Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (Salvation: Introduction to Soteriology)

“And Can It Be?”

And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be,

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


Amazing love! How can it be,

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace.

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race.

’Tis mercy all, immense and free,

For, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night.

Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.

My chains fell off; my heart was free.

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine;

Bold I approach th’eternal throne

And claim the crown, thro’ Christ, my own.

~Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Major Subjects Covered in Chapter 7  
Introduction to Soteriology  
The Plan of Redemption  
The Accomplishment of Redemption  
The Application of Redemption  

Introduction to Soteriology

The Ultimate Purpose of Salvation

Common Grace

In coming to the doctrine of soteriology, the student of Scripture arrives at the pinnacle of Christian theology because the themes and topics addressed in the study of salvation run to the very heart of the gospel and to the center of redemptive history. As has been demonstrated in chapter 6, man was created in the image of God and was charged with ruling over creation as God’s representative on earth. Yet man has utterly failed in that commission, having sinned against God in Adam’s disobedience and fallen from the original state of blessed fellowship he experienced in the garden. As a result, all of Adam’s descendants are conceived in sin and are born enemies of God. By nature, man is both relationally alienated from God and judicially accountable to him, both unable to enjoy the fellowship with God for which he was created and required to pay the penalty for breaking God’s laws and belittling his glory—namely, death.

And yet God is a Savior who has acted in saving grace to redeem from sin and death those who would believe. His plan of redemption began in eternity past, as God the Father set his electing love on undeserving sinners, determining to rescue them from the fall and the deserved consequences of their disobedience. He appointed the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, to accomplish redemption on behalf of the elect by becoming man, by rendering perfect obedience to God as a man, and by dying as the substitute in the place of his people to pay the penalty for their sin. The Father and the Son have sent God the Holy Spirit to apply to the elect all the saving benefits that the Son purchased for his people. Thus, this chapter follows a Trinitarian form in which the Father’s plan of redemption, the Son’s accomplishment of redemption, and the Spirit’s application of redemption are unfolded, each in their turn, shedding light on the following doctrines: election and reprobation, atonement, calling and regeneration, repentance and faith, union with Christ, justification, adoption, sanctification, the perseverance of the saints, and glorification.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J., & Mayhue, R., eds. (2017). Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (pp. 485–486). Crossway.