Salvation – What Does It Mean?
What is Salvation?
Simply put, salvation means saving mankind from eternal death and separation from God through Christ’s death and resurrection. We hear it preached by pastors from the pulpit and read devotionals about how God offers us salvation through Christ. It is the cornerstone of our faith, the conclusion of God’s reconciliation with us.
But what does it really mean? Is there more to salvation than the price Christ paid at Calvary?
Like many people, my understanding of salvation and redemption has grown over the years. Especially through the writings of the Apostle Paul, I’ve learned that God’s plan for redeeming us not only involves the atonement Jesus made for us on the cross, but it also includes the question of how we respond.
Once we’re saved, after we’ve received Christ into our lives, what then? Are we passive? Do we believe redemption is a reward we receive when we’re baptized and put on a shelf as we continue with life? Or is it something else, something beyond that moment?
Here are some truths I’ve learned about how salvation works through each of our lives.
Salvation Is Not Earned
God’s plan for salvation is described in Ephesians 1:4-6, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”
Paul is explaining that our salvation is not the result of our own righteousness or good works but comes purely from God’s mercy and grace. Christ gave his life willingly for us, not because we asked, not because we are owed. We can’t earn God’s forgiveness and none of us deserves it. Yet Christ died for us, giving himself away so we might live.
Understanding that our salvation is not earned but freely given should inspire a profound sense of gratitude and humility within us. God, in His infinite wisdom, predestined this pathway to salvation before time began.
Salvation Calls Us to a Repentant Life
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9). Salvation brings about a profound transformation in our lives. It is not just a one-time event, but an ongoing process of sanctification.
As Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, once we are saved, we should be transformed through the renewal of our hearts and minds to turn from the ways of the world and embrace the “good and acceptable and perfect” will of God. As children of God, we are called to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. Our actions and choices should be a testimony of His love and grace. Christ is calling us to turn away from selfishness and inward focus, and instead look outward, to how we can help those around us and glorify God.
Salvation Offers Hope
Let’s be honest – life today is hard. It comes at us from all sides, screaming that we should be afraid, or worried, or skeptical. It can be difficult to find hope in the daily barrage of negativity thrown at us from the Enemy whose only goal is to turn us from God.
Yet, while we navigate life in a chaotic world, we have hope – the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 assures us that for those accepting the gift of salvation, Jesus Himself will come for us, and we will be caught up with Him. This hope should anchor our souls and motivate us to live faithfully until His return.
Salvation Makes Us Zealous for Good Works
While it’s true that our good works and personal efforts cannot by themselves earn salvation, when we are truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, the grace of God’s love will lead us to seek lives dedicated to those good works!
But this also means salvation is not an excuse for complacency. Just because we’re saved in Christ doesn’t mean God wants us to live lukewarm lives. Instead, salvation should ignite a desire in us live out our faith.
I have to admit, there have been seasons in my own life when I made excuses, seeking to attend to my own concerns rather than looking after my brothers and sisters. This is not what God intends for us. As Paul proclaims in Ephesians 2:10, we are God’s workmanship, created for good works that He prepared in advance for us to do. Our faith should be evident in our actions, showing love and compassion to others.
The Mystery Unveiled
As we walk this journey of faith together, let’s always remind ourselves of this profound mystery: how God, in His boundless love, orchestrated salvation for us despite our shortcomings. The mystery of salvation is not a puzzle to be solved, but a divine truth to simply be embraced.
It’s within this mystery that we find our calling, our purpose, and our hope. It’s in this mystery that we find God’s heart for each of us and for all of humanity – unconditional love so profound that it defies human understanding. Salvation is not a mystery meant to confuse us, but a wonderful gift offered to draw us closer to the heart of our loving Father.
We thank You for the gift of salvation. We thank You for choosing us, for predestining us for Your purpose, and for granting us grace through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to walk in the light of Your love every day, fully surrendering to Your will, and living out the calling You have placed on our lives. May we embrace the mystery of salvation as a testament of Your love, mercy, and grace.
May God continuously lead your path