TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. Salvation for the World

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Chapter 13  Part II

Salvation for the World

Prior to Jesus Christ’s mission, God dealt primarily with Israel, as his people. What Jesus Christ accomplished had momentous implications for all people – notably in making God’s salvation, with eternal life, freely available to every person in the world. An associated outcome is that people from all nations can readily become one of God’s own people.

The Savior of the World

God provides salvation through Jesus Christ

John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  ESV

1Thes 5:9  God did not choose us to suffer his anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  GNT

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world . . .

1Jn 4:14  [John:] And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  NET

. . . Jesus Christ realizes salvation and redemption

Heb 5:9  After he had finished his work, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him.  GW

Col 1:13-14  [Paul, to believers:] He [God] delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  NET

We can only be saved through Jesus Christ

Acts 4:12  Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.  GNT

John 14:6  Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  NET

The first statement is understood by some commentators to mean that: Jesus is the way to the Father because he is the truth and the life. The second statement emphatically states that he is the only way to God, one implication of which is that Jesus is the only source of salvation.

Jesus Christ will bring believers’ salvation to completion on his return

Heb 9:28b  And he will come a second time, not to offer himself for sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  NCV™

 Questions for Section A

Life through Jesus Christ

The “life” spoken of in the NT that Jesus Christ provides is often referred to as spiritual life. It involves being “alive to God” (Rom 6:11), with God’s Holy Spirit indwelling us, renewing and nourishing us. With this, we have a spiritual consciousness that enables us to live in communion with and in dependence on God, eternally. This spiritual life is only attainable through Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished.

God provides life through Jesus Christ

1Jn 4:9b  God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him.  NET

Jesus Christ gives spiritual life

John 10:10  [Jesus:] The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.  GNT

John 6:35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.  NET

Jesus speaks of himself as the source of spiritual life. The phrases “never go hungry” and “never be thirsty” indicate he satisfies one’s spiritual needs, supplying what is needed for spiritual life.

Jesus Christ gives eternal life

John 17:2  You [God] gave the Son power over all people so that the Son could give eternal life to all those you gave him.  NCV™

Eternal life encompasses the spiritual life that Christians experience now, as well as its developed form of the afterlife.

Through Jesus Christ we can have eternal life as opposed to death

John 3:16, 36  For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.36The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.  NET

John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, 26and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  NET

Jesus is the one through whom resurrection and life come (v. 25a). Those who believe in him will live even though they die physically (v. 25b). At a spiritual level they will never die (v. 26a), but will live eternally.

Jesus Christ saves people from the power of death

1Cor 15:54-57  Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  NET

Through Jesus Christ believers are given victory over death (vv. 54-55, 57). The “sting” of death – its “power to hurt” (GNT) – comes from sin; sin’s potency in turn comes from the consequent condemnation of the sinner by the law (v. 56). So with the law no longer being what determines a believer’s righteousness – because of what Jesus Christ accomplished – death no longer has a “sting” for believers.

 Questions for Section B

Salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ

The term “Jew” basically refers to the descendants of the people of the former Israelite kingdom of Judah. In NT times these people largely lived in the southern part of the land of Israel. The term “Gentiles” refers to non-Jewish people.

In OT times it was firstly only the Israelites, then after the Babylonian captivity more specifically the Jews, who were “God’s people” and as such knew of God’s salvation. But through Jesus Christ’s mission, God has made salvation open to the Gentiles.

God has extended his salvation to the Gentiles

Acts 28:28  [Paul, to Jewish leaders in Rome:] “Therefore be advised that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!”  NET

God has provided salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ . . .

1Cor 1:21b-23  Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish.  CEV

God saves people through belief in the message about Jesus Christ and his death, even if it seems foolish to some.

. . . Jesus Christ died for all people

Heb 2:9a  But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God’s grace he should die for everyone.  GNT

Salvation is now open to everyone who will accept it by repentance and faith (cf. Getting Right with God).

