Salvation

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This may be seen in various connections in scripture.
1. It has reference primarily to the judgment of God to which man is obnoxious by reason of sin. This is illustrated by the destruction of the firstborn (the strength) of Egypt when the destroying angel passed through the land. The Israelites were saved only through being sheltered by the blood of the Passover lamb. Salvation is based on God’s righteousness having been maintained and declared in the death of Christ, and hence is for the believer in Christ (Luke 1:7777To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, (Luke 1:77)).
2. Intimately connected with the above is the question of salvation from enemies carnal or spiritual. With Israel it was the former, as the Egyptians and the Canaanites. With Christians it is the latter, as sin, death, the world and the power of Satan. Salvation in this sense is by the power of God (Luke 1:7171That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (Luke 1:71)).
3. It has reference further to the actual physical condition of Christians which is met by the redemption of the body. In this sense salvation is hoped for. During the interval the Christian has to work out into result his own salvation—it was in the case of the Philippians their “own salvation” in contrast to the care exercised over them by Paul when present with them (Phil. 2:12-1312Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12‑13); compare Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)).

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

This is perhaps the most comprehensive of all the terms in the New Testament, having a wide variety of meanings and applications. It has to do with every kind of deliverance from danger and judgment that there could be—from the believer’s justification to his glorification. Since there are many different aspects and applications to salvation, it is equally true for a believer to say, “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.”
Confusion has arisen from Christians failing to distinguish these aspects of salvation and erroneous ideas have resulted. In the minds of many, every reference to salvation in Scripture is assumed to be the eternal aspect of salvation from the penalty of our sins. However, W. Kelly has pointed out that that aspect is usually not what is in view in most passages that speak of salvation (Lectures on Philippians, p. 43). The Bible student, therefore, must determine which aspect of salvation is being referred to in the particular passage that he is reading. The context will usually indicate this. There are three main categories of salvation:
•  Eternal salvation.
•  Present salvation.
•  Final salvation.
This is what is preached to sinners in the gospel, by which they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved from the eternal penalty of their sins (Acts 4:12; 16:30-3112Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30‑31)
; Rom. 10:1, 9-10, 131Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (Romans 10:1)
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9‑10)
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
; 1 Cor. 1:18; 7:16; 15:1-218For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
16For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Corinthians 7:16)
1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1‑2)
; Eph. 1:1313In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13); Phil. 1:2828And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (Philippians 1:28); 1 Tim. 2:44Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4); 2 Tim. 2:1010Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10); James 1:2121Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21); 1 Peter 1:99Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)). It is sometimes referred to as the salvation of our souls and has to do with the believer finding peace through resting in faith on the finished work of Christ, whereupon he is sealed with the Holy Spirit. This eternal salvation can never be lost. (See Eternal Security.)
Christians tend to use the term “saved” in connection with eternal salvation prematurely, when referring to persons who show signs of having divine life. Mr. Kelly said, "Indeed I think a great vice at the present moment is making ‘salvation’ too cheap and too common a word. You will find many evangelicals constantly saying when a man is converted that he is saved, whereas it is probably quite premature to say so....It is unwarrantable to say that every converted person is saved, because he may still be under doubts and fears—that is, under law more or less in conscience. 'Saved' brings one out from all sense of condemnation—brings one to God consciously free in Christ, not merely before God with earnestness of desire after godliness. A soul is not converted unless brought to God in conscience; but then [being merely converted] one might be more miserable and all but despairing in this state. Does Scripture allow us to call such an one 'saved?' Certainly not" (Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Minor Prophets, pp. 375-376).
Cornelius is an example of a person in this state. Before Peter came into contact with him, he was evidently born of God, and therefore, he had divine life. He was a God-fearing and devout man, a man whose prayers were respected before God (Acts 10:2-42A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. (Acts 10:2‑4)). The Lord indicated to Peter in a vision that Cornelius had been cleansed (Acts 10:15, 2815And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:15)
28And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Acts 10:28)
). But at that point he was clearly not saved! We know this because Peter was sent to tell him "words" whereby he and all his house could be "saved" (Acts 11:1414Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. (Acts 11:14)). Such a person is safe as far as his eternal destiny is concerned because he has life (through quickening), but he is not saved in the Pauline sense of the word until he rests in faith on the finished work of Christ.
