The Salvation of a Soul

How May I Be Saved and Know It?
(a tract written by Bro. Ernest Rippetoe when he was the pastor of WSBC)

     "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them who believe to the saving of the soul." -- Hebrews 10:39   
     "... Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul." -- I Peter 1:9
     The salvation of your soul is a very important subject, and the question, "How may I be saved and know it?" is beyond a doubt life's most important question. However, there are many, many different views on this subject; therefore, let us discuss it prayerfully and carefully, as Paul said in Romans 4:3, "What sayeth the scriptures?"

     It is that which transfers the soul from a state of being lost, condemned, guilty, and sentenced to eternal damnation, to a state of being saved, justified, forgiven, pardoned, reconciled to God in sweet peace and fellowship. "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION, BUT IS PASSED OUT OF DEATH UNTO LIFE." -- John 5:24. This passing from death to life is the salvation of the soul.

     The word soul in the above texts means that part of a man that leaves the body at death; it goes back to God who gave it, and the body goes back to the dust from whence it came. Ecclesiastes 12:7.
     The soul or spirit of man is the innerman, as in Romans 7:22-24. The spiritman is that part of man that is born of God. John 3:6. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit is spirit."
     The soul or spirit of man is that part of Moses that came back after he had been dead and his body buried for several hundred years. He, with Elijah, appeared to Simon Peter, James, John and the Savior, talking about the Lord's decease which was soon to be at Jerusalem. Luke 9:29-31.
     The soul or spiritman of a believer is saved, hath everlasting life, is born a child of God. The outerman, the body, does not get everlasting life now, neither is it born of God but will be given eternal life in the Resurrection, and will be adopted into the family of God then. Romans 8:23.

