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In religion, salvation is the concept that God or other Higher Power, as part of Divine Providence, saves humanity from spiritual death or Eternal Damnation by providing for them an eternal life (cf. afterlife). The world's religions agree that humanity needs salvation from its present condition. However, they hold irreconcilable positions on what it means from an eternal perspective to become saved, the actual way to get saved, and the resources needed to attain salvation.[1]

The theological study of salvation is called soteriology. It covers the means by which salvation is effected or achieved, and its results.[2] Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or "redemption" from sin and its effects.

Some religions claim that salvation can be attained by using only inner human resources such as meditation, accumulation of wisdom, asceticism, rituals, or good deeds. Other religions teach that humans can be saved only through the grace granted by an external personal agent (God, a bodhisattva, an avatar, etc.) One’s duty is to recognize the impossibility of being saved by one's own efforts, and therefore accept grace unconditionally.[1]

The pantheistic religions of the East regard salvation as an impersonal merging with the Absolute. In contrast, the three largest monotheistic religions of the world─Judaism, Christianity and Islam─associate salvation with freedom from the bondage of sin and the reestablishment of personal communication with the creator. There are some basic differences among those monotheistic religions on how sin is to be overcome by humans, on the identity of Jesus Christ and the role he plays in salvation, and what one's attitude toward him should be.[1]



The word "salvation" in the Christian sense originates from O.Fr. salvaciun, from L.L. salvationem (nom. salvatio, a Church L. translation of Gk. soteria), noun of action from salvare "to save". In the general, non-religious sense, from c.1374.[3]


World religions scholar and author Ernest Valea provides a succinct summary of salvation according to Judaism.[1] In the Book of Genesis, first book of the Old Testament, God called a man named Abraham ("Abram" at the time) to leave his father's household in Mesopotamia for an unknown land. God promised Abraham that he would become the ancestor of a blessed nation. Although the odds seemed strongly against Abraham, he trusted God completely. Because of his attitude called faith, God took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars─if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.[Gen 15:5-6] Israel is the nation born out of Abraham. Through Israel God intended to make himself known in the world and correct wrong patterns in addressing him. Although all nations had priests, offerings and temples, God considered all of that ritualism to be wrong and in need of correction.[1]

The Book of Exodus, the second book in the Old Testament, tells how God regained Israel from Egyptian slavery (chapters 1-19), presented to them the law they should live by (chapters 20-24), and prescribed the way to deal with trespasses of the law (sin) through the office of the tabernacle (chapters 25-40) which later was replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem. God instituted the Mosaic Law as a covenant with his people after redeeming the nation from slavery. God expected the liberated Israelites to obey him and to live according to the demands of the law in order to have a right relationship with God.[19:5] It was of primary importance to God that the people obey his law. When the people sinned by trespassing of the law, God provided a means of atonement as a solution for repairing their failures in fulfilling God's demands. They were to bring sacrifices to the tabernacle, and later to the temple, to atone for their trespasses and as a reminder of their total dependence on God.

In the Old Testament, according to Valea, the condition for maintaining a proper relation with God was obeying and conforming to the standards he had revealed. Sacrifices were not necessary for God, but for the sake of sinful people as the solution for trespassing God's law. The Israelites learned that any trespasses of the Mosaic law is a sin, and any sin demands a sacrifice in order that God, the giver of the law, could forgive the sinner. The sacrificial system was added to the covenant with Israel (in Exodus 20-24), as a "further grace." The punishment for sin had to be borne by an innocent animal as a substitute for the sinner.

Valea says this way of dealing with sins is considered "absurd" in the Eastern religions. To them, nothing can act as a substitute sacrifice in the context where karma operates. Each sinner must pay for one's own sins either in this life or in further lives. But in Judaism, sins are forgiven only through the blood of the animal sacrificed in the ritual performed by the priest. The animal became the substitute for the individual sinner to fulfill God's justice.


At the heart of Christian faith is the reality and hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Christian faith is faith in the God of salvation revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian tradition has always equated this salvation with the transcendent, eschatological fulfillment of human existence in a life freed from sin, finitude, and mortality and united with the triune God. This is perhaps the non-negotiable item of Christian faith. What has been a matter of debate is the relation between salvation and our activities in the world.

Anselm Kyongsuk Min[4]:p.79

Sons of Core

The Christian perspective on salvation is that no one can merit the grace of God by performing rituals, good deeds, asceticism or meditation, because grace is the result of one's initiative. To be forgiven and brought back into a personal relationship with God, it is not enough that the grace of God exists as potential solution. It must be claimed personally by the sinful person. The recognition of one’s sinful state, followed by acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, is called repentance. Repentance in the New Testament has a wider meaning than simply regretting the mistakes of the past. "When the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, repentance meant to be sorry for rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior,[Acts 2:22-37] accompanied by a subsequent change of mentality. The same change in attitude toward Jesus is required today. Christianity teaches that he is not a mere man, a prophet, a guru or something similar, but the savior of the world, the only "name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."[Acts 4:12] Only then can the atoning death of Christ become an actual solution for one’s sins.[1]

According to Christian theologian Frank Stagg, salvation is rooted in the grace of God. "For bankrupt sinners with no ground of their own upon which to stand, with nothing of their own upon which to stand, with nothing of their own to hold up to God for [one's] reward, it is their only hope, but it is their sufficient hope."[5]:80

The Bible presents salvation in the form of a story that describes the outworking of God's eternal plan to deal with the problem of human sin. The story is set against the background of the history of God's people and reaches its climax in the person and work of Christ. The Old Testament part of the story shows that people are sinners by nature, and describes a series of covenants by which God sets people free and makes promises to them. His plan includes the promise of blessing for all nations through Abraham and the redemption of Israel from every form of bondage. God showed his saving power throughout Israel's history, but he also spoke about a Messianic figure who would save all people from the power, guilt, and penalty of sin. This role was fulfilled by Jesus, who will ultimately destroy all the devil's work, including suffering, pain, and death.[1 Jn 3:8]

Macmillan Dictionary of the Bible.[6]

According to the New Testament, this salvation is a gift from God that anyone may receive by exercising faith in Christ and repenting for their sin.[Acts 20:21]

Some of the benefits of this salvation are that people become "new creations in Christ,"[2 Cor 5:17] their sins are forgiven, they receive eternal life and become children of God. They also receive the Holy Spirit, who enables them to live a new life based on God's requirements and to spread the gospel to others.[Acts 1:8] [2:38]

In Christianity, the human problem is sin that causes suffering in this life but may lead to eternal suffering in the next life. According to Christian teachings, God is good, perfect, and just, and so sin by its nature prevents a right relationship with God. Therefore, sinners cannot enjoy the full benefits of knowing God in this life, such as peace, comfort and help in times of trouble. They also cannot spend eternity in God's presence, meaning that their soul will either be annihilated at death or will suffer eternally in the state or place known as Hell.[7]

Christianity claims to offer "good news," and this good news is that it is possible to be saved (attain salvation) from sin and its terrible consequences. The solution, then, is salvation from sin, temporal suffering, and eternal suffering.

