The source of salvation: God’s love
The condition of fallen man is extremely bad. He sinned by disobeying God’s command and came under divine condemnation. Now he also has within himself a sinful nature that causes him to sin. Under these circumstances, man is unable to save himself or others from the coming judgment of God. His final destination is the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his followers. In Adam all mankind has fallen to this regrettable and hopeless situation.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved) (Ephesians 2:4-5).
God loved man before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). He created the heavens and the earth for man, and because He loved him, put the tree of life before him. Even after the fall however, God continued to love him. He did not give up his purpose of entering and filling man with his presence and becoming his life so that he could express him and have his authority to rule on the earth.
The object of love is usually worthy of being loved, but often the object of mercy is in a completely deplorable situation. Therefore, God’s mercy reaches even further than his love. He loves us, but we have fallen into a miserable situation, to the point of being dead in trespasses and sins, therefore we need God’s mercy. Because of his great love, God is rich in mercy to save us from our corrupt state to a proper condition for his love.
The love of God is the source of our salvation. He expressed this love by sending his only begotten Son to die for our redemption. God could have abandoned us. Nevertheless, as the Good Shepherd he left everything and went after the lost sheep. The Holy Spirit diligently sought the lost coin and the Father went out to receive the lost son. In the parable of Luke 15, we see that God freely spends his divine love to redeem a single soul. Are we able to ignore such intensity of the love of God for man?
His interest in man brought him from heaven to earth to minister to man to the point of giving his own life. to rescue him. His motivating power was His great love.
Because of this love, we have become children of God. The Apostle John tells us:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1)
Now you can see that, thanks to God’s love, we are no longer hopeless. God wants to save us and give us his life. Not only are God’s purposes for us eternal but his love for us is also eternal. He loves us eternally! Even when we fall into sin and death, his mercy reaches us. Because of His great love for us, he guarantees us that he will fill us with his life and will fulfill his eternal purposes through us.
The basis of salvation – God’s righteousness
The basis of our salvation is God’s righteousness. Without the righteousness of God, we would not have a solid foundation upon which we could boldly come to Him in order to receive and enjoy the salvation he offers.
God is just and right. The righteousness of God is a Person, not simply a divine attribute. Christ Himself, as a person, was made the righteousness of God for us (Romans 1:17; 3:21-22, 10:3, I Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9).
God said that if man ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Nevertheless, man did go ahead and transgress God’s Word. Then, because of his Justice, he could not fail to condemn man, because his throne is a throne of justice. God would not be just if He did not condemn man. He would have lost his authority to govern, and the whole universe would collapse.
God was in a dilemma. He loved man, but could not fail to condemn him. How could he forgive the man He loved, without violating his justice? The answer lies in the double righteousness of God. This is the wisdom of God displayed in his salvation.
In order for God to be able to forgive us, Christ, the Son of God became flesh. As recorded in Romans 8:3, God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Through the incarnation of the Lord he “took on” the likeness of sinful flesh and in the flesh, he identified himself with sinners except for the fact that there was no sin in him, only the likeness of sinful flesh.
Because of the righteousness of God, the Lord Jesus died on the cross. There on the cross, he was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died on our behalf to accomplish the redemption and meet all the requirements of the righteousness of God that condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). Now God is in the position to forgive us. In fact, he not only can forgive us, but because of his justice, he must forgive us. First, God forgives us not because he loves us, but because he is just and true to his word.
The justice of God condemns us, but because of the righteousness of Christ accomplished through his death, we are justified. How awesome is that? At the same time, God maintains his justice and shuts Satan’s mouth. Now neither God (nor Satan) can condemn those who simply trust in the death of Christ. We praise God for the basis of salvation. Through his dual righteousness, we see his love, his justice and his wisdom.