The idea of salvation is a very important part of Christianity and is closely connected with the idea of atonement. Christians believe that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross to make salvation possible for humans.

Nature of salvation

Salvation is the act of delivering (or keeping away) from evil or saving from sin. Sin is an act that is against God’s will and therefore morally wrong. In Christianity there are two types of sin:

  1. Original sin – this is inherited from Adam and Eve, the first humans created by God. They broke the perfect relationship between God and humans by disobeying God’s command.
  2. Personal sin – these are an individual’s sins. They are the consequences of a person’s actions. For example, shoplifting would be considered a sin because it goes against a direct commandment from God not to steal.

Many Christians believe that people who die with unforgiven sins will not go to Heaven, and may go to Hell. Catholics believe these people may be sent to Purgatory. For Christians, salvation is a crucial part of having a relationship with God while on Earth, and also in Heaven.

Role of Jesus in salvation

Christians believe that Jesus came to Earth so that humans could receive salvation in a permanent way. Before Jesus, salvation had come from following the laws given to Moses in the Torah. When Jesus died on the cross, his death acted as a payment for the human sins that were a result of people disregarding God’s laws.

By having faith in Jesus, Christians believe they receive God’s grace. This means they believe God has blessed them, which in turn gives them the strength to live a good Christian life.

Ultimately, salvation from sin was the purpose of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

The following quote from Acts of the Apostles suggests that only Jesus can save humans: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

It also suggests that Christians must follow the teachings of Jesus if they are going to achieve salvation. For Catholics, this might mean receiving the sacraments, such as being baptised or getting married. For Protestants, this might mean a personal acceptance of Jesus as the Lord and Saviour.

Role of atonement

The ideas of salvation and atonement are very closely linked in Christianity. Atonement is the idea of the relationship between humans and God being healed, with God and humanity becoming united. Christians believe that Jesus’ death and therefore his salvation allowed humans to begin the process of atonement.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:17

This quote from the Gospel of John shows the belief that God allowed the process of human atonement to begin by sending Jesus into the world.