33 Things that Happen at the Moment of Salvation

Of all the things we have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season, none is greater than the salvation that is ours through Christ. A few years ago, I sat down Thanksgiving morning and began to go through the Scriptures and search out all the times the phrase “in Christ” appears to dive deep into the richness of who I am and what is mine now that I am “in Christ.” Two hours later, I was still copying and pasting the verses from my Bible Gateway search, meditating and journaling on what I was discovering.

Sonlife’s discipling resource, 33 Things that Happen at the Moment of Salvation, is a valuable tool for helping the new believer understand the powerful work that Christ has done in them when He saved them. It’s also a beautiful reminder for the believer of the depth and richness of these simple truths that shape our identity in Christ.

I won’t go through all 33 Things in this blog, but I will give you the first three as a gratitude kickstarter.


Lewis Sperry Chafer’s eight volumes on Systematic Theology includes a detailed study of at least 33 things that happen at the moment of salvation. 

33 Things 

I’m sure there’s more.  It’s in some ways beyond our human comprehension to truly understand the vastness and greatness of what God has done for us through His Son, Christ Jesus.  I’ll spend my lifetime understanding and appreciating what God has truly done for me, and in me, through Christ’s finished work on the cross on my behalf. 

It’s simple to say that through my faith in Christ’s finished work I am totally and completely forgiven.  To say that is one thing.  To truly grasp it though, and to appreciate it, is quite another. 

I am forgiven. 

I AM forgiven. 


Let those words sink in.  Let His forgiveness, His grace, His love is over me. 

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1 NLT

Because I have placed the full weight of my faith in Christ and Him alone, I belong to Christ.  And because I belong to Christ, I stand before the Father without condemnation. 

No Condemnation 

That means “Not Guilty!”

In the courtroom of heaven, I stand before the Judge guilty and deserving of punishment.  And what is that punishment?  It is a death sentence.  Eternal separation from God in hell. 

But then, in a court room stunner, the Public Defender, the Judge’s own Son, approached the bench and quietly, humbly whispered, “I will take Doug’s place.  I will take the punishment he deserves.  I will die for him.” The judge slams down His gavel and booms out these words. NOT GUILTY!!!

In one moment, I stood condemned, a “dead man walking.”  But now, I am not condemned.  Now, I am given life.  Now, I am forgiven.  Now, I am free. 

Jesus, my Defender, my Advocate, has taken the long list of charges against me and nailed them to the cross, writing over them with His own blood, “Forgiven!”

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”

Colossians 2:13-14 NLT

I am forgiven. 

I am not condemned. 

I am free. 

This is what Jesus, my Savior, has done for me. 

All my sins. Past. Present. Future. All nailed to the cross.  All paid for.  All forgiven. 

I belong to Christ. I am forgiven. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Father!

This is an unfathomable, indescribable gift.  I could write, and write, and write, and not adequately express just how amazing Your grace is.  Tears of joy, of gratitude, fill my eyes right now as I think of what you’ve done for me. Thank you!


“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”

1 John 3:1 NLT

It’s a common misconception to think “we’re all God’s children.”  While we’re all made by God and are His creation, we’re not all His children.  We don’t become a child of God by physical birth.  We become a child of God by spiritual birth.  We must be “born again,” or “born of the Spirit.”

“But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”

Titus3:4-5 NLT

New birth.  New life.  By the Holy Spirit.  Made a child of God.  Brought into the family of God.  

The Father heart of God is a heart filled with love.  He longs to make us His child.  His heart yearns for, aches for us, that we would be rescued from spiritual death, restored to Him, and received into His forever family. 

As our loving Father, He protects us. 

As our loving Father, He provides for us.  

As our loving Father, He pulls us close, inviting us into an intimate relationship where we can call Him “Daddy” or “Papa” or “Abba.”

It’s amazing!  This is the relationship Jesus enjoyed with the Father. 

““Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.””

Mark 14:36 NLT

By the work of the Holy Spirit, I have been made a son, a child of God, and I can now call Him “Daddy.”

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.””

Romans 8:15 NLT

When I pray, when I relate to the Father, do I relate to Him as a cold, distant, impersonal figure?  Do I relate to Him as a majestic, reverent, almost unapproachable heavenly figure?  Or do I relate to Him as my lovingly heavenly Papa?

“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.””

Galatians 4:6 NLT

Oh, how He loves me!  He has called me His child.  He wants me to call Him Daddy, Papa.


“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 NLT

A few years ago I was at the Jordan River, at the Baptism site of Jesus, and NBC News’ Today Show was there, with Savannah Guthrie doing a piece.  There was a fascination with the camera crew and people wondering who this important figure was that was being filmed. 

What is it about celebrity that so fascinates us and draws us in?

Once I was on the same flight from Atlanta to Columbus, OH with Hulk Hogan.  The Hulkster had on his trademark bandana and sunglasses, and he was larger than life.  Many wanted their picture taken with him, or his autograph, and he gladly obliged.  

Near the college my daughter attended in West Palm Beach is the estate of President Donald Trump, Mara Lago, and cars drive past all day just to get a glimpse of the President’s house. 

It’s amazing that these things, or people, impress us… and we rarely stop to think that we have access to the God of the universe. 

I have access to God.  

He knows me by name.  He’s interested in me.  He invites me to speak with Him any time, about anything. 

Any time. 



I have access to God. 

And not to come to Him meekly, unsure if I’m welcome or how I will be received, but to come to Him boldly. Come boldly to His throne.  The throne of the King of Kings and LORD of Lords. 

He is the God of grace.  His is the throne of grace.  And I can come boldly to Him because I have received His grace, live under His grace, am made new by His grace, and have become His child by His grace.  I come boldly, because He is my Papa and He loves me!

In His presence, I find grace. 

In His presence, I find mercy. 

In His presence, I find help for anything and everything I need. 

What a promise!

What an invitation!

So why don’t I come? Two basic reasons.

1.  Busyness.  I forget what’s important.  I get caught up with other stuff and misplace my priorities. 

2.  Sin.  I’m ashamed to show my face in His presence.  I’ve blown it, I’m ashamed and embarrassed, and so I feel unworthy (as if I could ever be “worthy”) and I don’t come. 

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

James 5:16 NLT

I can’t let my busyness or my badness keep me from exercising boldness. 

Just come. Boldly come. I have access to Papa!