|Salvation: to effect successfully the full delivery of someone or something from impending danger.  |
Man's Need for Salvation
Throughout the Bible, several different metaphors are used to describe man's need for salvation, saving from sin... and saving from his own path of destruction (Proverbs 14:12).
For example, Christ states that it is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick (Matthew 9:12), meaning that He was not sent for those who were "healthy" in their relationship with God, but those who were disconnected by their sins (Romans 3:23). And in Romans Paul writes about us being found guilty under the law, meaning that we need someone to intercede on our behalf, to defend us. Yet another example can be found in Psalms 69, where David cries out to God to save him from drowning, but not from a physical water source, but the sin that creeps into his "soul."
Christ's Ability and Willingness to Save Us
Christ suffered temptation, just as you and I, however He was able to withstand the temptations and is able to those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18), just as a strong swimmer can withstand a strong current and help those who are being swept away.
Christ has the power to do "exceedingly... above all that we ask or think," in order to bring us to safety and reconnect us with the Father (Ephesians 3:20).
Christ is able to intercede on our behalf, saving all who come to the Father by Him (Hebrews 7:25).
Christ is able to keep us from falling, and present us as blameless and pure in the presence of God (Jude 24).
And just as important as Christ's ability to save us, He is WILLING to save us!
Paul writes to young Timothy that it is God's desire for ALL MEN to be saved, coming into the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Christ is also extremely patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but instead wanting ALL to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
But perhaps the best example of Christ's will for us can be seen in Matthew 8, where Christ is approached by a leper who asks Christ to make him clean. Christ's response was, "I will; be thou clean." And the leper was immediately cleansed, just as now Christ immediately cleanses us of our sins.
False Hopes of Salvation
Christ warns us that the path to truth is narrow, and unfortunately most people will take the broad path... despite Christ's clear warning that only by Him may we be with the Father (John 14:6). See also Acts 4:12.
Some of the most common alternative paths people try to use today include:
The Method of God's Salvation for Us
While God has dealt with His children differently throughout time, the method of salvation has always been the same. God has always required a blood sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:22), specifically the blood of the innocent shed and applied for the cleaning of the guilty.
As we can see from Genesis 4, other offerings (no matter how good we think they are) are not acceptable to God, and will not substitute for our sins.
Secondly, salvation has always been through grace (Titus 2:11), which is proceeded by faith (Romans 5:1), and followed by the Savior's peace (1 Corinthians 1:3).
What is Faith
Many people have tried to define what Christian "faith" is. Faith is not "blindly following," something, nor is it simply an opinion or a hypothesis... but rather a sense of knowing. True faith changes the sinner's heart, causing him/her to turn to Christ.
It is this faith that comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17) that causes us to repent for our sins (Acts 20:21), please God (Hebrews 11:6), become saved (Romans 5:1), and continually grow in grace.
In other words, it is by faith that we live (Romans 1:17), fight temptations (1 Timothy 6:12), and overcome struggles (1 John 5:4).
When the Law is broken there is an injustice. Someone has done something that the Law requires a punishment for. Paul tells us that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). We also know that God is a just God (Deuteronomy 32:4), meaning that He requires a the punishment to be met. However, God is also a merciful God (Psalms 86:15), and He willing to offer a substitution in our place.
In the Old Testament we see this substitution as a lamb being offered for the shepherd, yet in the New Testament it is our shepherd who gives Himself for us, His flock (John 10:11).
Christ suffered our punishment (death) for our sins, that we may be made righteous through Him (1 Peter 3:18). Christ became our permanent substitution, the final lamb (John 1:29), so that we would not have to suffer spiritual death, and that we may be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19).
The Old Testament word for reconciliation is kaphar, meaning to cover something. It is by Christ's blood that all of our sins are covered and washed away, cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
In the New Testament the word for reconciliation is allasso, which means to change from a stat of enmity to friendship. This means that prior to being reconciled with God, our relationship with Him was one of animosity. Once reconciled, our relationship is fully restored, and we instead have a "friendship" with God.
God has already reconciled His relationship with the world through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), and now He waits for us to reconcile ourselves with Him (2 Corinthians 5:20) through faith and repentance.
The Greek word for propitiation, hilasmos means to "render favorable, to satisfy, or to appease." When we sinned we created a debt that must be satisfied, and by His mercy God sent a substitution to appease that debt, His Son to die on the cross of Calvary (1 John 4:10).
It is by this propitiation (Christ's blood) that we are able to be reconciled with God (Ephesians 2:13), as our sin debt [including future sins] has been paid in full (Romans 3:25-26).
Because Christ paid for our sin debt with His life, God is now able to justifiably forgive us of our sins (Romans 3:24-25). In other words, God is now able to put away our sins, and look upon us as if we had never sinned in the first place!
See also Matthew 26:28, Luke 24:47, Acts 10:43, and Hebrews 9:22
Origination of Salvation
 Definition taken from Willmington's Guide to the Bible