23 Things That Save Us From Sin
Brethren often talk about “the five steps of salvation,” in reference to man’s part in his response to the gospel. Although there is value to this concise list, the Bible never speaks of “The Five Steps Of Salvation” as it is typically used today. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in what is typically referred to as “the five steps” because you can put clear Bible verses after each of the “steps!” My concern is that constant reference to “man’s part,” may make man’s response more important in some people’s minds than “God’s part.” The formula, though useful , can also be limiting. For example, I am not alone in expressing concern that nowhere in “the five step formula” is the grace of God mentioned!
In discussing the plan of salvation with others, I believe it is important that we need to be careful about narrowing down the plan of salvation to certain elements and leaving out other important elements. Clearly, all the elements of salvation we find in scripture are important. If not, why not? Surely beloved, the Holy Spirit would not have chosen to reveal anything to us if they did not matter!
Further, it seems to me, that instead of starting at man’s response, we should start with the story of Jesus and His sacrifice, the revelation of God’s grace and His love, and the amazing nature of God’s eternal plan, etc. First and foremost, I sharing the gospel, we should start with sin, and how serious it is, and how Jesus is the only resolution to our sin problem. People first need to understand why it was necessary for Jesus to die, etc. before we begin talking about man’s response to Christ and try to get people in the water!
Over the years in teaching people the gospel, I have found it beneficial to go way beyond and be much more expansive than the simple, standard, five step approach. I think we ought to be careful to lay out everything God has said about salvation, and first make sure individuals understand God’s part in the plan! After all, “we love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4:19)! Only after God’s part is clear, and what the Godhead has done for us in providing a Savior, should we begin to talk about man’s response to the fact that my Jesus died for me!
If you look at the scriptures carefully, you will find that God has specified 14 things that have some part in our salvation from sin. This list is not original with me, I first saw them catalogued in this way in a tract by Royce Bell, who has used this approach successfully in presenting the gospel to prospects in his local work. A list of this sort is very simple to arrive at yourself; just use a concordance!
- The Father (Isa. 12:2, Tit. 3:4-5, Rom. 6:23; 8:33, 1 Tim 4:10)
- The Son (Jesus Christ) (Matt. 1:21, 1 Tim. 1:15, Heb. 5:8-9)
- The Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11, John 14:26, 16:7-13, Eph. 6:17)
- God’s Grace (Acts 15:11, Rom. 3:24, Eph. 2:8-9, Tit. 2:11-12)
- God’s Love (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:7)
- God’s Mercy (Titus 3:5)
- Hope (Rom. 8:24; Titus 1:2)
- Life of Christ (Romans 5:10)
- The Cross (Christ’s sacrifice) (1 Cor. 1:18; Gal. 6:14)
- The Blood of Christ (shed on the cross) (Matt. 26:28, Rom. 5:8-9, Eph. 1:7, 13-14, Heb. 9:22, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Jn 1:7)
- The Name of Christ (His authority and dominion) (John 20:30-31; Acts 4:10-12; 10:43)
- The Gospel (contained in the New Testament of the Bible) Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23)
- Preachers/Messengers of the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15; 1 Cor. 1:21; 2 Thess. 2:14)
- Truth (John 8:31-32, 2 Thess. 2:10)
Similarly, the Bible shows we are to respond to the gospel in 9 ways. Each of the following are specified as being effectual in our salvation.
- Hear the words of the gospel (Rom. 10:14-17, Prov. 28:9, Isa. 55:3, Acts 11:14)
- Faith in Christ (belief that He is the Son of God) (Jn. 3:16, 8:24; Rom. 5:1-2, Acts 16:31, Heb. 11:6)
- Repentance of sin (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 2 Cor. 7:10)
- Confession of faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 9:26; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-37)
- Baptism in water (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 10:47-48; 1 Pet. 3:21)
- Works that are specified by faith’s action in obedience—see #7 below ( John 6:28-29, Jam. 2:20-26, 1 John 3:24)
- Obedience (of faith)—see #6 above (Rom. 1:5, 16:25-26; Heb. 5:8-9)
- Endurance (faithfulness to the Lord’s will) (Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10)
- Save ourselves (nobody can do it for you) (Acts 2:40-41; 2 Cor. 5:20; James 4:8-10).
In summary: there are 14 elements dealing with God’s part, and 9 elements which deal with man’s part; 23 total things that save! Now, which of these 23 things should be left out?