Discipleship I Lesson 1: Salvation

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“What does it mean to be saved? How was I saved and what is my new relationship to God?”

There are three essential truths for a person to embrace if they will experience the love of God and be delivered from the wrath of God. The first is, “I am a sinner who needs a Saviour.” Second, “Jesus Christ is the Saviour.” And the third, “He is now my Saviour.”

When you knowt hat the Lord Jesus Christ has saved you from your sins, then you can begin to enjoy the eternal relationship with God’s treasure, his Son. And that is the purpose behind this lesson: to introduce you to this wonderful relationship with the God who has so graciously saved sinners.

When one receives the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, a whole lot of things change, and begin to change. Since it is very likely that you have some questions regarding how this comes about, and what this means, this lesson aims to provide biblical answers.

EXPLANATION: What is the primary purpose of this lesson?

The purpose of this lesson is to explain what takes place at salvation and how receiving Jesus Christ affects the believer’s relationship with God.

EXPECTATION: How will these teachings help me to be obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ?

1. By obeying the Lord’s command to repent and obey the gospel (Acts 2:38; 17:30; Matthew 4:17).
2. By obeying his command to give glory and thanks to God for his gift of salvation (Ephesians 1:12–13; Revelation 19:1).
3. By obeying his command to show through your life the salvation that he gives (Philippians 2:12; 1 Timothy 1:16).

I. There are only two spiritual families in the world.

A. The devil’s family.

1. John 8:44 speaks of a group of people who are “of [their] father the devil.” See also John 8:38 and Ephesians 2:1–3.
2. You enter this family by birth through your physical father, who is ultimately a descendant of Adam. Genesis 5:3 shows that the descendants of Adam are born in Adam’s image and likeness, which is that of a fallen sinner.
3. You inherited your sin nature from your father Adam. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
4. Romans 5:12 also states that as a result of your sin you were sentenced to die; you were spiritually dead.

a. Genesis 2:17—“in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
b. Romans 6:23— “The wages of sin is death”
c. 1 Corinthians 15:22— “In Adam all die”

B. God’s family.

1. An individual also enters God’s family by birth; but it is a spiritual birth that is given by God. John 3:3 states, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
2. John 1:12–13 says, “But as many as received Him [that is your receiving The Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour], to them He gave the right to become children of God [your entrance into God’s family], to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, [it is not a physical birth], but of God [it is a spiritual birth].”
3. This new birth places one into God’s family. Such becomes a son of God by birth.
4. As a result of this new birth, believers no longer have the devil as their father but rather they have God as their Father. And this means that now they have eternal life.

a. John 6:47—“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has [present tense] everlasting life.”
b. John 3:36—“He who believes in the Son has [present tense] everlasting life.”
c. 1 John 5:12—“He who has the Son has [present tense] life.”

5. This eternal life is about quality as well as quantity of life. That is, everyone will live forever, but those who have, by the grace of God experienced the new birth, have the eternal privilege of knowing Him as Father (John 17:3)!

II. What is the new birth?

The new birth can be described as the salvation that God gives to believers (see Matthew 1:21). Not only does such a birth change the believer’s spiritual lineage, but it also results in their deliverance from:

A. The penalty of sin.
B. The power of sin.
C. The presence of sin.
D. The pleasures (enjoyment) of sin.

III. How does this salvation take place?

Salvation takes place by the grace of God alone, through faith alone inChrist alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). The Bible informs us that the following things will happen as we experience this salvation as the result of the “new birth.”

A. A comprehension of the true nature of God and the reality of sin.
B. Contrition (sorrow) over sin.
C. Repentance from dead works (a forsaking of trust in anything else for salvation and a wholehearted turning to God).
D. A conversion from sin to Christ (a believer becomes a new creature in Christ).

IV. Being in God’s family separates the believer from the devil’s family.

A. His body becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost. God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of those who have been born again (1 Corinthians 6:19).
B. Believers are “ethically” different from the lost (2 Corinthians 6:14–18).
C. The new life is succinctly summarised in 2 Corinthians 5:17–18: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

V. What is one’s relationship to God upon being born again?

A. God is their heavenly Father, and they are His child (1 John 2:1).
B. God no longer deals with them as an enemy, but rather He deals with them as sons(Romans 5:10).
C. That relationship is pictured by the earthly relationship between a father and his son.

