Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths
#5: The Salvation of Man
Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Conditions to Salvation
Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romands10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7)
The Evidence of Salvation
The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit. (Romans 8:16)
The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12)
In the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God, the 5th Fundamental Truth (one of four cardinal doctrines) says, “Salvation is deliverance from spiritual death and enslavement by sin. God provides salvation for all who believe and accept His free offer of forgiveness. Mankind’s only hope of redemption from the fallen sinful state is through the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son— blood that was shed as Jesus died on the cross. [The account of the crucifixion of Jesus is recounted by four of His contemporaries: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.]” Rev Loh shares his insights on this.
Heaven and hell—This is one of the key issues that most of us understand about the gospel at the point of our salvation.
However, is this the only significance of our salvation? That we are saved so that we can go to heaven and not hell? If not, what then is the true significance of the salvation of mankind? This article seeks to address this issue.
The salvation of mankind has to do with God’s intent in creating the human race. Genesis 1:26 quotes God saying, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” God is love and He has created us in His image of love. We are to live a life of love; loving Him and others. Our God is also the Trinitarian God; three persons completely united to be One. Though there is much diversity in mankind, we were created in God’s image to be One.
This, however, was not what Satan wanted. He caused the first human beings to fall into sin. When Adam and Eve fell, they ushered sin into the human race. As a result, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Before the fall, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) But, immediately after the fall, when God came into the Garden of Eden to fellowship with them, they hid from God. When God asked where they were, Adam replied, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10) Fear and shame had come into his heart. Since then, people have had all sorts of negative feelings about themselves. Many are not able to relate even with themselves. When people are not able to accept themselves, it is impossible for them to relate with others. Furthermore, when God asked Adam why he had not obeyed Him, Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12) Blame came into the world. People are unwilling to take responsibility for their own mistakes.
With people not being able to accept themselves and take responsibility for their wrongdoings, God’s original intention for humans was destroyed. The human race cannot be a united community. What we see in the world today reflects the effects of sin. Most people live just for themselves and ignore the feelings or wellbeing of others. In trying to make more money, organizations are prepared to burn forests and ignore the air pollution it creates. They are willing to put chemicals into food and not be bothered about the health of its consumers. We also see fighting within and between families and conflicts between ethnic groups and nations. This world we see now is certainly not what God has intended it to be.
However, we can still be assured that God will always achieve what He intends. The strategy of God in redeeming His intent was revealed the very moment humans fell into sin. God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) The Messiah that will destroy Satan and redeem Man from his sin will be a descendent of Eve. From then, God’s plan of sending Jesus into the world was revealed through the prophets. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. It proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is who He proclaims Himself to be: the Son of God who had come to save Man from their sins. The apostle Peter was completely convinced that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and when confronted by the Sanhedrin, he declared that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The salvation is more than just bringing us into heaven. Jesus knew His purpose in coming to earth.
On the night before His crucifixion Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” (John 17:1–5) He continued, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20–23)
Jesus knew that the work the Father had sent Him to earth for would soon be finished. He prayed that all believers might be one as He and the Father are one, thereby fulfilling the original intent of God in creating mankind.
The apostle Paul said, “He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” (Ephesians 2:15–16) Earlier in the Epistle, the apostle had mentioned, “God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill His own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” (Ephesians 1:9–10)
Through Jesus therefore, the Law that states, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) was done away with for those who would place their faith in Christ. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) They are not only brought into relationship with God but with each
other. As Gentiles include everyone who is not a Jew, Jesus has made peace not only between the Jews and Gentiles but also among individuals on earth. Believers in Jesus are therefore brought together to be the new humanity (the church) that will replace the world corrupted through sin.
God desires that everyone, beginning with the apostles, would be involved in bringing the gospel to the ends of the world so that the church would engulf the whole world and humanity would be the true community that He had intended the human race to be. He does not want any to perish but every person to be included in this community (2 Peter 3:9). Our responsibility as believers is therefore to live a life of love by being effective members of God’s community and to bring others into His church. This is the salvation plan of God for mankind.
About Rev Dr Loh Hung Chey
Rev Dr Loh Hung Chey is the Founding Pastor of The Harvest Force. He stepped down from the post as Senior Pastor of the church at the end of 2015. He was the Principal of the Assemblies of God (AG) Bible College until he retired from the post at the end of 2012. He still teaches at the College but has availed himself to colleges throughout the world. He also ministers in churches in various countries on a regular basis and has also taught in colleges in many of these nations.
Passionate about church dynamics especially in realigning the focus of churches to God’s purpose for the church, he has successfully helped churches in this aspect. He is also the national partner for Natural Church Development International. Dr Loh has served on the Executive Committee of the AG of Singapore and the boards of Asia Pacific Theological Association, Teen Challenge Singapore and the Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions.
He is the author of ‘Transforming into Christlikeness’ and ‘Returning to God’s Original Intent’. These books are about discipleship and are being used by cell groups in churches as part of their discipleship systems.