2) Present Salvation
This aspect of salvation has to do with deliverance from the adverse circumstances of life through which we pass. Since there are many dangers in the path of faith, believers have need of this kind of practical salvation.
There are many different ways in which believers are saved in this practical sense:
Saved by Baptism
The governmental judgment of God is upon the unbelieving world of Jews and Gentiles for its departure from Him, and it is presently feeling the consequences of it (Gal. 6:77Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)).
As to the generation of Jews who were responsible for the death of Christ (Acts 3:14-1514But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14‑15); 1 Thess. 2:14-1514For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: (1 Thessalonians 2:14‑15)), in the earliest days of Church history (Acts 2-7), God was about to answer the Lord’s prayer on the cross and cause governmental blindness to envelop the guilty nation (Psa. 69:22-2322Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. 23Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. (Psalm 69:22‑23); Acts 28:25-2725And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Acts 28:25‑27); Rom. 11:2525For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25); 2 Cor. 3:14-1514But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. (2 Corinthians 3:14‑15)). This judgment would not only result in blindness, but also in the nation being destroyed by the Romans (Psa. 69:24-2624Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. 25Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. 26For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. (Psalm 69:24‑26); Matt. 22:77But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (Matthew 22:7); Luke 21:5-245And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 6As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 7And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? 8And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. 9But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. 10Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. 12But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19In your patience possess ye your souls. 20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:5‑24)). In the meantime, another prayer of the Lord on the cross, asking for governmental forgiveness, was being answered in those who believed on Him (Luke 23:3434Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34)). Thus, the mercy of God was being extended to the nation for a time before the judgment of God would fall. If the people fled to Christ for refuge (Heb. 6:18-2018That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 6:18‑20)) and were baptised (Acts 2:3838Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)-40; 22:16), they could avert that governmental judgment of blindness. Baptism would formally disassociate them from that guilty ground on which the nation stood and would put them on Christian ground whereupon the outward favour of God rests. Thus, the Apostle Peter could say, “Baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:2121The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:21)). Peter qualified his remark so that no one would misunderstand him by adding in a parenthesis, (“Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”) In keeping with this, on the day of Pentecost he preached to the guilty nation of Jews: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:4040And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:40)). He explained that they could receive this salvation by repenting and being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:3838Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)). This shows that the salvation that he was referring to was a governmental thing as well as an eternal thing, and it would deliver those who believed from the judgment that had been pronounced on the nation. (See Government of God.)
As to the Gentiles who are also under the governmental judgment of God on account of living far from God morally and spiritually (Ex. 34:77Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:7)b), they too need to be baptised, and thus disassociate themselves from the heathen ground upon which they were living. In connection with the Gentiles, the Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-1615And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15‑16)). Believing would give a person soul salvation and being baptised would give him governmental salvation. Baptism would disassociate Gentile believers from their former position and place them on Christian ground (Acts 10:47-4847Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10:47‑48)).
This has to do with being saved in the path of faith in a practical sense from the spiritual dangers arrayed against us by the enemy without (Satan) and from the evil workings of the sin-nature within. Walking through a world that is opposed to God and His principles is like walking through a minefield. There are spiritual dangers everywhere and much to attract and excite our fallen sin-natures (the flesh). God fully knows this and has undertaken to save us from these dangers in a practical way.
To effect this practical salvation, the Lord has gone on high to effect three things to this end—thus we are “saved by His life.”
Secondly, He ascended on high to be the Object for the believer's heart in a sphere altogether outside of the world and the flesh (John 17:1919And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:19)). In the measure in which we are taken up with Him and His things where He is, the world, the flesh, and the devil lose their power of influence in our lives (1 John 5:4-54For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4‑5)).
Thirdly, He ascended on high to intercede for us in our wilderness pathway as our High Priest. The effect of His intercession is that we are “saved to the uttermost [completely]” from spiritual dangers and pitfalls that have been set in the way by the enemy of our soul. To get the benefit of Christ’s intercession, we need to “come unto God by Him,” which refers to expressing our dependence on God in prayer (Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)).
