Apologetics: Man & Salvation

We believe that man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin and is therefore spiritually lost, and only by rebirth through the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

– Beatty Community Church
Statement of Faith

Man: Created In God’s Image

How do we know man was created directly by God?

The account in Genesis 2:7 says God created man in His own image. The story of creation is not figurative but actually happened. Jesus considered this account as literally true (Mark 10:5-6). Man did not evolve.

Of all that God created, what makes man unique?

Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6). He was created to be like God. Man has a three-part nature: body, soul, and spirit. Man can have a personal relationship with God. The wording in Genesis 2:7 indicates that man was created in a different manner than everything else. God spoke everything else into existence, but man He personally formed out of the “dust” of the earth and breathed life into him.

What is the significance that man was created in God’s image?

Man is not just another form of animal life – not even the highest form of animal life. While there are physical similarities, man is unique in that he was created with a soul, created in the image of God.

In what condition did God create man?

Man was created physically and morally good (Genesis 1:31, Ecclesiastes 7:29). Man was in fellowship with God.

Man’s Fallen Nature

What is sin?

Sin is “missing the mark”, not meeting God’s standard of righteousness. It is choosing not to follow God’s will (Isaiah 53:6). It is declaring (by words or deeds) independence from God.

Why do we sin?

We sin because Adam sinned in disobeying God (1 Corinthians 15:22), and we inherited our sin nature (instinct?) from him (Romans 5:12).

Who sins?

Everyone has a sin nature and this nature causes us to sin ( Romans 3:23, Psalms 53:2-3, Ecclesiastes 7:20). This is because we are all descended from Adam. No man has never sinned.

What are the results of man’s sin?

There are physical effects of sin. Since Adam sinned, the earth has been under a curse (Genesis 3:16-17). But the most significant effect of sin is that it separates us from God (Habakkuk 1:13). It breaks our relationship with God. This is spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1). It happened to Adam on the day that he disobeyed God (Genesis 2:16-17).

Does man have the capacity to become righteous before God?

We have no capacity to reform ourselves, or to make ourselves righteous in God’s eyes. Our righteousness is not even close to God’s righteousness (Isaiah 64:6) Even if we could live a sinless life from now on, we couldn’t do anything about past sins or our sin nature. From a human perspective, our situation is hopeless (Job 14:4, Romans 7:18)

God’s Solution to Man’s Fallen Nature

We believe that the perfect, sinless life of Jesus Christ, His shed blood, and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and that only such as receive Jesus Christ by faith are born of the Holy Spirit and thus become the children of God.

– Beatty Community Church
Statement of Faith

What does salvation mean?

Salvation means rescue (Psalms 71:2, 144:10). It is someone’s intervention on the behalf of another to save them from a hopeless situation.

Why do we need to be saved?

Everyone is born a sinner and is therefore born spiritually dead (separated from God). Sin requires a perfect sacrifice as payment to restore man to God. Animal sacrifices are not capable of removing sin ( Hebrews 10:4), and because man is not perfect (morally or physically), man’s death is insufficient to meet the demand. Because of this, left to himself, man is doomed to spend eternity in hell. Since man cannot become righteous in God’s eyes, man’s situation is hopeless without God’s intervention.

Why can’t we save ourselves?

We cannot pay the penalty for our sin because it requires a perfect sacrifice (Exodus 12:5, 1 Peter 1:19) and we are not perfect. We cannot keep the law, therefore works of the law cannot save us (Romans 8:3).

On what is our salvation based?

Salvation is based entirely on God’s grace on those who trust Him for their salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). Works have no part in salvation (justification). This trust is believing that Jesus died in our place and His death alone is sufficient to restore us to a right relationship with God. (Jesus died for all – Acts 17:30, 1 Timothy 2:6, 1 John 2:2) It is not faith itself that saves us but God’s grace through faith. If God did not choose to show grace to us, then all the faith in the world would not save us.

There is no other basis for salvation, for if there was some other way, there would have been no need for Jesus to die.