According to Christianity, eternal life is not the annihilation of soul and personhood, but an embodied existence of perfect and eternal communion with God.[1]

According to Christian belief, salvation is made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, which in the context of salvation is referred to as the "atonement."[7] Jesus died to take away the sin of the world.[Jn 1:29] His resurrection vindicates his death and his victory is confirmed by his exaltation to God's throne. For this reason, the New Testament portrays Jesus as the only Saviour of human beings,[Acts 4:12] and the early church regarded his salvation as a message for everyone, Gentiles as well as Jews.[Acts 13:47] [6]

Salvation is a process that begins when a person first becomes a Christian, continues through that person's life, and is completed when one stands before Christ in judgment. Therefore, according to Catholic apologist James Akin, the faithful Christian can say in faith and hope, "I have been saved; I am being saved; and I will be saved."[8]

Christian salvation concepts are varied and complicated by certain theological concepts, traditional beliefs, and dogmas. Scripture is subject to individual and ecclesiastical interpretations. Therefore, Christian soteriology ranges from exclusive salvation[9]:p.123 to universal reconciliation[10] concepts. While some of the differences are as widespread as Christianity itself, the overwhelming majority agrees that salvation is made possible by the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying on the cross.

The purpose of salvation is debated (compare purpose of life), but in general most theologians agree that God devised and implemented His plan of salvation because He loves them regards human beings as His children. Since human existence on Earth is said to be "[given] to sin,"[Jn 8:34] salvation also has connotations that deal with the liberation[11] of human beings from sin, and therefore also the inevitable suffering associated with the punishment of sin—i.e., "the wages of sin is death."[Rom. 6:23]

Bible passages

The New International Version of the New Testament contains 138 verses that with the words "salvation" (45), "save" (41) or "saved" (52). The following are some of the New Testament passages most cited in this regard:

  • Belief and baptism:
    • "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."[Mk. 16:16]
    • "…all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."[Rom. 6:3-5]
    • "Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented."[Mt. 3:15]
    • "In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."[Jn. 3:3]
    • "After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized."[Jn. 3:22]
    • "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God".[1Peter 1:23]
  • Belief in Jesus:
    • "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."[Jn. 3:16]
    • "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved."[Ac. 4:12]
  • Born again: "Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again…Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.'"[Jn. 3:3-5]
  • Confession and belief:
    • "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."[Rom. 10:9-10]
    • "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."[Rom. 10:13]
  • Gift of God through Christ:
    • "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."[Rom. 6:23]
    • "...And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."[Gen. 22:14] Calvary
  • Forgiving others necessary: "If you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.[Matt. 6:14-15]
  • God's love:
    • "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."[Rom. 5:8]
    • "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."[Eph. 2:4-5]
    • "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…."[Titus 3:4-6]
  • Judged by works: "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and everyone was judged according to what they had done."[Rev. 20:12-13] [12]
  • Repentance and baptism: "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"[Acts 2:38]
  • Salvation and works: "You see that people are justified by what they do and not by faith alone."[Jas. 2:24] This verse and the surrounding passage is disputed, centering primarily on the meaning of the word justified.[13]
  • Salvation by God's Grace, not by works:
    • "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."[Eph. 2:8-9]
    • "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."[Titus 3:5-7]
    • "When the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love towards us, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."[Titus 3:4-7]
  • Salvation as an ongoing process: "To us who are being saved, (the word of the cross) is the power of God."[1 Cor 1:18][14]
  • Salvation as yet to be obtained: "Since, therefore, we are now justified by (Christ's) blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."[Rom. 5:9]
  • Salvation as a narrow path: "Wide is the gate, and broad the way, that leads to destruction, and many go in there: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it....[Mt. 7:13-14]
  • Sin separates humanity from God.
    • "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."[Rom. 3:23]
    • "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...." [Rom. 5:12]

Roman Catholicism

Instead of salvation being conditional upon sin, Roman Catholicism has long attached the belief in Jesus the Christ to the concept of salvation itself, and for non-Christians has asserted various "dispensations" ranging from "eternal hell" to 'salvation conditional upon conversion.' Catholic controversies regarding universalists, such as Origen, are notable events in Church history, and have typically resulted in the proclamation of Catholicism being the "one true faith," along with dispensationalist concepts.

Catholics profess belief that Jesus the Christ brought about redemption from sin and assert that salvation is possible only in the Roman Catholic Church. [15][16][17] This doctrine remains, but is not always articulated in such clear language. Modern teaching usually uses language similar to the following: Jesus was a divine sacrifice who brought about "redemption for all mankind" (cf. Redemptoris Missio).

