Sermon quotes on salvation

Thomas Aquinas

Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason.


These are fountains of salvation that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take out from these.

Taken from John R. Tyson, The Great Athanasius: An Introduction to His Life and Work, Cascade Books, 2017.

Augustine of Hippo

The Jews looked upon a serpent to be freed from serpents; and we look upon the death of Christ to be delivered from death.

Karl Barth 

In His free grace, God is for man in every respect; He surrounds man from all sides. He is man’s Lord who is before him, above him, after him, and thence also with him in history, the locus of man’s existence. Despite man’s insignificance, God is with him as his Creator who intended and made mankind to be very good. Despite man’s sin, God is with him, the One who was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world, drawing man unto Himself in merciful judgment. Man’s evil past is not merely crossed out because of its irrelevancy. Rather, it is in the good care of God. Despite man’s life in the flesh, corrupt and ephemeral, God is with him. The victor in Christ is here and now present through His Spirit, man’s strength, companion, and comfort. Despite man’s death God is with him, meeting him as redeemer and perfecter at the threshold of the future to show him the totality of existence in the true light in which the eyes of God beheld it from the beginning and will behold it evermore. In what He is for man and does for man, God ushers in the history leading to the ultimate salvation of man.

The Humanity of God

Barbara Brown Taylor

The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

John Calvin

Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation is open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering, but our own unbelief.

Taken from Lance Colkmire ed., Evangelical Sunday School Lesson Commentary 2013-2014, Pathway Press.

Kevin DeYoung

The hole in our holiness is that we don’t really care much about it. Passionate exhortation to pursue gospel-driven holiness is barely heard in most of our churches. It’s not that we don’t talk about sin or encourage decent behavior. Too many sermons are basically self-help seminars on becoming a better you.

The Hole in Our Holiness, Crossway.

Kevin DeYoung

At the heart of the Protestant faith is the conviction that there is nothing we contribute to our salvation but our sin, no merit we bring but Christ’s, and nothing necessary for justification except faith alone.

Dag Hammarskjold

It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.

Quoted in Stephen R. Covey, Principle Centered Leadership, Franklin Covey.

Christopher Lasch

People today hunger not for personal salvation, let alone for the restoration of an earlier golden age, but for the feeling, the momentary illusion, of personal well-being, health, and psychic security.

The Culture of Narcissism, p.17.

C.S. Lewis

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.”

The Silver Chair

C.S. Lewis

The road to the promised land runs past Sinai.

The Problem of Pain

C.S. Lewis 

A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world-and might be even more difficult to save.

C.S. Lewis, Readings for Meditation and Reflection, HarperOne.

J. Richard Middleton

To focus our expectation in an otherworldly salvation has the potential to dissipate our resistance to societal evil and the dedication needed to work for the redemptive transformation of this world.

A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology, Baker Academic, 2014, 234.


This also is a part of the teaching of the Church, that there are certain angels of God, and certain good influences, which are His servants in accomplishing the salvation of men.

On First Principles Book 1, Taken from Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.4.

Eugene Peterson

We can’t save ourselves by pulling on our bootstraps, even when the bootstraps are made of the finest religious leather.

Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 3.

Watchman Nee 

It is a fact that the Lord Jesus has already died for you. It is also a fact that you have already died with the Lord Jesus. If you do not believe in your death with Christ, you will not be able to receive the effectiveness of death with Him – freedom from sin.

The Word of the Cross

Lesslie Newbigin


From its very beginning the Bible sees human life in terms of relationships…The Bible does not speak about “humanity” but about “all the families of the earth” or “all the nations.” It follows that this mutual relatedness, this dependence of one on another, is not merely part of the journey toward the goal of salvation, but is intrinsic to the goal itself. For knowing God, for being in communion with him, we are dependent on the one whom he gives us to be the bearer of this relation, not just as a teacher and guide on the way but as the partner in the end. There is, there can be, no private salvation, no salvation which does not involve us with one another.

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society 


H.W. Robinson

This is salvation in the deeper and more spiritual sense of the Old Testament. . . . But even in the religion of the Law, . . . obedience to the revealed will of Yahweh is recognized as the supreme end of man and the supreme glory of God. The attitude of Jesus to the will of God and his emphasis on the absolute worth of obedience as the supreme ‘value’ of human life are the best illustrations of what the Old Testament indicates as the purposes of Yahweh in creation and providence.

