Why does so much confusion reign in the minds of the “Christ Lovers” about the words “salvation”, “saved” and even “Savior” as found in the Scriptures?
I have observed that these salvation related words are among the most misunderstood words in the inspired Scriptures and they are also among the most talked about in any presentation of the Good News.
Is there ever a time within your association with those who claim to be believers in Jesus, where you have not been constantly hearing about the need for mankind to turn to God and be saved? Of course you have heard this common thread of thought. Even the Legalists, Cults, Sectarians, Antinomians, Progressives and the Calvinists use these words.
So, if we use this word so often within the Scriptural context do we actually know what the meanings are that accompany these thought expressions in sermons, books etc.?
Is not the Christ – the Messiah also the Deliverer?
Would you be surprised if I told you that the words “saved”, “salvation” and “Savior” are very often misassociated with the following beliefs about the word’s meanings?
How often have you believed that “Salvation” and being “Saved” means that your sins are forgiven?
How often have you understood these words to suggest they are about getting a free ‘Get out of Hell’ ticket?
How often have you been told that when you are “saved” that you will have “Eternal Life”?
How often have you thought that these words could actually relate to being protected from becoming a victim by harm, disasters and abuse?
How often have you imagined the concept of Heaven as being the place you will go when you die?
What would you say if someone came along and showed you that the Scriptures do not teach that Salvation is only all about forgiveness and going to Heaven?
When someone asks you “Are you saved?” or tells you that “You need to get saved.” how often have you thought they are suggesting that you: …
- believe that Jesus is God,
- ask Jesus to forgive you your sins
- ask Jesus to come and dwell within your heart
- confess all of your sins daily
- get baptized and join a church and read only the King James Version Bible
- believe in the true facts about Jesus that He died on the cross, and rose again from the dead
- trust Jesus and what is written in the book
- repent of your sinning activities
- believe that you are a sinner and that Jesus substitutionally died for your sins on the cross
- and the list can go on and on
Is that really how people ‘get saved’ or ‘get delivered’ by doing the work of believing and trusting? I am sure that all of these faithing activities are required in order to reap the benefits of total mental, emotional, volitional and physical bodily and environmental salvation. Faithing activity is activity which occurs in the present tense of a situation or experience of life and it is the active listening to God as He directs us and the active obedience to what He says. Yes, faithing is required in order for God to work His deliverance. The salvation of the Lord can be experienced in a multitude of ways but all of these type of concepts listed above are not the primary focus of these “salvation” associated words.
Has anyone ever identified to you what the word “saved” and salvation actually refers to?
Well, let me state here that according to the Scriptures, the primary use of these words “saved”, and “salvation” reflect the meaning of deliverance or a “being delivered from” in a present tense manner or as a hope for a future deliverance by a “Deliverer – Savior”.
With this understanding, that salvation is actually talking about deliverance, it will become much easier to get at the real meaning of a lot of passages in which the word “saved” is being used in our various English translations of the Scriptures..
To be delivered is to be moved.
It indicates that a passage or a process is occurring in which one is removed from a previous position in life and is placed or delivered into a different situation, condition or place than that which was the previous one. Possibilities are endless when we look at the various ways in which deliverance is used in the inspired Scriptures.
In the old covenant writings we often read the prayers in which deliverance is sought from enemies. In some situations this deliverance required active present tense activity on the part of the nation of Israel where they had to go out and engage in fighting and in the process of that activity, God – by His own power, delivered them – He moved them from the overwhelming despair and anticipation of probable defeat, to the exhilarating position of rejoicing and victory. The strong opposition of the enemy was crushed so that the movement from fear, slavery and servitude were removed and they were placed into the rejoicing and praising because of their freedom and liberty. There are way too many such situations among the Israelites of old that it appears to me to be useless in trying to identify them all here. So often David, among others, writes and prays for deliverance – salvation from enemies, from depression, from sickness, from death and more. These type of prayers are prayers for a physical movement of sorts which would move them from danger into safety, from sickness into health and from emotional despair into the place of inner peace and rest.
Salvation by Childbirth? Who ever heard of such a thing?
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (1 Timothy 2:15)
As you read this verse do you get the idea that a woman will be forgiven, get out of hell, or have everlasting life when she gives birth to a child?
Most likely you do not. So what is Paul writing about when he writes that she shall be saved? As we read the chapter in context you will see that Paul is identifying that a Christian woman’s image of herself and the worth she has in contributing to others is not in her elaborate fashion statements or in public presentations of speech but in her duty and responsibility to others and especially in her duty towards delivering her baby, her children from the womb and training them to develop into mature adults. Yes, apparently raising children can “save” a woman but better said, can “deliver” a woman from the emotional feelings of insignificance, inadequacy and incompetency and deliver her into the place of acknowledged significance. Such a deliverance or salvation is an ongoing present tense activity within her. As this woman fulfills her God given purpose within her marriage and family she is of course the one being “saved” or delivered to that place of personal character development. A woman can surely be delivered within her psychological needs as she engages in fulfilling what God intended for her to experience. Even when a woman is not a Christian she can still be “saved” or delivered through childbearing and this has absolutely nothing to do with going to heaven, forgiveness of sins or getting out of hell.
Although child bearing and the raising of children is not the only way she can experience the deliverance from her personal mental and emotional feelings of insignificance and her own conjured up low self-image value of her life, it is a God purposed way of gaining such a deliverance or “salvation” movement from soul despair to soul fulfillment and from insignificance in a childless marriage to a fulfillment of dutiful requirements within her family.
