But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)… God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
Have you ever needed rescuing? If you cannot swim and accidentally step off into the deep end of a pool, you will need someone to rescue you and pull you back to safety. Once your feet are on a solid foundation again, you are safe.
Have you ever needed to mend a relationship? Think of a time when you hurt someone but they forgave you. What was it like to receive forgiveness and know that your relationship was mended? This is the essence of reconciliation.
Jesus did both of these things for us: He rescued us and reconciled us with God. We, as Christians, call this salvation.
What Is Salvation?
Salvation is a word that we often hear in church, but what does it really mean? The word itself, as used in Jesus’ culture, meant to keep something or someone safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. The good news of Jesus is that He came to save us by rescuing us and reconciling us to God, and the Bible makes it clear that God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.”
- 1 Timothy 2:3-4 NLT
What did Jesus have to do for us so that we could be saved? (See Hebrews 9:22)
“In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
- Hebrews 9:22 NLT
Rescued from What?
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Now that we know what salvation means, the obvious question is, from what are we saved? What did Jesus rescue us from? First, we are saved from sin. Romans 6:23 states, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word sin means to miss the mark. Adam and Eve missed the mark and sinned when they failed to obey God’s instructions. He said they could eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but they disobeyed Him and ate from that tree.
We humans have been missing the mark ever since. Sin is part of our nature, and we do sinful things because it is our nature to sin. Sadly, the wages of our sin is death. Just as we receive a paycheck for working at a job, Romans 6:23 says that because we are sinners, we earn the wage of death. Jesus, however, gives eternal life to all those who believe in Him. They will get to spend eternity with Him in heaven, avoiding the horrors of hell.
Reconciled for Whom and What?
Additionally, God does not just save us from death and hell, but He saves us for unbelievable life and joy. The Bible says that God’s kingdom is peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. When we are saved, we become citizens of heaven and then have full access to the love, joy, and peace of God because we are made right in relationship with Him (that is, Jesus reconciles us with the Father). To view salvation only as having our ticket punched as an entrance to heaven would be incredibly shortsighted. In fact, what God does is give us an incredible new existence. We are able to begin experiencing Him “on earth as it is in heaven.” Because of our salvation, we have access to physical healing, psychological wholeness, and relational mending.
You have been saved from sin to experience an incredible friendship with God. You now have unlimited access to God the Father and can receive and participate in His divine promises, which are too numerous to list here. It will take your entire life to delve into all the attributes of God’s redemptive plan for you; nonetheless, consider these points:
- You are saved from separation from the heavenly Father and saved for a relationship with Him.
- You are saved from sin and misery and saved for righteousness and victory.
- You are saved from death and hell and saved for abundant life and heaven.
- You are saved from selfishness and saved for a focus on Jesus and others.
- You are saved from a lifestyle of guilt and fear and saved for a lifestyle of peace and love.
What are some things that you are saved from?
What are some things that you are saved for?
How Does Salvation Happen?
The Bible talks about three amazing aspects of salvation. The first part is called justification. This is when our past sins are forgiven and our relationship with God is made right. This happens when we believe in Jesus and agree that He is Lord and Savior of our lives (we’ll talk more about this in a moment).
The second part is called sanctification. This is constantly happening as we become more and more like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and behave. Sanctification happens from the time that we are made right in relationship with God to the point when we see Him face-to-face.
The third part of salvation is called glorification. This will happen in the future when we die and see God with our own eyes for the very first time. Glorification is amazing because God will give us new bodies that will never experience suffering and death.
So, Jesus saves our past, our present, and our future!
For salvation to occur, we must repent (see John 3:3). We must begin to think differently about our lives of sin in light of Jesus’ desires for us. Second, we must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, and third, we must confess with our mouths (agree with God) that Jesus is Lord.
What must a person do to have saving faith? Explain this in your own words.
Does salvation have anything to do with how hard we work? (See Ephesians 2:8–9.) Why might this answer be very important?
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
Salvation brings certainty to our lives. Romans 8:16 says we will know deep down inside that we are saved: “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Additionally, we can trust that God glorifies all whom He has justified, and that He is with us through the process of sanctification (Romans 8:30).
“And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
Romans 8:30 NLT
Have you received God’s salvation? If not, take time now to repent, believe, and confess so that you will be saved from sin and saved for an unbelievable relationship with the living God.
- “Salvation” by Charlie Hall