There are also many physical dangers and perils that all men on earth face daily. These could be accidents, problems of all kinds, sicknesses, the ill-will and attacks from those who oppose us, etc. Oftentimes, we are not even aware of these dangers that surround us, but the mercies of God are such that He works behind the scenes (providentially) to save us from those things. Under normal conditions, this aspect of daily salvation or preservation is experienced by all God’s creatures, not just Christians. Scripture says, “We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour [Preserver] of all men, specially of those that believe.” (See also Psalm 145:15-1915The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. 16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 17The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. 18The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. 19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. (Psalm 145:15‑19) and Acts 14:1717Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:17).)
In 1 Timothy 2:1515Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (1 Timothy 2:15), Paul indicates that if Christians continue in the path of faith in “love and holiness,” they can have an added confidence through knowing that God’s preserving care will be experienced in their lives. Paul mentions this in connection with being “saved in childbearing,” but God’s providential care will be experienced by His people in many different temporal ways, not just in childbearing, if they continue faithfully in the path.
Matthew 24:1313But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13) indicates that in the coming Great Tribulation, the faithful Jewish remnant will endure some incredible hardships and temptations. The Lord said that those who “shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” This refers to their lives being spared from martyrdom death, and thus they will be preserved alive through those troublous times "unto the end" of the age. All such will celebrate their "salvation" in praise to the Lamb in the millennial kingdom (Rev. 7:9-129After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:9‑12)). Some of the believing remnant will be martyred, and thus will not be saved in this sense. Their souls will go to heaven (Rev. 6:9-11; 15:2-49And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9‑11)
2And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Revelation 15:2‑4)
) to wait for their bodies to be raised later (Rev. 14:13; 20:413And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)
4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
).
The Apostle Paul announced to Timothy that there was a great impending apostasy that would run through the Christian profession “in the latter times” (1 Tim. 4:11Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1 Timothy 4:1)). As a result, many erroneous doctrines would permeate the Christian profession and lead the masses away from the truth. While a true believer cannot apostatize, he can be affected by the current of apostasy, and thus begin to let go of certain principles and practises that he once held. Paul told Timothy how he could be preserved from this downward slide. He said, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:1616Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:16)). Thus, doctrinal truth will preserve us from getting into error, if it is held in communion with God (Psa. 40:1111Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. (Psalm 40:11)).
This has to do with the protection of our thoughts (vs. 17a). Satan is constantly trying to turn Christians away from following the Lord. One of his most effective ways is to sow evil seeds in our minds. He does not know our thoughts (he is not omniscient), but he can bring certain things before us that are calculated to produce a response in our hearts that ultimately draw our thoughts away from Christ. When things other than Christ occupy our minds, and we are not enjoying our portion in Christ, we will be in a state where we could easily get drawn out of the path of faith. However, when we keep our thoughts fixed on Christ and His interests, we are in this sense wearing “the helmet of salvation,” and this will work as a practical deliverance from this line of attack. But note: we have to put the helmet on; God doesn’t put it on for us. This shows that God wants us to be responsibly exercised about this practical salvation. H. E. Hayhoe used to say, “Watch what you think about, and let it be Christ” (Psa. 94:1919In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalm 94:19); Isa. 26:33Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3); Luke 12:2929And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. (Luke 12:29); Phil. 4:77And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7); Col. 3:11If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)).
The Apostle Peter spoke of the governmental judgments of God being on those in His house. This would include true believers and merely professing believers. He mentions that there are many difficulties in the path through which a believer needs to be “saved.” This refers to the governmental judgments of God on His people if they are not careful in their walk (1 Peter 1:17; 3:1217And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: (1 Peter 1:17)
12For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12)
). Since the character of the epistle is Jewish in its application, J. N. Darby’s Translation footnote states, “Saved here on earth through the trials and judgments which specially beset the Jewish Christian.”