     Therefore, Paul said: "Rightly divide the word of  truth." II Timothy 2:15.
  1. Do not use the command, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." Exodus 14:13, as a command to the lost sinner for the salvation of his soul. This is the salvation of a nation, something you can see.
  2. It would be equally as wrong to command a sinner to try to save himself, or work out his own salvation, (salvation of his soul) as commanded in Acts 2:40, and Philippians 2:12. This is a salvation of a life, stewardship. He did not say, "work in order to get a salvation," for salvation is not of works on our part. Ephesians 2:9, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:5. If you work out your crop, you must have a crop to work. It is God who worked it in us, now manifest it out to the world. In Acts 2:40, they were commanded to save themselves from that crooked and perverse generation, which was headed for severe punishment and destruction.
  3. Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Romans 13:11. "This is not the salvation of a soul, all believers have salvation of the soul, everlasting life, now." John 5:24, 6:47. The salvation that is drawing nearer since we believed is the salvation of the body. We are waiting for that. Romans 8:22-25.
  4. The salvation of the soul is to have everlasting life; to be born again. We believe to the saving of the soul.
     Every soul in the sight of God is either saved or lost; all who have not definitely passed from death unto life are lost. The Bible knows nothing of any middle ground, but speaks only of two classes.
  1. The Saved: "UNTO US WHO ARE SAVED, it is the power of God." I Corinthians 1:18.
  2. The Lost: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to THEM THAT ARE LOST." II Corinthians 4:3.
     You must first know and believe that you are lost. "Jesus came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10.
     God declares in His work that you are a sinner.
  1. You are a sinner by birth. Psalm 51:5. "Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me."
  2. You are a sinner by nature. Ephesians 2:3. "And were all by nature the children of wrath."
  3. You are a sinner by choice. Romans 3:23. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
  4. You are a sinner by action. Ecclesiastes 7:20. "For there is not a just man on the earth that doeth good and sinneth not."
  5. If you happen to be of those who claim you do not sin, please hear what the Lord thinks about you. He has plainly said you are deceived. I John 1:8. "If we (John and the other children of God) say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
     Some think that those who are lost are the people who sin, and those who are saved are those who do not sin. This is a deception of the devil. The only thing for you to settle is, "Are you a saved sinner, or a lost sinner?"
     You must repent. "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." Luke 13:3. You cannot believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ until you have repented. Faith accompanies true repentance; they are inseparable graces. When you have believed ON or IN Christ, you have repented, whether you know the theology of it or not. "John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not, but the publicans and harlots believed him, and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward that YOU MIGHT BELIEVE." Matthew 21:32.
     Again, "Repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21.
     To believe in or on the Lord Jesus Christ is not just to believe about Him. The devils knew and believed about Him. James 2:19. "What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God, art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" Matthew 8:29.
     The devils believed He was the Holy One of God, Jesus of Nazareth, but they did not trust Him, for they said, "Let us alone."  Mark 1:24.
     "And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, "THOU ART CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, and He rebuked them, suffering them not to speak FOR THEY KNEW THAT HE WAS THE CHRIST." Matthew 7:22-23.
     You may know a good doctor but not willing to trust your case in his hands. You may know about a lawyer, but not willing to let him defend your case. Some believe about banks, but will not risk their money with them. To believe all the Bible says about the devil does not mean you believe on, or in him; you are not willing to trust him. Therefore, you do not believe in him, although you believe about him. To believe in Christ is to trust Him for something, as Paul said in II Timothy 1:12, "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have COMMITTED UNTO HIM, against that day."
     John 3:16 forever reveals God's condition for a sinner to be saved -- "THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM, SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE." Do you think that is enough? Notice He did not say "he that believeth and join the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, or any other church," but in all the teachings of Jesus, it is "the believer is saved, hath everlasting life, shall not come into condemnation, is passed out of death unto life," while the unbeliever,  He says, "is condemned, shall be damned, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:14-18, 5:24, 6:47 -- Shall never die, John 11:26.
     You do not have to read Greek and Latin to understand these statements of Jesus. No believer shall perish, no unbeliever in Heaven. If this is not true, people could laugh and make fun of God and His Son, for the surely thought and taught it, and were honest when they said that was right. Any plan of salvation, offered by anyone that would have to change or bend John 3:16 to fit it, you can be sure there is something wrong with that plan.
     Paul and Silas said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved." Acts 16:31.
     Because the word dead is used in describing the state of a lost sinner as in Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13, some would have us believe that a lost sinner in his dead state cannot repent and believe, until he gets eternal life, then he can act; so repentance and faith is after he gets saved, and that is proof that he is saved; a child of God.
     This is another deception of the devil. The Lord surely knew more about that than any preacher, therefore, hear him, "What sayeth the scriptures."
  1. The word dead does not mean to be inactive every time. The word dead when used with reference to the body, we understand to be inactive; it can neither obey, or disobey, but not that way with a dead sinner. To be dead in trespasses and sin means separation. Dead sinners will be judged for the things they did while they were dead. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." II Peter 2:9, and again, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that EVERYONE may receive the things done in the body, whether it be GOOD OR BAD." II Corinthians 5:10-11. Again, "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS." Romans 2:5-6. Although dead, he can disobey God and will be judged for it, thus a dead sinner can both obey and disobey." "For this cause was the gospel preached unto them." I Peter 4:6.
         Some were dead but very active. A woman may be dead while she lives. I Timothy 5:6.
         A church may be dead but active. Revelation 3:1.
         The prodigal son was dead but very active. Luke 15:24.
  2. Dead, Adam heard the voice of God; dead, Adam was driven out of the garden; flaming swords were used to keep this DEAD MAN from going back into the garden, to keep this DEAD MAN from EATING of the tree of life. Genesis 3:24.
  3. Some who were dead stopped their ears. Zechariah 7:11; Acts 7:57.
         The DEAD turned their ears away from the truth. II Timothy 4:4.
         The DEAD are commanded to hear. "Incline your ears and come unto me; HEAR and your soul shall live." Isaiah 42:18.
         1. Incline the ear.
         2. Hear.
         3. Soul shall live, and not, live first, hear second, and incline the ear third. Better let this be as the Lord said.
         The dead are commanded to repent and believe. "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." John 8:24. "Whither I go ye cannot come." John 8:21.
         Jesus said again, "Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming when ALL that are in the graves shall hear His voice." Notice the order: dead hear first, dead live second; even so with lost sinners.
  4. When Jesus commands a thing done, you can be sure that you can do that thing. He commands a believer to be baptized; of course, if God did not give the believer strength, mind, enough water for the act, and someone to do the baptizing, he could not do that but since He commanded it, you can be sure the necessary things are ready. Even so, with faith and repentance. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When you have heard the gospel you are then commanded to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
         The Lord has given you power to accept, or reject it. He nowhere hints that He will force or make you accept Him, but said, “You will not come to me, that you might have life.”
     1. By the word of God.
     The way to be saved is to trust Christ, but the way to know you are saved is by the word of God. “Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me.” John 5:39.
     When you were born the first time, you did not look at the calendar to know when it was. No, someone told you, perhaps your father and mother. That is the way we know when we were born the second time. We have the word of our Heavenly Father that tells us just when one is saved, born again, gets everlasting life, is passed out of death into life.
     The Bible declares very plain that one is a child of God the very moment they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. “Beloved NOW are we the SONS OF GOD.” I John 3:2.
     Again we hear our Father say, “This is the record that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in the Son. He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” I John 5: 11-13.
     If God’s word says you are saved, then you should take His word for it, and know it is so, regardless of everything to the contrary. Some say, “I think I am saved because I have lived a pretty good life.” That isn’t any proof that you are saved. Millions of people have lived good lives, were good law-abiding citizens, but are in Hell.
     “He that believeth not is condemned.” John 3:18.
     ALL UNBELIEVERS have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone. Revelation 21:8.
     CAN YOU PLACE YOUR FINGERS ON ONE PLACE IN THE BIBLE AND SAY: “I know by God’s word that I have everlasting life, shall never die, that I have passed out of death unto life, that I am born again, that I am saved, that my sins are forgiven.” There are many places that say this about a believer. If you know that by the word of God, you are happy.