Roman Catholics believe[18] "Man stands in need of salvation from God,"[19] and "Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him."[19] It was for our salvation that "God loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins; the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world, and he was revealed to take away sins."[20] "By his death (Jesus, the Son of God) has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men."[21]

Roman Catholicism teaching on justification is the principal cause of division from Protestantism, and holds a soul is justified "by reason of a perfect act of charity elicited by a well disposed sinner or by virtue of the Sacrament either of Baptism or of Penance."[22] This condition can be appropriated by proxy, in recognition of the faith of a qualified sponsor, and is held to be effected by an actual change in the recipient's heart, that of the infused love of God, so that the justified are not only reputed to be righteous, "but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us".[23]

A further teaching is that this justification can be increased by doing works enabled by the grace of God dispensed through Roman Catholic sacraments, and which grace includes that of the merits of saints.[24] Such works of faith are also held to help merit eternal life. Regarding those who cooperated with such grace, Trent concludes that,"nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life."[25] Canon 32 similarly states, "If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema."[26]

Jesus has provided the Church with "the fullness of the means of salvation which [the Father] has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession".[27] Baptism is necessary for salvation,[28] and is sufficient for those who die as children and those permanently deprived of their use of reason.[29] The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn."[30] But these are not the only sacraments of importance for salvation: "The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation."[31] This holds especially for the Eucharist. "Every time this mystery is celebrated, the work of our redemption is carried on and we break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ."[32]

At the same time, however, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that through the graces Jesus won for humanity by sacrificing himself on the cross, salvation is possible even for those outside the visible boundaries of the Church. Christians and even non-Christians, if in life they respond positively to the grace and truth that God reveals to them through the mercy of Christ may be saved. This may include awareness of an obligation to become part of the Catholic Church. In such cases, "they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it."[33] Catholics believe that people, even those who are not explicitly Christian, have the moral law written in their hearts, according to Jeremiah 31:33 (prophecy of new covenant): "I will write my law on their hearts." St. Justin wrote that those who have not accepted Christ but follow the moral law of their hearts (logos) follow God, because it is God who has written the moral law in each person's heart. Though he may not explicitly recognize it, he has the spirit of Christ. St. Thomas Aquinas, the premier theologian in the Catholic Church, explains this paradox as follows. If a person lives according to the natural law written on his heart, God will send him a means of knowing the truth by either natural or supernatural means; that is, he will send a missionary to teach him the faith or even an angel, if necessary.[34]

The Church expressly teaches that "it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of God" (Singulari Quadam), that "outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control" (Singulari Quidem), that "they who labor in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion and who, zealously keeping the natural law and its precepts engraved in the hearts of all by God, and being ready to obey God, live an honest and upright life, can, by the operating power of divine light and grace, attain eternal life" (Quanto Conficiamur Moerore).

Eastern Christianity

Eastern Christianity was much less influenced by Augustine, and even less so by either Calvin or Arminius. Consequently, it doesn't just have different answers, but asks different questions; it generally views salvation in less legalistic terms (grace, punishment, and so on) and in more medical terms (sickness, healing etc.), and with less exacting precision. Instead, it views salvation more along the lines of theosis, a seeking to become holy or draw closer to God, a concept that has been developed over the centuries by many different Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Christians. It also stresses Jesus' teaching about forgiveness in Matthew 6:14-15: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." See also Sermon on the Mount.

The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church, known also as The Catechism of St. Philaret [35] includes the questions and answers: "155. To save men from what did (the Son of God) come upon earth? From sin, the curse, and death." "208. How does the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross deliver us from sin, the curse, and death? That we may the more readily believe this mystery, the Word of God teaches us of it, so much as we may be able to receive, by the comparison of Jesus Christ with Adam. Adam is by nature the head of all humanity, which is one with him by natural descent from him. Jesus Christ, in whom the Godhead is united with manhood, graciously made himself the new almighty Head of men, whom he unites to himself through faith. Therefore as in Adam we had fallen under sin, the curse, and death, so we are delivered from sin, the curse, and death in Jesus Christ. His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death.

Orthodox theology teaches prevenient grace, meaning that God makes the first movement toward man, and that salvation is impossible from our own will alone. However, man is endowed with free will, and an individual can either accept or reject the grace of God. Thus an individual must cooperate with God's grace to be saved, though he can claim no credit of his own, as any progress he makes is possible only by the grace of God.


Broadly speaking, Protestants hold to the five solas of the Reformation which declare salvation to be by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone.

  • Some Protestants understand this to mean that God saves solely by grace and that works follow as a necessary consequence of saving grace (see Lordship salvation).
  • Others rigidly believe that salvation is accomplished by faith alone without any reference to works whatsoever (see Free Grace theology).
  • Still others believe that salvation is by faith alone but that salvation can be forfeited if it is not accompanied by continued faith and the works that naturally follow from it.
  • Karl Barth notes a range of alternative themes: forensic (we are guilty of a crime, and Christ takes the punishment), financial (we are indebted to God, and Christ pays our debt) and cultic (Christ makes a sacrifice on our behalf). For various cultural reasons, the oldest themes (honor and sacrifice) prove to have more depth than the more modern ones (payment of a debt, punishment for a crime). But in all these alternatives, the understanding of atonement has the same structure. Human beings owe something to God that we cannot pay. Christ pays it on our behalf. Thus God remains both perfectly just (insisting on a penalty) and perfectly loving (paying the penalty himself). A great many Christians would define such a substitutionary view of the atonement as simply part of what orthodox Christians believe.[36]

Debates about how Christ saves us have tended to divide Protestants into conservatives who defended some form of substitutionary atonement theory and liberals who were more apt to accept a kind of moral influence theory. Both those approaches were about 900 years old. Recently, new accounts of Christ's salvific work have been introduced or reintroduced, and the debates have generally grown angrier, at least from the liberal side. Those who defended substitutionary atonement were always ready to dismiss their opponents as heretics; now some of their opponents complain that a focus on substitutionary atonement leads to violence against women and to child abuse.

William C. Placher[36]


Shortly after 1100, Anselm, appointed as archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a classic treatise about substitutionary atonement. In it he puts forward the "satisfaction theory" of the Atonement. Man's offense of rebellion against God is one that demands a payment or satisfaction. Fallen man is incapable of making adequate satisfaction. Nevertheless, such is God's love that God will not simply abandon us (at least not all of us) to the consequences of our sins. Anselm wrote, "This debt was so great that, while none but man must solve the debt, none but God was able to do it; so that he who does it must be both God and man." The suffering of Christ, the God-man who is God's only son, pays off what human beings owe to God's honor, and we are thereby reconciled to God.

