The second story Mr. Camdey spoke of was salvation and how it was obtained. I was fascinated with the truths that he laid out simply and plainly yet with the flame of passion that I had seldom seen in many of my atheist friends. “There is only one way to be saved,” he told me sternly one day, “And that is through Christ. We may think that God is dull, unoriginal, and exclusive to have only one Way, but if we look back over the thousands of years of mankind’s unholy sin, we should be grateful that there is even a Way at all. And we know from our studies that it is indeed the Best way. Now, my dear Mr. Tamwit, I see your heart is troubled. Ready your pen! I will tell you of the One Way, that your soul might be soothed.” And so he began once more.
What is salvation? The philosophical fellows in their libraries might concoct a number of ways to define salvation. They might dissect the word into all its parts and determine the Greek or Latin roots and prefixes. But salvation has only one definition that truly stirs the heart, and it is simply, “Saved by grace.”
The word salvation is mentioned 40 times in the New Testament. Most of the time it speaks of salvation of sinners through Christ, but in some instances it talks of being saved from enemies. In Luke 1: 69-71, Zechariah prophesies, “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us, in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.”
In these couple of verses, Zechariah speaks of salvation from enemies, not from sin. When Zechariah speaks of salvation, the meaning, however, stays the same. Instead of being saved by grace from sin, he means that he is saved by grace from his enemies.
In the Old Testament, “salvation” was to be saved by grace from enemies, just as Zechariah says. In the Old Testament, the word “salvation” had a physical meaning- that God would wipe out the Israelites’ enemies and that He would save them from doom at the hand of other nations. However, once we enter the New Testament, salvation becomes so much deeper. When we think of salvation, the automatic reaction is to picture Jesus dying on the cross, thus saving us from death and the power of sin. However, we must return to the question: ‘what is salvation?’
Salvation is not just an act of redemption – it is a covenant, a New Covenant, made by God to Christians. A covenant, in simplest terms, is a promise between God and his people. In this covenant of salvation, Jesus promises that we will be with Him when we die, and he also promises to mediate for us before the righteous Father. His final promise is that the Evil One will be conquered.
We have defined salvation in two ways – through a meaning and as a covenant. Now comes the question many unbelievers, and even believers, have asked. How can I obtain salvation?
Quite simply, you cannot—not by yourself and certainly not by works. Our first definition of salvation was a meaning, ‘saved by grace.’ The whole concept of salvation revolves around God’s grace and mercy to mankind. Without God, salvation becomes unobtainable.
If mankind cannot obtain salvation, how can we commune with our Heavenly Father? To answer that, God has made a way. Instead of obtaining salvation ourselves, when we put our faith in Jesus, he will give us salvation freely. We must admit in our hearts that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Then, and only then, can we be saved.