There are a lot of big words in the Christian lexicon, but there are few larger than the word salvation or its verb form saved. What does it mean to be saved? Since Google knows everything, I asked what it meant. Here’s what I read. “The word salvation is the translation of the Greek word soteria which is derived from the word soter meaning saviour. The word salvation communicates the thought of deliverance, safety, preservation, soundness, restoration and healing.” We have sometimes thought of salvation as a divine fire insurance policy that keeps me out of hell and sends me to heaven. That is certainly included but it isn’t the word’s entirety. Yes, because of my relationship with Jesus I will be welcomed into heaven. We need to also look at the words soundness, restoration and healing.
When God had created Adam and Eve, he said of what He had done as being very good. There was a completeness, fullness in the relationship between the two and between them and God. They walked in the coolness of the garden and enjoyed perfect fellowship with each other and with God. Then sin entered and those relationships were shattered. I believe that God wants those relationships restored. I’ve heard of sin being referred to as disease. Diseases need to be healed. A little while ago I ended up with tonsillitis and went to see a doctor. I didn’t need analgesics to relieve my pain, although taking Tylenol helped me swallow more comfortably, what I needed was a cure. The doctor prescribed a powerful antibiotic that I took four times a day for ten days. It got rid of the infection that caused the swelling and the pain. Salvation restores us to spiritual health.
Neil Anderson has helped me in my understanding of what it means to be saved. He scoured the Bible to discover what God says about people who live in a relationship with Him. Too often we listen to accusing voices that tell us that our sins are too awful for God to forgive, that we are fooling ourselves if we think that we are somehow acceptable to a perfect and holy God. We allow these voices to drown out what God says about us in His word.
I remember getting a phone call that a member of our congregation was in hospital suffering with depression. I went into her room, and she seemed withered and totally overwhelmed by her depression. I asked how she was doing. Her eyes were vacant and she began to tell me how disgusting she must be to God. He must absolutely detest and her sins. I read to her from Anderson’s book Victory Over The Darkness and watched the truth flow over her and saw a physical transformation as she received those truths.
Without commentary I want to list a small portion of what God says about us. First, he says that in Christ I am accepted. Below are Biblical references and then a summary of that verse.
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17 I am united with the Lord and I am on spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Eph. 1:1 I am a saint.
The second broad category is I am secure.
Romans 6:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured all things work together for good.
Romans 8:31-34 I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of God.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
The final category is I am significant.
Matthew 5:13-14 I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This is a representative list and isn’t exhaustive. There is so much more that God says about us. Salvation is so much more than simply an assurance that we have a heavenly reservation when we die, it is about living a restored healthy life here on earth. An image of salvation that I think is very appropriate is that of a caterpillar spinning its cocoon and then emerging as something completely different – a beautiful butterfly. And that is what God says we are.
We can live lives of defeat and discouragement when we listen to the voices of condemnation that surround us, or we can live lives of joy and victory as we believe what God says about us. The choice is ours. We can do that best when we Keep the Son in Our Eyes.