What Is Salvation?

by Oscar M. Baker
    Man has his ideas of what salvation is, what he is saved from and what he is saved to. The Word reveals what God has to say about salvation, what from and what to. Somehow, the two lines of thought are not parallel. Man and God do not seem to agree on these matters.
Man has set up what he thinks is the penalty for sin, and then expects God to save him from it. God has revealed that man is in bondage to sin and there is a way provided by which man can be released from or saved from bondage. But man will not have it that way. He likes the bondage and would not have that part changed, but he wants to be saved from what he thinks is the penalty for sin. So instead of the ideas of man and God being parallel, they cross. The result is that man spurns Gods salvation and invents one of his own.
We do not have to look far these days to see evidence of what we just said. Man has made a church in imitation of Gods church. This man made church is sort of fire insurance company or organization. He imagines if anyone joins his church, that person is safe from the penalty of sin. In a large measure this church has taken the place of Christ and is the mediator between man and God. So it is by the church man thinks he can approach God.
Now the bondage of sin is not just confined to its dominion over him in life, but the prison house of death is also a part of the bondage. So salvation is not only release or redemption from bondage in this life, but is also a release or resurrection from the prison house of death.
Salvation is not complete without resurrection. Some kindhearted men have been repulsed by the invention they have made of the penalty for sin, and still under the sway of the lie of Satan concerning immortality, they have made a new plan to escape the penalty of sin. They claim that all men will be resurrected or saved. This is known as universal salvation. But it is only Christ's church, the saved ones, that the gates of hell or the grave (the prison house) will not be able to hold.
Man's idea of salvation also includes works in some form or other. There is always something to do to be saved. Whereas God's plan from the beginning has been a salvation by grace. There has never been any other way. The blood of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world was just as efficacious in prospect for Adam as it is in retrospect for you and me today. God's plan and a way of salvation has never changed. We might add that sin has never changed either. There are no dispensational aspects to these fundamental facts.
Man vainly dreams that he can make his flesh, the old nature, fit for the presence of God, and that by doing good he can obtain he can attain unto salvation. But this old nature is not in the realm of spirit and never can be. If one does not have the new nature, the spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Now the question you have to face is this. Are you saved according to God's plan or are trying to do the impossible yourself?