More references on Faith

What are we saved from?

We are saved from the penalty of sin (Romans 8:1), are being saved from the power of sin (Philippians 1:6) and will be saved from the presence of sin ( Romans 13:11). The penalty of sin is death (separation from God) (Deuteronomy 24:16), and eternal conscious torment in hell ( 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, Luke 16:24) Sin separates us from God.

What are we saved to?

We are saved to an eternal relationship (i.e. adoption as sons – John 1:12) with God that starts the moment we are saved (eternal life) and continues in heaven after our physical body dies. God adopts us as His children (Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:5). The benefits of salvation include the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), peace with God (John 14:27, Romans 5:1), acceptance by God ( Ephesians 1:6), access to God ( Ephesians 2:18, 3:12), victory over sin / the world (1 John 4:4), and fellowship with God (1 John 1:3).

What part does each Person in the Trinity play in our salvation?

1 Peter 1:2 says God the Father choose us (election) to be saved, Jesus died for us in our place and intercedes for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us (makes us holy).

It was the Father’s will to save us. Before the world was created, God the Father chose to adopt us (Ephesians 1:3-5), and Jesus obeyed the Father’s will ( Luke 22:41-42) to accomplish the Father’s will.

Our salvation is secured by Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and advocacy:

1. Because Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit ( Matthew 1:18-20), He did not inherit the sin nature common to man.

2. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life; the life we could not live (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22). He fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17).

3. Jesus died in our place, suffering our punishment for us on a cross (Isaiah 53:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). Because He lived a perfect life, His sacrifice was perfect (Hebrews 10:14,18). We are justified (declared righteous) because of His death. Our sins are remitted because He shed His blood for them (Leviticus 17:11, Matthew 26:28).

4. Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope. It is the assurance that Jesus is who He said He was, because God raised Him from the dead (Acts 3:15, Romans 1:4). If Jesus was only a man, He lied. God would not have honored His claims and He wouldn’t have been able to raise Himself. Jesus’ resurrection is essential to the truth of the gospel ( 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

5. Jesus ascended to heaven, so that the Holy Spirit could be sent to us (John 16:7).

6. Jesus is now in heaven at the right hand of God the Father, acting as our advocate, our high priest (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 4:14, 7:25, 9:24, 1 John 2:1). He is preparing a place for us (John 14:3)

More references on Jesus’ Death & Resurrection

The Holy Spirit also has a part in our salvation. He convicts us of sin (John 16:7-8), and regenerates us (John 3:5, Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit sanctifies us (makes us holy) (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 8:1-14, 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23). Sanctification is a process that continues until we die.

How can we be assured of our salvation? Can it be lost?

Salvation is a three-step process: justification, sanctification, and glorification, which happens after we die. Once we are justified, the process will carry on to completion, for it is God who accomplishes it ( Philippians 1:6).

Salvation cannot be lost. There are several reasons that we can’t lose our salvation:

1. Because works have no part in gaining salvation, they have no part in keeping it (Ephesians 2:8-9).

2. If you are saved, you already have eternal life ( John 3:36, 1 John 5:11-13). If you could lose it, then it’s not eternal.

3. You are saved because God chose you (Ephesians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, John 6:44). God doesn’t choose in error. He chose you, knowing every sin you would ever commit against Him. This choosing was to adopt you as His own child. There is no “unadoption” concept in the Bible (John 8:35-36).

4. You are saved by God’s grace. God is keeping you saved (1 Peter 1:5, Jude 24). No one can snatch you from Jesus, including yourself (John 10:28-29).

5. The Holy Spirit is given as a guarantee of eternal life (Romans 8:16, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 2:27, 3:24, 1 John 4:13). The Holy Spirit is an internal witness and He also produces fruit in our lives.

6. Christ’s work on the cross was finished – complete ( Hebrews 10:12-14, John 19:30).

7. We have been identified with Jesus in His death ( Romans 6:5-11). When He died, it is as if we died. Because He took our sin on himself, and took our condemnation by dying on the cross for our sin, our sin has already been paid for. We cannot be judged for the same sin because there is no double-jeopardy with God.