So God took human nature upon Himself so that a perfect man might make perfect satisfaction and so restore the human race. The success of his work may be gauged by the fact that many Christians today not only accept his way of explaining the Atonement, but are simply unaware that there is any other way.[36]


Calvinists are theologically conservative Protestant Christians whose foundational approach to Christian life and thought somewhat parallel those articulated by John Calvin, a French Protestant Reformer of the 16th century. They adhere to Lordship salvation.[37] They believe in Predestination of the "elect" before the foundation of the world. All of the elect necessarily persevere in faith because God keeps them from falling away. Thus, the Calvinist system is called monergism because God alone acts to bring about salvation. Calvinists further understand the doctrines of salvation to include the five points of Calvinism, typically arranged to form the acrostic "TULIP."[38] All five contrast sharply with Arminianism:[37]

  • Total Inability (Radical and Pervasive Depravity). Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not—indeed he cannot—choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ—it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation—it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.[37]
  • Unconditional (Sovereign, Divine) Election. God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.[37]
  • Limited (Definite) Atonement (Particular Redemption). Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation.[37]
  • Irresistible (Effectual, Saving) Grace. In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.[37]
  • Perseverance (of God) with the Saints. All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.[37]


Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity. It is based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609). Like Calvinists, Arminians agree that all people are born sinful and are in need of salvation. However, they believe that each person can successfully resist God's offer of salvation. Some believe that a person can lose his or her salvation if one does not maintain it by continued faith in Jesus. The Arminian emphasis on free will, or more properly free choice, is important in salvation. If one has free choice, each individual can choose to accept or reject the gift of salvation. The fact that an individual is baptized or associates with other Christians does not mean that he or she has accepted salvation.

The five points of Arminianism:

  • Free-Will or Human Ability. The serious effects of The Fall did not leave humanity in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with individual freedom, and eternal destiny depends on how it is used. Free will permits choice in spiritual matters. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God's Spirit and be regenerated or to resist God's grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit's assistance, but does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before one can believe. Faith is an individual act, precedes the new birth, and is the sinner's contribution to salvation.[37]
  • Conditional Election. God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what each individual would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from the will of each person. It is left entirely up to each as to who would believe, and therefore as to who would be elected by God for salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner's choice of Christ, not God's choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.[37]
  • Universal Redemption or General Atonement. Christ's redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death on the cross enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually absolve anyone's sins. Christ's redemption becomes effective only if the individual chooses to accept it.[37]
  • The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted. The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But because of free will, one can successfully resist the Spirit's call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until without belief through faith. Thus, free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ's saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God's grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted.[37]
  • Falling from Grace. Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc. This point is still a subject of some debate among Arminians, some of whom have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ—that a sinner once regenerated can never be lost.[37]


Universalists agree with both Calvinists and Arminians that everyone is born in sin and in need of salvation. They also believe that one is saved by Jesus Christ. However, they emphasize that judgment in hell upon sinners is of limited duration, and that God uses judgment to bring sinners to repentance.[39]

Churches of Christ

See also: Churches of Christ

Churches of Christ are strongly anti-Calvinist in their understanding of salvation, and generally present conversion as "obedience to the proclaimed facts of the gospel rather than as the result of an emotional, Spirit-initiated conversion."[40]:215

Churches of Christ hold the view that humans of accountable age are lost because of their sins.[41]:124 These lost souls can be redeemed because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice.[41]:124 Children too young to understand right from wrong, and make a conscious choice between the two, are believed to be innocent of sin.[41]:124[42]:107 The age when this occurs is generally believed to be around 13.[42]:107

Churches of Christ generally teach that the process of salvation involves the following steps:[43]

  1. One must be properly taught, and hear (Rom. 10:17, Matt. 7:24)
  2. One must believe or have faith (Heb. 11:6, Mk. 16:15-16)
  3. One must repent, which means turning from one's former lifestyle and choosing God's ways (Acts 2:38, 17:30, Luke 13:3)
  4. One must confess belief that Jesus is the son of God (Matthew 10:32-33; Acts 8:36-37)
  5. One must be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Romans 6:3-5; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16)
  6. One must remain faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10).

Beginning in the 1960s, many preachers began placing more emphasis on the role of grace in salvation, instead of focusing exclusively implementing all of the New Testament commands and examples.[44]:152,153 This was not an entirely new approach, as others had actively "affirmed a theology of free and unmerited grace," but it did represent a change of emphasis with grace becoming "a theme that would increasingly define this tradition."[44]:153

Because of the belief that baptism is a necessary part of salvation, some Baptists hold that the Churches of Christ endorse the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.[45] However, members of the Churches of Christ reject this, arguing that since faith and repentance are necessary, and that the cleansing of sins is by the blood of Christ through the grace of God, baptism is not an inherently redeeming ritual.[45][46]:133[47]:630,631 One author describes the relationship between faith and baptism this way, "Faith is the reason why a person is a child of God; baptism is the time at which one is incorporated into Christ and so becomes a child of God" (italics are in the source).[48]:170 Baptism is understood as a confessional expression of faith and repentance,[48]:179-182 rather than a "work" that earns salvation.[48]:170

Emerging church, liberal theology, and liberation theology

Within the emerging church and various branches of liberal or progressive Christianity, there are a number of different views on the meaning of salvation. This is largely related to post-modern views on Christianity as a dialogue rather than a set of doctrines. Salvation can mean a salvific personal and/or social deliverance from the effects of structural (social) or personal sins. In this context, salvation could mean anything from participation in a glorious afterlife—which is generally a less-commonly held belief in these circles—to a kind of liberation similar to that in Hinduism or Buddhism, to the repair of interpersonal relationships, to societal deliverance into a future perfect world (i.e., the New Jerusalem or the Reign of God), and even to such concepts as gay liberation, women's liberation, the raising up of the oppressed and marginalized, or the equal distribution of goods. Any or all of these views are likely to be held and debated within the emerging church.[citation needed]


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defines the term salvation in two distinct ways, based on the teachings of their modern-day prophet Joseph Smith, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. The general Christian belief that salvation means returning to the presence of God and Jesus Christ is similar to the way the word is used in the Book of Mormon, wherein the prophet Amulek teaches that through the "great and last sacrifice" of the Son of God, "he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; ... to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice;" (Alma 34:14-16)



"Salvation" in Islam refers to the eventual entrance to heaven. The word does not cover the possible entry to hellfire, or the different levels of hellfire and heaven. The Quran teaches that the only thing guaranteeing no salvation is a disbelief in the “One God”; associating others with God,

Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.[Qur'an 4:48]

The above verse is referring to the forgiveness in the hereafter. Those who die believing not in the “One God” do not receive salvation.

Those who die believing in the “One God”, but disbelieving in his message (Islam), are left to his will; God might forgive them, or might not.