God has made the way of faith in Jesus Christ open to Gentiles as well as Jews – there is no difference

Rom 3:22, 30  God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. God does this to all who believe in Christ, because there is no difference at all: … 30God is one, and he will put the Jews right with himself on the basis of their faith, and will put the Gentiles right through their faith.  GNT

God has given the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles as well as to Jews

Acts 10:44-45  While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. 45The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also.  GNT

 Questions for Section C

The Gentiles as Part of God’s People

Gentiles have been accepted by God as being of his people

Acts 10:34-35  Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, 35but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.  NET

Rom 9:24-25  [Paul, to believers:] Whether Jews or Gentiles, we are those chosen ones, 25just as the Lord says in the book of Hosea, “Although they are not my people, I will make them my people. I will treat with love those nations that have never been loved.  CEV

In v. 25 Paul quotes from Hosea to show that from among the Gentiles who formerly were not God’s people, would now be those who God would call his people (cf. 1Pet 2:10).

Jesus Christ has made Jews and Gentiles one

John 11:51b-52  Jesus was going to die for the Jewish people, 52and not only for them, but also to bring together into one body all the scattered people of God.  GNT

By dying for all people, Jesus has enabled both Jews and Gentiles to become part of the one people of God.

Gentiles have been included in the true “Israel”

Gal 6:15-16  For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! 16And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God.  NET

The term “Israel of God” (v. 16) refers to those who are “a new creation” (v. 15b). It stands in contrast with circumcision (v. 15a), the sign of the old covenant with Israel as God’s people. As such the term alludes to a new “Israel” – “the new people of God” (NLT), “God’s true people” (CEV). This new people of God is composed not just of believing Israelites or Jews, but believing Gentiles as well.

Those who have faith are the true, spiritual children of Abraham . . .

Gal 3:6-7  The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” 7So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith.  NCV™

. . . and God’s promise to Abraham is for all who have faith

Rom 4:16  [Paul, to believers:] Therefore, the promise is based on faith, so that it may be a matter of grace and may be guaranteed for all his [Abraham’s] descendants—not only for those who were given the law, but also for those who share Abraham’s faith, who is the father of us all.  ISV

This speaks of the promise or blessing of righteousness by faith, being given not only to believing Jews but to all who have faith.

 Questions for Section D

Epilogue: Jesus Christ’s Mission and Israel

Jesus Christ came foremost to Israel . . .

Matt 10:5-6  Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows: “Do not go to Gentile regions and do not enter any Samaritan town. 6Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  NET

Jesus’ directions to his disciples reflect the priority of the people of Israel, the Jews, in his own mission.

. . . and the gospel of Christ was first preached to the Jews

Acts 11:19  Now those [believers] who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one but Jews.  NET

But the Jews largely rejected Jesus Christ . . .

John 1:11  He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.  NET

Note that although the first occurrence of “own” is sometimes taken to refer to the world (cf. v. 10), the second at least is more often understood to be referring to Jesus’ own people, the Jews.

. . . and many Jews strongly opposed the spreading of the gospel

Acts 17:13  But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds.  NET

The Jews’ negative response to Jesus Christ brought God’s judgment

Luke 19:41-44  As Jesus came near Jerusalem, he saw the city and cried for it, 42saying, “I wish you knew today what would bring you peace. But now it is hidden from you. 43The time is coming when your enemies will build a wall around you and will hold you in on all sides. 44They will destroy you and all your people, and not one stone will be left on another. All this will happen because you did not recognize the time when God came to save you.”  NCV™

Jesus wept with heartfelt compassion because the people of Jerusalem had not recognized God’s coming to them in himself (v. 44b) and the peace that could have come through him (v. 42). Consequently they would face destruction (vv. 43-44) – which came by the Romans in A.D. 70.

God largely rejected the Jews and accepted the Gentiles, due to the Jews rejecting Christ and the gospel . . .

Rom 11:11b, 15  But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. … 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  NET

In v. 11, their “transgression” (a term akin to “sin”) refers to the Jews’ (or Israel’s) rejection of the gospel, God’s way of righteousness that is by faith in Christ.

. . . The Jews’ negative response contrasted with the responsiveness of the Gentiles

Acts 13:45-48  But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him. 46Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed.  NET

But God has left a faithful remnant of Israel

Rom 11:5  So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  NET

God did not totally reject Israel, for he has chosen a remnant from among them.

Despite Israel’s current state – which has benefited the Gentiles – Israel will be saved

Rom 11:25-26  [Paul, to believers:] For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.  NET

In keeping with the context, the clause “all Israel will be saved” (v. 26) quite probably refers to Israel as a whole, rather than every individual Israelite or Jew.

 Questions for Section E

Pray for persecuted Christians