OBJECTIVE ASPECTS OF SALVATION
In this post, I will address the five objective aspects of the full salvation of God that solve the problems between man and God: redemption, forgiveness and the purification of sins, justification and reconciliation. The first is the redemption that Christ accomplished through His death on the cross.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
What is redemption? Redemption is the noun form of the verb “to redeem”. To redeem something means to buy back something that was originally yours, but for whatever reason, is no longer in your possession. We originally belonged to God. We were his property. However, we were lost. Nevertheless, God has not given up on us. He paid a high price to get us back, retaking us as His possession at great cost (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 Timothy 2:6). This is redemption. Since man involved himself with sin and with many other things that were against God’s justice, holiness and glory, our return to God was conditioned on a three-part demand: of His justice, His holiness and His glory. It was impossible for man to satisfy all of His demands. The price was too great.
However, God paid this price for us, taking possession of us at great cost. Christ died on the cross to fulfill eternal redemption for us (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21: Hebrews 10:12; 9:28). With this precious blood, He fulfilled the marvelous redemption necessary to get us back (Hebrews 9:12; 14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). He returned us back to God and to His purpose. His precious blood was the price that was paid. We could have never paid such a high price, but he paid it for us. Our destiny was to die in sin, but now we can go back to God, receive His forgiveness and be filled with his life. What a precious thing our redemption in Christ is!
After sinning, man needed the forgiveness of God and the purification of sins. Since we have offended God, we need His forgiveness. However, God will not forgive us unless His justice is satisfied. Moreover, to satisfy it, we must die. However if we die, God will not have anyone to pour His life into in order to fulfill His eternal purpose. The perfect solution for this problem was for Christ to die in our place. Based on His death, the demand of the justice of God has been satisfied and we can receive His forgiveness.
According to Jeremiah, when God forgives our sins He also forgets them (Jeremiah 31:34). When we forgive someone who has offended us, it is hard for us to forget what that person did. However God is different, when He forgives our sins, He also forgets them. Praise God! Because of the death of Christ and our faith in Him, God can forgive us. For Him it is as if we had never committed sin! Just by us receiving His sacrifice and by believing that He has forgiven us!
The redemption accomplished through the blood of Christ is the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22). Christ accomplished redemption on the cross and applied His forgiveness to us now that we believe in Him. Redemption and forgiveness are in reality, two aspects of the same thing: one is its fulfillment on the cross and the other, the application now that we believe. The apostle Paul clearly expressed this in Ephesians 1:7. Therefore, once God forgives, he forgets:
Then I said, behold I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of me – to do your will, O God. (Hebrews 10:17)
What is the difference between forgiveness and purification? To find the answer, we first need to know the difference between sins and unrighteousness. Sins speak with respect to offenses, while unrighteousness is a stain, a mark on our conduct, caused by the offense. For example, suppose that you made two purchases, but only paid for one. With respect to the person from whom you made the purchase, you committed an offense. However, with respect to yourself, in your conduct there is a stain of unrighteousness. For this reason, you will not be sinning, but you will be unrighteous.
In the same way, when we commit sin before God, with respect to Him, those sins are offenses. Nevertheless, for us, they are stains of unrighteousness. We need to confess our sins. Then in one sense, God forgives our sins and our offenses; but in another, God washes every stain of our unrighteousness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
[See also Zechariah 13:1; Hebrews 1:3; 9:14]
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)
Justification is the act of God in approving people according to His pattern of justice. His justice is the pattern not ours. Notwithstanding, it does not matter how righteous we think we are, our righteousness is infinitely inferior to the pattern of the righteousness of God. His righteousness is unlimited! You may have lived all of your years being right and just with everyone – parents, children and friends; however, your own righteousness will never make you righteous before God. The only way that God can justify us is through our faith. The righteousness by faith represents the approval according to the pattern of the righteousness of God.
Why is that? The answer is because this righteousness is based on the redemption in Christ. Without it, God could never justify us. The basis of justification is redemption. That is why the Bible says that we have been justified by faith in Christ Jesus and not by works (Romans 3:28; 5:1).
The death of Christ fulfilled redemption for us. Based on this death God justified us.
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. ((Romans 8:33, 34)
Therefore, righteousness depends on redemption, and redemption has as its principal aspect propitiation. Propitiation is a difficult word that means to sacrifice by paying a price to forgive sin. Propitiation is the principal structure of redemption, because as sinners, we have a great debt to God and we have no way of paying it. However, Christ as our propitiation resolved this problem. Once propitiation solves our problem, then God redeems us. Based on the redemption of Christ, God can justify us easily and legally. The only thing that we must do on our end is simply believe in Him, praise the Lord!
We now arrive at our last objective point concerning the full salvation of God: reconciliation. Reconciliation is the act of restoring two parties to friendship or harmony.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Romans 5:1; 10, 11).
We were not only sinners; we were also enemies of God. Through the redemptive death of Christ, God justified us and reconciled us to Himself, while we were still His enemies. This happened when we first believed in the Lord Jesus. We receive the justification and reconciliation of God by faith. In this way, He opened a way for us to receive His grace for His own pleasure.
At the fall, man did not only sin against God, but also became the enemy of God. For the problem of sins committed, forgiveness was sufficient; however to remedy the enmity, we need to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is based on the redemption of Christ (Romans 5:10, 11) and it was fulfilled through the justification of God (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19; Romans 5:1; 11; Colossians 1:20; 22). Therefore, reconciliation is the result of redemption with justification.
Because of reconciliation, today we have peace with God (Romans 5:1), we can glory in God (Romans 5:11) and we can still be saved by the life of the Son of God (Romans 5:10).
God reconciled us together with Himself through Christ. He gave us the ministry of reconciliation, trusting us with the words of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19). Now that we have been reconciled, we must be faithful to the ministry entrusted to us by God and we must announce this new gospel to others: that God reconciled the world with Himself by not imputing man’s transgressions, and beyond that, we have peace with God!