1. A good father loves and cares for his son (1 Peter 5:7).
2. A good father protects his son (Matthew 18:6).
3. A good father provides for his son (Philippians 4:19).
4. A good father guides and teaches his son (John 14:26).
5. A good father helps his son (Psalm 46:1).
6. A good father encourages his son (Philippians 4:13).
7. A good father disciplines his son (Hebrews 12:5–11).
8. A good father feeds his son (Matthew 4:4).
9. A good father has a plan for his son (Romans 8:28–29).

D. A good father will never do anything to purposely harm his son. He will only do those things which will help him to grow and mature into the young man he wants him to be. God, the heavenly Father, relates to his sons in the same way, only his ways are perfect. Unlike earthly fathers who sometimes fail, God never makes a mistake in his dealings with his sons (Matthew 7:11).

VI. The believer does not become sinless at the time of their spiritual birth. Therefore believers can expect an ongoing struggle with the temptation to sin.

A. A believer is one person with two natures (Galatians 5:17).

1. The nature of the old man: physical, sinful, in Adam’s image.
2. The nature of the new man: spiritual, perfect, in God’s image.

B. Both natures are present constantly. Therefore the believer is called to a life of putting off sinful attitudes and actions and then replacing those by putting on righteous, Christlike attitudes and actions. This is where the struggle occurs (Colossians 3:5–10; Ephesians 4:22–24).

VII. Basic questions.

A. Will I sin after I am saved?

Yes, you still have your old sin nature (Romans 7:14–25).

B. How does sin affect the believer’s relationship with his Father?

God does not remove a believer from his family. When a believer sins, he disciplines them as a son (Hebrews 12:5–11).

C. What should believers do when they sin?

Confess it and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse from sin. He does so through his sacrificial work that he accomplished on the cross (1 John 1:6–10; Proverbs 28:13).

D. Believer’s don’t have to sin!

They have a choice. Sin is now a matter of “I won’t do right” rather than “I can’t do right” (Romans 6:1–2).

E. What evidence of salvation can I look for in my life?

Based on Acts 2:37–47 we can find that there are some things that will be true of a new believer. These include (but are not limited to):

1. True repentance has occurred: The broken and contrite heart looks to God for mercy and grace
2. A new understanding of God’s word, and submission to its authority, has dawned.
3. A strong sense of attachment and belonging to God’s people is present, by which we know we have passed from death to life.
4. A wonderful new ability to pray is manifested, including praise and spiritual petitions; and prayers are answered.
5. The receiving of a new heart is evidenced by a new appetite. That is, the believer finds that his or her desire in life is to be free from serving self and rather now he or she desires to serve the Lord; to live for him. With the new heart the sanctifying process is commenced: the desire to obey and please the Lord.
6. The peace of God and the initial sense of belonging (assurance) are placed in the heart by the Spirit (Romans 8:14–16).
7. The assaults of Satan are now felt in new temptations, doubts and fears. The spiritual warfare has begun (Galatians 5:16–17).

VIII. Key memory verses: Romans 5:12; John 3:3; 1 John 1:9.

IX. In many churches today, some popular teachings are:

A. All mankind is part of one large family of God.
B. People can earn their way to heaven.
C. People can get to heaven through any way they choose.
D. If there is such a thing as sin, it must be confessed to some kind of a human priest in order to be forgiven by God.

From the Bible principles taught in this lesson, you should understand that these teachings are false, and why.

X. Suggested Scripture reading:

A. The Gospel of John and the First Epistle of John
B. The Book of Romans
C. Genesis (Chapters 1–11)

XI. Suggested basic reading:

A. Ultimate Questions and Right with God by John Blanchard
B. Basic Christianity by John Stott

XII. Suggested advanced reading:

A. Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? by Walter Chantry
B. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer
C. The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur, Jr.