The Religious Ideas of the Old Testament, Duckworth.

Vinoth Ramachandra

[Biblical] salvation lies not in an escape from this world but in the transformation of this world…. You will not find hope for the world in any of the religious systems or philosophies of humankind…. The Biblical vision is unique. That is why when some say there is salvation in other faiths too, I ask them—“What salvation are you talking about?” No faith holds out a promise of eternal salvation for the world—the ordinary world—that the cross and resurrection of Jesus do.

The Scandal of Jesus, InterVarsity Press

Lewis B. Smedes

God does not give us salvation because we believe. Our believing is only the normal way of receiving the salvation he freely gives.

Charles Spurgeon

It is not thy hold on Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not even thy faith in Christ, though that be the instrument; it is Christ’s blood and merit.

Quoted in Spurgeon on the Blood of Christ

Charles Spurgeon 

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.

Spurgeon’s Sermons

A.W. Tozer 

Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways; He is the only way.

That Incredible Christian

Hans Urs von Balthasar

The first attempt at a response: there must have been a fall, a decline, and the road to salvation can only be the return of the sensible finite into the intelligible infinite.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Ed.David L. Schindler, His Life and Work

N.T. Wright

How we are saved is closely linked to the question of what we are saved for.

The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion, HarperOne.

R.C. Sproul

God just doesn’t throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, and pulls a corpse from the bottom of the sea, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive.

Quoted in John Ankerberg, John Weldon, How to Know You’re Going to Heaven: Assurance for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.

John R. W. Stott

[cf. Mk 8:34-35] Jesus’ words about “saving” and “losing” our “life,” although they can certainly be applied to martyrdom, are not necessarily restricted to it.  For our “life” is our psyche, our self, and in other versions of this saying the reflexive is used, namely, “yourself.” 

So we could paraphrase verse 35: “Whoever is determined to hold on to themselves and live for themselves, will lose themselves.  But whoever is willing to die, to lose themselves, to give themselves away in the service of Christ and the gospel, will (in the moment of complete abandon) find themselves, and discover their true identity.”  So Jesus does promise true self-discovery, at the cost of self-denial, true life at the cost of death.

Taken from The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling by John R. W. Stott Copyright (c) 2010 by John R. W. Stott. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

William Booth

To get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a University education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labor. You must in some way or other graft upon the man’s nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine.

In Darkest England, And the Way Out, 1880.

Philip Yancey

Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ stories contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, “Help!”

What’s So Amazing About Grace?


Anthony Anaxagorou*

A book can teach you, a conversation can assure you, a poem can seduce you, a genius can inspire you, but only you can save yourself.

For Contrast 

Epistle To Diognetus

God saves by persuasion, not compulsion, for compulsion is no attribute of God.

C.H. Lenski

The generosity and the magnanimity of God are so great that he accepts nothing from us without rewarding it beyond all computation. . . The vast disproportion existing between our work and God’s reward of it already displays his boundless grace, to say nothing of the gift of salvation which is made before we have even begun to do any work.

The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Augsburg, 1943, p.758.

Donna Barber

Though conversion may be pinpointed to a moment, salvation is a process that continues over a lifetime. I am still being saved from old ways of thinking and behaving and am coming to new understandings, to new life.

Bread for the Resistance: Forty Devotions for Justice People, InterVarsity Press, 2019.

St. Augustine

Taste and see that the Lord is sweet. He was made sweet to you because he liberated you. You had been bitter to yourself when you were occupied only with yourself. Drink the sweetness.

Sermon on the 33rd Psalm

Randy Alcorn

If we minimize grace, the world sees no hope for salvation. If we minimize truth, the world sees no need for salvation.

The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance (Multnomah, 2003).

Charles Spurgeon

[If] Christ is not all to you he is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Savior of men. If he be something he must be everything, and if he be not everything he is nothing to you.

“Christ Is All,” Sermon No. 1006, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, Spurgeon Archive, August 20, 1871,

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