What Does it Mean to be Saved?
The Bible teaches that salvation
involves past, present, and future deliverance from the consequences of sin. To be saved, then, is to enter into the eternal life of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and escape the consequences of sin.
Our faith in Jesus (Yeshua) saves us from the following:
The Process of Salvation
- Our sins — "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). "Deliver me from all my transgressions" (Psalm 39:8).
- The wrath of God and hell — "For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell" (Psalm 86:13). "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him"
(Romans 5:9). "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10).
- Our enemies — "O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me" (Psalm 7:1). "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (Psalm 18:3). "And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy" (Psalm 106:10).
- This present evil age — "And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him" (Psalm 37:40). "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father"
- Death (permanent separation from the life of God) — "For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" (Psalm 56:13). "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" (II Corinthians 1:10).
is not a one-time event but rather a lifetime journey
. Although the work
of salvation has already been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua), there is a process
of salvation which must be completed in us by our faith and obedience.
The process of salvation
can be likened to a man who is lost at sea. Just as the lost man needs to enter a life boat to be saved, he must also stay
in the life boat to reach the shore safely. The man is saved
by entering the life boat, he is being saved
by staying in the life boat, and he will be saved
by reaching the shore.
Thus, the man's salvation is not a one-time event, but a process, just as our salvation is a process
which is yet to be completed. The Bible says, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us"
(II Corinthians 1:9-10).
We Have Been Saved (Past).
The first phase of salvation is salvation accomplished
: the believer has been saved from the penalty of sin
. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began"
(II Timothy 1:9). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost"
We Are Being Saved (Present).
The second phase of salvation is salvation experienced
: the believer is being saved from the power of sin
. "For we are saved by hope"
(Romans 8:24). "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God"
(I Corinthians 1:18). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God"
(Ephesians 2:8). "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"
We Shall Be Saved (Future).
The third phase of salvation is salvation anticipated
: the believer will be saved from the presence of sin
. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved"
(Mark 13:13). "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life"
(Romans 5:9-10). "Who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time"
(I Peter 1:5).
(repentance and believing on Jesus) can be compared to obtaining an entrance pass for a marathon or a ticket to ride a train. The ticket alone does not guarantee that you will finish the race or arrive at the destination. The path will take you there, but you must run the race; you must stay on the train. Initial salvation places you in Christ, but it does not guarantee that you will die in Christ. That's right, the Bible says, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end"
(entering into heaven and receiving the prize of eternal rewards) is granted to those who endure in the faith and have an abiding relationship with Jesus. We must be "in Christ" at the time of our death (or when He returns) in order to partake of His inheritance. Jesus said of the faithful and watchful servant: "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods."
But of the servant whose heart turned away from his master, Jesus said, "The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"
(Matthew 24:45-51). This is not a popular message, but it is the pure Gospel of God's Word!
The Narrow Path of Salvation
The fact is, not everyone who professes to be a Christian will receive eternal life. And, not everyone who calls Jesus their Lord will enter into His Kingdom. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?' And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity'"
(Matthew 7:21-23). These people did many "good works" in Jesus' name and even called Him their Lord, but Jesus did not know them
. Jesus said that such people "draweth nigh unto me
with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me"
Why will Jesus reject some people who do "good works" in His name? Because He sees that the motivation behind their works is praise of men and self-justification, not love for Jesus or obedience to God. "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, 'I know him,' and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."
(I John 2:3-5). The people Jesus rejected did what seemed to be good works in the world's eyes, but they were rejected because of their disobedience
. Paul said of such people: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate [rejected or disqualified]"
(Titus 1:16). Ultimately, those who enter into the Kingdom of Heaven
are those who do the will of the Father
, which is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength"
While it is true that many who profess to know God have never really been saved, it is also true that some who have a genuine salvation experience will later reject Christ, sear their conscience, and return to a worldly lifestyle. Such people have reason to fear the judgment of God, for they have forsaken His way of salvation. This is why the Bible's numerous warnings against falling away from the Lord Jesus are so stern. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell [in unbelief], severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off"
The Word of God is clear: salvation is a narrow path
. The broad way of the world leads to death and destruction. The Bible says that "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"
(Proverbs 16:25). Jesus said, "many are called, but few are chosen"
(Matthew 22:14), and to "enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"
(Matthew 7:13-14). Again, here we see the process of salvation. First, we enter in at the strait gate
(Jesus is the gate according to John 10:9). We are told to "Strive to enter in at the strait gate:
for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able"
(Luke 13:24). Second, we walk the narrow way
(the Greek word for "narrow" means pressure, affliction, and tribulation
). The walk of salvation is not trouble-free, for "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"
(Acts 14:22). It is on this path that we take up our cross daily (die to self) and learn from the Savior. Finally, after walking the path of faith from start to finish, we will reach our destination of eternal life
in Jesus Christ.
There are only two paths in this world: the broad way
which leads to destruction, and the narrow way
which leads to eternal life. If you will enter in at the strait gate, you must also walk a narrow path of obedience to the Savior.
Anyone who preaches a cheap and easy salvation is preaching another gospel (II Corinthians 11:4). The fact is, a believer must hold on to faith in Jesus and be faithful to Him unto death in order to receive "the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls"
(I Peter 1:9). Faith in the Son of God is (and always has been) the key to a person's salvation.