“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We’ve been looking at the guts of the Christian faith over the past week and now come to this idea of ‘being saved’. I don’t tend to use the term ‘saved’ when talking about my identity and faith. I know it’s often used in movies and shows that depict Christianity and churches. It is a term used by a generation that were all about having people ‘saved’ at big faith rallies and events. And occasionally, you may still hear it in conversation between Christians when they are talking about people, ‘whether they are saved or not’. It’s just a good old Christianese word.
To say that ‘you are saved’ is to say that you have salvation. As Christians, we believe we have attained salvation because of what God has done for us on the cross.
The dictionary defines salvation as, “the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction”. And when we seek to define it in faith terms, it means that we are saved or protected from the judgment and consequence that we are under due to sin. Some might even go as far as saying that we have been saved from a particular place, hell.
I imagine we can all relate to what it means to be saved or protected from harm.
I remember a cousin of mine struggling to swim in a pool when we were kids. After she’d slipped off the step she found herself in a panic, thrashing around in the water. One of the adults around, my mum I think, saw what was happening and quickly grabbed her by the hair and yanked her up.
We would say she’d been saved from harm wouldn’t we?
I wonder if you can think of a time when you were saved from harm? Perhaps it was crossing the road without looking. Perhaps it was while you were climbing a tree. Perhaps it was swimming yourself.
Throughout the storyline of the bible we read of the constant effort people go to in order to attain salvation. To be saved.
Once Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction to not eat of the tree there has been a need to find salvation. The initial judgement they faced was being booted out of Eden, their disobedience had physical consequences. However, there were further costs for them, further costs which had eternal consequences. In order to find salvation many people throughout the Old Testament seek to make good their bad by providing sacrifices and avoiding mistakes and errors in their life. They don’t want to face the judgment and wrath God has toward their sin and so go to extraordinary lengths to avoid actions that disobey God.
It’s like knowing the curfew your parents have placed on you for the party. There will be consequences if you disobey. We get that right. But, to make this even more legalistic, like the people of the Old Testament, we would make sure we are home well before the curfew to avoid any sort of possibility of being late. We might even leave 30 minutes earlier so we know we’re back home in good time. (Probably not realistic I know, but I hope you get the idea).
Some people continue to operate this way when they think about Christianity.
But, Christianity is not about law and legalism, it is about faith and freedom.
To be saved, to find salvation, is something that we are given by God. God, in his wonderful grace, has given us salvation. He has saved us from his own judgment and wrath through his Son Jesus.
Just as we have explored the forgiveness that comes through Jesus and the cross. Just as we have explored being bought back to God through Jesus and the cross. Just as we have explored the love God has for us through Jesus and the cross. So too, we find another aspect of our faith is centred around being saved from judgment and wrath through Jesus and the cross.
Here we can say that Jesus saves.
Here we can say that we are saved.
- Can you remember a time where someone saved you from harm or injury?
- What picture do you have of God’s wrath and judgment? It’s not often we think on this, mainly because it’s not a particularly appealing thought.
- Do you recognise the need to be saved from God’s judgment and see how Jesus achieves this?
This is part of a devotional series called You’re More Than A Number. To understand the purpose of these posts then please read the series introduction. If you’d like these delivered to your inbox, please sign up to follow this blog or my FB page.