A Savior Who Actually Saves

It is customary for churches to have statements of faith on their web sites and maybe published in their bulletins. A while back, I was at a church that also published, “The Way of Salvation.”

At first glance, this five step process looks like an efficient tool of written evangelism. Let us see what we can learn from what this church has written.

First, you need to be saved. It is true that humanity is estranged from God (Gen 3). In fact, the Bible uses the term “enmity” to describe the relationship between God and man (Rom 5:10). The natural man cannot comprehend the plight of humanity (1 Cor 2:14), so it is futile to try and reason with him (Eph 4:17). This first point attempts to do that by addressing the reader…”you need.”

The Scripture proof text for this first point is Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Unless the unregenerate unbeliever was to know the consequences of sin, he would not particularly care about this word “sin.” For this reason, it is difficult for us to advocate the abbreviated form of evaluation. In this, more questions are raised than answered.

So from an abbreviated and not so daunting first point, we move right to salvation. Again, was the bad news bad enough? The second point does add to the idea of offense, the idea of helplessness (Eph 2:12).

Second, you cannot save yourself. This is certainly a true statement. The proof text employed to support this proposition is Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Or as Jonah put it, “Salvation belongs to the Lord (Jon 2:9).” God is the one and only Savior of sinners (Jn 14:6; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6).

We must warn you at this point that the false doctrine of universalism is lurking in the shadows, by implication. Everybody ”needs” salvation, and everyone is helpless to save himself. It grows to be nefarious, as we look at the third point.

Third, Jesus has already provided YOUR (church’s emphasis) salvation. This is blasphemous. Before we address the blasphemy, let us look at the issue of universalism, again.

By implication, everyone has the potential, the possibility to be saved. This is not pure universalism where the proclamation is that everyone is saved, regardless of their relationship to Jesus. That is patently not true. No, this is the universalism of provisionalism, whereby God provides salvation for everybody, everywhere, but He applies salvation to no one at all. Salvation is merely an untapped supply of something good.

YOUR salvation also suggests Jonah was wrong about it belonging to God, alone (see also Psalm 3:8 and Revelation 19:1). Ignorance of the biblical doctrines of election and reprobation is ruinous. Election says, “God chose to save a select group of people, He knew by name, before the foundation of the world.” Reprobation says, “God chose not to save a select group of people, He knew by name, before the foundation of the world.” The point is that the elect are absolutely saved by God, and the reprobate are absolutely not saved by God.

The Bible never speaks of a “provided” or a “possibility” of salvation. Paul wrote to Titus, “He saved us (Titus 3:5).” “He” is God. “Us” is the elect. “Saved” is in the grammatical tense…a done deal. Jesus is a Savior who actually saved and saves His people from their sins (Mt 1:21).

The proof text for this third point is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is one of the most misinterpreted Scripture proofs in the whole Bible. It is used by the Arminian to escape Universalism. With it, however, the Arminian wrests the work of salvation away from God, albeit in part, and imagines each man as a self-generator of faith, “whosoever believeth.”

In this man-centered interpretation of John 3:16, God has done His part by sending Jesus. Now you must do your part by receiving Him via a self-generated faith. An isolated John 3:16 with no correlation is a sure way of deception. It is imperative for one to do a word study on kosmos “world” in order to see that “world” has a plethora for different meanings used in respective contexts. Which “world” definition does John mean in that verse?

The blasphemy of “possible salvation” and self-generated faith are carried over into the fourth point in this way of salvation.

Fourth, you can be saved from your sins, by receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour! The possibility…not reality…remains “can be.” Saved from what? Sins…which remains deficient as to the real consequence, apart from the allusion to “perish” in John 3:16. One is saved from sins, but also judgment, eternal punishment, fiery hell, outer darkness, and the lake of fire — as features of God’s wrath against sinners (Mt 8:12; 22:13; 25:41, 46; Rom 1:18; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).

“Receiving Jesus Christ” has a proof text, “But as many as received Him, to them, gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name (Jn 1:12).” The exegetical crime is never the Bible proof text, but the deception is in the context, or lack of a context. The point is that it is utterly impossible to separate John 1:12 from John 1:13, unless you wish to mislead people…and there are many who do!

John 1:13 reads, “…who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” God takes His salvation back from the Arminian who severs verse 12 from verse 13. God’s free will and choice (Rom 9:16; 11:5), not man’s, determines who is saved and who is not saved.

God is not offering salvation to anyone, nor is He providing the possibility of salvation to anyone. Rather, He has chosen to save His elect, redeemed, regenerate church, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9).” Not only has He chosen, redeemed, and called the elect, but He has sent His Spirit to go and gather each lost sheep, so that not one is separated from Him.

Finally, we consider the fifth point. In this, we have the result of salvation. Interestingly, an extra proof text was used in the possibility of point four. The text is Romans 10:9, and the Arminian employs it as the means for a self-willed, self-generated way into Christ. The issue here is whether Romans 10:9 is for the unregenerate unbeliever or whether Paul intended it for the Roman Christians, to whom He was writing. Let us consider it, “That if thou shalt confess with Thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Who confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord” but the believer in Jesus (Phil 2:11)! What is in the believer’s heart comes out of His mouth (Lk 6:45). The believer has faith in his heart because the Holy Spirit has baptized (Mt 3:11), regenerated ( Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3), and now abides there (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). Faith is a gift of God (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29), inseparable from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Salvation is a legal position (justification). It is also a process (sanctification) that only operates in that position (“in Christ”). The believer, already positioned in Christ, confesses Christ. The unbeliever will never confess Christ with his mouth (as a true product of his heart), especially as the agent to save himself (“YOUR salvation”).

The fifth point reads, “The results of salvation.” The proof text that should have Romans 10:9, in correlation to results, instead of means, is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

New creatures confess Jesus Christ and call upon His name because they are in Him, and He is in them (1 Cor 1:30; Gal 2:20; 1 Jn 4:13). The result of salvation is a Spirit-led life of growing in sanctification unto glory (Jn 17:17; Rom 8:29). Christians have eternal life, and they live by faith in Him, who is the life (Jn 14:6) and the life-giver (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 3:6).

In conclusion, we reject the minimization of the Gospel message to a few misused proof texts that steal glory from God, in a salvation that exclusively belongs to Him (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). We must return to the Nicene Creed to explain the basic profession of the Christian. We must then ask the reader of that creed, “Do you believe that?” If he affirms his faith, we can rejoice with him and labor to strengthen him with sound doctrine. If he does not affirm, we must continue to make Christ known to him, for we have a Savior who actually saves.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

September 13, 2022


Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher