Salvation

124.  What is the connection between grace and salvation?

The connection between grace and salvation is that it is by grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8).

125.  What is grace?

Grace has two aspects: unmerited favor and enabling power.

126.  What scriptural support do we have for grace as enabling power?

Scriptures that support grace as enabling power include I Cor 15:10: “By the grace of God I am what I am . . . I labored more abundantly . . . yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Ephesians 3:7 speaks of the gift of the grace of God given to Paul by the effective working of His power.  These verses indicate that beyond being unmerited favor, grace is an enabling power.

127.  What is prevenient grace?

Prevenient grace is the grace that goes before salvation.

128.  Why does man need prevenient grace?

The Second Council of Orange states, “The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God’s sake, unless the grace of Divine mercy has preceded him.”

129.  What is the Augustinian/Pelagian Debate?

The Augustinian/Pelagian Debate is the debate between the idea that God is responsible for man’s salvation and the idea that man is responsible for his salvation.  Augustine taught that God initiates man’s salvation and completes it apart from man’s cooperation.  Pelagians taught that man can initiate moves toward God – that man’s will is neutral and could choose right apart from grace.

130.  How does the doctrine of prevenient grace bring balance to this debate?

The doctrine of prevenient grace brings balance to this debate by asserting that God initiates salvation by giving to all mankind the grace to seek God.  When man by grace responds to God’s call, God gives him more grace.  Salvation is all by grace, but man cooperates with that grace.  Man can choose to respond to grace or to reject it.

131.  How does prevenient grace relate to cooperating grace?

Cooperating grace is the power by which God enables those who receive His prevenient grace to do what they will to do.

132.  How important is grace to the Christian life?

Every holy thought, every holy desire, and every holy action is the result of grace, the gift of God.

133.  What scriptural evidence supports the doctrine of prevenient grace and cooperating grace

Scriptures that support the concept of prevenient grace and cooperating grace include Titus 2:11, which says that the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness.  John 1:9 says that Christ is the light that lights every man coming into the world.  Philippians 2:12-13 tells us to work out our salvation, for it is God that works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  John 6:44 says that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draw him.  Apart from the drawing grace of God, we cannot enter into a relationship with Christ.

134.  What are the aspects of repentance?

Repentance includes conviction – realizing that you are a sinner deserving punishment and unable to save yourself, contrition – being truly sorry that you have sinned against God, and resolution – a full resolving to turn from sin and to obey God.  Thus, true repentance involves the mind, the emotions, and the will.  (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30.)

135.  What are the three aspects of saving faith?

The three aspects of saving faith are the assent of the mind, the consent of the will, and a full resting in the person and work of Christ.  With the mind, one accepts the truth of Christ, and with the will, one accepts the demands of Christ.  It is then that one’s whole inner being can rest in God’s promises and truly accept the abiding Presence of Christ.  Believing in Christ for salvation is more that believing that Christ is Lord; it is believing in Christ as Lord, committing oneself to Him.  (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 10:38; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16; James 2:20; Mark 1:15; Luke 8:12; John 1:12; John 3:16; John 3:36; Romans 10:9-10; I Timothy 1:16; I John 5:10.)

136.  Does one have to repent before he can exercise saving faith?

Faith presupposes repentance.  One cannot fully trust the Savior unless he fully realizes that he needs a Savior and he is willing to yield to the Savior.

137.  Does this mean that we are saved by works?

We are not saved by works.  In fact, one who truly repents realizes that he cannot save himself.

The only direct condition for salvation is faith; when one truly believes, he is saved.  However, a believing heart is a heart willing to yield to Christ.  This is why faith presupposes repentance. (Ephesians 2:8-10.)

138.  What is justification?

Justification means to be acquitted, to be declared righteous.  By justification we are saved from the guilt and penalty of sin and restored to the favor of God.  (Romans 3:21-26; Romans 4:5-8; Romans 5:1, 2.)

139.  What are the concomitants of justification?

The concomitants of justification are regeneration, initial sanctification, and adoption.

140.  What is regeneration?

Regeneration is the new birth.  It is to be born again.  If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away. (II Corinthians 5:17).  When one is regenerated, there is a real change in the nature of his soul.

141.  What is the difference between regeneration and justification?

In justification one is counted righteous; in regeneration one is made righteous.  Justification is done for a person.  Regeneration is done in a person.

142.  Can justification occur apart from regeneration?

When one is saved, he is both justified and regenerated.  To whomever God imputes righteousness, He also imparts righteousness.  One is not counted righteous without also being made righteous.

143.  What is the relationship between regeneration and sanctification?

Regeneration is the gate into sanctification.  When one is regenerated, he is initially sanctified because through the new birth there is a change of character in the soul.

144.  How is one assured of his salvation?

One is assured of his salvation through the witness of the Spirit.  According to John Wesley, the witness of the Spirit is the inward impression of the soul, in which the Spirit of God immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit that I am a child of God (Romans 8:15-16). This inward impression is not necessarily a feeling, but is a conscious awareness of the new relationship. This witness comes through believing God’s promises found in His Word (I John 5:10).

145.  According to Wesley, what confirms the witness of the Spirit?

The fruit of the Spirit confirms the witness of the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit includes both inward and outward fruit.  Outward fruit includes doing good to all men, not doing evil, and walking in all the light.

146.  What were Wesley’s two warnings regarding the witness of the Spirit?

Two warnings regarding the witness of the Spirit are: 1) Do not presume to rest in any supposed testimony of the Spirit separate from the fruit.  2) Do not rest in any supposed fruit without the witness.

147.  What is entire sanctification?

Entire sanctification is an instantaneous work of grace experienced subsequent to regeneration, in which inbred sin is cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and one is enabled to love God with a single mind, being empowered for more effective service to God. This divine work is appropriated through full consecration and an act of faith.  By the “Holy Spirit,” our “hearts” are “purified” through “faith” (Acts 15:8-9).

148.  What are the conditions for experiencing entire sanctification?

To experience entire sanctification, one must recognize his need for purity, repudiate his sinfulness, yield completely to God, and trust Him to do the work.  (Romans 6:11; Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Acts 15:8-9.)

149.  How do God’s commands for us to be holy support the teaching that we can be entirely sanctified in this life?

All commands are actually promises in another form.  If God commands something (like “Be ye holy” and “Thou shalt love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself,”) He has the grace available to enable us to obey the commands.  He expects us to appropriate that grace.

150.  How does I Thessalonians show that a born again Christian needs to be and can be entirely sanctified in this life?

I Thessalonians indicates that Paul was writing to true believers ( 1:3, 9) who had something lacking in their spiritual lives (3:10).  Paul called them to holiness (3:12, 13; 4:3, 7) and prayed that they would be entirely sanctified (made holy through-and-through) and be preserved in that state (blameless) until the coming of Christ (5:23).  Paul said that God would be faithful to do this for them (5:24).  We have no reason to believe that that promise was limited to the Thessalonians or that God cannot keep His promises.  We therefore conclude that a Christian can be born again without being completely sanctified, but if he claims God’s promise for a full cleansing of his heart, he can be entirely sanctified in this life.