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Apologetics: Bible Answers: Re: [kennyj] What does it mean to be Saved?: Edit Log

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Re: [kennyj] What does it mean to be Saved?
Hi kennyj :

Along with Sarah I suspect that for you this question is rhetorical in that you are either not expecting a satisfactory answer or even have already decided that satisfactory answers do not exist. However in the interests of theological exactitude I am willing to run through some of the issues implied in your question even if only for the benefit of those who might find the information helpful.

Taking things in order then :

What do we mean by 'saved'?

Most people think it simply means a sudden change of destination, from ‘hell’ to ‘heaven’, brought about by coming forward in an evangelists rally and believing that Jesus is their personal savior.

What does the Bible mean by ‘salvation’ i.e. being saved.

‘Being saved’ although often treated as a verb i.e a doing word, is more correctly theologically referred to as ‘Salvation’ which is a noun and refers to the act of saving (which is usually an act of God, not man) : the means of preservation from any serious threat of evil, the saving of man from the power and penalty of sin.

It is closely associated with the word ‘salve’ which is a healing ointment, a remedy, and salvage which is the reclamation of that which was previously lost.

The principal Hebrew term translated ‘salvation’ is yesa and its cognates. It’s basic meaning is ‘bring into a spacious environmentPs. 18:36, 66:12, but it carries from the beginning the metaphorical sense of ‘freedom from limitation’, and the means to that ; i.e. deliverance from factors which constrain and confine. It can be referred to as deliverance from - disease (Is. 38:20, cf. v.9), from trouble (Je. 30:7) or enemies (2 Sam.3:18; Ps.44:7). In the vast majority of references God is the author of salvation. Thus God saves his flock (Ezk. 34:22); he rescues his people (Ho. 1:7), and he alone can save them (Ho.13:10-14); there is no savior besides him ((Is. 43:11). He saved the fathers from Egypt (Ps. 106:7-10) and their sons from Babylon (Je. 30:10). He is the refuge and savior of his people (2 Sam. 22:3). He saves the poor and needy when they have no other helper, (Ps.34:6, Jb. 5:15). The word of Moses “Stand firm and see the salvation of The Lord”, (Ex.14:13) sums up the essence of the OT idea of ‘salvation’ and what it means to be ‘saved’. Notice that in all of this it is man who is ‘saved’ and entirely God who does the ‘saving’. I could write more on this if you want to know.

This term ‘salvation’ is more fully developed in the NT specifically to refer to the deliverance of mankind from the penalty of sin by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross at Calvary.

Once again it is God who does the ‘saving’ but in this case it is not only Israel but the whole of mankind which is ‘saved’ by an act of God.

St Paul put it thus.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation. Rom 5:10-11 RSV

In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 Cor. 5:18 - ch. 6:1

So - unpacking that bit by bit - GOD has reconciled himself with us, (that is the entire sinful human race), no longer, (after the death and resurrection of His Son), holding our sins against us, and declaring that the death of His Son is sufficient to account for ALL the sin of the entire world. Yours, mine and everybody else’s including Hitler, Stalin, Attila the Hun etc, etc.

This means in effect that everybody has already been ‘saved’ by God. There is therefore no animosity between God and mankind. Unfortunately there is still considerable animosity between mankind and God but the animosity is ALL from our side, not from His.

So - Can you now appreciate that everybody without exception has been granted a gracious ‘case dismissed’ by God for everything they have done and also everything they will ever do which offended or will offend HIM.

HOWEVER : God, through his ambassadors, i.e. those who have received and 'experienced' God’s Grace, appeal to you, (through the message of the Gospel of Reconciliation), to accept God’s free forgiveness and then extend it to others, thus showing that you have not received God’s grace ‘in vain’, (i.e. to no purpose and without effecting your future deeds.)

Those who refuse God’s Grace and cruelly abuse those whom God has ‘saved’ i.e. anybody, whatever colour, class, nation or creed; - will be judged to have ‘received God’s grace in vain’.

They have nevertheless RECEIVED IT but it was in vain. In other words God’s grace achieved little or nothing in their life to take into the next but instead they will have lost a great deal by failing to appreciate their freedom birthright, won for them by Jesus Christ.

Is it possible, by anything we might do, to get 'saved', as if we are currently not saved and we need therefore to do something to get God to award us the status of becoming 'saved'?

So we have now reached a point where this aspect of the question can be answered.

Since ‘Salvation’ has been entirely provided by God, acting through Jesus Christ in accord with God’s pre-ordained Plan, there is nothing we can DO to ensure that we get ‘saved’. God has already seen to it that everybody has already beensaved’.

If you ask the more important question - “How can I know I am ‘saved’”? then my advice is this.

Go out into the world from now on, believing that Jesus Christ has already ‘saved’ you. Treat others according to what you can learn of the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Do it out of GRATITUDE to a gracious and merciful God, not out of fear of punishment from a vengeful one. Tell others of God’s GRACE to undeserving sinners. Extend God’s grace to others as God has extended it to you.

Leave judgment and correction in God’s hands.

What might we be 'saved' from?

Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10

God is therefore no longer wrathfully disposed toward mankind, even though we hung his son upon a torture stake. The cross is the very evidence of God’s willingness to forgive. Justification is a judicial act that can only come from a legitimate authority. No authority is higher than God himself and it is God that declares us ‘justified’. It is that judicial act of God, and only that, that ensures that we are ‘saved’ from God’s wrath. It is our ‘assurance’ that God loves us too much to loose us and was prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to ‘save’ us.

What might we be 'saved' for?

For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." Rom. 10:10

God declares us ‘justified’ through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Once we believe that to be so, we are able honestly and gracefully to declare and extend God’s forgiveness to others. (This is The Gospel). Believing with your heart and confessing with your lips is ‘what we are saved for’ - (but it’s not from your head, it’s from your heart - and it’s not just in words, it is also in deeds ). No other purpose expresses God’s love for his creation better.

“How beautiful are the feet, that bring us the gospel of peace” !!!!

Whom might we be 'saved' by?

Entirely by God.

There is no other Savior but him. Is. 43:11

Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . . there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. " Acts 4:10-12

We must be saved, because GOD has done it. God cannot fail, so we must be saved. There is no possibility that we are not saved, so we obviously must be saved already because it is an act of God, not man.

So kenny, you too must be saved, because God has already done it and there is no way you can escape it.

All you can do, if you are foolish enough, is make - in vain, the salvation that God has already given you, and that you therefore already must have.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Sep 23, 2012, 3:24 PM

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