For my Bible Doctrine 2 module with Dr. White, we are having to type a ten page doctrinal statement. The following is the Soteriology (salvation) section from my doctrinal statement. Enjoy!
The Doctrine of Soteriology
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
I believe in the pure, whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. The clearest and best description of the full Gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. In this passage gives us the full Gospel: Christ died, was buried, and was raised from the dead. The Gospel is no more or less than what was given to us in this passage.
Salvation By Faith Alone
Salvation is the total work of God in bringing people from condemnation to justification, from death to eternal life, from alienation to filiations (Ryrie 319). To obtain this salvation, there is only one requirement. Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us that it is by grace that we are saved through faith. Faith was the necessary condition for salvation in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament (Ryrie 321). Salvation is by faith alone (Romans 5:1-2) and not of works (Romans 11:6; 6:23; Ephesians 2:9). Some Catholics and other denominations believe that there are additional requirements for salvation other than faith. Such additional requirements may be baptism, sacraments, etc. but faith is the only requirement for salvation. I do not hold to the Lordship Salvation view with surrender and repentance. I also do not hold to the baptism as part of salvation like the Catholics.
Salvation Is A Free Gift
As discussed in “Salvation by Faith” section, salvation cannot be earned or worked for, but is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 5:1-2; 11:6). In regards to Ephesians 2:8, 9, Reformed Theology and Dispensational Theology disagrees on the order of events and what the “gift” actually is. The Reformed view says that regeneration come before the special call to salvation due to the fact man is total depraved and cannot do anything good. The Dispensational view says that the special call comes before regeneration. I hold to the Dispensational view on this issue and also on their meaning of the “gift.” Reformed Theology says that the “gift” is faith that God gives so we can be saved. Dispensational Theology, and my view, is that the “gift” is the total package of salvation we get freely.
Results of Christ’s Death for Believers
The death of Christ means everything to us as believers, but because of His death there are a few things He was for us and has done for us through His death. First, Christ was our substitution. Substitution means that Christ suffered as a substitute for us, instead of us, resulting in the advantage to us paying for our sins (Ryrie 329). Basically, this means that Christ died on the cross for our sins in our place (Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 2:22; Luke 11:11; John 1:16; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 12:16; 1 Peter 3:9). The crucial for this verse for Christ being our substitute is Mark 10:45 (Ryrie 331). Second, we are redeemed by Christ’s death. Redemption means liberation because of a payment made (Ryrie 334). Since Christ was our payment for sin that we owed, we are liberated from that payment (1 Corinthians 1:30; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 2 Peter 2:1). Thirdly, we have become reconciled to God. Reconciliation means a change of relationship from hostility to harmony and peace between two parties (Ryrie 336; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20). Before salvation we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10), but after salvation and being reconciled with God we are now children of God (Romans 9:8) and are a part of His family which is a act of God called adoption (Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). Lastly, Christ was our propitiation, which means the turning away of wrath by an offering (Ryrie 339). By Christ offering Himself upon the cross for us, He turned the wrath of God from us (1 John 2:2; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17) It is that by which God covers, overlooks, and pardons the penitent and believing sinner because of Christ’s death (Evans 72). In addition to these, I believe because of Christ’s death we are justified (“declared righteous”) (Romans 5:1), regenerated (“born again”) (John 3:3; Matthew 9:28; Titus 3:5), and given the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Lewis Sperry Chafer says the word atonement is the term, which men have seized to express the entire work of Christ upon the cross (Chafer 127). There are various views on that have been propagated throughout church history (Ryrie 355). The view that I believe is Scriptural and fits the best concerning Christ’s work is the Penal Substitution view. This view says that Christ the sinless one took on Himself the penalty that should have been borne by man and others (Ryrie 356). I believe in unlimited atonement, which holds to Christ died for the sins of all human beings (Geisler 347). The Scripture if full of support for the unlimited atonement, but has no support for the limited atonement that is maintained by the Calvinists (Geisler 347). The verses that teach limited atonement are: Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 22:14; 23:37; John 1:29; 3:16-17; 12:47; Romans 5:6; 18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:14-19; 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 6; 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:2. Even though Christ died for all, salvation is exclusive. Thus, I hold to exclusivism which means that only one religion is true and what is opposed to it in other religions are false (Geisler 412). Our Lord makes this very clear (John 14:6; 10:9).
Eternal Security of the Believer
I believe in the eternal security of the believer (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:35; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Jude 24). Eternal security is the work of God that guarantees that the gift of salvation, once received, is forever and cannot be lost (Ryrie 379). This doctrine of security is one of the five points of Calvinistic system (“perseverance of the saints”), but it is more distinguished by the fact that it is set forth in the New Testament in the most absolute terms (Chafer 267).
Sources Used for this Doctrinal Statement:
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Basic Theology: a Popular Systemic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago, Ill.: Moody, 1999. Print.
Evans, William, and S. Maxwell Coder. The Great Doctrines of the Bible. Chicago: Moody, 1974. Print.
Chafer, Lewis S. Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Vol. 3. Binghamton: Vail-Ballou, 1971. Print. Soteriology.
Geisler, Norman L. Systematic Theology: Volume Three : Sin, Salvation. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2004. Print.