Salvation: Everything New

January 20, 2023

Salvation: Everything New

Salvation is one of the key themes of the entire Bible, it is core to the gospel of Jesus, and it is a wonderful gift to all who receive it by faith. The Bible is also clear that salvation has two parts, what believers have been saved from and what believers have been saved to and that each part is essential and indivisible from the other.

All of which begs the questions for us as Christians,

What has Jesus saved you from?

What has Jesus saved you to?

In my experience I have found that most Christians find it a lot easier to answer the first question than they do the second question. Of course, we should be careful not to create a false dichotomy here since the answers to these two questions really work together. However, the answers to the first question usually come to mind a lot faster than the answers to the second question, as we often know a lot more about what we have been saved from, things like sin, guilt, shame, condemnation, wrath, hell, than what we have been saved to.

Now, why does it matter whether or not we can answer the second question well?

If New Testament usage is any indication, it matters a lot! In fact, you could say that the most prevalent theme in the New Testament is actually about what Jesus has saved us to.

Perhaps there is no better example of this than the one found in the opening verses of Ephesians,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:3) (emphasis mine)1

Think about that for a minute. What exactly does that mean, “every spiritual blessing”? How would you put that into words? If this hits us the way it should, it makes our heads spin just thinking about it.

Certainly there are blessings under this heading that would be classified as “things which eye has not seen…that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9), but what about those things—those blessings—that we can see and hear and understand now? What are those and why do they matter?

In reality, that’s a question that we’ll spend a lifetime and an eternity trying to understand which might be why biblical scholars have observed that much of the New Testament is about telling followers of Jesus how to become who we already are in Jesus.

Listen to 2 Cor 5:17, which seems to communicate this very idea, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

You may know that there is a lot contained in the idea of a new creation in Christ. What is key to notice here is that the Greek word for new is the word “kainos”, which means a new kind of thing, something unprecedented2. So for anyone who is in Christ, that person has been made into a new kind of creation which is different than anything that has come before it, certainly different in kind than what that person was before being in Christ.

So what kinds of things have we been saved to as new creations? Here’s a sampling, according the New Testament,

A New Righteousness. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
Romans 3:21–22

A New Relationship. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” 2 Cor 5:18

A New Identity. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9–10

A New Mind. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Cor 2:16

A New Life. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

A New Destiny. “And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21:5

Even in the Old Testament, as God’s foreshadows the saving work of Jesus in both Ezekiel and Jeremiah,

A New Heart and Spirit. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Again, why is it so important that we know not only what we have been saved from but what we have been saved to? Because for the Christian, becoming who we already are in Jesus is the core of discipleship, that we learn and grow into a calling to live as new creations in Christ. This is what the apostle Paul calls the “upward call of God in Christ”

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way”
Philippians 3:12–15

If you want to mature and grow as a disciple of Jesus, you need to know what Jesus has saved you to as well as what he has saved you from. It is the calling of Christian discipleship to pursue what is kainos in Christ so that we can see God’s Spirit bring real transformation. That is how we become who we already are in Christ Jesus.

1All Bible verses quoted from the ESV translation.

2See Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words.