We see them everywhere: zealous Christians, genuine in their desire to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, out in the streets asking people if they are ‘saved’. Or, they collar unsuspecting friends and strangers, putting them on the spot. But, do these good folks really know what ‘being saved’ is? Do you? Let’s summarise what the Bible means by ‘being saved’.
‘Saved’ is a word used a lot, but is rarely explained properly. To most Christians ‘being saved’ means becoming a Christian. This is correct, of course. But this is a rather vague way to look at a scriptural truth that contains much more.
Let’s Go Way Back!
Many think being saved is a one-off event, but it is far more involved than that! Our existence doesn’t really start when we are born. If we know anything about God’s actions, we will realise God knew us before the world was made! How could He, when not even Adam existed? He knew because He is God; He knows every person who was, or who will ever be, born.
The Bible, scripture, God’s word, tells us that He predestined people to be saved. That is, God chose a very small number of people who would be saved. These people could then enter heaven. He chose them, therefore He also knew them beforehand. There are many who will not accept this fact, because they follow the teachings of a heresy known as ‘Arminianism’. These people prefer to think we are all free to choose to be saved. But, this goes against scripture and it is not the real Gospel.
The real Gospel tells us that God chose who would be saved, and no-one can ever be saved unless they are chosen. Obviously, if we have already been chosen, there is no way we can decide to be saved of our own free will. (‘Free will’ is one of those cute deviations from sensible thought, an impossible Utopianism!).
So, there we were, not existing, except in God’s mind and plan. Then, one day, a man and a woman who did not previously know each other, met, then got together, and this union led to our conception in the womb. We were carried for nine months or so and were born. Like everyone other than Adam, Eve and Jesus Christ, the moment we were conceived, we were sinners. When we were born, we were ‘born in sin’. So, there was no way we could ever enter heaven!
This doesn’t take in to account the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son, Who is God Himself, to take on human form. He lived and died as a man, even though He was completely sinless and remained God. Because He did all this and gave up His life so that we could be reconciled to God, men and women could be saved... from the penalty for their own sin (eternal damnation in hell).
So, God chose who would be saved to enter heaven. Then, He provided the means by which we could do so: Jesus had to die in our place, on the cross. Jesus took the blame for our sin, and was punished on our behalf. Then, He raised Himself from the tomb and rose up in to heaven, thus ensuring that we, too, would enter heaven when we die. He died for all who were elected before the world was made, and for no-one else.
The day we are saved (on this earth), God brings His plan into action... and we are saved at the exact time and date, in the exact place, as determined by God in eternity (it had to be in eternity, because until God made everything we know, time did not exist!). A person cannot be saved even a split second either side of that moment! We are saved, then, at some point in our life-time (by God’s election and not by our own choosing of salvation).
The moment of being saved is the time of our ‘salvation’, or ‘new birth’. At that exact moment in our lives, we are transformed from being ‘dead in our sins’ to being ‘saved’. Instead of being ready for hell, we are saved from punishment and are assured entry into heaven! Suddenly, we become ‘new creatures’ with a living spirit within. This new spirit actually communicates with God via the Holy Spirit.
From the moment of our salvation, God expects us to go forward as Christians, constantly living as He wishes us to live. This involves daily repentance for all those sins we commit in our lives, so that we can remain in His favour. We can never lose our eternal salvation, but we can certainly lose out on the many blessings God has in store for every person who is saved, if we do not repent.
Our lives, then, are simply journeys through the time zone, towards heaven. On the way we must live holy lives, repenting of our sins as we travel. It is whilst we are on this journey, that we are constantly ‘being saved’... from our own failures and sins, and toward God and His grace (or blessings).
Then, when God decides to finish with this present world, He will completely destroy it, after He has taken everyone out of it. Those who are unsaved will enter hell. But, those who are saved, including people from the earliest of times to the last split second before He destroys the earth, will enter heaven. Thus, we will all ‘be saved’ finally and completely. No more sin and no more need to repent! This is because, in heaven, everyone will be perfect, and without sin. There is no other way we can enter, or stay, in the abode where God is. (God cannot tolerate sin in His presence).
We can see then, that ‘saved’ contains several aspects in its meaning:
First, we are chosen or predestined (elected) to be saved from the results of our sins, even before the world was made. This is an executive decision, out of our control; a strategy Plan, so we cannot choose salvation by our own will…
Then, sometime in our own lifetime, God causes us to be saved, Or, transferred from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. This is the enactment of the plan.
After that, He causes us to continue in a state that is congruent with our status as ‘new creatures’. Thus, the health of the plan is ensured.
Finally, on God’s specified day, the world will be finished and we will enter into heaven. When that happens, the phenomenon we call ‘time’ will no longer exist, for we will be in eternity with God, completely and utterly saved.
That, then, in a nutshell, is ‘being saved’. We hope that though very brief, this article will make the matter clearer for all concerned. Surely there is a need to bring clarity to the issue, as it is of vital importance to every soul that has come into being and ever will come into being!
© December 2000
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Please 'Make a Donation' to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries