I believe that salvation involves deliverance from the fate that awaits all unbelievers. Everyone in this world is by default separated from God and with no hope for the future. Salvation describes the ongoing process that results in our deliverance from the destruction awaiting the world and into the glorious future we were created for.
I believe that salvation is a gracious act of God and that there is nothing I can do to be worthy of it or to earn it (Eph 2:8-9). God is sovereign over all of creation and chooses who he will to be saved (Rom 9:10-13). How does God choose who will be saved and who will be rejected? Repeatedly we are told that it is our faith based response to his offer of salvation (Rom 3:22, 25, 10:9-10). My faith does not make be worthy, but it is what God desires on my part (Heb 11:6).
I believe that the offer of salvation is made to all of humanity, not to just a select few (John 3:13; Rom 5:18; 2 Pet 3:9). Christ’s atoning death on the cross is applicable to all, but not all will be saved (2 Pet 2:1). It is only those who call on the name of the Lord who will be saved (Rom 10:13).
I do believe that salvation is not just something that happens at the beginning of my relationship with God, but that it encompasses my whole life with him. The story of my salvation begins when I respond to his call in my life (Acts 16:31), extends through a faith based walk with him (Phil 2:12), and is completed when I stand in his presence (1 Pet 1:5). Considering salvation to be solely what happens at the beginning of the journey is detrimental to our life in Christ.
I do believe that the Holy Spirit begins the process by convicting me of my sin and of my need for repentance (John 16:8-11). If I respond to the Holy Spirit’s call in repentance and faith, then I am born again into a new life with God (John 3:5-7), united with Christ (2 Cor 5:17), adopted into the family of God (Eph 1:5; Gal 4:4-5), and justified (Gal 2:16). My new birth, union with Christ, adoption, and justification are instantaneous and are all a part of my initial salvation experience.
I also believe that the Holy Spirit will continue the process of salvation in me for the rest of my life here. The Spirit will guide me in knowing and following God’s will (1 Cor 2:9-12), equipping me for service (1 Cor 12:11), and empowering me to live the life he has called me to (Rom 8:13-14). It is also incumbent on me to live my life as a child of God, to seek to imitate my Father (Eph 5:1), and to follow the Spirit’s direction.
I believe that ultimately I will experience deliverance from this world and the fate that awaits it (Rom 13:11). I believe that this happens either at my physical death or, if I remain alive until then, at his return (1 Thess 4:16-17). At that time I will be glorified (1 John 3:2), given an immortal body (1 Cor 15:53), and will embark on the life in heaven I have been created for. I do not believe that life is simply one of pleasure, but instead is one of service to God (Matt 25:21, 23) and is impacted by how I live my life here (1 Cor 3:10-15).
I believe that salvation is not based on the way the journey begins, but on how it finishes. The God who knew me before creation knew both the beginning and the ending of my journey, and ultimately saves those who endure faithfully to the end (1 Cor 15:2; Col 1:22-23; Heb 3:14). Many begin the journey well who do not finish well; only those who finish well are saved.