Methodology of Salvation

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Divine Principles

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

Isaiah 28:10

When it comes to the doctrine of Salvation, as with most doctrines, there is much disagreement on its interpretation. What is the correct form or methodology of this most important doctrine. This study looks at the biblical precepts or divine principles that guide and limit our understanding of how our salvation was accomplished in accordance with the Scriptures. As in all these studies it is left up to the reader to search the Scriptures and judge accordingly.

 Many are not aware of the amount of disputing and contention that there is concerning this doctrine. Does man have free will or not? Is he predestinated or not predestinated? Is he required to have faith or is he given faith? Do our works play any part in our salvation or not? Does one have to be a member of a particular church or any church? Is baptism absolutely necessary for salvation? The disputes are endless and to our shame.

To understand this doctrine we must first establish the precepts or general principles that govern it. We will begin with that which is probably the easiest to demonstrate, is salvation in whole or in part dependent upon our works? It is the easiest to comprehend in that we are given the answer in no uncertain terms. There is very little to interpret.

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;...

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

It is not know at the time of this writing if there is any sect or denomination claiming to be Christian that does not hold to salvation being wholly or in part God's grace. What the Bible explains and many fail to understand is that grace and works are mutually exclusive of each other. If eternal salvation is by the grace of God then there can be no part of it by works; “...if by grace, then is it no more of works....” The two, grace and works, are mutually exclusive.

If I say to my son, "Son, you have found grace in my sight. Therefore, I am going to let you use the car tonight, if you mow the lawn." With the inclusion of the works, grace went out the window. All that matters now is did my son do the works, or did he not do them. There is no grace involved; he either cut the grass or he didn't. This may be a simplistic example but it is an accurate one. My son is not coming to me thanking me for my mercy and grace, he is demanding what I owe him for the work he did.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Many persist, nevertheless, in teaching as Bible truth that an element of works is required in obtaining or maintaining salvation. Both teachings were the subject of the great counsel and debate of Acts chapter 15, and both condemned. Many, also, continue to teach that eternal salvation by faith alone is only New Testament doctrine. Never mind that the subject and context of Romans chapter 11, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works...," is Israel under the law not realizing that salvation was not of works, but of grace.

A curse on details, details are the vermin that destroy great works."


The great tragedy of Science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Thomas Henry Huxley

This is the great eternal paradox that baffles the self- righteous. The vilest of sinners can be saved while the most observant of the law can be lost. Self-righteousness is the first casualty of the election of grace.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

The conclusion to this is obvious: Any teaching that works is involved in obtaining or maintaining our salvation nullifies faith and grace. If the gaining of salvation is by God's grace and not by our works, the maintaining of it is also by grace and not works. To be given a free gift and then be told you have to pay to keep it disannuls any semblance of free. It is the same with grace and works, works to maintain salvation nullifies the free gift of grace.

Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;...

Any doctrine that teaches that one can earn grace is in error.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

This single precept, “not by works of righteousness that we have done,” if adhered to would dissipate many false teachings.

With this we form our first precept of the doctrine of salvation.



Our precept is not only a principle of New Testament salvation but a general universal precept of God's word. This means that salvation is by grace and not in part or in whole of works at any time, Old Testament, New Testament, Tribulation. Remember that the subject of Romans 11, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works:...", is Israel's failure to understand this precept, God's election of Grace.

Even if you had lived a perfect life, from the heart as well as physically, you would only have done what God created you for, your duty.

Luke 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

This brings us to the next precept one has to understand to comprehend the doctrine of salvation. Having established that salvation is by grace and in no part based on works, while at the same time realizing that works is our duty to God and not subject to payment or reward or incurrence of debt, we can determine that God is not obligated in any fashion to man.

Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Our next precept then must state the position that God is not obligated to save anyone.


This precept, as difficult as it is for some to grasp, is also reflected in passages such as John 3:16 where it states God loved and Christ died to save the world while establishing the condition of "whosoever believeth." He died to save the world while that atonement was not an automatic salvation for the world or anyone, but given to those that met the condition to believe.

This concept of God's sovereignty might seem a trite and rather obvious truth of Scripture to some. However, there is a very large segment of the brethren that do not comprehend the issue of the sovereignty of God correctly. Many errors in teaching are based on the belief that since Christ died for sin someone must automatically have been saved. It is hoped from this study you will see that it is not biblically sound. This mistaken notion is the underpinning of the Reformed Theology, Calvinism, or the doctrine of individual predestination and Universal Theology, universal salvation. Both of these theologies are formed by obligating God upon Christ's atonement to automatically save someone. Many faithful saints over the centuries have been confounded by this mistake in reasoning. The truth is, God is not obligated by Christ's atonement to save anyone.

Our last precept in this discussion extends from this point and deals with whom did the Lord give himself for; although, he is not obligated to save anyone he certain died for someone.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

With these verses it would seem that we could easily stand on the principle that the atonement for sins was not limited. It is of course a point of contention to some of those, as above, who reject our second precept. However, we will not further suffer this point. Christ died for the sins of the entire world, all men. Therefore, our next precept states it as such.