The Doctrine of Salvation
In the study of Soteriology we are arriving at the culminating point of doctrine, the end and purpose for which all other doctrines are given and intended. Every revelation of each member of the Godhead and His specific work for man is for the end of Soteriology -- hence the importance of the study of this doctrine.
There are two great divisions of the doctrine of Soteriology which we shall pursue; first, the basis of salvation resting upon the work of Jesus, in His atoning death; and second, the application of that work in the salvation of the sinner. First would be salvation bought and second salvation wrought first the foundation or basis or ground of salvation, second the nature or application of salvation to the individual sinner. We have reserved the work of Christ in His propitiation for this doctrine rather than put it in Christology, as it is so closely linked together with the out-working of that salvation in the individual case of man's redemption. The first part of our consideration of Soteriology shall be taken up with the study of redemption as an eternal decree of God, conceived from all eternity and wrought out in time. In relationship to this we shall consider election and pre-destination and the errors of fatalism and false fore-ordination. The next subject shall be the three-fold office of Christ as prophet, priest and King, as the "one mediator between God and man.' The concluding subject under part one shall be a consideration of the atonement: This is the heart of Soteriology.
The second part of Soteriology shall consist of the elements of redemption in the individual sinner, his standing in Christ and his position in Christ his conviction, repentance, conversion, regeneration, union with Christ, justification and sanctification. The redemption accomplished for him is now wrought out in him.
In studying the plan of redemption it is well to bear always in mind the vast scope of our study. To be right here is to find eternal salvation. Keep in mind that this is not a dry didactic thesis on philosophy or a moral essay, but God's gracious provision for the sinner's greatest need -- salvation from sin and reinstatement into fellowship and relationship with God. In the study of the atonement of Jesus Christ, "The decree which He should accomplish at Jerusalem," we are witnessing the accomplishment of the eternal plan of God, the "finishing of the work which the Father gave Him to do,' the only perfect measurement of the love of God -- "God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son," -- and the measurement of the love of God "He loved me and gave Himself for me." Every doctrine of the Word of God is bound up in the one great work of Christ, which gave a complete satisfaction to divine justice and opened the "new and living way" into the presence of God for guilty sinners, giving them perfect exoneration or justification from all sins.
In this division we are to consider the work of redemption wrought out according to the divine plan by God and accomplished without the the conscious cooperation of the sinner or consent of the race for which it was accomplished. With this part of redemption man had nothing whatsoever to do. God decreed it and accomplished it apart from any consent of man. That is why we term it objective Soteriology. The second great division shall be occupied with Subjective Soteriology the individual accomplishment in the individual of that redemption and it must be with consent of that individual. God worked out His plan after His own sovereign decree and purpose and not one could stay His hand. But when working it out in the individual for his own personal redemption, it must be always with his consent and his free moral agency as the fullest way possible to man. It is well to remember this when reading the Scripture which seems contradictory. One speaks of God's side of redemption and another of man's.
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