Are you saved? Have you ever had anyone ask you that question? Outside the Christian community, I think this concept of being “saved” sometimes can be difficult to understand what it really means. Even within the Christian community I think this term and concept is misunderstood. Like most things in life, there are multiple ways to look at it and understand it. There are many levels to the concept, and if we really want to understand what it means when people talk about being saved, we need to know all the levels.
The most common way to think about being saved, is just that, you have been saved from Hell. From the fact that you believe that Jesus died for your sins and you recognize Him as God, He will save you from entering eternal separation from God and He lets you come into Heaven. Salvation is so much deeper than that though, it is so much more intricate and impactful to life now than just receiving a ticket into heaven. Salvation requires a recognition of the fallen human condition. The fallen and depraved condition of yourself. Being saved means you understand you need to be saved from something. You see clearly the hopelessness you are covered in without a savior. You are aware that you personally have done something that is deserving of punishment and separation from God. You understand you have lived a life that is not deserving of God’s goodness and presence for eternity. In this desperate world you find yourself in, you see that you need someone to help you. You realize that God’s standard is unattainable on your own and you need someone to bring you up to God. That’s where Jesus steps in.
Being saved means you know that you owed a debt to God that you would never be able to pay, but that Jesus paid it for you. Jesus covers all your transgressions and wrongdoings when you turn to him in earnest need of help. But that’s not the end of the story. Being saved isn’t just this transactional thing you engage in. It’s absolutely dire that you comprehend your sinfulness and need of a savior to pay the debt you owe to The Lord, so that you may be with him. But that doesn’t even come close to exhausting the richness of salvation. While being saved you get made new! You once were covered in the filth of sin but the blood of Jesus makes you white as snow. You used to have a heart that was resistant to God and His glory, but He gives you a new heart that is sustained by His beauty. He doesn’t just change and fix you up, but makes you an entirely new person! You are now no longer seen as a sinner living in rebellion, but as a child of God who is clean and spotless from the stains of sin and walks with the perfection of heaven. Being saved means your sins are no longer counted against you. God is able to see you as radiant and clean, since Jesus did all the work needed to clean you up that you couldn’t do on your own.
There’s still more to be said on salvation though. We’ve seen some of the conditions involved with salvation and some of the functional ways of understanding how we are saved and let into heaven, but what does that mean for us here and now? Yes, it’s true that once you are saved, you will be with God after you die, but you’re still alive now. What does salvation mean for us right now while we are still on earth? It’s more than just a hope for the “good life” sometime in the future. It’s more than just the promise of access to God one day. Rather, it’s the hope for the good life right now. It’s the promise of access to God and all his splendor right now.
Once you receive salvation you have now been inducted into God’s family, into his kingdom. Being saved means you want to live in The Lord’s kingdom. You see what kind of king He is and how He operates His kingdom, and you say you want to be a part of that. You say you want to live the way He has called us to. You understand that He forever reigns, and you want to be one of His loyal subjects. His kingdom is overflowing with riches and wonders beyond our mind, and all God asks is to serve His kingdom, and he will unleash life in its fullest into your life. Stepping into salvation is acknowledging God is the lord of your life. You are now in His kingdom and will bow and yield to His lordship. You give your life and heart to Jesus and tell Him it is His for eternity, and He is faithful to protect it. You are no longer the captain of the ship, but just a passenger, as Jesus sails it to its destinations. The authority and control of your life has now been given to God for Him to do with it what He pleases. You have now pledged loyalty to His work and mission and will do as He asks and commands to bring about His will.
But God, being the perfect, doesn’t just rule from a throne, but in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. He doesn’t just stay in His palace and ship out orders to you each week without seeing your face. He even does more than hand delivering His missions to you, or bringing you to His chambers to give you your tasks. No, God doesn’t do a good job at being distant. He is much to invested and involved with us to leave us like that. He comes down from His mercy seat to walk with us on our journeys. He gives us a mission, and then goes with us to complete it. Being saved means you are in relationship with the creator of everything that exists! You now have a personal and private connection and relationship with the God who made you. In a very comparable way to how you have relationships with people on earth, you now have that with God. The one being who can meet all your needs, is now your friend. You talk to Him, He talks to you. He listens to you as you listen to Him. He provides advice and wisdom in confusing times. He provides exactly what you need, when you need it, for what it is He needs you to do. He also likes to show off and provide more to show His goodness and grace. You now are never alone for God is always with you. He rejoices in all your successes and joys. He is broken with you when tragedy strikes and breaks your world. But He is the only one who can put it all together again. You are now in a real and dynamic relationship with God once you step into salvation. He acts in your life every day. He counsels and guides you to your purpose. He shows you how much He just wants to spend time with you. Just like how you hang out with your friends, He desires just to hang out with you and enjoy you as you enjoy Him. The beauty of salvation is a mystery to humanity, and is a miracle that continues to mystify the further you dig into it.