James mentions this same governmental action of God (James 5:19-2019Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19‑20)). He states that if a believer is not careful in his walk and gets off track in some way, and persists in that course, God may deal with him in a governmental way, and may even take him away in death. This does not mean that he would lose his eternal salvation, but that he would lose the privilege of living in this world as a witness for Christ. Since this is not at all what God desires, James tells us that the erring brother’s brethren are to go after him to restore him before things reach that point (Gal. 6:11Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)). If a brother or sister can reach the wayward person and he is restored, James says that he or she who does this good work can “save a soul from (premature) death” (Eccl. 7:1717Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? (Ecclesiastes 7:17)).
This also applies to a local assembly in a collective sense (2 Cor. 7:1010For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)). If an assembly neglects to judge evil in its midst, it will incur the governmental judgment of God (1 Cor. 11:3030For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:30)). Paul says that “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.” Thus, the assembly saves itself from the governmental judgment of God by dealing with the evil in its midst and excommunicating those involved in evil.
The enemy of our souls would like to destroy the peace in the local assembly by sowing discord among them. He would stir up “strife” by getting certain individuals to seek after “vainglory” (Phil. 2:33Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)). Many assemblies have been torn apart as a result.
Paul taught in Philippians 2 that if happy unity is maintained in the assembly, the enemy will be thwarted. He explains that this is done by each having “lowliness of mind” and each “esteeming the other more excellent than themselves” (vss. 2-4). Paul also taught that to produce this lowliness, it is necessary to have our minds fixed on Christ who is the model of lowliness (vss. 5-11). If each were to adopt His lowly mind and imitate His lowliness, the assembly would be saved from Satan’s designs to disrupt the unity. Thus, they were to collectively “work out” their “own salvation” by each taking the low place (vss. 12-14). Paul said that when unity is maintained in an assembly, it results in a bright testimony in the community (vss. 15-16; John 13:3535By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)). Thus, Paul was speaking of a practical, daily salvation in connection with internal strife within the assembly. His mention of salvation here has nothing to do with the eternal salvation of the soul.
Notes of a reading meeting on Philippians 2:1212Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) in a monthly periodical are as follows: "This verse has often been misconstrued as though it said, work for salvation, whereas what it does say is "work out." I think the verse refers to the difficulties which were present in the company at Philippi, rather than what is individual. It has been pointed out that the verb is in the plural, and when he says "your," he apparently has in mind the difficulties in the assembly locally....Salvation as referred to in this passage is not the salvation of the soul, which is obtained through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; it is daily salvation in regard to the many difficulties which beset us in our pathway. It is becoming more obvious as we pursue this epistle that disunity was marking them, and it is from this they needed to be saved. It seems to suggest that the way of salvation out of the difficulties was for the contending party to go down in relation to self" (Precious Things, vol. 5, pp. 263-264).
A. M. S. Gooding said, "'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.' Salvation from what? Salvation from strife" (The 13 Judges, p. 95).
S. Maxwell said, "The Apostle is rather saying here, I am aware of your internal problems and I have given you an example to follow (2:5-7); now work out your own salvation as an assembly. The word clearly indicates that they needed to be saved from that which would finally be destructive to the testimony, if they did not move to end their strife" (Philippians, p. 210).
W. Potter said, "'Work out your own salvation'....[this is] in connection with assembly difficulties...that is the simple meaning of 'work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.'"
The “great salvation” that the writer of Hebrews refers to in this passage is not the eternal salvation of the soul, as commonly thought, but temporal deliverance from the Roman yoke that was on the nation. At that time, the Jews were captive to the Romans who ruled over them in their own land, and they were very much in need of this salvation. The Lord Jesus had been sent from God to effect this deliverance as God's "Horn of Salvation" for the nation (Luke 1:68-7168Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (Luke 1:68‑71)). Thus, He came announcing this aspect of salvation, preaching "deliverance to the captives" (Luke 4:18-1918The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18‑19)). Upon His entry into Jerusalem the people cried Hosanna (Matt. 21:1515And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, (Matthew 21:15)), which means, “Save now!” But the leaders led the people to reject Him, and the promise of this great salvation was, therefore, postponed. Had the Jews received Christ, He would have saved them from their enemies and released them from their bondage, and the nation would have averted its destruction in 70 A.D.