Those who die believing in the “One God” and his message “Islam” receive salvation. Narrated Anas that Mohammad said,

Whoever said "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah" and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a barley grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah" and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a wheat grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah" and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of an atom will be taken out of Hell.
—Prophet Mohammad Sahih al-Bukhari 1:2:42

A person who becomes a Muslim must testify that "none has the right to be worshiped but Allah" indicating the belief in the One God, and "Mohammad is Allah's Apostle" indicating the belief in God's message.

Islam teaches that if one wishes to enter heaven, and avoid hellfire completely, one must believe in the "One God", and obey him following his message. There is no other way. The Quran states,

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).[Qur'an 3:85]

Belief in the “One God”

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. [Qur'an 112:1-4]

Belief in the “One God”, also known as the Tawheed (التَوْحيدْ) in Arabic, is broken into two parts (or principals):

  1. Tawheedo Al Ruboobeeya ( تَوْحيدُ الرُبوبِيَّة): Believing in the attributes of God and attributing them to no other but God. Such attributes include Creation, having no beginning, and having no end. These attributes are what make a God. Islam also teaches 99 names for God, and each of these names defines one attribute. One breaks this principle, for example, by believing in an Idol as an intercessor to God. The idol, in this case, is thought of having powers that only God should have, thereby breaking this part of Tawheed. No intercession is required to communicate with, or worship, God.
  2. Tawheedo Al Ilooheeya (تَوْحيدُ الإِلوهيَّة): Directing worship, prayer, or deed to God, and God only. For example, Worshiping a planet, or God along with a creation, or multiple Gods, breaks this principle, and consequently breaks the Tawheed.

Tawheedo Al Ruboobeeya is seen to “imply” Tawheedo Al Ilooheeya, because it is seen that that who has the attributes of a God deserves to be worshiped.

Some Muslim scholars break the Tawheed into further parts by breaking Tawheedo Al Ruboobeeya into multiple parts putting emphases on some of the attributes of God that they see being vastly ignored, or forgotten, in their respective times. Many scholars, for example, state a third principle, Tawheedo Al Asma'a (تَوْحيدُ الأَسْماءْ) which explicitly states the belief in the names of God. Other scholars state another principal, Tawheedo Al Hukmee (تَوْحيدُ الحُكْم), which explicitly states the belief in the Governance Attribute of God, emphasizing this attribute which is a part of Tawheed seen to be vastly broken by modern governments of Muslim nations which do not follow the Islamic law.

The Test

To avoid hell, one must also avoid sin; belief is not enough; Islam acknowledges the inclination of man towards sin[Qur'an 3:85][Qur'an 12:51-53]. A Muslim must think of his sin, seek God's forgiveness and repent. However, this repentance must be sincere, and God's mercy must not be taken as a license to sin further. Islam teaches that God is Merciful, but it also teaches that he is wise. The Quran states:

Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.<17> Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous.<18> [Qur'an 4:17]

Islam teaches that every person, including man, woman and prophet, is responsible for his/her own sins. A Muslim must be aware of his sin, and repent. The Quran states,

If ye reject (Allah), Truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not ingratitude from His servants: if ye are grateful, He is pleased with you. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. In the end, to your Lord is your Return, when He will tell you the truth of all that ye did (in this life). for He knoweth well all that is in (men's) hearts. [Qur'an 39:7]

Al-Agharr al-Muzani, a companion of Mohammad, reported that Ibn 'Umar stated to him that Mohammad said,

O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily, I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day.
—Prophet Mohammad Sahih Muslim 35:6523

Sin in Islam is not a state, but an action (a bad deed); Islam teaches that a child who dies young, regardless of the belief of his parents, dies a Muslim; he enters heaven, and does not enter hell. Sahih al-Bukhari 2:23:467

A Muslim must also think of heaven. The matter is not as simple as entering hellfire or entering heaven. Both hellfire and heaven have levels. A Muslim seeks to enter heaven and aims for the highest level. He does this by increasing his good deeds. In the Quran, whenever those who enter heaven are mentioned, and the virtue of belief is mentioned, it is coupled with the mention of good deeds. Some examples are,

But those who believe and work righteousness will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow,- to dwell therein for aye with the leave of their Lord. Their greeting therein will be: "Peace!" [Qur'an 14:23]
But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness,- we shall soon admit them to gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,-to dwell therein for ever. Allah's promise is the truth, and whose word can be truer than Allah's? [Qur'an 4:122]
That He may reward those who believe and work deeds of righteousness: for such is Forgiveness and a Sustenance Most Generous." [Qur'an 34:4]

A Muslim does not believe that his good deeds merit him heaven, instead it is God's mercy on the people that lets them into heaven. The levels in heaven (and hell) are only a direct result of God's justice: those who do better, deserve better. Narrated Aisha, that Mohammad said,

"Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me." Sahih al-Bukhari 8:76:474

Those with belief will eventually enter heaven, but only after they are punished for their sins (those that God did not forgive). God forgives sins but it is not a guarantee. Therefore, a Muslim must keep a balance between fear of God, and hope in his mercy. One who does not have this balance is in danger of losing his belief; one who has absolute hope in God's mercy and no fear of his wrath will end up sinning, believing God will forgive him regardless, and one who has absolute fear of God's wrath and no hope in his mercy will also end up sinning, believing himself entering hellfire regardless.

Mandatory acts of worship

There are acts of worship that Islam teaches to be mandatory. According to Mohammad, Islam is built on five principles. Narrated Ibn 'Umar that Mohammad said,

Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
  1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.
  2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
  3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .
  4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
  5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. Sahih al-Bukhari 1:2:7

Not performing the mandatory acts of worship is a sin. See also Shirk. A person who becomes a Muslim must testify that "none has the right to be worshiped but Allah" indicating the belief in the One God, and "Mohammad is Allah's Apostle" indicating the belief in God's message and thereby obeying his commands. The Quran states.

... This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. ... [Qur'an 5:3]

Eastern religions

Adherents of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism do not believe in salvation in the sense understood by most Westerners. They do not focus on Hell or Heaven as the end of a soteriological choice, but on knowledge. They believe in reincarnation (Buddhism rebirth) after death. According to this belief, one's actions or karma allow one to be reborn as a higher or lower being. If one is evil and has a multitude of bad actions, one is likely to be reborn as a lower being. If one has a multitude of good actions or karma, one is likely to be reborn as a higher being, perhaps a human with higher status or in a higher caste.

