Discipleship 101: Salvation, Sin and Satan

This is our first lesson or study on the way to discipleship.  These lessons are designed to be taught over twelve weeks for laying a sure foundation in our Christian faith.   There are free to use, and have no copyright.  Today, in our first class we begin by talking about what it means to be saved, redeemed, delivered, and rescued.

Romans 10:9, 10 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

What does it mean to be saved?  And what are we saved from?

Let’s start with the word, “saved.”

The word saved comes straight from the Bible (for the next lesson about the Bible and where we got it, click here) and is used more than 400 times in various forms both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  So it is with the word Savior as well, although, used much less.

The New Testament was written in Greek and the word, to save, comes from the Greek word, sodzo, in various forms which means literally, to save.

But what does it mean?

Imagine you were on a boat on lake Titicaca in the middle of the night, and you fell overboard.  Perhaps someone pushed you, or, maybe you were dancing and stepped on your friend’s foot so he threw you off, or maybe your boat struck a large rock and you had to jump.  Whatever the case, you now find yourself in dark, icy waters.  There you are, shark bait!  Without a doubt, you need saving!  And the faster the better!

Fortunately, a friend in another boat was close by.  He throws you a rope and pulls you out, delivers you from the icy, dangerous water into the safety of his warm, dry boat where there are lots of blankets.

There you go: You were saved.  You were rescued!  You were delivered from the icy grave!  The coast guard officer was your savior, your rescuer, your deliverer.

All of these elements are applied spiritually.  Jesus Christ is our Savior, who saved us, rescued us, delivered us!

What did Jesus save us from?  That is a bigger question than it first appears, but the short answer is sin.  Sin is in all of our lives, we are surrounded by sin, swimming in sin.  It is in us.  Romans 3:23 says that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

What is sin?

Paul tells us about sin in his life and what sin does in Romans 7:15-25.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Emphasis mine)

Paul seems to be out of control.  HE wants to do good, but is sometimes powerless to do it and he does things he doesn’t want to do.  Who will deliver him?  Who is his savior? JESUS.  What does he need saving from? Sin.  Sin can be described as missing the mark of God.  It is disobedience to God and His word.  Since God cannot look on sin, the sin in us causes us to be out of relationship with God.  But it is not something we can control all the time.  We are born into sin.  It is in human nature.

Why do we sin?  Where did sin come from?

We first need to go back to the garden of Eden and the birthplace of sin in mankind.  (Read Genesis 1-4) God made man and woman, Adam and Eve and he gave them a kingdom, the garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were to have dominion over it and were to replenish the earth.  God gave one rule, one instruction to Adam, “Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  That’s it.  They could have everything else in the garden.

(Now why would God allow the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to be in the garden?  Short answer: Because free-will is very important to God.  Free-will, free choice is a gift of God.  It is by his grace and his goodness that he has given it to us.  And he wanted Adam and Eve to love Him and have a relationship with Him by their own free will, not because they were forced or had no other choice.  God gave them the free choice to love Him or not.  [On a separate note, some people believe that Jesus saved all men and that regardless of whether we accept him or not we will be saved-but that would take away free choice and in essence take away God’s goodness and grace that he gave in the beginning.  We still have free choice, we have the choice to follow and believe God or not.])

But the devil, alias the serpent, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the father of lies, Satan, came and deceived Adam and Eve, distorting God’s words and making them believe a lie.  (Read Gen. 3) Adam and Eve doubted God’s words and trusted this lie.  That was the first sin of mankind.  Then, that doubt, that belief of a lie that infiltrated their heart caused them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

They lost their relationship with God!  And they were cast out of the garden.  They lost their dominion over the earth, having given their trust to Satan.  They lost their purity and became a slave to sin.  We call this the human nature.  And human nature is depraved and impure, given to sin.

And SIN, as God said, brought death.  (Romans 6:23). The first death it brought was the death of the relationship between man and God.  Sin killed the relationship and still today, sin stands in the way of our relationship with God.  The SIN must be removed from both our human nature and the sins we commit with our free will.  The payment for our sin must be satisfied.

