As I wrote the last article about justification and sanctification I realized that there is a need to write about getting “saved”. For the most part, many people believe that getting saved means avoiding the penalty of hell and going to heaven when you die . . . If you are waiting for more, keep on waiting because that is what many believe. What about daily life? Do you just get saved from hell so that you can live the rest of your life the way that you want and then go to heaven after you die? Interestingly enough, Jesus said that He came to give us life, and life abundantly. That means for the here and now. Salvation is way more than just avoiding hell and going to heaven. In fact, the idea of salvation has a 3 part meaning: salvation past, present, future. Most of us learn the past and future parts. All of my sins were paid for (salvation past) and I will go to heaven when I die (salvation future). There is a 3rd aspect, the present, abundant life for the here and now. The abundant life Jesus is talking about is not health and wealth. I know lots of people who are experiencing abundant life and they are neither healthy (physically speaking) nor wealthy (in the physical, material sense). It is all about the spiritual, which also impacts the physical.
Salvation means being born again
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1)
Christ made it possible for us to experience salvation. This passage covers all of the parts of a person’s salvation.
What does salvation mean?
The word that is translated “salvation” is the Greek word “soteria”. This word means “to be delivered from an enemy”. All of us as people, are born with an enemy, our sinful, human nature. It is to our own detriment because it enslaves us and causes us to do what we do not want to do. We end up doing things that hurt us and the people around us. All of us have habits and vices that destroy. For the most part, you cannot stop because you are a slave. Once you start looking at porn it is almost impossible to stop completely. The same goes with lying and gossiping as well as stretching the truth, boasting and bragging etc. So, salvation delivers us up from this enemy, sin and our sin nature. Who needs this deliverance? All of us because we have all sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s perfection. That is why the word Gospel means “good news”. The good news means that you can be delivered from your worst enemy, yourself. The devil is not your worst enemy. The demons are not your worst enemy. You are your own worst enemy and God wants to deliver you from yourself.
Salvation’s past tense
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe ; for there is no distinction ; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3)
God paid the debt for our sins. Our sins bring about punishment and since God is a just Ruler and Judge then He has to punish sin. He did in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ hung on the cross and died for your sins. He took the punishment that you deserved. God is just and He has punished sin. Salvation past tense means that God punished your sins in Jesus and you are no longer guilty. Part of salvation is avoiding hell.
Salvation’s present tense
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12)
Once you offer the control of your life over to God (born again) then God starts the process of sanctification (transforming your lifestyle). How does this happen?
- do not be influenced/manipulated by the modern philosophies of the day
- go on being transformed
- have your mind renewed
- the will of God renews your mind
- you must dedicate yourself to studying the Bible
- apply the truths that you learn
The best passage that explains this process is not found in the New Testament. If we turn to Psalm 1, we see this idea played out in very clear language.
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers ! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither ; And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1)
This is the lifestyle of a righteous man. He is made right with God by God.
- He is content with life (blessed means content).
- He does not follow wicked advice.
- He does not live a wicked lifestyle.
- He is not a gloom and doom person.
- He delights in the Word of God.
- He meditates on the Word of God day and night (to study, to ponder, to talk about).
- He has a firm foundation in life.
- He produces good fruit at the right time.
- He prospers in what he does.
Does this describe your lifestyle? This is the lifestyle of a righteous man. This is what sanctification looks like and plays out. Are you influenced by the philosophies of the day? Here is a quick test. What are your views on abortion? What are your views on gay marriage? How do you feel about the word “tolerance“? Can moral issues be black and white, cut and dry or are there numerous degrees of gray areas? Those who are experiencing daily salvation, learn to have a Biblical worldview that overshadows their every decision.
What about the battle with sin?
The best description of the battle and victory over sin is explained by Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again ; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all ; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness ; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then ? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace ? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness ? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6)
A person who experiences salvation daily, the abundant life that Jesus spoke about lives like this when it comes to his relationship to sin.
- I die to sin (daily).
- I live for God (daily)
- I consider my body dead to sin (even though I am still tempted)
- Sin does not reign.
- Sin does not dominate me anymore.
- I no longer obey the lusts of my sin nature.
- I am now an instrument in the hands of God.
- I am now a slave to God.
- I am obedient from the heart.
- I am free from sin’s power (not temptation, sin is still present)
Getting saved means overcoming the sin that entangles you. Getting saved means that you are able to overcome yourself, your greatest enemy.
Salvation’s future tense
We will be completely separated from our sin nature. We will be in the presence of God. As you can see, the Bible emphasizes the present aspect of salvation while we usually speak about the past and future. All three are important and we must do them all justice. Do you experience abundant life daily by overcoming sin’s hold on you.