When we think about salvation as being the process of being delivered from one place to another place for example, then we can more readily see that this is especially true as it pertains to the deliverance from the developed habituated ways of mental thought processing, triggered emotional responses from memory associations and chemically induced and triggered neurological pathways.
Many folks have read the Scriptures with a wrong understanding as it relates to the words “saved” and “Salvation”. Instead of thinking about getting out of Hell and instead of thinking only forgiveness and life in Heaven, start examining the context of the passage as it would read if you replaced those words with the word deliver or deliverance. You will be amazed at the new insight you will glean when you are being taught by the Holy Spirit directly.
The above passage may not be a discussion about the everlasting life in Heaven but rather the discussion about being delivered and moved out of the difficult situation facing the jailer and into a safer position. He was looking for a better way to manage the situation than by suicide by falling onto his own sword. Even for an unbelieving jailer, God can move the hearts of of those who are in authority over him to see his innocence and that he was not complicit and spare him and his family from guilt and shame and certain death.
I recently prayed for the salvation of our daughters cat. Yes I did pray that prayer and guess what? The cat was saved from threat of being evicted and and was moved into the safety of being given permission of residency. My daughter had to confess the truth – and please remember that there is a great difference between confessing a true fact and confessing Truth as the relational Person within your relation to any situation in life. Real genuine Truth is always manifested in Love, humbleness towards the others and in a willingness of being governed by what will be brought about. I had to believe that God knew what needed to be done in the hearts and thoughts of others in order to save a cat’s life from eviction. I hope this may give you some insight as to what Paul meant when he answered the jailer’s question “What must I do to be saved?”.
Now let us pay attention here, these verses do not suggest that forgiveness is granted or given when we confess with our mouth that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Forgiveness is a done deal and the deal was a completed fact even before the foundations of the world were laid.
What a person believes in is what he will be controlled by. Believe in a lie or in unrighteousness and he who is the liar will enslave your inner behavior and your outward activities to reflect a self-serving and self-indulging agenda. But believe in and unto the Righteousness of Him who is the Person of Right, Truth, Love and Faithfulness and His righteousness will become evident in your confession and conversation – your entire way of life not just in spoken words. The person who believes – who acts by faithing, will be delivered from enslavement to the will of Satan who is the liar and will be delivered to doing the will of God – the will of Him who is righteous.
Once again we see that these verses are not necessarily discussing the ever-after ever-lasting life which some folks erroneously refer to as the eternal life.
The closest we get to seeing salvation being used as a word to connect with the ever-after life is ,, 1 Corinthians 15:2, and Ephesians 2:5-9,
Remember that every day untold numbers of individuals, be they active believers in Jesus Christ or not, are being “saved” from burning homes, dropping bombs and war violence, automobile accidents, drownings and are even being saved – delivered within the presence of horrific natural disasters.
But when we consider the many ways in which a spiritually re-birthed individual gets to experience the salvation of God is it not by being held back from backsliding, from living out a tarnished image of God in their daily relational community, from mental, emotional and physical sexual entanglements outside of Scriptural sanctioned marriage? And can we not also be saved from living a self-serving and self-indulging life and be moved to reflect the movement to a ‘fruit of the Spirit’ filled life? How many of us are also being saved from the enormous pains of abuses and neglects which have become traumatic subconscious impressions? Yes, we are being saved within the present tense from habituated past tense addictions and wrong responses.
Have you ever considered that Jesus, the Son of God who became human never experienced salvation from scorn, mockery, abuse, poverty, and even from death itself? He was never saved in the often incorrectly used sense of the word by which many mean that one is saved from the furry of Hell. Jesus met that furry from Hell straight on and defeated sin and death and all the hellishness sin can bring into a life being lived out on planet Earth.
I would highly recommend that the next time you come across the words saved, salvation and or Savior that you substitute the words deliverer, deliverance and deliver from. Ask yourself the question – “What are we being delivered from and whereto are we being moved by that delivery process?” This way, as you study the Scriptures, you may actually get to know the DELIVERER Himself even more intimately. You may then also find out what one must do to “save one’s self” by one’s own personal volitional and physical efforts and good works and what the Scriptures teach about the non-meritorious activity of faithing by which we receive the free Gift of Life – about “Life everlasting”
Hopefully you have come to understand in a small way that a believer in Jesus Christ must exercise his and her best efforts at experiencing a great degree of deliverance from habituated ways of the soul and the lies we have all learned to believe in during our former and past years of development.
Hopefully you have also come to understand in a major way that the activity of faithing is a non-meritorious activity which is the activity of believing in the Person of Truth – Jesus, and being receptive to what He gives freely – Himself as the indwelling presence and power which is the essence of life eternal. But also note that we do not get eternal salvation but rather we become partakers of the Divine nature of God as Jesus Christ in us lives out His life as us, in us and through us.
To capture every thought and bring them into the obedience of Christ is our good work of obedience.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Have you come to notice that the words “saved”, “salvation” and “save” are not primarily used to indicate getting forgiveness of sins; getting a free ticket out of Hell or even getting to enter into Heaven after death and getting life everlasting? Have you noticed that nowhere does a proper translation of the Scripture actually say we get “eternal life” – it is always life everlasting or life without ceasing. Eternal is the essence of what God alone is and man can never get that essence to be his. All we can ever experience is the presence of that essence as we remain in Him and He dwells within our re birthed human spirit by His Holy Spirit.