How Does God Save People?

You may think that a previous article covered this topic pretty well, but there is a difference in the two topics. Before, I attempted to answer the question “How do I know that I am saved?” The emphasis there was on the “knowing” that is available to those of us that have believed on Jesus Christ as our Savior.

This article, however, is an attempt to deal with the mechanics of salvation – not just that God saves us, but how God saves us. Although this topic requires us to deal mainly with the mechanics, or mechanisms, of salvation, which all take place in the human experience during physical time, nevertheless we can not easily enter into a discussion of those things without first discussing the aspects of salvation which describes God’s over-arching design and purposes in salvation – election and predestination. Part 1 will do this as breifly as possible. I will address these extremely important doctrines in the future at greater length as God permits.I have broken down the topic into three main sections with subsections as follows. The sequence is definitely logical and generally chronological.

I. Events before time began
1) Foreknowledge
2) Election
3) Predestination

II. Events during time
1) Regeneration
2) Calling
3) Repentance
4) Faith
5) Justification
6) Sanctification

III. Events after time
1) Glorification

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For the sake of simplicity, I will keep to a sequenced understanding of the different aspects of salvation. But some of them have an application both in time and eternity. For example, there is a sense in which those that have believed on the Lord for justification was already justified when Jesus died and rose again some two thousand years ago, and not only that, but there is a sense in which it may be said that the believer was always justified because God knew from eternity that He would justify them. The same may be said of sanctification, for those whom God knew would believe were in a sense always “set aside” as His elect, and are presently set aside after they have believe for the service of God, and always will be set aside for the Glory of God. And finally, a believer is glorified in the resurrection with a new body, in the new heaven and new earth; but the believer is already glorified in heaven in a spiritual and legal way, as we find in Ephesians chapter 2:

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.

Section I: Events before time

1. Foreknowledge.  Foreknowledge is God knowing those persons that He will save before those persons exist, even before time began. “Knowing” is often equated with “loving”, and it is said that God fore-loved the elect. Also, and for me more importantly, to say that God “knows” something is to say that God “decrees” something, for God does not learn anything, seeing he has perfect knowledge of all things. Think about it. What God knows, God decrees, because if God knows it, it will happen, it is fixed, and must happen, and because it will happen, and He permits it to happen, He therefore decrees it to happen. Since God is the origin of all things, all things that come to pass are decreed by Him. Although this truth cuts the heart out of our human pride and crashes our concept of self-determination, it is inescapably true and irrefutable, as long as we accept the premise that God is all-knowing (omniscient) and all-powerful (omnipotent). This is simple logic and it is clearly taught in the Bible.

Isaiah 45:21 (KJV) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Isaiah 46:9 (KJV) Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, , {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: {11} Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”

Acts 15:18 (KJV) Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

2. Election.  Election is the first act of God’s grace, whereby He elected (chose) to save certain individuals from their sins for His own glory. Election is conditioned only in the purpose and plan of God, and nothing in man. If election depended on any thing in man, then it would not be an act of grace.Notice I use the terminology “act” of grace. It’s important to remember that God is the “actor”, or rather, the “agent” of all events. He is not a spectator of anything, but is the first cause of all subsequent causes and effects.

1 Peter 1:2 (KJV) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Psalms 65:4 (KJV) Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

John 6:65 (KJV) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (KJV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 (KJV) Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

3. PredestinationPredestination is God determining, before time began, to provide His chosen ones a “telos”, a final goal, an ultimate end, which we typically call “heaven”; and having determined that we should arrive to this destination before time began, he also predetermined the means by which we would arrive to that end.Nobody would be saved unless God had first elected to save some of us, and had planned to bring about the things in our lives which would lead us into His salvation.

Ephesians 1:11 (KJV) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, “

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This concludes Part 1 of “How does God save people?” 

Part 2 will begin with the events during time. 

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One Response to “How Does God Save People?”

  1. A.W. Pink: How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect? « Sovereign God Ministries Says:

    […] that one is “elect”.  This quote is a perfect capstone to my previous articles “How Does God Save People?” and How Can A Person Know If They […]

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