Soteriology – what is it?
Soteriology, simply put, is the study of the doctrine of salvation. Soteri means preserver or savior and ology describes the study of something or someone. In this case, we are studying the doctrine of salvation, and listing a few related questions.
What are some of the questions soteriology addresses?
- Once someone is saved are they always saved? Yes.
- Is baptism required for salvation? What is baptismal regeneration? Yes – by the Holy Spirit. If one has accepted Jesus Christ into their heart and dies without the opportunity to be submerged by water, their soul is still heaven-bound (Luke 23:40-43). Baptismal regeneration is the belief that one MUST be submerged with water in order to be obtain salvation.
- What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation? Repentance is a change of mind about a situation; it is necessary for salvation.
- Is one sin worse than another? This is a twofold question. If one has sinned, he is not any greater or any lesser than another sinner. However, each sin will be judged accordingly. God is a good judge and would not punish a liar the same as He would a serial killer.
- Do conjoined twins have two souls? Yes – one apiece.
- What is salvation? Salvation is an act of saving someone or something from harm or damage.
- How were people saved before the coming of Jesus? They weren’t. Old Testament saints waited in a place called Sheol until Jesus came to fulfill His purpose on earth.
- How is a person saved or “born again a second time”? Jesus describes this process is John 3. In order to be born again, one must receive the Holy Spirit and then they are “rebirthed” as a “spiritual” being. If they refuse, they are still of the flesh.
- What about those who have never heard the Gospel – are they going to Hell? God judges the heart while man judges the outer appearance. So while an individual may not have read a bible or recited the sinner’s prayer, they may be able to enter Heaven’s gates nonetheless.
- How do man’s free will and God’s sovereignty work together in salvation? Men are free to decide their own choices but God determines the consequences.
- Do all religions offer salvation? No – just Christianity.
Soteriology describes redemption (compensation), justification (impartiality), sanctification (set apart), propitiation (favor), and substitution atonement (reparation). All of these things work together to create the wonderful plan that God created in order to maintain a relationship with His creation despite their flaws and sinful nature. Salvation is not man drawing towards God, rather God drawing towards man (John 6:44).
Why did God go through the trouble of creating and carrying out the plan of salvation in order that His enemies to live forever?
God’s Words for You puts it this way as they read from the book of Ephesians:
The initiating cause of our salvation is the will and purpose of God (Eph 1:5, 9, 11)
The motivating cause of our salvation is the love of God (1:4)
The necessitating cause of our salvation is our spiritual deadness and sin (2:1-5)
The enabling/facilitating cause of our salvation is the grace of God (1:6-8; 2:5-9)
The meritorious cause of our salvation is the blood of Christ (1:7)
The legal cause of our salvation is the imputed righteousness (1:4)
The effective cause of our salvation is the power of God (1:18-23)
The subjective cause of our salvation is hearing and understanding the message of Christ (1:9, 13)
The instrumental cause of our salvation is faith (1:1, 13; 2:8)
The locational cause of our salvation is union/identification with Jesus Christ (1:3, 4, 7, 11; 2:5-6)
The recitative cause of our salvation is the praise and glory of God (1:6, 12, 14; 2:10)