>Home >Bible Study >Explorer 1 >Explorer I: Exploring Bible Truth - Lesson 6

Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 6—Good News:  Jesus Saves!

 

 

1.  What is one thing that sinful mankind owes to God?

 

“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”  Matthew 6:12.  “And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”  Luke 11:4.

 

Answer:  Sin makes us indebted to God precisely because we owe Him the opposite of sin, which is righteousness.  And because with God “…the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”, His justice requires absolutely perfect righteousness from conception onward.  Review Lesson #4, “What Is God Like?” for a review of His character.  But as we saw in the previous Lesson, sinful mankind cannot possibly give God perfect righteousness because of our birth into Satan’s kingdom and our sinful natures.

 

 

2.  What else does sinful mankind owe to God?

 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin….”  Romans 5:12.  “For the wages of sin is death….”  Romans 6:23.

 

Answer:  As stated in the previous lesson, we sinners owe God the death penalty for our sinful condition and actions.  This is something that we have earned, like wages, so it must result as an act of God’s perfect justice and result in a death in which there is no hope or assurance of a resurrection to a blessed, perfect eternal life.  We can pay this debt, but of course that does not lead to salvation.

 

 

3.  How can God offer us salvation under these circumstances?  What must sinful mankind have if there is to be real hope for a bright future?

 

“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.”  Titus 1:4.

 

Answer:  We must have a Savior, a Substitute who enters the world without sin, who lives a perfectly righteous life, who pays our death penalty, and who rises from the dead in order to somehow offer us His salvation as a gift.  Christians believe this Savior is Jesus.

 

 

4.  What kind of Savior must this Jesus be?

 

“Little children, let no one deceive you.  He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He [God, see verse 2] is righteous.”  I John 3:7.

 

Answer:  First, He must be human because it’s human beings who owe these debts to God.  Second, He must be a man rather than a woman because He needs to take Adam’s place since it was Adam who specifically changed the world’s citizenship from God’s kingdom to Satan’s kingdom.  But a man would need all of his own righteousness to keep himself right with God.  Therefore, He must also be God, because only God has righteousness, like life, intrinsically within Him and can thus afford to give righteousness as a gift to others.  And the text above declares that God is righteous, and as God, He is the source of all righteousness.  Therefore, Jesus the Savior must be both fully and really man and fully and really God, which is what we learned in Lesson #1.

 

 

5.  What kind of human nature must Jesus have been born with?

 

Answer:  In taking Adam’s place, Jesus must have been conceived without having participated in Adam’s decision to change his citizenship.  In other words, Jesus was conceived as a citizen of God’s kingdom.  The result was that Jesus was not born with a sinful nature, for we saw in the previous Lesson that a sinful nature is sin itself and contaminates otherwise what would be called good thoughts, words, and actions.  If Jesus had been born with either of these things, He would have needed a Savior for Himself!  The fact that Jesus got hungry and thirsty, needed rest, and was able to die indicates that He was affected by the results of human sin but was not infected with sin.  Thus, He had Adam’s physical nature after the human Fall into sin, but He had Adam’s spiritual nature before the human Fall into sin!

 

 

6.  But didn’t the fact that Jesus did not have a sinful nature give Him a spiritual advantage over us?

 

“…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps….”  I Peter 2:21.  “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”  Acts 10:38.

 

Answer:  No, not at all.  First, we have to know that Satan targeted Jesus in a far greater way than he has ever targeted anyone else because Jesus had come to be the world’s Savior, to attempt to win back the world under His rulership.  Second, Jesus had a divine nature because He was also God.  Experiencing repeated attacks by Satan must have resulted in Jesus being greatly tempted to use His own divinity to thwart off the Devil and to make His own life comfortable.  And given the fact that Jesus had left the glories of heaven to live on this spiritually dark planet must have made such temptations very intense.  On the other hand, none of us has a divine nature; so we could never be tempted to use something we don’t have.  Therefore, Jesus actually had a distinct disadvantage to us.  Moreover, Jesus is our Example, and we could not follow His example if He had used His own divine nature to meet temptation or His other needs.  Instead, the Acts 10 text above tells us that He relied on God the Holy Spirit and God the Father for His spiritual power to do good works.

 

 

7.  Does the Bible actually teach that Jesus took Adam’s place?

 

“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’  The last Adam [Jesus, see verses 20-22] became a life-giving spirit.”  I Corinthians 15:45.  Compare the contrasts between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5:12-19.

