Summarizing the journey of faith is impossible because we are all so different. Despite those differences there is still only one way to God. (John 14:16) The 6 S’s of Salvation below show how all our different journeys share the same one way. We all begin at the same place…
Sin is doing what God has told us not to do (1 John 3:4) and not doing what He has told us to do (James 4:17). Doing what He told us not to do covers a litany of sins from lying to adultery to using the Lord’s name in vain. Not doing what He has told us to do can be more insidious. It is failing to honor our parents, failing to offer hospitality to others, or failing to love Him with all our hearts. Simply put: sin is disobedience to God. (Check out Defining Sin.)
Sin is the state we find ourselves in when we aren’t 100% devoted to God. Since none of us can claim to be 100% devoted 100% of the time, we all live in a state of sin. (“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23) That state of sin separates us from God.
Shame is that feeling we have when we realize our sinful situation. Feeling mortified by our actions or attitudes, feeling humiliated by our situation, feeling worthless because of our choices or situation, and feeling powerless to change any of it, all bring intense shame. It is a shame sorrow that should move us to seek forgiveness from a loving God. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
The only solution to our sin and shame situation is to surrender to Jesus – to repent of our sin. God will not force Himself on us. He waits for us to want to change and to want to be with Him. God waits patiently for each one of us to surrender our sin and shame to Him. (1 John 1:9; John 3:16-18) (For a more information, see Define Repentance.)
Once we surrender everything to God by repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus as our Savior, we enter His salvation. Laying all our sin and shame at the feet of Jesus and asking Him to be the Lord of our lives, brings forgiveness. (Romans 10:9)
Sanctification is the process of becoming holy (set apart) for God. Sanctification (as it refers to salvation) is a one time deal. When you ask God to forgive you and apply Jesus’ sacrifice to your sin, you are forgiven and receive salvation. You are immediately made a part of his holy people. (1 Corinthians 6:11) But salvation is just the beginning of the process of sanctification. It is through that process that we become more and more like Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; John 17:17)
Finally, the Christian is expected to serve Christ by serving one another. And not just serving one another, but doing so with love (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10; John 12:26; John 13:35)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ∼John 14:6
The only way to God is through Jesus Christ. That path takes us from a place of sin and shame through surrender to salvation and sanctification and is seen through our loving service to others.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™