Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE WORDS TRANSLATED SALVATION
- A. The Old Testament words
- Yasha - the root meaning is to be broad, ample,
spacious. To the Hebrews broad space, wide room is the emblem of liberty,
deliverance from dangers and constricted places (Zech. 9:9).
- Yeshuah - meaning something saved. Abstract meaning is
deliverance; hence, aid, victory (Fs. 68:19, "even the God of our
- Teshuah - meaning deliverance, help, salvation. Often
used of help and deliverance, salvation from God (Jer. 3:23).
- Moshaoth - meaning deliverances (Ps. 68:20).
- The New Testament words
- Soter - meaning Saviour, Deliverer, Preserver (Lk.
(The name was given to Jesus Christ as the Messiah, through whom God gives
- Soteria - deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation
- Sotenous - meaning saving, bringing salvation (Tit.
- Sozo - root meaning to save, to keep safe and sound, to
rescue from danger and destruction (Mt. 1:21; Lk. 7:50; Mt. 8:25).
- "Salvation is the great inclusive word of the gospel,
gathering into itself justification, sanctification, and glorification." Dr.
C.I. Scofield (summary)
- "Salvation is that work of God, Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, whereby the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is redeemed from the
curse of the law, justified, set free from the dominion of sin, sanctified,
and finally perfected in the image of his Lord. " Scofield (full definition)
- "Salvation is wholly of God, and is received as a gift
through faith alone without works."
All the work of Christ, on the cross, at the right hand of the Father,
within the believer, and in His second coming, is essential to the
believer's salvation. This is also true of the work of the Holy Spirit.
- SALVATION IS IN THREE TENSES
It has its roots in the past, its application in the present, and its
expectation in the future.
- The believer has been saved from the penalty of sin.
(The past tense of salvation)
Acts 16:30-31; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; Eph. 2:5,8 (ASV); 2 Tim. 1:9
- Who has been saved? The believing sinner.
1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 10:1-3; Lk. 19:10; Jn. 3:18; 1 Jn. 5:11-12; Eph. 2:1-2;
Mk. 7:21-23; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:9-21; 1:29-32
- What God does for the believing sinner.
Lk. 19:10; Jn. 10:9-10; 1 Jn. 5:11-12; Eph. 2:1-2, cp. 1 Jn. 3:1-3; Heb.
10:17; Mic. 7:19; Ps. 103:12; 40:1-3
Scofield remarks that the word "safe" might be a little more accurate to
describe what the past tense of salvation has done for us.
- The believer is being delivered from the power of sin.
(The present tense of salvation) 1 Jn. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Jn. 3:9; Rom.
7:18; 1 Jn. 1:8,10
- How may we have deliverance from the power of sin?
False theories concerning this all-important question.
- It is claimed that the Christian will be competent to
live to the glory of God if he observes sufficient rules. This
law-principle is doomed to fail because it depends upon the very flesh
from which deliverance is sought (Rom. 6:14).
- Others set forth that the Christian may obtain the
eradication or purgation of the old nature, being thus permanently free
from the power of sin.
Objections to this false theory may be stated:
- There is no Scripture upon which the theory of
eradication may be based. Scripture improperly interpreted by those
who hold the view might be: 1 Jn. 3:9; Heb. 10:14.
- The old nature is a part of the flesh (Rom. 6:6)
and will naturally be dealt with as God deals with the flesh. The
flesh is one of the Christian's mighty foes (cp. the world, the flesh,
the devil). God does not do away with either the devil or the world.
The presumption, therefore, would logically be that He does not do
away with the flesh. However, He does provide victory over them by His
Spirit (1 Jr.. 5:4; 4:4; Gal. 5:16). He provides victory over the old
nature by the Spirit (Rom. 6:14; 8:2).
- No actual human experience confirms the theory of
eradication and, were that theory true, parents of this class would
give birth to unfallen children.
- The acceptance of this theory allows no place for
the ministry of the indwelling Spirit. On the contrary, the most
spiritual Christians are warned concerning the necessity of walking by
the Spirit, reckoning, yielding, not letting sin reign, putting off,
putting to death, and abiding (Rom. 6:1-14; 13:14; Col. 3:1-17).
- Sometimes Christians suppose that, apart from the
Spirit and simply because they are saved, they can live to the glory of
God. In Romans 7:15-8:4, the apostle Paul records his own experience
with this theory. He knew what was good, but did not know how to perform
what he knew (Rom. 7:18).
- Paul painfully recorded that at his best he was
always defeated, because of an ever-present law of sin in his members
warring against the mind (Rom. 7:23).
- That he was wretched in such a condition (Rom.
- That, because he was saved, the law of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus made him free and not his own works (Rom.
- That the whole will of God is fulfilled IN the
believer, but not BY the believer (Rom. 8:4).
The deliverance from the power of sin is THROUGH Jesus
Christ, but not BY Him. It is by the Holy Spirit. Because of this
deliverance through Christ (Rom. 6:1-4), the Holy Spirit, indwelling the
believer, can give victory. This life of victory is possible by dependence
upon the Holy Spirit and the reckoning of self "dead unto sin" (Gal. 5:16;
Phil. 1:19; Gal. 2:19-20 ASV; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thes. 4:1).
- Reasons for a life of dependence on the indwelling
- Under the teaching of grace, a believer faces an
impossible heavenly standard of life (Phil. 3:20; Eph. 5:30; 2:19; Jn.
13:34; Eph. 4:30-32; 2 Cor. 10:5; Eph. 4:1-3; 5:20; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Thes.
5:16-17; Rom. 8:4).
- The Christian possesses the old nature which he is
powerless to control.
- The Christian faces Satan, the world-ruling foe (Eph.
6:1-12; 1 Jn. 4:4; Jude 9).
- The believer is to be saved from the presence of sin.
(The future tense of salvation)
Rom. 8:18-25,29-30; Heb. 2:9; 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Jonah 2:9; Phil. 1:6
- GENERAL OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING SALVATION
- Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9; Isa. 43:11; 45:17,
- By salvation we are made:
meet - Col. 1:12
accepted - Eph. 1:6
righteous - 2 Cor. 5:21
nigh - Eph. 2:13
sons of God - Jn. 1:12
a new creature - 2 Cor. 5:17
complete in Him - Col. 2:10
- Salvation rests upon the finished work of Christ (Jn.
19:30; Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Jn. 2:2).
- Salvation is made ours by faith (Jn. 1:12; 3:36; 5:24).
The unbeliever, or rather the sinner, is saved when he believes, and
not by praying
not by confession to men (Rom. 10:9-10; this is commanded after we are saved
but not in order to be saved; the confession of Rom. 10:9-10 is to the
Father — cp, vv. 12-13)
not by seeking the Lord, but by believing (Lk. 19:10)
not by confessing his sin
Men are lost because they do not believe (Jn. 3:18).
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