“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.’” (Romans 10: 9-11)
One of those “church words” people use a lot is the word “saved” or “salvation.” Non-followers of Christ have been known to mock that idea by asking “saved from what?” Sadly, most followers of Christ will hem and haw, not being sure how to answer. Paul talks about the need for his Jewish brothers and sisters to be saved. The verses I chose to highlight today’s thoughts talk about how someone can be saved. Astute observers will note that there is no “sinner’s prayer” in this example, yet we still use that as part of the process of evangelism. What then is salvation? How do we get it? And, some might even ask, how do we keep it?
One quick note as we look at salvation: the views expressed here are my beliefs based on my study. They should be examined in light of Scripture, because there are probably some things wrong with my understanding. With that disclaimer, what is salvation? Peter compares salvation to the story of Noah in his second epistle. One aspect of Christian salvation is that we’re saved from the domain of sin that’s flooded the world. All people live in this domain of sin until they’re rescued by God – a rescue effected by the death of Jesus on the cross. This domain, as Paul notes, pays death. If you’re trying to get out of this domain by doing good things, or by being religious, the payoff is death. Another aspect of salvation is seen in how Paul describes the Jews. They seek to do religious things to get in good with God. This is the plan of most religions. Whether you improve your karma, as seen in Eastern religions, or you do charitable works to appease God, or you seek to follow God’s Law, all of these religious efforts fail because no one is perfect except for God and we all fall short of His glory. The only path to righteousness is grace: “for by grace are you saved through faith.” God’s plan for people to be saved from the world of sin and its effects is that we come to Him through His forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Faith in Him is God’s way, and it would seem logical that if you want to be in a good relationship with God and He shows you how to do it, you do it His way. I usually use the term “a (good) relationship with God” to show the idea of salvation. When we have that relationship, we don’t live in fear of God, we’re “saved” from that. We cooperate and work together with God to make a difference in this world. Paul tells us the process of establishing that good relationship with Him in the passage that began the study today. If you’ve ever wondered how to get right with God, this is how you do it. Begin developing that good relationship with God today and experience His presence for the rest of Your life. You won’t be disappointed.
Lord God, I thank You that I can be in a good relationship with You, the Creator of all things, because of Jesus Christ. I pray for anyone reading this who might not know You and ask that You draw them unto yourself. For me and for anyone else who knows You, I pray that we would fall deeper in love with You every day.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved