The Fundamentals of Our Faith;
What We Believe Sermon Series
“We Believe in Salvation”
Humanity Is Made in the Image of God
We will begin our talk today with the question of where did men and women come from? What is the origin of humanity? Both the Old Testament and New Testament writers viewed Adam (and Eve) as a person, a person as historical as Jesus Christ Himself. These accounts leave no room for a mythical or allegorical interpretation.
Genesis 1:26 tells us, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” We are carefully though out and purposely planned. It also says in Genesis that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” and to complement man, He made woman to be Adam’s helper (Gen. 2:18), 22).
So How Are We Made in the Image of God?
Moral likeness. God has given humanity an inner sense of right and wrong (Eccl. 3:11; Rom. 2:15). We call it our conscience (or they were self-conscience), in intended to prompt us to act in a moral way, and when we do we reflect God’s moral likeness.
Spiritual likeness. Like God is a spirit, humanity also has a spirit (John 19:30; Acts 7:59). We relate to God in prayer, praise, and in worship (John 4:24). Since God is spirit, our spirit reflects His likeness. God made Adam from the dust (body), and breathed life into Him (soul) – God is spirit, and there is a part of man that is spirit as well.
Intellectual likeness. Mankind can reason, think logically, and learn in a way that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Adam was given the responsibility to name the animals when they were presented to him (Gen. 2:19-20). Only humans ponder the future, create beauty (music, art, literature), and make scientific and technological advancements. As we use our intellect we reflect the image of God.
Social likeness. God is a Trinity, there is one God existing in three coeternal and coequal persons. It takes all three members of the Trinity to make up God. Likewise, both male and female make up humanity. Humanity reflects the trinity in how men and women cooperate together, each being equal to live out different roles assigned by God.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” When God created human beings, He created them in His image. This image has been distorted by sin, but not lost completely because of man’s sin (Gen. 9:6). This distorted image of God will be restored when Jesus returns (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49).
Humanity’s Image of God Has Become Corrupted.
At the beginning of time, Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden. Before the rebellion man’s natural inclination was toward God. This rebellion contaminated their spirits so that their inner nature now tended toward sin (Rom. 7:14-15), and while they were still capable of doing good, they became incapable of not doing wrong.
The very nature of man changed with the fall. Before the fall mankind’s heart was oriented toward God, but after the fall mankind’s will was to war with God – to fight against Him. We are not sinners because we sin – we sin because it is our nature to do so. An apple tree is not an apple tree because it produces apples. It produces apples because it is an apple tree.
John 3:19 “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” Mankind’s nature is bent toward sin, and we don’t like it when our sin is called what it is – wrong, sin, corrupt, etc.
Why did God not stop this evil from happening in the beginning? There, at the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He could have kept the serpent from tempting Eve, or stopped her before she took a bite, or done something to keep sin from entering into His perfect creation. He is all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. God could have created Adam and Eve so that they would not sin – but to do so would remove the freedom of choice.
The consequences which God warned them of involved both physical and spiritual death, that is a separation from their creator. This “Fall” involved all of the natural creation (Rom. 8:21-22).
This corrupted nature is passed down from generation to generation (Rom. 5:12-25). This condition is called “total depravity.” This does not mean that we are totally bad, or as bad as we could be – but it means that every part of our humanity has been corrupted by sin (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, socially – in every way).
In Romans we can look at two verses and from there we cannot avoid the fact that humanity is lost and in need of salvation. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is no room for debate, humanity is lost and needs to be saved.
There are typically two schools of thought with regard to this problem. 1) everyone has to earn his or her salvation. 2) thinking everyone will be saved, regardless, the idea that God is too loving and kind to send anyone to hell. The Bible shows that both of these ideas are false. Titus 3:5 shows that you are not going to heaven based on your good works,“ . . . he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” and,
Matthew 7:13-14, Rev. 20:15 shows that not everyone is going to heaven, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Humanity Needs a Savior.
Humanity must have God’s grace, or “unmerited favor.” God is love, and from that love He has provided you a way (the only way) to be spared the normal consequences of sin, which is eternal separation from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The gift that is given to humanity is God’s grace and mercy offered to a person who places their faith in Jesus as the way to be saved from their sins. The faith mentioned here is not just acknowledging that God exists, — to believe information about something. It means to place our trust in that information.
