Salvation is the biblical word that defines God’s all-inclusive provision for mankind. In the New Testament in particular, it encapsulates all the benefits and blessings that God has made available to us through his son, Jesus Christ. While ‘salvation’ is generally regarded a “New Testament concept”, to limit it to this is erroneous and excludes the truth that God, throughout the Old Testament, has provided us with types, examples and teachings that all lead inexorably to the coming of Christ, who encapsulates salvation through his great work on the Cross
2 Corinthians 1: 20 says this: For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (NKJ) The Bible tells us, therefore, that Christ is the fulfillment of all of promises of God, which includes those in the Old Testament. A thorough understanding of salvation therefore requires that we examine it throughout the Bible, and not just in the New Testament.
A study of salvation therefore reveals that it is not simply “being born again” or being “saved” from our sins. It is not simply something that happens, a process of being ‘packaged, destination Heaven.’ While all these are important and relevant, they represent only a fraction of what God intended and provided for us. Salvation is an All-Inclusive Provision, through the grace of God, for the whole of mankind.
Ephesians 3:17-19 gives us further insight: that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
This is the outworking of salvation, that we may be able to comprehend the magnitude of God, of Christ and His love, and may be filled with all the fullness of God. Limiting salvation to being ‘saved’ or ‘born again’, while these are critical and are the very basis of salvation, is falling short of the fullness that God desires salvation to accomplish.
Finally, let us look at Hebrews 2:1-4: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. How many Christians – born again, baptised, even Spirit-filled – have drifted away? The reason for this is that ‘earnest heed’ has not been given to the Word. Like a boat that is not securely anchored, we will ‘drift away’ unless we understand the totality of the provision. Being born again is simply the first step to ‘working out our salvation’ (Philippians 2:12).
Salvation from sin is only the beginning. The ‘whole package’, however, is total provision for every aspect of our lives. If we don’t have access to what we need, the chances are we will give up and drift away. There will be nothing to hold fast to. Being saved from our sins gets us through the door that leads to Heaven. The rest of the packages gets us through earth to Heaven. But it’s up to us to give earnest heed to the truth, and to live accordingly.
For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? This passage takes us one step further.
The caution here is not to neglect the fullness, the greatness, of salvation (the complete package). God has spoken of it throughout His Word, and testified to it through His Spirit and power. It’s contained throughout the whole Bible – in fact, it could be said that the entire Bible is the preparation for, revelation of and fulfillment of salvation. The Old Testament prepares us, reveals it to us and teaches us, and the New Testament shows us the fulfillment of it, and teaches us how to ‘work it out’. The Word of God enables salvation in its entirety. Just as nothing contained in the Bible can be studied outside of the fact and significance of Christ and the cross, so nothing can be studied outside of salvation. Christ and the cross are God’s own miracle, the ultimate sign and wonder that testifies to the ‘great salvation’ offered.
To neglect the greatness of salvation (the total, all-inclusive provision contained in salvation) is, therefore, a form of disobedience. We limit God, His fullness, His power, and His grace by not taking heed of the fullness of his provision.