Why were you and I born with sin?

If your mom and dad gives away the farm, or their land, when you are born can you live in it?  NO.

If your mom is Aymara and your dad is Aymara, are you Korean?  Since your mom was a sinner and your dad was a sinner, you, too, are a sinner.

You and I and your neighbor and the Pastor and the priest and your mom and your dad are born into sin.  David said in the Bible, “In sin I was conceived.”   We are slaves of sin. And as such, we are slaves of the devil, who brought sin.

Who is the devil and where did he come from?

The devil, also called Satan, the Accuser was created by God as an anointed guardian cherubim angel.  He was created good, without sin and he was created beautiful and wise.  He was the leader of all angels.   But in his heart he became prideful and said that he would raise his throne above God’s.  So God cast him out of heaven and threw him down.   Isaiah 14:12-20 and Ezekiel 28:14-19.  The first sin, was the sin of pride committed by Satan who was then called the morning star.

Satan is a created being.  He is not equal with God, he is not equal with Jesus!

So, through one man, tempted by Satan, sin entered into the world.  And it is through one man, Jesus, that righteousness comes. See 1 Cor 15.

So, what are we saved from?  We are saved from sin.  We are saved from Satan.  We are saved from eternal death and the wrath of God because of our sin, God is holy.  We are saved from our broken relationship with a loving God.  We are saved from a life without God’s presence.  (If you want to, substitute the word delivered for saved.)  And through Jesus, righteousness comes.  Righteousness, not through anything we do, but through what Jesus has done.  He makes us righteous, meaning in right relationship with God.

What are we saved to?

It important to realize that when we are saved from something, we are saved to something.  Remember in the earlier illustration when we were plucked out of icy dark waters of death, we were delivered to the nice warm cabin on the ship.  When we are saved from sin and its consequences, we are saved to a life with God.  We are a new creation in Christ.  2 Cor. 5:17.

Jesus said that he came to give us life and that life more abundantly.  (John 10:10).  Sin only brings death.

Paul said that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  The devil only brings enslavement.

Jesus came to bring sinners to repentance that they would receive the forgiveness of God. WE come from unforgiveness and wrath to forgiveness and love.

So, briefly, we are saved to forgiveness, abundant life without Satan’s control.  Who doesn’t want that?

But even greater, we are saved TO a relationship with God the Creator.  This is the central theme of the Bible.  God says over and over “I will by your God and you will be my people.”  In John he says to whoever believes He gives them power to become sons of God, born not of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but born of God.  John 1:10  Aha!  This also brings in the Christian expression “born again.” We are born again, a new creature, forgiven for our sins.  We get a “do over.”

In a future lesson, we will see why Jesus had to die for our sins and what he accomplished for us through his death on the cross.

For now, I will quote the words of Bob Dylan when he said:

You may be an ambassador to England or France

You may like to gamble, you might like to dance

You may be the heavyweight champion of the world

You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You’re gonna have to serve somebody,

It may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

So, how can you be saved?

Romans 10:9, 10 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

For more discipleship lessons, see below:

Discipleship 101-2 The Bible! Where Did It Come From? Why do we need it?

Discipleship 101-3 Who is God?

Discipleship 101-4  The Trinity

Discipleship 101-5  Who is This Jesus?

Discipleship 101-6  Jesus, the Cross, and the Resurrection

Discipleship 101-7  The Holy Spirit–Who? 

Discipleship 101-8 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Discipleship 101-9 The Church

Discipleship 101-10 Baptism and Communion (Coming soon!)

Discipleship 101-11 The Mission of God-Evangelism (Coming soon!)

Discipleship 101-12 Christian Living and Social Justice

Discipleship 101-13 Spiritual Warfare (Coming soon!)

Discipleship 101-14 Heaven, Hell and the Judgment (Coming soon!)

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