Saved by His Life
We shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10).
These words give us encouragement for difficult days when tempted by forces beyond ourselves, but let’s be clear as to what these words of the apostle Paul do not mean. “Saved by His life” does not imply that salvation comes from imitating the principles and godly character of our Lord Jesus Christ. Following or imitating the Lord Jesus Christ will not save anyone. No one has ever been saved by imitating the life of Christ. He alone lived a perfectly holy life. No one else can ever measure up.
The apostle wrote, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10).
We are saved by the death of Jesus Christ that atoned for all our sins (Rom. 5:6-9). His precious blood alone atones and cleanses us from all sins. His blood purges our guilty consciences. We have peace with God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Our salvation is complete and eternal from the moment we believe on Christ. We are saved for eternity from the moment we put our trust in Christ.
It is utterly impossible for a sinful, totally depraved man to follow in the perfect footsteps of our sinless Lord. Trying to “live the Christian life” saves no one. “Saved by His life” does not mean that we are saved as though His life were an atonement for our sins. “Saved by His life” cannot mean that it is His life on the earth, rather than His death that saves sinners. Christ paid the penalty for our sins by His death.
The unblemished, sinless Lamb of God had to die as our substitute to put away our sins. His perfect life had to be given up in death.
The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior we were born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Because we have been saved by grace, and not of our own works, the Holy Spirit enables us by His power, as His redeemed people, to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord. He is more than our example of how to live His life; it must be His life in us, not our trying to imitate Him that empowers us.
We were saved from the penalty of sin when we trusted in Christ as our Savior. Now that we have been saved from the penalty of sin through the death of Christ, we are now being saved daily, hourly, and moment-by-moment from the power of sin through the intercessory work of the risen Christ and His indwelling Spirit. We shall be saved from the presence of sin when we see Jesus face to face in glory, and we will be fully conformed to His image.
Salvation is a big work of God. Our justification is the removal of the guilt and penalty of sin and the bestowal of a righteous standing in Christ before God’s law. This new standing before God was given to us at the moment we believed on Christ. Sanctification is the progressive work of the Holy Spirit through out the Christian life on this earth. It also began the moment we believed on Christ as our Savior. Moreover, glorification is the glorifying of our resurrected bodies at the Rapture. When Paul writes, “we shall be saved by His life,” he is not referring our Lord’s life on earth as an example of how a Christian should live. His example saves no one. His blood does. His death was an atoning sacrifice for our sins. We are justified by grace through faith in His sacrifice for us on the cross.
We who have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son shall be saved by His resurrection life. Jesus Christ lives in glory to complete in us the work which His grace had begun. Therefore, the apostle Paul can say, “We are saved by His life.” We are not left to our own resources to live the Christian life after we have been saved by God’s grace. The One who loved us enough to die for us on the cross now lives to sustain all who believe on Him for salvation. He is just as much interested in us now as He was before He died for us. He keeps us in His saving power. The grace of God that saves us also keeps us. His sustaining grace is with us day by day. Christ is alive and we share in His life.
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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