The writer says that this great salvation was first “spoken by the Lord.” He went everywhere in the land of Israel preaching “the gospel of the kingdom” which announced this outward deliverance for the nation (Matt. 4:2323And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23); Mark 4:1414The sower soweth the word. (Mark 4:14)). The writer also says that the promise of this temporal salvation was “confirmed” to the people by the apostles (Heb. 2:33How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3); Acts 3:19-2119Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19‑21)) and also by the “witness” of God Himself in the miracles that accompanied the preaching of that gospel (Heb. 2:44God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:4); Acts 3:6-106Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. (Acts 3:6‑10), etc.). Thus, the nation “tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come (Heb. 6:55And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (Hebrews 6:5)) and would have had the blessings of the kingdom as promised by their Prophets, had they received Christ.
“The great salvation” in Hebrews 2:33How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3) could not be referring to the salvation of the soul announced in “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:2424But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24); 1 Peter 1:99Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)), because it says that this salvation was first spoken by the Lord when He was here on earth. But He did not preach that gospel. It was not until Israel formally rejected Christ, sending a man (Stephen) to God with the message, “We will not have this Man to reign over us” (Luke 19:1414But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14); Acts 7:54-6054When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:54‑60)), that the gospel of the grace of God was extended to the world (Acts 13:46-48; 15:14; 20:24; 28:2846Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46‑48)
14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14)
24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
28Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28:28)
). As mentioned, the gospel that the Lord preached was that of the kingdom (Matt. 4:2323And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23); Mark 4:1414The sower soweth the word. (Mark 4:14)). This message presented Him as the King and Messiah of Israel who would come to the nation in its time of need and save them from their enemies, and then set up the kingdom in power and glory as promised in the writings of the Old Testament Prophets (Psa. 95-96). (See Gospel.)
H. Smith said, "In its [Hebrews 2:33How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)] strict interpretation, the salvation of which the writer speaks is not the gospel of the grace of God as presented today; nor does it contemplate the indifference of a sinner to the Gospel. Yet an application in this sense may surely be made, for it must ever be true that there can be no escape for the one who finally neglects the Gospel. Here it is the salvation which was preached by the Lord to the Jews, by which a way of escape was opened to the believing remnant from the judgment about to fall on the nation. This salvation was afterwards preached by Peter and the other apostles in the early chapters of the Acts, when they said, 'Save yourselves from this untoward generation.' This testimony was borne witness to by God with 'signs and wonders, and divers miracles.' This Gospel of the Kingdom will again be preached after the Church has been completed" (The Epistle to the Hebrews, pp. 12-13).
Regarding Hebrews 2:33How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3), J. N. Darby said, "It is the preaching of a great salvation, made by the Lord Himself when on earth; not the gospel preached and the Church united after the death of Christ. This testimony, consequently, goes on to the Millennium without speaking of the Church, a fact to be noticed not only in these verses but in the whole epistle" (Collected Writings, vol. 28, p. 4).
3) Final Salvation
(Rom. 5:9; 13:119Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)
11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)
; Phil. 3:20-2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21); Heb. 9:2828So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28); 1 Peter 1:55Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)). This aspect of salvation has to do with our bodies being made perfect through the power of God in glorification. This will occur when the Lord comes for us at the Rapture. The deceased saints will be raised in “incorruptibility” and the living saints will have their bodies quickened to a state of immortality (Rom. 8:1111But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11); 1 Cor. 15:53-5553For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:53‑55)).
This final aspect of salvation also includes being saved from “the wrath to come” by being taken out of this world at the Rapture, so that we will not go through the Great Tribulation (Rom 5:99Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9); 1 Thess. 1:1010And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10); Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)). F. B. Hole said, “A day of wrath is coming. Twice before in the epistle [to the Romans] has this been intimated (chap. 1:18; 2:5). We shall be saved from that day through Christ. From other Scriptures we know that He will save us from it by taking us from the scene of wrath before the wrath bursts” (Paul’s Epistles, vol. 1, p. 15).