Eventually, however, one is able to escape from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, through the attainment of the highest spiritual state. This state is called moksha (or mukti) in Hinduism, Sac Khand in Sikhism, moksa or nirvana in Jainism and often called nirvāṇa in Buddhism. This state is not one of individual happiness but often a merging of oneself with collective existence. Sometimes, as with nirvāṇa, it is a liberation from conditioned existence.


In Hinduism, salvation is the Atman's liberation from Saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth and attainment of the highest spiritual state. It is the ultimate goal of Hinduism, where even hell and heaven are temporary. This is called moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष, "liberation") or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति, "release"). Moksha is a final release from one's worldly conception of self, the loosening of the shackles of experiential duality and a re-establishment in one's own fundamental nature, though the nature is seen as ineffable and beyond sensation. The actual state is seen differently depending on school of thought.

Brahman is the universal substrate and divine ground of all being. Thus monism is the basis of practically all philosophies in Hinduism, including major sects of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism. Even the Dvaita school of Vaishnavism, is wrongly assumed as 'dualist' but it is actually a form of dualist monism. In contrast to the Smartha sect based on Advaita philosophy which regards identification of Atman with Brahman as the means to achieve liberation, practically all forms of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism view union via close association with God through loving devotion.

Moksha is achieved when the individual Atman unites with the ground of all being - the source of all phenomenal existence — Brahman through practice of Yoga. Hinduism recognizes several paths to achieve this goal, none of which is exclusive. The paths are the way of selfless work (Karma Yoga), of self-dissolving love (Bhakti Yoga), of absolute discernment & knowledge (Jnana Yoga) or of 'royal' meditative immersion (Raja Yoga).


Liberation, called nirvana in Buddhism, is seen as an end to suffering, rebirth, and ignorance. (It should be noted that Buddhism doesn't have a concept[citation needed] of original sin, or innate personal corruption, as is found in Christianity.) The Four Noble Truths outline some of Buddhist soteriology: they describe suffering (dukkha) and its causes, the possibility of its cessation, and the way to its cessation, that is, the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes wisdom (pañña), morality (sīla), and concentration (samādhi). The means of achieving liberation are further developed in other Buddhist teachings. They are expressed in different terms by Theravāda, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhists.


Mokṣa in Jainism means liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage, free from saṃsāra, the cycle of birth and death. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha or paramatman and considered as supreme soul or God. In Jainism, it is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. It fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With right faith, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. Samaṇ Suttaṁ [49] compiled by Jinendra Varni contains the following description of Nirvāṇa or mokṣa -

  • Where there is neither pain nor pleasure, neither suffering nor obstacle, neither birth nor death, there emancipation.(617)
  • Where there are neither sense organs, nor surprise, nor sleep, nor thirst, nor hunger, there is emancipation.(618)
  • Where there is neither Karma, nor quasi-Karma nor the worry, nor any type of thinking which is technically called Artta, Raudra, Dharma and Sukla, there is Nirvāṇa. (619)

According to Jainism, moksa or liberation can be attained only in the human birth. Even the demi-gods and heavenly beings have to re-incarnate as humans and practice right faith, knowledge and conduct to achieve liberation. According to Jainism, human birth is quite rare and invaluable and hence a man should make his choices wisely.


Salvation in Sikhism means ending the cycle of death and rebirth and thus merging oneself with the Infinite Formless God.According to Guru Nanak,the founder of Sikhism,the goal of the human is to have union with God and for this the Sikhs are to conquer their ego and thus realizing their true nature which is the same as God.There are five spiritual stages through which the Sikhs go through reaching the final stage of having union with God.

1. Dharam Khand: The realm of Righteous action.
2. Gian Khand: The realm of Knowledge.
3. Saram Khand: The realm of Spiritual endeavor.
4. Karam Khand: The realm of Grace.
5. Sach Khand: The realm of Truth.

According to Sikhism, moksa or liberation can be attained only in the human birth. Even the demi-gods and heavenly beings have to re-incarnate as humans and practice right faith, knowledge and conduct to achieve liberation. According to Sikhism, human birth is quite rare and invaluable and hence a man should make his choices wisely.


For other uses of the word, see Redemption

Redemption is a religious concept referring to forgiveness or absolution for past sins and protection from eternal damnation, generally through sacrifice. Redemption is common in many world religions and all Abrahamic Religions, especially in Christianity and Islam (المغفرة).

