What God Does in Salvation

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Summary: Many Christians don’t know everything Jesus does when He saves them, and this is what we will discuss. Jesus gives us many blessings.


If you missed my opening post on what spiritual formation is and why it is important for believers, you can read it here. We want to start at the beginning of spiritual formation, what happens when you come to Christ and begin your life as a disciple of Jesus.

I like to meet new people. There is a phrase I’ve often heard that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. I like to make friends. But there’s nothing like being part of the family. Even some of the most dysfunctional families, they still have your back.

I guess that’s why they say blood is thicker than water. Families are great. And friendships are wonderful. But when you meet Jesus, nothing in this world compares. Many preachers have short altar calls to introduce people to Jesus. But they rarely tell you what all happens when you come to Jesus.

Of course, there is not enough time to fully explain everything Jesus does. But I’ve found many Christians have no idea what all is involved in becoming a Christian. Jesus does a lot more than you think when you say, “Yes” to Him.

You need to know what all happens when you get saved. You can’t fully understand the lengths to which God goes to make you part of His family. And if we are to become conformed to Christ, spiritually formed by Jesus and His Spirit, we need to know what happens when we commit our lives to Him. So, here’s a brief primer on everything God does when you become a Christian.

He Forgives Your Sins

Part of the new covenant you fall under when you commit your life to Christ promises the forgiveness of sins (Jeremiah 31:34). This is no small matter. Our sins separate us from God. They are what makes us spiritually dead the moment we are born.

And if we die physically before we live spiritually, there is no hope for us. But the hope is that God loves us more than He hates our sin. He sent Jesus to begin this new covenant and make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Forgiveness of sins does not mean God ignores them or looks over them. Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice to make us at one with God (atonement). In the old covenant (Old Testament), God accepted animal sacrifices from Israel as a temporary measure.

But those animal sacrifices had to happen every time a person sinned and broke the law. When Jesus came, He made a once for all sacrifice that covered the sins of those who come to Him. That saying, “Blood is thicker than water” reaches its fullest meaning in Christ.

His blood washes away our sin makes us right before God. This makes relationship with Him possible. It reconciles us to God. It washes away all our previous sins. And if we sin against Him, 1 John 1:9 promises Jesus forgives us again if we sin against Him! He keeps forgiving us even though we still don’t deserve it. It’s His act of grace.

He Makes You His Child

John explains to us that God becomes our Father like no other father can do. To those who receive Jesus, He gives the right to become God’s children (John 1:12). God makes us His children through birth like no natural process.

We become His children through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Spirit. The Spirit makes our spirits alive to God. We receive this right of sonship (or daughtership) by coming to faith in Christ, trusting in His sacrifice more than our own ability to be saved.

Becoming God’s child opens us to many benefits. All of Scripture tells us about these benefits and expounds what they are and what they mean to us. That’s beyond what this post can cover. But we must understand the privilege we have in Jesus as we become God’s children.

He Adopts You

We become God’s children through adoption (Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5). But adoption into God’s family is nothing like our adoption today. Paul was using the example of Roman adoption.

When the Romans adopted a child, he became part of their family, including having an inheritance like any child born into that family. In fact, Caesar Augustus was adopted by Julius Caesar. He became the most powerful man in Rome because Julius Caesar gave him a complete inheritance.

When God adopts you into His family, you become His child. You have every privilege of a “natural born” child. God imparts to you every blessing, privilege, and inheritance Jesus has. You are His child and receive anything His child has the privilege to ask or imagine.

He Redeems You

God redeems you from sin, death, Hell, and the grave. “Redeem” is not a word we use very often. Perhaps the only phrase I have heard outside of the Bible is to redeem a ticket. When you do that, you exchange the ticket for whatever prize it promises.

When we first sin, we become spiritually dead, and we’ve along to God’s enemy, the devil. He keeps us in a state of spiritual blindness. We don’t even know about God until we hear the gospel. And we keep on sinning and doing what we want instead of knowing what God wants us to be in Him

Even though we are God’s creation and have His image, we belong to the devil until we meet Jesus. When we follow Jesus instead of our own desires, Jesus redeems us from our sinful existence. He “buys us back” from our destiny in eternal death, punishment in Hell, and the grave.