 

Answer:  Yes.  The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the last Adam, and that where the first Adam failed, Jesus succeeded.

 

 

8.  Did Jesus really live a sinless and perfectly righteous life on earth?

 

“…we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God [the Father].  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us….”  II Corinthians 5:21.  “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Hebrews 4:15.  “…but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  I Peter 1:19.

 

Answer:  Yes, Jesus lived a perfect life that was never blemished with sin of any kind.

 

 

9.  Does the Bible really teach that Jesus paid the death penalty for mankind’s sins?

 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8.  “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins….” I Corinthians 15:3.  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”  Hebrews 2:9.  “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”  Matthew 27:46.

 

Answer:  Clearly, Jesus died for us on that old, rugged cross outside Jerusalem.  And at the moment before His death, His cry about God the Father having forsaken Him shows that Jesus died without the hope and assurance of a resurrection to a blessed, eternal life.  He was not play-acting; He died not knowing whether His sacrifice was accepted by the Father or not.  Moreover, since He died so much more quickly than most died from crucifixion, it must have been all of our sins that separated Him from the Father and quickened His death.  Although the Father still loved Jesus, God’s wrath against sin was felt by Jesus, just as predicted by Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.”  Isaiah 53:10.

 

 

10.  Does God have to make us (internally) perfectly righteous before He can declare that we are righteous?

 

“…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did….”  Romans 4:17.

 

Answer:  Some Christians have argued that God must make us internally righteous before He can declare someone righteous, or otherwise God would be a liar.  But remember that God lives just as much in the future as in the present and past (Review Lesson #4) because He is not limited by time.  So He knows that as long as a person remains faithful to Him, he will be given perfect righteousness internally at the Second Coming of Jesus.  So at any moment in time, for a person who is being faithful to God, he is as good as already perfectly righteous internally.

 

 

11.  So how does a Christian receive the perfect righteousness of Jesus now?

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”  Romans 3:28.  “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness….  Romans 4:5.  “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned [Adam].  For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ….  Romans 5:16-17.  “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”  Romans 5:19.

 

Answer:  These passages make it clear that righteousness is a free gift, as it would have to be since we are incapable of providing perfect righteousness.  The word “justification” means “to declare righteous” and is a courtroom term that declares the accused as “not guilty”.  This gift is a declaration of “perfectly righteous” when a person exercises faith in Jesus.  Thus, a sinner simply opens his hands of faith to receive the gift.

 

 

12.  Since a person must exercise faith to receive God’s gift of justification (or perfect righteousness), doesn’t that rob some of the glory from God by making the believer’s faith a part of the reason he is saved?

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.

 

Answer:  The word “grace” essentially means “gift” as well.  This text clearly includes the reality that we are saved by grace through faith, but the fact that a person must exercise his faith is definitely not “works” or any other basis on which to claim partial credit for his gift of salvation.  The text is clear.  Faith, therefore, is simply the means by which one receives the gift.  As with any human gift, using your hands to accept the gift does not mean that you somehow partly earned the right to that gift.

 

 

13.  Notice how the following texts teach that this wonderful news of salvation is called the gospel.

 

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16-17.  “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again….”  I Corinthians 15:1-4.

 

Answer:  The word “gospel” means “good news.”  According to these texts, the gospel saves us because it is righteousness by faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Other Bible truths are also good news, but the heart of the gospel that saves us is what Jesus has already accomplished on our behalf.  That indeed is good news!

 

 

14.  Can a person lose his salvation once he has received Christ’s righteousness?

 

Answer:  Some believers teach a doctrine of eternal security, better known as “once saved, always saved”.  But examine the following Scriptures in the light of our lesson here to discover the Bible’s reaction to this doctrine.

 

A.  Romans 6:23:  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Salvation is a gift from God.  Gifts can be thrown away even after a person has accepted it.

 

B.  I John 1:7:  “But if we walk in the light as He [God the Father] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”—Notice the present continuous tense of the word “cleanses”.  This refers to the fact that we need continual cleansing from Jesus because even our sinful nature contaminates what would otherwise be good thoughts, words, and actions.  Therefore, since the cleansing is dependent upon our walking in the light, so does our salvation.

 

C.  I John 5:12:  “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”—Salvation, or eternal life, is found in Jesus, so that as long as we maintain our relationship with Jesus, then we are saved.  But relationships, no matter how strong, can be ended.

 

D.  I Corinthians 15:2:  “…by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you….”—This obviously means that it is possible for a saved believer to let go of that word and thus be lost.

