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Wednesday, 03 March 2010

Are You Saved?

are you saved.jpgThe topic of being saved is one you have probably heard often if you have had much exposure to so-called Christian denominations. But what does being saved really mean and how does that come about? Perhaps you are familiar with the account in Acts 16:23-34 where the jailer of Paul and Silas asked them the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved…” If believing is a part of being saved, a person must find out what that involves.

The definition of the word “save” in the literal Greek translation of the scriptures means to deliver, protect, heal, preserve or to make whole. The definition of the word “believe” from the literal Greek translation of the scriptures means “to have faith; to entrust, commit or to trust in”.  The account in Acts says that Paul and Silas spoke the word of God to the jailer and members of his household, so there was teaching that was involved in becoming a believer and in being saved.

 Many people talk about having a “blind faith” in God. They say they believe, but can’t define what exactly it is they believe in. If being saved was as simple as saying “I believe in the Lord”, why would God have provided an entire book of instruction for us? God’s word, which includes the words he gave his Son Jesus Christ to speak, is the guidebook given to mankind to teach us what we need to do. The Bible provides the solid evidence we need so that we don’t have to rely on “blind faith”.

 Read Romans 10:13-17. Note that verse 13 says that those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul asks how can people call on him in whom they have not believed or how can they believe in whom they have not heard? He continues on to say that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Again, Paul is stressing that knowing the word of God is very important. Why is that? Without having some background in the scriptures, a person would not know that God has a name or who he is. The Bible not only teaches us about him and shows us the kind of magnificent Father and Creator he is, but also what he expects of us, his children.

 So foremost, it is vital to learn who Jehovah God is, but it is also equally as important to know who his Son is and what role he plays in our hope of being saved. In Acts 4:10-12, the apostle Peter said, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Note how these verses stress not only the importance of knowing who Jesus is, but how his death and resurrection provided mankind with the chance to go from eternal death to eternal life.


once saved always saved.jpgIf a person believes that the Bible is God’s true word and believes what is written therein about Jehovah God and his Son, he or she will outwardly show that belief and faith by continually working to do the things they ask of us. What is written in James 2:17-26 makes it clear that believing requires action on our parts. An individual’s faith needs to be backed up by what they do.

What about religions that teach “once saved, always saved”? Is that a true statement? Jesus said, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13 NKJV). Jude 5 (NKJV) says, “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Those are just two scriptures that do not support the theory that once saved is always saved. A person has to endure and continue in what they have been taught in the scriptures, so being saved has certain conditions attached to it.

Jesus Christ also said that relatively few would be saved because it is easier and more tempting to follow the way of the majority than to walk the straight and narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14 & Luke 13:23-24). In Luke 13:25-28 Jesus goes on to explain that those who just say, “Lord, Lord” but don’t follow him by trying to follow the commandments he and his Father gave mankind, won’t be allowed into the perfect new kingdom. Again, it goes back to putting action behind one’s belief in Almighty God and his Son.

There is still more evidence that a person has to continue in the way they are taught by the scriptures. The apostle Paul, who worked zealously to be a good follower of Christ, realized he had to finish his course in this life, keeping the faith until his end in order to be given the reward of eternal life: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing“ (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

In order to become “saved”, a person must take time to build their faith on the teachings of God’s word, believing in both the Father and the Son, and acknowledging who they both are and what they want us to do. An individual must then change the things in their behavior that aren’t in accordance with what is taught in the scriptures and continue to do so. Paul said, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14).

Really being saved comes down to following this simple teaching of Jesus Christ: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). If we are diligent to follow this commandment and not give up, we have the lasting hope of being saved and becoming a part of the perfect, everlasting kingdom to come.
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