as if he had never sinned.
  • Secondly his character needed to be changed into the likeness of Christ to enable him to walk in holiness hence forth


  1. He took man’s guilt upon himself and was fully punished therefore by His sacrificial death on the cross

God the Father, being a God of love, wanted to forgive man his sins and renew his spirit but He could not do so, because simply condoning sin would make him an accomplice to sin. Sin had to be punished before the sinner could be forgiven and accepted back into the presence of God.

God the Son offered to bear this terrible punishment on man’s behalf.

By becoming a man, like Adam but living a perfectly holy life on earth, Jesus qualified to be God’s spotless Lamb to bear the burden of sin for the rest of mankind.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the sin of all mankind of all ages was poured onto him as if through a huge funnel.

The Father accepted the offer of his Son and bore witness to that by resurrecting him from the grave.

In this way Jesus gained for man both benefits mentioned in A above.

But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isa 53:5,6).

Having put an end to the handwriting of the law which was against us, taking it out of the way by nailing it to his cross; (Col 2:14).

“Handwriting of the Law” can also be translated as “written indictment” or “account of our guilt” or “the list of Laws which we broke”. The cross crossed it out.

He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. (1Pe 2:24).

  1. He took man’s sinful character with him on the cross, putting it to death when He died and when He rose from the grave, man was spiritually resurrected with him as a brand new man in the likeness of Christ himself.

 I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. (Gal 2:20).  

 buried with Him in baptism, in whom also you were raised through the faith of the working of God, raising Him from the dead. (Col 2:12)  

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, (Eph 2:4-6). 

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. (Col 3:1).


  1. By Removing Man’s Guilt, He Enabled The Father To Declare Sinners Righteous Which Is Called “Justification

(“Righteous” could also be translated as “In right standing with God”. Justification is dealt with very briefly here.)

The Father can now declare a sinner’s sin to be forgiven.

for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, (Rom 3:23-25).

And He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And Jehovah said to Satan, May Jehovah rebuke you, Satan! May even Jehovah who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy clothes, and stood before the Angel. And He answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy clothes from him. And to him He said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with ceremonial robes. (Zec 3:1-4).

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:19).

By Adam’s single act of disobedience, all of mankind are reckoned as sinners; by Jesus single act of obedience, dying for our sins on the cross, all of mankind are reckoned as just (This of course applies only to those that accept his offer).

  1. The Father can also declare A Sinner’s Inner Man (Heart/Spirit) to be renewed in the likeness of Christ

Man’s spirit is, at the same time, when he surrenders himself unconditionally to God, radically changed by the impartation of God’s character to him which is called the new birth. (See the following chapter).

  1. Forgiven and renewed, man stands before the Father as brand-new creation.

It is as if man changed places with Christ. Christ took man’s place on the cross, bearing his punishment and sinful character, and man stepped into his shoes and walked away without guilt and inwardly renewed to be exactly like Christ. When the Father looks at the redeemed man walking down the road, He sees the image of his Son.

  1. Justification Is Firstly Concerned With Man’s Legal Stand Before God.

This is very important to understand.

Justification is like a king adopting a street urchin as a son into his royal family, bestowing on him all the benefits enjoyed by his other sons. He will bear the King’s surname and be issued with a certificate to that effect, stating the king to be his father. This is a final legal binding step.

Looking at him, all filthy and in rags, people on the sidewalk may despise him until he shows the certificate he is holding in his hand which states that he is a prince, the son of such and such king.

[Do you believe that God can do this for you in a moment’s time?]

This little street child will now be driven to the palace in the royal limousine, washed from head to toe,  clothed in royal robes, eat at the king’s table together with the other members of the royal family, have a room of his own in the palace, be honoured and protected by the royal guards, sit down and converse with the king, etc.

All these things come afterwards, but firstly comes the adoption, that is the legal transaction which happens in the twinkling of an eye when the king signs his legal certificate of adoption. This is a binding document and even the king will be bound by law to abide by it.