 

The texts above make it quite clear that salvation is a gift, is ongoing dependent upon our walking in the light, and depends upon our relationship with Jesus.  These Biblical metaphors tell us that since a person can throw away a gift, can stop walking in the light in order to walk in darkness, and can end a relationship, then he can also lose his salvation.  We can be absolutely certain that Jesus will not do any of these things to us; but since a God of love must continue to respect a person’s free will, then “once saved, always saved” cannot be a true teaching of Scripture.

 

 

15.  Does the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” really give the believer assurance of his salvation, as claimed?

 

Answer:  Those who teach this doctrine also teach that if a person turns his back on the Lord, then that was proof that he was never saved in the first place.  Think about that view:  since a Bible-believing church member can never be safe in assuming that he will never turn his back on the Lord at some future point, then this doctrine means that he cannot possibly have the assurance of his salvation!  Therefore, a doctrine that professes to give Christians assurance of their salvation actually robs them of it, if they think carefully about it!

 

 

16.  Then is it possible for Christians to have the assurance of their salvation at all?

 

“And this is the testimony:  that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”  I John 5:11-13.

 

Answer:  Absolutely, God wants us to have the assurance of our salvation.  As long as we know we’re walking in a good relationship with Jesus, we can know that we are saved.  But it is dangerous and wrong to say that we are saved because of a decision we made years ago, for salvation is a continuing process dependent upon our relationship with Jesus.  “Once saved, always saved”?  No.  But can we have the assurance at any given moment that we are saved?  Absolutely!

 

 

Quiz for Lesson#6—Good News:  Jesus Saves!

 

1.  Name the two things we all owe to God from our birth. (2)

  We owe God perfect righteousness.

  We owe God the death penalty.

  We owe God eternal life in an eternal hell.

Answer

We owe God perfect righteousness.
We owe God the death penalty.

2.  Since sinful mankind cannot pay these debts to God and still be saved, what do we need to be saved? (3)

  We need a Substitute who enters into the world without sin.

  We need a Substitute who lives a perfectly righteous life.

  We need a Substitute who pays our death penalty.

  We need God’s help to get beyond sinning.

Answer

We need a Substitute who enters into the world without sin.
We need a Substitute who lives a perfectly righteous life.
We need a Substitute who pays our death penalty.

3.  What characteristics must mankind’s Savior possess? (2)

  He must be half human and half God.

  She must be half female because Eve sinned before Adam.

  He must be fully man and fully God.

  He must be willing to freely give His righteousness to those who are willing to serve Him.

Answer

He must be fully man and fully God.
He must be willing to freely give His righteousness to those who are willing to serve Him.

4.  What kind of human nature must Jesus have been born with? (3)

  He must come into the world as a citizen of God’s Kingdom.

  He must be born without a sinful nature.

  He must be born exactly like Adam in order to take his place.

  He must be affected by the results of sin, but not infected with sin.

Answer

He must come into the world as a citizen of God’s Kingdom.
He must be born without a sinful nature.
He must be affected by the results of sin, but not infected with sin.

5.  Did Jesus have a spiritual advantage over us since He was God? (2)

  Yes, praise God for that advantage!

  No, Jesus had to face temptation as a man and not as God.

  In fact, Jesus being God was actually a disadvantage for Him.

Answer

No, Jesus had to face temptation as a man and not as God.
In fact, Jesus being God was actually a disadvantage for Him.

6.  God has to make us internally and perfectly righteous before He can declare us to be righteous. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

False

7.  Which terms below are associated with how we receive Christ’s perfect righteousness? (4)

  Justification

  Infused grace of righteousness

  Free gift

  Holy Spirit-given

  Declared righteous

  Not guilty

Answer

Justification
Free gift
Declared righteous
Not guilty

8.  Select the 3 words (in the right order) that would fill in the blanks from the following text:  “For by ______________ you have been saved through ________, and that not of yourselves; it is the ___________ of God….” (1)

  faith—grace—gift 

  works—grace—gift 

  grace—faith—gift

  grace—faith—reward 

Answer

grace—faith—gift

9.  Which of the following terms indicate that “once saved, always saved” is a false doctrine? (4)

  Gift

  Hold fast

  Continual walking

  Relationship

  Eternal security

Answer

Gift
Hold fast
Continual walking
Relationship

10.  “He who has the Son has: (1)

  salvation.”

  assurance of salvation.”

  life.”

  the Father.”

Answer

life.”