Doubts may arise, but if we are truly saved, doubts will not cause us to lose our salvation (2 Timothy 2:13, 1 John 3:19-20). Abraham is a good example of this. God made promises to Him, he was justified by faith (Genesis 15:6), had some lapses of faith later ( Genesis 16:1-2, 17:17-18), but God still kept His promises to Him. We are justified not by our faith, but by God’s grace through faith. If you have doubts, address them so you can be sure (2 Peter 1:10). Even the greatest Christians have doubts at times. Doubts will not cause you to lose salvation, for your faith is not in your faith, but in Jesus Christ.

“I can’t remember the date I accepted Christ…” – No problem. Just because you forget your own birthday doesn’t mean you were never born.

While spiritual fruit is an assurance (evidence) of salvation, lack of fruit does not necessarily mean one is not saved. There are lots of mulberry trees in Beatty, but they don’t produce fruit like they should. Does that mean they are not really mulberry trees? No. They are real mulberry trees because they have the nature of a mulberry tree.

Fruit takes time to grow. The Holy Spirit produces fruit in us, but it doesn’t happen all at once.

Will everyone be saved?

Matthew 7:13-14 says that many go the wide way to destruction and few go the narrow way to life. Jesus made exclusive claims to being the only way to the Father ( John 14:6). Those who do not come to God through Him will not be saved (Mark 16:16).

Sin & Temptation

What it is, and its origins

Sin is willfully disobeying God. It is doing what displeases Him. Temptation is what urges us to sin. Temptation does not separate us from God. Sin does.

God created man perfect, without a sin nature, but with freedom to choose to obey or disobey God (Genesis 2:16-17).

Adam’s choice to disobey is what gave us our sin nature (Genesis 3:6, Romans 5:12).

Who sins?

Everybody sins. It’s part of our nature (1 Kings 8:46).

We are sinful from birth (Psalms 51:5).

Nobody does good (by God’s standard of “good”) (Psalms 53:3, Ecclesiastes 7:20).

Compared to God’s good, our “good” is like dirty rags ( Isaiah 64:6).

All of us tend to not follow God but our own desires (Isaiah 53:6).

All have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Everybody is under sin. If one person was able to live a sinless life, that capacity would be in all of us, but nobody can live a sinless life, therefore God sent Jesus to die for us (Galatians 3:22).

Saying we never sin just makes us liars (1 John 1:8).

What are the results of sin?

Sin always separates us from God. This is spiritual death. It happened in the garden of Eden the same day that Adam disobeyed God (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:23-24).

The following passages show that sin separates us from God and results in death (Psalms 66:18, Proverbs 11:19, Isaiah 59:2, Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 5:12, 6:23, James 1:15).

Sin also hardens our heart which drives us farther from God. It prevents us from seeking God. That is why God takes the initiative in seeking us out (Hebrews 3:13).

Where do temptations come from?

Temptations come from three places:

The world
The world view from sinful humanity as a whole. (1 John 2:15-17).
Our hearts
Our sinful desires. (Matthew 15:19, 1 Timothy 6:9, James 1:14-15, 4:1).
Satan
Our adversary. (Luke 22:31-32).

God may test us, but God does not tempt us to sin. Temptations try to weaken us, but testings are to strengthen us (James 1:13).

How should we respond to temptation?

Just because as believers we are saved and our sins are forgiven doesn’t mean we can keep on sinning. We are commanded not to sin ( John 5:14, 8:1-11, Romans 6:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:34).

Jesus when tempted, countered with appropriate scripture. Here’s a good reason to memorize scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).

Counter temptation with prayer. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He included asking God to not lead us into temptation (i.e. to lead us away from situations where we might be tempted) (Matthew 6:13).

When Satan attacks, resist him. Don’t give in (James 4:7).

General References on Salvation

God’s love

The Bible tells us that the God who created the whole universe loves each and every one of us (John 3:16).