     “What sayeth the scriptures,” are you willing to believe what Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me: I give (not will give) unto them eternal life, and THEY SHALL NEVER (future) perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29.
     Salvation is eternal. You cannot find in the Bible where any other kind of life is offered to the soul, but eternal life, everlasting life, or life everlasting. If God gives to your soul everlasting life when you believe in His Son, then it will not be temporary and run out after a period of time. If you were to get some kind of life, and it ran out or ceased to be, would that be everlasting, or eternal? If water in a spring well was said to be everlasting and it went dry, you would know that was a mistake, that it was not everlasting.
     Some are afraid they cannot hold out; you cannot hold out any more than you can save yourself. If you will let God save you, then He will keep you saved. For He declares from that hour, “You are kept by the power of God  thru faith.” I Peter 1:5.
   The Bible tells us of every trial that can come to a man, and then says, “None of these can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ.” After everything on earth, and everything above is mentioned, then with one stroke of the pen, with four words, He cinched this quotation by saying, “NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE.” Romans 8:31-39. “Nor any other creature” includes the devil himself.
     If you are saved, you ARE BORN OF GOD. Can you think of anything that could keep you from being your own mother and father’s child, by natural birth? Yes, they may disinherit you, and keep you from having some of their possessions and blessings, but you will always be their child, maybe a disobedient child, but even so with the child of God. One may so act and conduct their lives that God will take away the blessing you would have gotten, your crown and rewards for service rendered when you come to be judged, and be saved just the same. “If any man’s works shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” I Corinthians 3:15.
     In this text you will see that both are saved, but one is rewarded for his good works and the other loses his reward because his works were not of the right kind.
     We get everlasting life when we believe. When Jesus comes, he will bring His reward with Him to reward us.
     Eternal life is a gift; crowns and rewards are wages paid for service (work) rendered. Some will be saved by fire, but lose their rewards.
     Dear sinner friend, after realizing that you are a lost sinner, doomed and damned for Hell, if you desire to be saved, believing that Christ died for your sins, will you not now trust Him to be your personal Savior, depending on Him to forgive all sins, change your heart, and give you everlasting life, as He promised to do?