In Christianity, redemption is synonymous with salvation. The Christian religion, though not the exclusive possessor of the idea of redemption, has given to it a special definiteness and a dominant position. Taken in its widest sense, as deliverance from dangers and ills in general, most religions teach some form of it. It assumes an important position, however, only when the ills in question form part of a great system against which human power is helpless.[50]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Valea, Ernest. "Salvation and eternal life in world religions." Comparative Religion. Ernest Valea holds a BD in theology (London University, 2006) and is currently engaged in PhD research on Buddhist-Christian dialogue with the University of Wales. Web: <> 25 Dec 2009
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Min, Anselm Kyongsuk. Dialectic of Salvation: Issues in Theology of Liberation. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1989. ISBN 9780887069086
  5. ^ Stagg, Frank. New Testament Theology. Broadman Press, 1962. ISBN 0805416137
  6. ^ a b "Salvation." Macmillan Dictionary of the Bible. London: Collins, 2002. Credo Reference. 19 July 2009. ISBN 0333648056
  7. ^ a b "Christian Doctrines of Salvation." Religion facts. June 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Akin, James. "The Salvation Controversy." Catholic Answers, October 2001
  9. ^ Newman, Jay. Foundations of religious tolerance. University of Toronto Press, 1982. ISBN 0802055915
  10. ^ Parry, Robin A. Universal salvation? The Current Debate. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0802827640
  11. ^ Salvation, Catholic Encyclopedia
  12. ^ Some believe there will be the judgment all unsaved people go through called the "Great White Throne Judgment,"[Rev. 20:10-15] but all those who are saved will appear before the “Judgment Seat of Christ," (Bema Seat Judgment).[2 Cor 5:9-10] In that judgment, believers will get rewards based on what they have done, whether they are good or bad. If they are not saved, Christ will proclaim, "Depart from me, I never knew ye," and they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. They do not believe eternal life is a reward that is going to be given out in consequence of works done.[1 Cor 3:11-14] Others understand it in the same way as the "Saved by Works" verses, in the sense that those who will not have done good proved they were not saved, because their works did not correspond to their 'saved' status. See also Romans 2:6.
  13. ^ Most Protestants argue the word rendered justified is not used as "to make righteous" but to be "shown already righteous" (as the word is used in Matthew 11:19), meaning that a person's good behavior proves they have been saved, as God is sanctifying them, making them a better person, after having saved them. Thus most Protestants distinguish sharply between (and some separate entirely) sanctification and justification. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox see justification and sanctification as being integrated together. The Council of Trent, while anathematizing any who would say that a person can, before God, be justified by works done in human strength alone, without the divine grace merited by Jesus Christ (canon 1 of its Decree on justification), declared that the justice granted to Christians is preserved and increased by good works, and accordingly these are more than just the fruit and sign of justification obtained (canon 24).
  14. ^ The original text of this passage in Greek has present-tense σῳζομένοις (being saved), not perfect-tense σεσῳσμένοις (having been saved) or past-tense (aorist-tense) σῳθεῖσιν (saved); ambiguous translations such as "us which are saved" (KJV) obscure this.
  15. ^ Vatican website on Total Salvation
  16. ^ Vatican website: All Salvation Comes through Christ
  17. ^ "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." Pope Eugene IV, Papal Bull Cantate Domino; cf. Session 11 of the Council of Florence
  18. ^ In his Apostolic Letter Fidei Depositum of 11 October 1992, Pope John Paul II declared: "The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith."Fidei Depositum, 3
  19. ^ a b CCC 1949
  20. ^ CCC 456-457
  21. ^ CCC 1019
  22. ^ Trent; Sessions VI, v-vi
  23. ^ Council of Trent Session VI; Chapter VII In what the justification of the sinner consists, and what are its causes
  24. ^ Indulgetiarum Doctrina 4
  25. ^ Trent, The Sixth Session; Decree on justification, chapter XVI.
  26. ^ Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 32.
  27. ^ CCC 830
  28. ^ CCC 1256-1257, 1277
  29. ^  "Salvation". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  30. ^ CCC 980
  31. ^ CCC 1129
  32. ^ CCC 1405
  33. ^ Lumen gentium, 14
  34. ^ Questions and Answers on Salvation, Question 41d, Fr. Michael Müller, C.Ss.R.
  35. ^ "The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church". Retrieved 14 FEB 2009. 
  36. ^ a b c Placher, William C. "How does Jesus save? Christian Century, 00095281, 6/2/2009, Vol. 126, Issue 11
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l David N. Steele, C. C. Thomas, S.L. Quinn. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented (2nd ed.) P & R Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-0875528274 pp.5-7
  38. ^ The TULIP acrostic first appeared in Loraine Boettner's The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. The names appearing in parentheses, while not forming an acrostic, are offered by Theologian Roger Nicole in Steele's book cited herein, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined.
  39. ^ "Merciful Truth". Retrieved 14 FEB 2009. 
  40. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0802838987, 9780802838988, 854 pages, entry on Churches of Christ
  41. ^ a b c Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-7369-1289-4
  42. ^ a b Stuart M. Matlins, Arthur J. Magida, J. Magida, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies, Wood Lake Publishing Inc., 1999, ISBN 1896836283, 9781896836287, 426 pages, Chapter 6 - Churches of Christ
  43. ^ Batsell Barrett Baxter, Who are the churches of Christ and what do they believe in? Available on-line in an Archive copy at the Internet Archive, and here, here and here
  44. ^ a b Richard Thomas Hughes and R. L. Roberts, The Churches of Christ, 2nd Edition, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, ISBN 0313233128, 9780313233128, 345 pages
  45. ^ a b Douglas A. Foster, "Churches of Christ and Baptism: An Historical and Theological Overview," Restoration Quarterly, Volume 43/Number 2 (2001)
  46. ^ Tom J. Nettles, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., John H. Armstrong, Robert Kolb, Understanding Four Views on Baptism, Zondervan, 2007, ISBN 0310262674, 9780310262671, 222 pages
  47. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0802838987, 9780802838988, 854 pages, entry on Regeneration
  48. ^ a b c Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0802841899, 9780802841896, 443 pages
  49. ^ Varni, Jinendra; Ed. Prof. Sagarmal Jain, Translated Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr. K.K. Dixit (1993). Samaṇ Suttaṁ. New Delhi: Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti. 
  50. ^ "Redemption." Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College. July 2, 2009.

External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Christian Salvation (literal-normal) article)

From Wikiversity

Emblem-scales.svg Perspective: this resource is written with the following perspective: Literal-Normal Interpretation.
Its authors are committed to maintaining a high level of scholarly ethics.

Note: this guide approaches salvation from a literal-normal perspective.

My intention with this page is to provide a simple yet complete guide to the Biblical concept of salvation - what it is, and how to obtain it. Unfortunately, salvation is not a universally agreed-upon subject; quite the contrary, there seems to be as many interpretations of salvation as there are denominations.

In this guide, I (User:Opensourcejunkie) have attempted to present what seems to be the viewpoint represented in scripture, when it is interpreted literally (normally). However, I am not the only (or anywhere near the most) authoritative speaker on the subject, and there are many authorities with conflicting viewpoints. Thus I urge you to search out scripture for yourself, to see if the things I am writing are dependable. With something as important as your eternal fate, you shouldn't blindly trust anyone's opinion.

That being said, don't put off taking this step. If the Bible is correct (and my interpretation of it is accurate), then you could step into eternity at any moment. Whether it's eternity with God, or eternity apart from Him, the choice is up to you.


Understanding Salvation

In Luke 14:27-35, Christ advises people to count the cost of following Him, because (as He illustrates), it is not a decision to be taken lightly. And there is a cost to following Him; once we are saved, we are called to continually turn from our sins[1]. The Bible admits that sin is pleasurable, but only for a time. Lasting pleasure, on the other hand, comes by looking past the present to the future rewards of obedience[2].