When Jesus buys us back from wickedness and darkness in sin, He gives us new life in Him. Now we have a new family, a new Hope, and a new home. We receive the inheritance of heaven instead of our old destiny.

He Makes You Alive

Paul tells us that Jesus makes all the difference in our lives. When we come to Him and live for Him, He makes us dead to sin and alive in Him (Ephesians 2:1-3). Our spirits are made alive in Christ. I desires completely change from selfish ambitions to godly desires.

Making us dead to sin means we no longer want to sin. Temptations can no longer hold us down. Like a person freed from prison, we now have the choice of whether to sin. We can turn temptation down. And Jesus provides a way of escape out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Now we live for God and our desire is for Him and to live a righteous and holy lifestyle for Him. Instead of living for ourselves, we live to please God. We want to know Him more, study His Word to know what he expects, and endeavor to live for Him.

He Gives You an Inheritance

We now have a wonderful inheritance because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Our old destiny was suffering in punishment in Hell for our sins and rebellion against God. But now our new destiny is to live in heaven with Jesus forever.

When we physically die, because our spirits are alive in Christ, we will live with Jesus forever. He takes us out of the kingdom of darkness and brings us into His glorious light. We will live in the New Jerusalem and Jesus will be our light (Revelation 21:23-26).

The glory of our inheritance is not just being in heaven or eternal life, but to enjoy it with Jesus. Eternal life is great. Immortality is wonderful. And it was the way God originally designed us to be. But we can’t earn this inheritance. It comes because we are children of God. And being part of God’s family gives us this great inheritance with Him.

He Seals You with the Holy Spirit

Another great part of following Jesus and being made alive in Him is that He gives us a down payment of this wonderful inheritance. When you buy a house, or a car, or any big-ticket item, you have to lay down a down payment that promises you can pay the rest later.

Jesus does the same thing. The promise of eternal life and heaven with Him may seem far-fetched to some of us. So Jesus does one of the coolest things. He gives us a down payment of what eternity will be like.

The greatest part of our inheritance is living with Jesus forever. The best way He can give us the evidence that we will live eternally and be with Him is to give us His Spirit dwelling within us now. And this is exactly what He does.

He Seals us with the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity (Ephesians 1:13-14). To have Jesus’ seal in the Holy Spirit is not about guaranteeing we will never fall away from Him. The seal of the Spirit is like the wax seals kings used on their documents.

Every king had a signet ring that was not just jewelry. It had a very practical purpose. Anytime he had a letter or official document, when he wrapped it, he would place a hot wax seal on it and push his signet ring down on it.

The document contained the king’s seal, a picture or emblem that showed the document belonged to him and had his authority, even when he wasn’t present. The Holy Spirit is our Seal of Jesus’ ownership of us (because He bought us with His blood on the Cross) and His authority in us.

You carry the authority of Jesus everywhere you go. You have his authority over sin, sickness, and demons. But that authority comes because of your connection to Jesus, your relationship with Him. And the Holy Spirit is God’s presence within you as a down payment to show you that this is just the beginning of an eternal inheritance with Jesus.

He Begins a Process to Make You Holy

When you become one of God’s children, He begins a process of making you like Jesus (Romans 8:29). This process begins with Him predestining in you, making sure that you become like Jesus.

Through a series in this process, you will become conformed to the image of Christ. You will look like Jesus when He makes you mature in Christ. This process is the very heart of what we are discussing when we talk about spiritual formation.

God’s goal is to free you from sin and make you holy like Him. You become like Jesus and resemble Him. You have the image of God in you, but sin has tainted it. It’s not the full image it used to be. But through this process, you gain the image of Christ.

Growth Challenge

Use the Bible to research more of what God does when you become a disciple of Jesus and walk with Him. See what other ways Jesus makes you His. Look at passages like Romans 5 to discover how He justifies you.

Thank Jesus for His sacrifice that does all these wonderful things and begins the greatest relationship you will ever know. Do more research to find out the full implication and power of all these benefits to you.

Up Next

We’ve just talked about all the blessings Jesus gives us when He saves us. Now that we understand what happens when we got saved, we will look at some ways to be discipled by Jesus on our path to spiritual formation.

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