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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(properly יְשׁוּעָה, σωτηρία, both meaning originally deliverance or safety). No idea was more ingrained in the Jewish mind than the truth that God was a Savior, a Helper, a Deliverer, a Rescuer, a Defender, and a Preserver to his people. Their whole history was a history of salvation, and an unfolding of the nature and purposes of the Divine Being. Israel was a saved people (Deuteronomy 33:29); saved from Egypt (Exodus 14:30), delivered from enemies on every side, preserved in prosperity, and restored from adversity all by that One Person whom they had been taught to call Jehovah. Though human instruments were constantly used as saviors as, for instance, the judges the people were always taught that it was God who saved by their hand (2 Samuel 3:18; 2 Kings 13:5; 2 Kings 14:27; Nehemiah 9:27), and that there was not power in man to be his own savior (Job 40:14; Psalms 33:16; Psalms 44:3; Psalms 44:7), so that he must look to God alone for help (Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 45:22; Hosea 13:4; Hosea 13:10). This the Scriptures express in varied forms, usually in phrases, in which the Hebrews rarely use concrete terms, as they are called, but often abstract terms. Thus, instead of saying, God saves them and protects them, they say, God is their salvation. So, a voice of salvation, tidings of salvation, a word of salvation, etc., is equivalent to a voice declaring deliverance, etc. Similarly, to work great salvation in Israel signifies to deliver Israel from some imminent danger, to obtain a great victory over enemies. Most of these phrases explain themselves, while others are of nearly equal facility of apprehension, e.g. the application of "the cup of salvation" to gratitude and joy for deliverance (Psalms 106:13); the "rock of salvation" to a rock where any one takes refuge, and is in safety (2 Samuel 22:47); "the shield of salvation" and "helmet of salvation" to protection from the attack of an enemy (Psalms 18:35; Isaiah 59:17); the "horn of salvation" to the power by which deliverance is effected (Psalms 18:2); "the garments of salvation" to the beauty and protection of holiness (Isaiah 61:10); the "wells of salvation" to the abundant sources of the mercies of salvation, free, overflowing, and refreshing (Isaiah 12:3). See each of these associated terms in its alphabetical place.

"When we come to inquire into the nature of this salvation thus drawn from God, and the conditions on which it was granted during the Old Test. dispensation, we learn that it implied every kind of assistance for body and soul, and that it was freely offered to God's people (Psalms 28:9; Psalms 69:35); to the needy (Psalms 72:4; Psalms 72:13), to the meek (Psalms 76:9), to the contrite (Psalms 34:18), but not to the wicked (Psalms 18:41) unless they repented and turned to him. Salvation consisted not only of deliverance from enemies, and from the snares of the wicked (Psalms 37:40; Psalms 59:2; Psalms 106:20), but also of forgiveness (Psalms 79:9), of answers to prayer (Psalms 69:13), of spiritual gifts (Psalms 68:19), of joy (Psalms 51:12), of truth (Psalms 25:5), and of righteousness (Psalms 24:5; Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 53:5). Many of the beautiful promises in Isaiah refer to an everlasting and spiritual salvation, and God described himself as coming to earth to bring salvation to his people (Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9). Thus was the way prepared for the coming of him who was to be called Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins. (See MESSIAH).

"In the New Testament the spiritual idea of salvation strongly predominates, though the idea of temporal deliverance occasionally appears. Perhaps the word restoration most clearly represents the great truth of the Gospel. The Son of God came to a lost world to restore those who would commit themselves unto him to that harmony with God which they had lost by sin. He appeared among men as the Restorer. Disease, hunger, mourning, and spiritual depression fled from before him. All the sufferings to which the human race is subject were overcome by him. Death itself, the last enemy, was vanquished; and in his own resurrection Christ proclaimed to all believers the glad tidings that God's purpose of bringing many sons unto glory was yet to be carried out. During his lifetime Jesus Christ was especially a healer and restorer of the body, and his ministrations were confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but by his death for the sins of the whole world, and by his subsequent resurrection and exaltation, he was enabled to fulfil the mission for which he had taken our nature. He became generally the Savior of the lost. All who come to him are brought by him to God; they have spiritual life, forgiveness, and peace, and they are adopted into the family of God. Their bodies are made temples of the Holy Ghost, by whose inworking power Christ is formed within them. Their heart being purified by faith in him as the Son of God, they receive from him the gifts and graces of God, and thus they have an earnest of the final inheritance, the complete restoration, which is the object of every Christian's hope. If it be asked when a man is saved, the answer is that the new life which is implanted by faith in Christ is salvation in the germ, so that every believer is a saved man. But during the whole Christian life salvation is worked out, in proportion to our faith, which is the connecting link between the Savior and the saved the vine and the branches. Salvation in its completion is ready to be revealed' in the day of Christ's appearing, when he who is now justified by Christ's blood shall be saved from wrath through him, and when there shall be that complete restoration of body and soul which shall make us fit to dwell with God as his children for evermore." (See SAVIOR).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Salvation'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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