What does it mean “to be saved?” The simple answer to this question from a oneness Apostolic lens is that it means experiencing firsthand the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, the profound act of immersive water baptism, and the life-changing impact of faith and works from living a life that is pleasing unto God. Today, however, the more detailed question of “how to be saved” requires one to pursue the Apostolic blueprint for salvation, a journey that has not only shaped my life but also promises to guide you towards a more personal relationship with the God of the Heavens and the Earth that can be enjoyed for all eternity (John 3:16).
The Importance of Salvation Through an Apostolic Lens
Salvation, the deliverance from sin and its consequences, is a concept that holds immense significance in Christianity. But what does it mean to be saved? The definition of salvation varies across different Christian denominations, but in the oneness Apostolic church, we believe in the clear Biblical blueprint that guides believers towards eternal salvation in Heaven.
One of the resources that helped me understand this blueprint is the book “Essential Doctrines of the Bible” by David K. Bernard. It’s a concise, yet thorough, survey of Bible doctrines, and an excellent tool for anyone eager to delve deeper into the intricacies of the Apostolic faith.
The Gospel: The Foundation of Our Salvation
The foundation of our salvation lies in the gospel. Romans 3:23 states that “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We learn that there is a cost to be paid for our sin. Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once we recognize that we are all sinners, it then becomes clear that we need to follow the Biblical plan for salvation that is grounded in the gospel: that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again to pay that cost for our sins and provide everyone with eternal salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, which is a gift from God that we cannot earn through our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But how do we apply this gospel message to our lives? This is where the Apostolic blueprint comes into play.
The Apostolic Blueprint to Salvation: Acts 2:38
The blueprint for salvation in the Apostolic church is beautifully encapsulated in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This verse outlines the three crucial elements towards salvation: repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the reception of the Holy Spirit.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and salvation are intricately intertwined. The Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God, takes on a transformative role in the journey of salvation, residing within us to guide, empower, and remodel us into the image of Christ. The road to salvation involves fostering an intimate relationship with Jesus, ignited by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. This direct, personal encounter presents a more profound experience than what the doctrine of justification as discussed by Paul in the book of Romans implies in certain religious contexts.
“Justification and the Holy Spirit” by David K. Bernard is a wonderful investigation of the Holy Spirit’s work in justification, and how it’s connected to the new birth experience that Apostolics believe in.
The Significance of Baptism in Jesus’ Name
The Apostolic blueprint for salvation also includes baptism by immersion. Baptism is more than a mere ritual; it’s a powerful symbol of our identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In the Apostolic context, we are baptized in Jesus’ name, signifying our acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and the washing away of our sins forever. The book “The New Birth ” by David K. Bernard encourages everyone to receive the fullness of salvation that Jesus made possible through an easy to read, yet scholarly approach. It provides an in-depth exploration of the significance of baptism in our journey towards salvation.
The Role of Faith in Salvation
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). In the Apostolic understanding of salvation, faith is not just believing in God but also trusting in His promises and living according to His word. “James: Faith at Work” by Daniel Segraves is a fascinating commentary written from the Oneness Pentecostal perspective that examines the book of James and the role that faith plays in our eternal salvation.
The Results of Salvation
Embracing the Apostolic blueprint for salvation—repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the reception of the Holy Spirit—leads to a profound transformation in our lives. We become new creations in Christ, our old selves are gone, and we begin to live in the new life that Christ has given us (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Similar to an architect’s blueprint when constructing a building, the Apostolic “blueprint for salvation” is akin to a comprehensive plan or guide that helps us navigate our spiritual journey to everlasting life with God. Each detail, from the foundation to the rooftop, is meticulously planned and executed for the structure to stand strong and serve its purpose.
In our spiritual lives, this blueprint guides us towards experiencing God’s grace – His unearned and unmerited favor. It’s like receiving a gift we didn’t work for or earn, but is given out of love and kindness. The blueprint also teaches us to have faith, akin to trusting a reliable friend who has always been there for us.
As we follow this blueprint, we undergo profound spiritual growth. It’s like a seed gradually growing into a tree, becoming stronger and more stable over time.
For instance, if you’ve made a mistake in your life, such as betraying a friend’s trust, the blueprint for salvation would guide you on how to rectify this. You would first acknowledge and believe in the forgiving nature of God. Then, you would express sincere remorse for your actions and make a conscious decision to not repeat them. This is akin to an architect rectifying a flaw in the building’s design. Next, you might make a significant gesture to symbolize your commitment to change, much like laying a new foundation. Finally, you would strive to feel God’s guidance in your heart, allowing it to lead you towards being a better friend and person.
This blueprint serves as a guide for anyone seeking to correct their mistakes and improve their spiritual well-being. It’s a step-by-step plan towards building a stronger, more resilient spiritual life.
Are you ready to get building?
I encourage you to explore these principles and apply them to your life. Take action today, and witness the positive impact on your spiritual growth and eternal blessings. God is salvation, and He is inviting you to partake in this divine gift. Are you ready to answer His call? Visit the Pentecostal Publishing House to find the resources mentioned and more as you discover all there is to know about oneness Apostolic salvation.