Many of today’s modern Christians have a very different concept to the meaning of being saved than what the Word has declared it to mean. They think that to be saved and to ensure a home in Heaven is to simply acknowledge that there is a God and that Jesus came to the cross and died for everyone – so we’re all saved if we acknowledge it. But is this all there is to being saved?
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” … John 3:16
Jesus did die for everyone, but we need to make it personal and believe that He died for “my” sins, for “me” so “I” can have everlasting life. Just because we accept that there is a God doesn’t make us a Christian; after all, many people acknowledge that God is “up there”, but they don’t love or respect Him. The Bible tells us in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
The devil acknowledges that God is real and we all know that he’s not saved. So what does it mean to be saved? Saved from what?
We are saved from the punishment of sin that we all deserve for breaking God’s laws. There is not a single person on earth who can say that they have never sinned or never broken one of the Ten Commandments. And sadly, even one sin will separate us from God and put us into the court of judgment to be sentenced to hell. That’s for just one sin! We cannot stand before a Holy God if we have even one sin in us and that one sin is enough to condemn us.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” … Romans 3:23
Many people think that because they live good, clean lives and don’t break the laws that they are good people, and they likely are but they are still not “whole” before God because it’s not just the big sins that count against us and make us guilty.
Have you ever stolen anything in your life – anything at all? A candy bar when you were a child? A pencil or pen from work? How about time? How many of you have a job and enjoy a social life at work on company time where you should be working as hard as the boss thinks you do. If you can say yes to any of these, then that makes you a thief. And what happened to the thieves in the Old Testament? They were crucified as we see at the time when Jesus was crucified.
“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” … Matthew 27:38
Have you ever told a lie before? How about a tiny white lie that was really said with good intentions to help someone? Or perhaps you have not told a whole truth or even twisted it a bit to give a better perception of yourself or to protect someone else? If so – and most of us will admit that we’ve done this some time in our lives – then this makes you a liar.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” … John 8:44
Here’s one for the guys; have you ever walked along the beach in the summer and seen some gorgeous girls out sunbathing and had some kind of “innocent” lustful thoughts? Have you watched a movie that has explicitly sexual content and got lost for a few seconds in the heat of the moment? And what about those adult magazines that some of you have stashed away? You may be happily married and faithful, but if you’ve ever looked upon another woman (or even a picture of one) and had lustful thoughts, then according to the Bible you are guilty and that makes you an adulterer.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” … Matthew 5:28
What does Jesus say about liars, thieves and adulterers, just to name a few of the commons sins?
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexuals], nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Although there are only ten basic commandments given to us by God to follow, it’s impossible to live a day without breaking at least one in the slightest way. We cannot live a perfect life and so we will all face judgment and a life apart from God if we try on our own merits. However, God knows this and so He sent Jesus to save us from the judgment that we deserve for breaking God’s law.
Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us. He took all of our sins upon Himself and died on the cross on our behalf and then took the punishment for those sins by being sent to hell when he died. He paid the price of sin for us, and if we will believe that and accept that, then He’ll clean us from the old sinful nature and fill us with His Spirit so we’re whole and righteous because of Jesus before God. We become born again.
Once we’re saved, though, there are changes we have to make. We will no longer have the desire to live the sinful way we did before because the things that once interested us or entertained us no longer matter. Only Jesus matters. BUT if we don’t change our lives and have no desire to change, then we really are not saved and it’s just an acknowledgment of the mind – not of the heart; we just think we are saved and that will be devastating when we die and face God.
“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” … Matthew 24:50-51
We need to study the Bible and learn all about God because He is the epitome of love, and He loved us enough to die for us even before we knew Him. We want to make God number one in our lives and live for Him and worship Him, and tell others about Him so they can come out of the world and be saved, too.
God is love and when His love abides in us our personalities change and we become more like Jesus; we bear the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and people will look at us and know that we don’t belong to the world of sin any longer. We are different, not just in our words but in our thoughts, in our actions and in our priorities. We begin to see sin for what it is – sin! And we begin to hate sin just like God hates sin, which means that we cannot be Christians if we continue to live in sin.
“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” … Psalm 97:10
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” … Proverbs 8:13
We no longer desire the lifestyle of the world. Unfortunately, many believe that they don’t have to change and they say that when Jesus died for their sins, that included all their sins so nothing will be held against them again so it doesn’t matter what they do because they’re automatically forgiven. This is erroneous teaching. The sins of our past are forgiven when we come to the cross and accept Jesus, and we now live under grace, which means that when we slip up – and we all do – we can come to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to forgive us. BUT Jesus expects us to grow and to stop doing them. Grace doesn’t give us a licence to live how we want (how we used to); it gives us the chance to grow and change and be forgiven for mistakes as we get closer to Jesus.
We receive God’s Spirit inside us and He guides us throughout life, and when we die His Spirit calls for God’s angels to come and get us and take us to Heaven. But if the spirit that’s in us is still of the world, then guess whose angels come? And Heaven won’t be the destiny.
Being saved means coming out of the world and serving Jesus with a whole heart; it means loving Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). And the world might not like you anymore (John 15:18), but that’s because you are no longer like them and the world hates God.
Being saved is the best thing that can happen to anyone, and coming away from the world and praising the Lord throughout eternity for our salvation comes automatic to those who love Him.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” … 1 John 4:7-8