God did not create us on a whim; He created us for a purpose. That was to be with Him and to have a relationship with Him. This is spiritual life (John 10:10).

Man’s sin

Man has a sin nature. This sin nature is found in everyone and causes everyone to sin (Romans 3:23).

Sin is choosing not to follow God’s way. Every one of us has sinned and as a result, has become separated from God, for God is perfect and cannot look on sin. This separation from God is spiritual death (Habakkuk 1:13, Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:16-17). Adam was expelled from the garden on the same day that he ate the fruit, but he physically died over 900 years later. This shows that ‘death’ refers more to separation from God, not physical death.

Everyone has sinned. No one is righteous in God’s eyes (Job 4:17, Job 9:2, 14:4, 15:14, 25:4, Psalms 51:5, 53:2-3, 130:3, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 53:6, 64:6, Romans 3:9,19-20,23, 7:18, Galatians 3:22, Ephesians 2:1, 1 John 1:8,10).

Unless a solution is found to man’s sin problem, he will be lost and will spend eternity in hell.

God’s solution

Man cannot reconcile himself to God because of his sin nature. Only God can do that.

Our sin nature has made us enemies to God. But God still loves us and does not want us to be lost (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

Because of His love for man, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die in our place (Romans 5:8). This is the assurance of God’s love toward us. Jesus died for us while we were still in sin.

After Jesus died, He rose from the dead, which verified the claims He made about Himself (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). When Paul wrote this, most of the people who saw Jesus after He was raised were still living, so the story could easily be verified.

Jesus is the only means of reconciliation with God (John 14:6).

What must we do?

Jesus is the only way to God; He is the mediator between God and us ( 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

God’s solution is a gift. We must accept this gift and not try our own way (i.e. good works). Going our own way is what gave us our sin nature in the first place (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We accept this by believing that Jesus’ death in our place is totally sufficient to reconcile us with God (Galatians 2:16,21, John 6:28-29).

If we refuse God’s solution, there is no other (Hebrews 2:3, John 3:36). Anyone who trusts Jesus Christ for salvation has eternal life; not just in the future but now.

By accepting God’s Son, God gives us eternal life with Him ( 1 John 5:11-13). Salvation is a knowable fact. There is no need to be in doubt as to your eternal security.

Is water baptism necessary for salvation?

Baptism was commanded by Christ in the “Great Commission” ( Matthew 28:19-20).

Although it is commanded, baptism is not necessary for salvation. The thief who died on a cross next to Jesus believed in Jesus and didn’t need to be baptized (Luke 23:39-43). The thief who trusted in Jesus did not have any opportunity to be baptized.

Paul was sent by Jesus to bring the gospel message to the gentiles, but he wasn’t sent to baptize. If baptism is necessary, didn’t Jesus forget something? (1 Corinthians 1:14-17). Paul was not present when Jesus gave the ‘great commission’.

Baptism follows salvation. It is only after believing that someone should be baptized (Acts 2:41, 18:8).

In this reference, the believers had received the Holy Spirit and were speaking in tongues before being baptized (Acts 10:44-48).

Other references

Jesus’ open invitation (John 10:7-11).

The door is open, but it won’t be forever (Luke 13:23-30).

We receive a new birth; from spiritual death to spiritual life ( John 3:1-8).

We become children of God by believing in the name of God’s Son ( John 1:12).

If we sin, we don’t lose our salvation. It is based on Jesus’ faithfulness, not ours (2 Timothy 2:13).

We are saved to do good works. We don’t do good works to become saved ( Ephesians 2:10). ‘Created in Christ Jesus’ refers to salvation.

All believers have the Holy Spirit who guarantees our salvation ( Romans 8:9, 2 Corinthians 1:22).

Our sins are blotted out by God, not us (Isaiah 43:25, 44:22, 45:22).

Eternally secure because we are sons (John 8:35-36).

Examples of salvation (in general) by faith in God (Genesis 15:6, Daniel 6:23).


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