Understanding salvation is integral to counting the cost. If you understand its mechanics, you can better understand what will become of you should you accept Christ, or should you not. Thus in this section, we will examine the need for salvation, salvation itself, and the results of salvation

The Problem of Sin

Salvation addresses two related problems - sin and death. Early on in (Biblical) human history, our ancestor Adam sinned by disobeying one of God's commands [3]. At the time, God's Breath (Spirit) was living inside of him, providing him with life [4], but because God cannot tolerate sin [5], His breath had to leave Adam. Thus man died spiritually [6], and began to die physically [7].

The results of sin and death in the world are clear, and widely attested to in scripture. Man's spiritual death is evident in that he is consistently self-centered, sacrificing others' well-being for his own gain[8]. Moreover his physical death has spread to the rest of creation [9], as we abuse the environment for our own comfort.

Now God had decreed that if Adam disobeyed His command, "He would surely die" [10]. The Bible tells us that the payment for sin is death [11], and that God cannot leave sin unpunished [12], so God by His own moral imperative, must punish sin by killing the sinner.

God, however, promised to defeat Satan (the source of sin & death) through a child of the woman [13]. This child, then, has to deal with two problems. First, He has to find a way to remove God's punishment from the sinner, and stop the sinner from sinning. Second, He has to reinstate the Breath of God into the sinner, to bring him/her back to life (physically and spiritually).

The Old Covenant Solution

There are a number of covenants (agreements) made between God and Man, which are attested to in scripture. Two of these covenants - that which was made with Israel and that which is made with the Christian - deal with the issue of salvation, and are often contrasted in scripture. The covenant discussed here is the one made with Israel.

Broadly speaking, there were two aspects to the covenant given to Israel. There was a set of laws, accompanied by a description of what to do when one broke the law.

The Law

The purpose of the law, as interpreted by the New Testament, was to establish the weight of sin. [14]. Without the law, Man would be unaware that he was sinning. With the law, however, he would know full well God's standards.

The law in and of itself, however, could not provide salvation [15]. It's function is to point out moral failures, but it could never elicit moral success. The Israelites didn't become fundamentally better people by simply knowing the law or even by trying to obey the law [16]. Rather, they were all slaves to sin, as are we, compelled to disobey because of the sinful nature passed down to us from Adam [17].

The same is true of Christians, although many assume they are saved because they are "good people". This tendency to base one's salvation on good works is called "Legalism", and is fiercely combated in scripture. It ignores the fact that a single, allegedly small misdemeanor is enough to condemn a person to death (as in the case of Adam), and that everyone has sinned, missing the mark [18].

The Atonement

Because God knew that every Israelite would break at least one law, He made a provision that would cover over a person's sin. This provision, called substitutionary atonement, involved taking an innocent substitute (an animal, often a lamb), leaning heavily upon it, and slaughtering it in the sinner's place. This substitute would thus be punished in place of the sinner, thereby relieving God's wrath [19].

Now both the law and the atonement started with Adam. When Adam broke God's first law, God provided an animal substitute to cover his (and Eve's) sin [20]. Thus Man always had a way to cover over his sin. However, this method of atonement was insufficient (for reasons we'll discuss next). Hence the Old Covenant itself was insufficient, and was eventually replaced by a new, better coveneant.

The New Covenant Solution

There were three major problems with the Old Covenant:

  • Israel could not keep God's law[21].
  • Man's sin was never overcome, as sacrifices had to be made year after year[22].
  • Access to God's Spirit was limited; only the high priest could be in His presence, and then only once a year[23].

Hence, God sent Jesus Christ to be mediator of a new covenant.

The Atonement

In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself is the innocent substitute who was slaughtered in our place. His death on the cross covers the sins of everyone who "leans heavily" on Him [24]. This solves a couple issues. First of all, because Adam was a man, he needed an innocent man (non-existent before Christ) to take his place, not an animal. The sacrifice of bulls and goats merely looked forward to the death of Christ. Second, every person who sinned needed his own animal to sacrifice, one per sin. Because Christ was also God, His one sacrifice was able to cover the sins of a multitude of people [25].

Because Christ's death provides complete coverage for all sins, God no longer needed to be separated from man. The veil in the temple which guarded His presence was ripped [26], and later His Holy Spirit (Breath) began to enter those who believed on Christ [27].

This solved a number of issues, not the least of which is death [28]. Because Christ's death covers our sin, the living Breath (Spirit) of God can now live inside of us again! Moreover the Spirit has given us a new nature that struggles against our tendency to sin [29]. Thus the three problems of the Old Covenant are solved in the New:

  • We can now keep God's law.
  • Our sin is defeated, because Christ's sacrifice covers every sin - past, present, and future.
  • We have unlimited access to God, and can approach His throne in confidence[30].

The Law

Just as the atonement in the New Covenant is more complete than that of the Old Covenant, so is the law. (more to come...)

Obtaining Salvation

  1. Admit you are a sinner
  2. Turn from sin toward God
  3. Place your trust in God's solution to sin: Christ's death and resurrection
  4. Pray to Jesus Christ, and ask him to take away your sins, and to fill you with His Holy Spirit.

After Salvation

For the Skeptic

This entire issue of salvation rests on whether or not the Bible is trustworthy. If it is accurate, then there is much to be concerned about. If it isn't accurate, then it is worthless for any practical, life-altering applications - namely salvation.

Many people prefer to base their world view on cold, hard facts rather than on faith in an unverified text (I'm one such person myself). It is for such people that the field of Christian Apologetics was created, an effort to reconcile Christianity with evidence found in other fields of study. I myself have become convinced that Biblical Christianity can more than take the punches thrown by modern skepticism, and return a few blows itself. Check out the Department of Christian Apologetics for more information.



Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

This word is used of the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians (Ex 14:13), and of deliverance generally from evil or danger. In the New Testament it is specially used with reference to the great deliverance from the guilt and the pollution of sin wrought out by Jesus Christ, "the great salvation" (Heb 2:3). (See REDEMPTION �T0003084; REGENERATION.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)

This article needs to be merged with SALVATION (Jewish Encyclopedia).
This article needs to be merged with Salvation (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Simple English

In theology, salvation can mean three related things:

  • being saved from something, such as suffering or the punishment of sin - also called deliverance;
  • being saved for something, such as an afterlife or participating in the Reign of God - also called redemption;
  • being saved through a process of healing or transformation to wholeness, such as gaining secret knowledge, being deified or becoming Christlike.

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