WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SAVED

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SAVED

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved. We believers always rejoice that we are saved. Some of us have even made it our life’s mission to get others saved. And as far as world religions go, we Christians are perhaps the most hung up about the concept of being saved. After all, no other religion tells you that belief in their god is the only way that you can be saved.

But what does being saved really mean? What does it entail? Is it only for the hereafter? Or is it a reality that we can enjoy right now? Is it just about being spared from an eternity in hell? Or is there something more? And what do we do to get saved? Is it about living a life of doing good and making merit?

Well, if you have ever had those questions running around in your mind, let’s take some time today and have those questions settled once and for all.

First things first. With God, with our Heavenly Father, there is nothing you can do to be saved;

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

So saving is an act of diving intervention. It’s a bit like this.

In all our ordinary families, we can tolerate some degree of misbehavior. Boys will be boys and things will happen. But if you belong to the royal family, you are constantly under the public eye, your mistakes get magnified and blown out of proportion. The general public does not take too kindly to the imperfections shown by the family of heads of state. They are held to a higher moral standing; and suddenly, all those mistakes which we could tolerate from our children, we won’t tolerate from them.

And so it is with our Father. Except, He is no ordinary royal. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the creator of the universe and the maker of you and I. So if we are to be His children, how can our behavior stand-up to public scrutiny? We know how critical the paparazzi can be of mere human celebrities. How much more critical will the divine powers and principalities be of God’s children? How much more critical will Satan be?

So we need to be perfect. But we can’t. That’s a fact. So what does God do? He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins. He sent Jesus to take on our behalf the punishment that was rightfully ours. But why would He do that?

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16 [AMP]

God so loved us that He gave us this ticket out of punishment. God so loved us that He gave us this means of being saved. That whoever believes in, trusts in, clings to and relies on Jesus, shall not come to destruction nor be removed from His care. And this is why Paul says,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

It is by God’s divine intervention that we have been saved from punishment. It is because we believe that Jesus died for us that we have been saved from punishment. It is because of our faith in this fact that we are saved. Because if it were up to our deeds and actions, we would not have a cat in hell’s chance of making it to heaven.

And this is the first aspect of being saved; being saved from punishment, saved from the consequence of our sins. But you know what, beloved? There’s more, so much more.

Because we “…are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24 [AMPC]

Because we have received “…the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah)” Romans 3:22 [AMPC]

Because “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,” Ephesians 1:11

Being saved is not just a matter of being ‘saved from’; equally, if not even more, important is the fact that we have been ‘saved to’. What this means is that we are not only righteously spared from hell and punishment by Jesus death, we are also given ‘an inheritance’, one that was predestined according to God’s will. So what’s in our inheritance?

“…that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” Ephesians 1:18-19

Or simply put, “so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:18-19 [MSG]

First of all, we have been given a divine mandate, a heavenly calling to do the things of God. That means that we have been made participants in God’s great kingdom; we have been entrusted with a role in His plans and we now have a job to do.

Now, this need not always be spiritual in nature. If you are an educator, our Father is using you to touch and impact the lives of the charges placed in your care. The way you educate them and the values which you imbue all go into shaping their life’s direction. And when you do this prayerfully, you are playing an integral part in realizing His plans for those in your care.

The same applies for those of us who come into contact with people in the course of our work. The help that you render to clients and colleagues in need, the cup of coffee you overlooked to collect from that homeless man who stops by your diner every morning, they all demonstrate our Father’s love to those whom He loves. And remember what Jesus said,

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40

The first part of our inheritance is to have an active part in realizing God’s plans. And what an honor that already is. So whatever it is that you have already been called to do, do it with fervor and gusto, because you have no idea which plans of God you have already been bringing to fruition in the lives of those around you.

The second part of our inheritance comes in the form of a glorious way of life. Jesus said,

“I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Jesus came to give us a glorious life, an abundant life; and that is why He said,

“…whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

And Paul characterizes this glorious way of life as one that has ‘endless energy’ and ‘boundless strength’. Now, don’t just think of this as having an abundance of physical stamina. Yes, that is important. But of equal, if not more, importance is emotional strength. You can’t have endless energy if you are constantly beset with worries, can you? And you can’t have boundless strength if you are ill. So in the glorious life that is our inheritance, is a constant supply of provision for our needs and protection from illness and harm, so that our minds will always be clear to do His will.

You know, Jesus gives us the perfect example of how glorious life is when we spend it with Him. You see, when Jesus was here, He was always healing and feeding. Can you imagine if you were one of His disciples living with Him at the time? You would never worry for health or wealth, would you? Because you know that if it is bread you hunger for, Jesus will supply, like He did, twice, for the crowd. And if it is wine you thirst for, Jesus will supply, like He did for the wedding banquet. Even if it is money you need to pay tax, Jesus will supply, just like He did through the fish that is now called St Peter’s fish. And we haven’t even mentioned the times when He healed.

So if Jesus was able to do that for the people around Him back then, how much more will He do for you, now that He is at the Father’s right hand? For remember,

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever;” Hebrews 13:8

Beloved, in our world today, being saved just means being spared from pain and suffering; and it usually applies only to the hereafter. But for us who believe in Christ, not only are we ‘saved from’ pain and suffering in the hereafter, we are also ‘saved to’ receive an inheritance from our Father. And the best thing is, this inheritance is not only for the hereafter, it is also for the here and now, because our inheritance is not passive; our inheritance is active. We have been entrusted with a role to play in our Father’s plans. We are now active participants in His will and He will provide for us all that we need to do His will.

So rejoice in being saved and look forward to all the good things that our Father will have you do to accomplish His plans.

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