The Bible teaches that the transaction of Jesus Christ shedding His blood, dying on a cross, and then rising again, resurrecting into eternal life, is the only means by which man has to be saved at any point in history. Salvation itself is not a mystery, but how salvation works was a mystery to most of those that we read about within the pages of the Bible. From God’s perspective, salvation can only be made possible by Christ’s shed blood, His death, and His resurrection. Christ did the work that man could never do. Man can never earn salvation. Salvation is only by God’s grace. It is only by what God does that salvation is ever granted.
Though the means of salvation is how anyone is ultimately saved, that has not necessarily been the terms that God has offered to man in order for them to receive salvation. God can make salvation possible because of Christ’s finished work, because of His own work, but what He conveys to man to believe, what He wants man to place their faith in, changes over time based on what is revealed to man and when He sees that the people that He’s revealed certain information to have placed their faith in that information. At that point, God is able to grant to them salvation, because of the work that He did. Although God knew how salvation would be possible from the beginning of Creation, man did not always know that information. It was information that was not revealed to mankind until the apostle Paul was called into service.
From man’s perspective, faith can only be placed in what it is that God has revealed. As we read the history that is recorded for us within the Bible, we find the object of people’s faith changing over time. When it was that certain offers of salvation were made is important information for us to recognize. With that in mind, we must ultimately ask the questions, “when is it that we get salvation?” – “when is salvation delivered to us?” – “when does a person possess salvation?”
The gospel is the good news that God presents to man throughout the corridors of history. This good news is the solution, provided by God, to man’s problem. Man is alienated from God and is in need of reconciliation. The gospel is the salvation offer that God provides to man, it is the terms that God offers man in order to receive that reconciliation.
In attempting to properly identify and understand the salvation offer that God has made with any individual throughout the Bible’s history, we must ask a series of questions of the text. Not doing so will lead to catastrophic results:
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
2 Corinthians 11:4
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
While attempting to properly identify the terms, the offer, the gospel message that God has put forth for us to put our faith in, we must ask a series of questions. As simple as it sounds, we must ask why, what, who, how, where, and when while reading any passage of Scripture and while trying to identify the salvation that is being offered to those we are reading about within the context. The why, what, who, how, where, and when of salvation are all separate components from each other within a proper understanding of salvation, but realize that each of these components is an integral part of the whole for salvation to actually occur. You cannot have salvation with one of these components missing or if you have one of them wrong. You have to have each component present and you have to get each of them right in order to understand salvation correctly.
There exists, unfortunately, an abundance of confusion within Christendom as to how salvation works. Christians often confuse the various offers of salvation for how it is that salvation actually works. What makes this subject confusing for most is that our faith, within our current dispensation of the grace of God, is placed in how salvation works. The messages are the same. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the gospel message for us today, it is what we are to put our faith in. It just so happens that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the actual thing that has saved and will save anyone within any point within human history. Our faith is in how salvation works – that is what God has presented to us and for us to place our faith in. Prior to the apostle Paul receiving that information, by the revelation of the mystery provided by Christ, the offer and the terms were not that – they were not in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The terms were different for Noah. The terms were different for Abraham. The terms were different for Moses and they were different for Peter, John, and James.
This work is focused upon making salvation clear to its reader. While asking the questions of why, what, who, how, where, and when pertaining to salvation, it is intended that the reader will gain an appreciation for the different salvation offers that have been made throughout history, that they will identify how our salvation differs from that of the nation Israel’s, and that they will become laser focused upon the gospel of our salvation and through it, they will reject false teachings and false gospel messages that will not ultimately reconcile them to their Creator.
 Mystery: Strong’s G3466 – mystērion (μυστήριον) – hidden thing, secret, mystery – See Rom 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:9; Eph 3:3-4; Eph 3:9; Eph 6:19; Col 1:26-27; Col 4:3; 1 Tim 3:9
 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
 Ephesians 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 1:16; Colossians 1:26
 Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
 Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
 Ephesians 1:13; Romans 1:16