Sin has delivered us up to the just curse of a righteous law: now from this curse we must be justified by way of redemption, a price being paid for the harms we have done, and this by the blood of your Lord, who came and stood in your place, and stead, and died your death for your transgressions. Thus has He ransomed you from your transgressions by blood, and covered your polluted and deformed souls with righteousness, for the sake of which, God passeth by you and will not hurt you when He comes to judge the world.
- Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
This great principle of redemption can be broken down into five parts: faith, forgiveness, grace, justification, and reconciliation. Each part contributes to the whole. Salvation is something that can be dissected. "Thus has He ransomed you from your transgressions by blood." We get our free ticket to paradise because of this.
The dictionary* definition of faith is "the act or state of wholeheartedly and steadfastly believing in the existence, power, and benevolence of a supreme being". The first step to salvation is for an individual to open his or her heart up to GOD.
Mark 5:34 -
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee well. Go in peace, and be well of thy plague.
Mark 9:24 -
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Acts l6:l4 -
And a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul.
Romans l3:ll -
And that, knowing the time, now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Hebrews ll:l -
faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
So through faith you let God into your heart. Other scriptures clarify this.
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
I Thessalonians l:8 -
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.
2 Thessalonians 3:2 -
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
Hebrews ll:4-38 -
It was because of his faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and for that he was declared to be righteous when God made acknowledgement of his offerings. Though he is dead, he still speaks by faith. It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not have to experience death: he was not to be found because God had taken him. This was because before his assumption it is attested that he had pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe he exists and rewards those who try to find him. It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never had been seen before, felt a holy fear and built an ark to save his family. By his faith the world was convicted, and he was able to claim the righteousness which is the reward of faith. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to city founded, designed and built by God. It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore. All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognizing that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them. It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promised has been made to him, and he had been told: It is through Isaac that you name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given Isaac back from the dead. It was by faith that this same Isaac gave his blessing to Jacob and Esau for the still distant future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, leaning on the end of his stick as though bowing to pray. It was by faith that, when he was about to die, Joseph recalled the Exodus of the Israelities and made the arrangements for his own burial. It was by faith that Moses, when he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months; they defied the royal edict when they saw he was such a fine child. It was by faith that, when he grew to manhood, Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and chose to be ill-treated in company with God's people rather than to enjoy for a time the pleasures of sin. He considered that the insults offered to the Anointed were something more precious than all the treasures of Egypt, because he had his eyes fixed on the reward. It was by faith that he left Egypt and was not afraid of the king's anger; he held to his purpose like a man who could see the Invisible. It was by faith that he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood to prevent the Destroyer from touching any of the first-born sons of Israel. It was by faith they crossed the Red Sea as easily as dry land, while the Egyptians, trying to do the same, were drowned. It was through faith that the walls of Jericho fell down when the people had been round them for seven days. It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies and so was not killed with the unbelievers. Is there any need to say more? There is not time for me to give an account of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, or of David, Samuel and the prophets. These were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what is right and earned the promises. They could keep a lion's mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength, to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders. Some came back to their wives from the dead, by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life. Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or beheaded; they were homeless, and dressed in the skins of sheep and goats; they were penniless and were given nothing but ill-treatment. They were too good for the world and they went out to live in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines.
The dictionary* definition of forgiveness is "to cease to feel resentment against (someone) on account of wrong committed". Once you let God into your heart, you realize that God has forgiven you for the things that made God agitated in the first place
Matthew 9:2 -
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Luke 23:34 -
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Acts 8:22 -
Repent, therefore, of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
So once forgiven guilt is gone. Matthew l8:23-34 -
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would
take account of his servants. And when he had
begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand
talents (approximately $45,000,000). But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and
his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded
him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down,
and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. The the lord of that servant was moved
with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants,
which owed him an hundred pence: (approximately $75.00) and laid hands on him, and took him by the throat,
saying, pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience
with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So
when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his
lord, after he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered
him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Here we see the proper method of forgiveness. Small things, "the hundred pence" must be forgiven. A favorite "trick" of the modern church is to take "the hundred pence" worth of sin and "kick it up" to "ten thousand talents" worth of sin - and then punish. The massive sin the modern church commits is scaled down with, "We shouldn't get upset over trivial matters."
The modern church will tell you that no matter what we do to you, you just need to forgive. However, you are not required to do any more than God does. Matthew 7:22-23 -
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out demons? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
"Working iniquity" means victimizing people.
Matthew 25:3l-45 -
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. The shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
God will damn over a cup of cold water.
The dictionary* definition of grace is "a beneficence or generosity shown by God to Man". Grace is unmerited favor.
John l:l6 -
And of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace.
Romans ll:6 -
And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.
Grace is power to get into heaven free.
Galatians 2:2l -
do not make void the grace of God...
Grace is the thing that gets you by when you are in a pinch. Grace helps people who are in need.
The dictionary* definition of justification is "to prove or show to be just, desirable, warranted, or useful". To be justified means you are innocent.
Luke l8:l0-l4 -
Two men went up into the temple (church) to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The religious leader regarded certain other people, for example the homeless, as being "suspicious" or having "mental problems". Unfortunately, the homeless went away justified, not the religious leader.
Acts l3:39 -
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Romans 5:l -
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Once justified you don't have to worry about anything you did in the past.
The dictionary* definition of reconciliation is "to restore to friendship, compatability, or harmony". Once reconciled to God you are free.
Colossians l:20-2l -
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself - by him, whether things on earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
As Pope John Paul II puts it:
To speak of reconciliation and penance is, for the men and women of our time, an invitation to rediscover, translated into their own way of speaking, the very words with which our Saviour and Teacher Jesus Christ began his preaching: "Repent, and believe in the gospel", that is to say, accept the good news of love, of adoption as children of God and hence of brotherhood (On Reconciliation and Penance, by Pope John Paul II).
Reconciliation means God wants to come into your heart.
*Webster's Third New International Dictionary
I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride
it Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God.
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, by Isaac Watts