Soteriology: The Study of Salvation

Paul Derengowski, ThM


On September 5, 1981 I “officially” became a Christian. I say officially because in 20/20 hindsight God had converted me sometime before that; I simply was acknowledging what God had done before small Baptist church Torrington, Wyoming. When God did the converting I experienced his salvation. I was spiritually regenerate, even though the years the gravity of my sin, and what it took to grant me salvation, has become ever more on my mind. That is called sanctification and will be dealt with elsewhere.

When one speaks of salvation or being saved, one either receives a deer in the headlights look or whomever thinks that one is asking about saving something on a computer hard drive. Yet, salvation is what the coming of Jesus and his Gospel are all about. But, let me illustrate to hopefully clarify just how important salvation is the grand scheme of God.

Imagine you are a coal worker in the mountains of West Virginia. Your shift has taken you several thousand feet below the surface of the earth when suddenly an explosion rings out somewhere above you, immediately closing tunnel to freedom. Or, imagine that your an adventurous skier atop one of the highest mountains in Alaska. You begin your descent when you hear a loud crack behind you. A wall of snow is rumbling down the mountain and eventually overtakes you. You’re buried under several feet of the white stuff and cannot move. Or, imagine that you are working on the 100th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. An explosion suddenly rocks the building so hard that you believe that the building is going to topple over. After regaining your equilibrium you discover that all the exits are impassible. Flames and smoke are everywhere.

In each of these scenarios you, and anyone else in your predicament, cannot save yourself. You need help and you need it fast. Oh, you may try in vain to clear tons of earth and rock to escape the West Virginia mine. Or, you may try and exercise your will to move your ever-freezing limbs to climb out of the avalache’s handiwork. Or, you make take the desperate measure that so many did on 9-1-1 and jump from a broken out window, hoping against hope that crashing against concrete 100 floors below will be better than suffocating from smoke and jet fuel fumes. But, the reality is, unless someone comes to your aid, your demise is imminent.

Such is the case when one turns to the subject of spiritual salvation. Each human being is utterly incapable of saving him- or herself. Inherent sin has so separated the sinner from God that regardless of what he or she does, if God does not intervene, then imminent, eternal death will take place, and that without recourse.

God’s intervention is what took place when Jesus showed up on the earth 2,000 years ago. It is what the “good news” or gospel is all about. God came to the rescue to save those who could not save themselves. It was a complete act of grace on his part. He was not compelled to do otherwise, and in fact, could have left us right where we were, awaiting the flames we so much deserved for abandoning him in the first place.

The doctrine of the study of salvation helps to bring to reality just what sin did to us and what God is willing to do for us. Too many believe that they can co-opt an agreement with God to assist him in their dire situation, and unfortunately those same persons will die in their sins. Studying God’s salvation not only humbles the sinner, but glorifies God. As you read about God’s rescue mission in these few articles before you, may you, too, come to a saving knowledge of what God has done for you, as he did for me over 30 years ago.


Can a Person Lose His/Her Salvation?

I Accepted My Father and Mother as My Parents

Infants: Universal Accessibility of Salvation

Salvation: Whose Choice Is It?

Spiritual Death and the Human Will

The Delivery Room Invitation

Theosis of the Early Church Fathers

What About Those Who Have Not Heard the Gospel?

What is a Christian?

What is Salvation?

What Must I Do to be Saved?


2 Comments on "Soteriology: The Study of Salvation"

  1. Theodore A. Jones | July 29, 2017 at 2:33 am | Reply

    A large number of churches in the area where I reside are teaching the soteriological concept of a Jewish fellow who says it is necessary to obey an added law of some sort to be saved? Do you think that soteriological concept is valid or is it your opinion that it is a heresy?

    • Mr. Jones,

      Thank you for your questions. Since salvation is strictly according to God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9), then to be adding legal requirements would be heretical. In fact, what the churches you mention are contending is reminiscent of what the Apostles addressed in Acts 15. If you have an opportunity to address these church leaders/members, you might want to study Acts 15 and then bring the Acts 15 council’s decision up as part of your discussion. All the best to you in your apologetic response.

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