The doctrine of salvation, also known as soteriology (from the Greek word for salvation, sōtēria), typically is broken into between five and ten major categories. Nearly all treatments of soteriology begin with the Person of Christ and the work of Christ. I’ve chosen to divide my blogs on soteriology into the Person of Christ, the work of Christ, the promise of Christ, and the preaching of Christ. In part 1, we will consider the role of the Person of Christ in our salvation.
There could be no salvation for sinful humans unless God provided a perfect Savior. Nothing less than perfection would do.
The OT sacrificial system required unblemished sacrifices. The OT sacrifices pointed to the coming Messiah: “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…” (Heb 10:11-12). Paul said, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
There could be no perfect Savior unless God Himself became a man, which He did.
The Lord Jesus is God, and He is also with God (John 1:1). That is, He has all the attributes of deity: He is eternal, holy, righteous, good, just, loving, omnipotent, omniscient, and impeccable. God is made up of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. One being. Three Persons. While we cannot understand how this can be, we accept it since God tells us that He is three Persons, but one Being.
Impeccability means that Jesus was incapable of sinning in His deity and in His perfect humanity and in His united Person. He not only did not sin. He could not sin.
The following titles of Christ found in the NT show the importance of His Person in our salvation: the way, the truth, the life, the faithful High Priest, the Seed of the woman, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Holy One, the One who knew no sin, the Alpha and the Omega, and the Savior of the world.
People do not need to understand everything about the Person of Christ in order to have everlasting life. What they need to understand is that He is fully capable of giving everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it.
How much do people need to believe about the Person of Christ to be saved?
After Zane Hodges presented two messages on how to lead a person to faith in Christ, some people criticized him. They said that he was saying that someone could believe in anyone named Jesus and have everlasting life. You could be saved by believing in a landscaper, a doctor, or an architect named Jesus. As long as his name is Jesus, you can be saved forever by believing in him. It need not be the Jesus of the Bible.
Hodges was not saying that. Nor am I. What he was saying is that the bullseye is not the Person of Christ or the work of Christ, but the promise of Christ. Until one believes in the promise of Christ, what Jesus Himself called the gift of God (John 4:10, 14; Rev 22:17), then he is not yet born again, even if he has orthodox beliefs in Jesus’ Person and work.
Hodges said that the Person of Christ and the work of Christ should lead us to believe in the promise of Christ, everlasting life. That is solid theology and solid evangelism.
Unless and until someone believes that Jesus’ promise of irrevocable everlasting life in verses like John 3:16 is true, he cannot be born again.
One must believe that Jesus is who He claims to be, the Guarantor of everlasting life. No mere mortal could give anyone everlasting life. People must believe that because of who He is, Jesus must fulfill His guarantee that whoever believes in Him will not perish but has everlasting life.
The God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only Person in all of history who could purchase and guarantee the salvation of all who simply believe in Him for it.
He is the object of saving faith. We are not eternally secure because of our works or because of our faith plus our works. We are secure forever because we believe in Jesus for the gift of everlasting life.