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Lesson 3 The Nature of Salvation


Devotional Reading:   Isaiah 12


Memory Verse:           John 3:3


Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.




Ezekiel 36:25–26. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.


John 1:11–13. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


John 3:7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


Romans 3:24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.


Acts 5:31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.


Acts 13:38. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.


Colossians 1:14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.


Ephesians 2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.


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.


1 Peter 1:23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.




Ezekiel 36:25–26. The prophet describes the moral change in salvation as a cleansing and a change of heart.

John 1:11–13. Those who receive Christ become children of God. This state is entered into by a change called a birth. This change is effected by an act of God.

John 3:7. Jesus here states the absolute necessity of this change.

2 Corinthians 5:17. The change is actual, effecting a new life.

Romans 3:24. Redemption likewise includes our justification.

Acts 3:31; 13:28. Our justification is accomplished through the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:14. It is through the atonement that forgiveness and redemption are made possible.

Ephesians 2:1. The change in salvation is represented as a resurrection from death to life.

Titus 3:5. This change is called regeneration.

1 Peter 1:23. Peter preaches the new birth and makes it effective through the word of God.






1. A change of person.


A) By imparting a new personality. The “new creature” is not a new person but “he”—the same person—is made anew. B) By destroying humanity. Human nature is not destroyed or materially altered. C) By imparting new faculties. No faculties are added to the soul. It is a change wrought within man.


2. A change of the nature of sin.


A) By making sin less abhorrent. God still hates sin. It is not sin but the sinner that is cleansed. B) By licensing sin. Sin in a believer is as much a crime as if committed by an unbeliever.


3. Change in the physical man.


Except as such changes are effects of the change in the soul. The final redemption of our bodies is reserved for the resurrection.




It is the first work of grace, regeneration, change.


1. It is acquittal.


The sinner stands justified before God as though he had never sinned.

A) Not failure to convict. Every sinner is guilty, and his guilt is thoroughly established. This fact can never be changed. B) It is forgiveness. The sinner pleads guilty, but God, for Christ’s sake, forgives him.


2. It is remission of the penalty.


A) In forgiveness God’s feeling toward the sinner is changed: he is no longer displeased with him. This leads to remission. B) The sentence is suspended. The execution of the penalty is postponed indefinitely, or rather made inoperative. Thus the penitent sinner is made free from the wrath of God, and from the penalty of sin. He is justified.


3. It is based in the atonement.


A) Not in the doing of penance. Sufferings for sin exclude the idea of forgiveness. The guild of sin cannot be removed this way. B) Not in the transfer of Christ’s righteousness to us. To count us righteous because he is righteous would not make us righteous. This idea of transfer is, like the transfer of Adam’s guilt, a wrong interpretation of Scripture. His righteousness made possible a perfect atonement thus securing our forgiveness.


4. It is full and final.


A) We are justified from “all things” (Acts 13:39). B) We shall never again be condemned for these sins but may become guilty through future sins (Ezekiel 33:12).




1. The need of regeneration.


A) Man’s nature is sinful. Left to himself man cannot overcome sin. B) Pardon does not change nature. Forgiveness of sin is not guarantee that the sinner will sin no more. C) That man may keep justified. Without it there is no way to avoid sin and consequent guilt. D) To make us children of God. This is effected through the new birth.


2. It is a present experience.


A) We have passed from death to life (1 John 3:14). B) We are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). C) We are children of God (1 John 3:2). This sufficiently refutes the notion that we are not to be regenerated and becomes sons of God until the resurrection.


3. The nature of regeneration.


A) It is a new life from God. Thus it is a miraculous force and not the power of man’s will. B) It is an inner change. An outward reform may affect the fruits, but regeneration touches the source of life. It is a change of heart. C) It is victory over depraved nature. Depravity is not removed until entire sanctification, but the regenerated man has power over depraved nature so that sin does not have dominion over him. D) It is a strengthening of the will with power to overcome evil and to do the will of God. E) It is a change of desires whereby sin becomes distasteful and the will of God becomes pleasant.




1. We are born of the Spirit (John 3:6).


It is through the operation of the Holy Spirit that we are regenerated. This is not the baptism of the Holy Ghost but the same Spirit operating in a different capacity.


2. The Spirit is called:


A) “The Spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:15). We are given a place as sons and made heirs of God. B) “The Spirit of his sons” (Galatians 4:6). The figure of a new birth shows that we are sons through regeneration.


3. Spiritual fruits.


The fruits of the Spirit will immediately appear in the life of one who is saved. This is A good evidence that one has received the Spirit.




Justification and regeneration are so related that they must be received simultaneously. The grace of God cannot abound when one continues in sin, hence one cannot stand justified while sinning. Regeneration is needed that one may cease sinning. It is through the operation of the Spirit that we are both justified and regenerated. These are but different phases of one work performed by the same Spirit at the same time.