The Smithsonian tells a story of the Daredevil of Niagara Falls. During the winter of 1858, a 34-year-old French acrobat named Jean François Gravelet, better known as Monsieur Charles Blondin, traveled to Niagara Falls hoping to become the first person to cross the “boiling cataract.” He always worked without a net, believing that preparing for disaster only made one more likely to occur. A rope 1,300 feet long, two inches in diameter and made entirely of hemp would be the sole thing separating him from the roiling waters below. Blondin would say, “do you believe I can cross without falling?” The audience would say, “yes, we believe.” “Then he would say, then get on my back.” Or “get in the wheelbarrow.”
There is a difference between saying you believe in something (while standing on the shore), and then place your whole life in their hands (sitting in the wheelbarrow).
Part of placing our faith in Christ and being saved, is that a person must repent of their sin. Repentance means “changing one’s mind.” It is the other side of the coin of belief – faith and repentance go together.
CS. Lewis in Mere Christianity once said, “Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms . . . This process of surrender – this movement full speed astern – is what Christians call repentance.”
What Happens with Salvation? There are several words that help us to understand the meaning of salvation:
Redemption – this means “to purchase from the marketplace.” This would be the same word agarazo, that you would use for buying a piece of fruit from the grocery store. You will pay the price that is required for the piece of fruit.
With regard to our salvation, there was a sin debt that was owed, or in order to pay the price for our redemption. But it does not just mean we have been purchased, it also means that it takes us out of the market. Just like your piece of fruit is yours, it’s “out of the market.” We have been removed from the marketplace of sin.
Justified – this means to be declared righteous by God. We can not be declared righteous by God unless we are righteous in God’s eyes. But how can God see us being righteous when we know we have sin in our lives?
Romans 4:2-3 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” We are justified before God by our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus acts as our representative, and by dying in our place we are justified by our faith in His act (1 Cor. 15:45). When we give our lives to Christ to follow Him, our sins are forgiven, we are born again, and Jesus’ righteousness becomes ours.
Adoption – when a person is adopted, they are made a legal member of another family, with all the rights and privileges of that family. Ephesians 1:5 “he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
We were in the power of sin, of the world, and we belonged to the family of Adam – we were lost and without hope. But God, through Jesus took us from that family and adopted us into His, and adoption wipes out the past and makes us new. God knows all the sins that we have ever committed and will commit in the future and they are true even if we don’t feel different. The earth is round and rotates, whether you believe it or feel it – its still true.
Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” This is a deeply person term, Abba, Daddy – God has chosen us to show love and kindness to us forever.
How Do I Know If I Have Been Saved?
It is not uncommon for Christians to struggle with doubt as to whether or not they are saved. But the Bible gives assurance that we can know that we are saved.
Psalm 130:4 “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” It is possible to be forgiven.
John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” A person must come to Jesus, believe in Him, and ask Him to save us – but when we do, God will not ignore our pleadings for forgiveness.
1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” God has given us the Word of God, so that we may know that we are saved.
Can I Lose My Salvation?
Eternal security is the belief that once Christians are saved they will always be saved. So in order to see if eternal security is true, then we need to remember what happens when a person is genuinely saved:
1) They are made a new creature: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” A new believer is not simply an improved version of who they were, he is an entirely new creature, in Christ.
2) You have been purchased at the price of the death of the Son of God. Your sin debt has been paid – there is nothing left to pay. All your sin past, present, and future have been taken care of. You can not lose that, it is already been done.
3) The have been declared righteous by God (justified) – God has told those that place their faith in Christ that they are declared righteous. God would have to go back on His word and declare unrighteous that which He already declared righteous.
4) You are sealed with the Holy Spirt – Ephesians 1:13-14 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
When a person placed their faith in Christ they are sealed with the Holy Spirt until eternity. The guarantee of our inheritance of eternal life in heaven is the presence of the Holy Spirit – not our actions. There is nothing that a person can do for the promised seal to be broken.
There will come a time when the Christian will be glorified in eternity. Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (not will glorify)
A Christian is guaranteed glorification. According to Romans 5:1, justification is ours at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification comes with justification. A Christian cannot lose salvation.
Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Christ would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation is the gift of God, and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
A Christian cannot be un-newly created. The redeemed cannot be unpurchased. Eternal life cannot be temporary. God cannot renege on His Word. Scripture says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
Do you realize that you have a nature corrupted by sin? Is the Holy Spirit convicting you of sin, and pulling you to give your life to Christ today? You need to be saved – God in His limitless love and compassion provided Jesus as the way to fix your sin problem (that you can’t do on your own). Won’t you accept His free gift of salvation today
 Alternate title, “Man’s Disorder and God’s Design”
 Paul Little, Know What You Believe, A Practical Discussion of the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Cook Communications, 1999) 71.
 1 Tim. 1:5
 C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York; New York; Macmillan, 1960), 38-39.