Return to BibleToday Homepage
Should Know About Being Saved
Table of Contents
I. "That I May Inherit Eternal Life"
II. "What Shall We Have Therefore?"
III. Was Christ's Standard of Discipleship Too High?
IV. A Christian is a "Dead Man on Furlough"
V. Believing on Jesus: A Deeper Meaning
VI. "Reconciled to God by the Death of His Son"
VII. "Unto Us Who Are Saved"
VIII. When "Grace Is No More Grace"
IX. "For by Grace Are Ye Saved Through Faith"
X. James on "Faith" and "Works"
XI. Once in Grace, Always in Grace?
XII. Scriptures Emphasizing Character and Works
XIII. Two Days of Salvation-The Scriptural Basis
Chart of the Divine Plan of the Ages
Summary and Conclusions
What Everyone Should Know About Being Saved!
The subject "On Being Saved" is of extraordinary concern to every Christian. It is not a topic that can be ignored, avoided or treated lightly. Much of our peace of mind as Christians rests upon a clear understanding of this subject. Yet we find that people may often exhibit greater concern over their financial portfolios than they do about the health of their relationship with Christ. This must not be so with us.
A dictionary definition of "save" in a theological sense is, "to deliver from sin." The theological definition of "salvation" is "spiritual rescue from sin and death." This would seem easy to understand because the Bible clearly teaches that we are all sinners and, therefore, God's judgment stands against us. We also have learned that a way has been provided to lift that judgment against us through Christ. All Christians are in agreement on this. Other religions may have different approaches to sin. Christianity is unique in presenting Christ as the only means of lifting the judgment of death from us.
Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:7-9). That may seem dogmatic, but this is the message of Jesus Christ himself.
It is easy to use words such as "saved" and "salvation" without regard to the biblical context or some of the overriding qualifications when the entire subject is brought into focus. Anyone may quote a scripture or two, and if it is quoted long and loud enough, it is easy to come away feeling that is all that the Bible has to say. Yet the Bible is a book with many texts that are qualified by other Biblical texts. When there are over a hundred verses on "being saved" and only one or two are used, there is a danger that we may come away with an improper or inadequate view.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," is a beautiful text (Acts 16:31). But what does it mean to "believe"? James tells us, "The devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19). Are they "saved"? No! What does it mean to be "saved"? These are questions that, hopefully, will be answered in this biblical presentation. Why did Jesus make the terms for receiving "everlasting life" so difficult for the young nobleman? Why is this so often overlooked? How can we harmonize all the Bible has to say on being "saved"?
This booklet is presented with the prayer that those who love Jesus will learn more perfectly what is required of his disciples. Peter says, "Elect [chosen] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Peter 1:2). Once we realize the requirements, we may daily and hourly rejoice in our high calling. Gladly then will we meet the terms of discipleship that are implied in this calling.* [*We become "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).] Throughout our study, we will pursue a broad based approach to the scriptures. Knowing that choosing and selecting pieces and bits of scripture can result in wrong conclusions, we want to be careful to consider the full spectrum of Biblical teachings on this subject.
We will especially be concerned with Jesus' presentation for receiving eternal life. We will consider the following questions: The disciples asked Jesus, "What shall we have therefore?" Why did Jesus set such high standards for discipleship? What does being a Christian really entail? What does it mean to believe in Jesus? How are we "saved by his blood" and "saved by his life"? Is there a difference between "saved" and "being saved"?
Other topics included will be: What is the meaning of God's grace? How are grace and faith necessary to being saved? The subject of "faith" and "works." Does once in grace mean always in grace? How do character development and Christian works affect our relationship to God? Is there another day of salvation after Christ's church is joined with her Lord? Finally, every text using the word "saved" in the New Testament will be listed for clear examination.
The mere repetition of the phrase "I believe" or "I am saved" is not a mantra with magical powers that will deliver us into God's Heavenly Kingdom. We urge all to consider the entire weight of this subject to enhance our relationship with Christ. Why should we settle for just a few texts on "being saved," when with a little effort we might examine the complete range of these instructive Bible verses?
The subject of heaven has been exploited by all religions. How convenient it is for church leaders to offer those who support them an assurance of heaven. If it were only the Christian churches that offered this hope it might be asserted that this is a benefit of being a Christian. However, most other religions do the same.
When the Catholics wanted men to go forth on their Holy(?) Crusades, they assured those who might be injured or killed a reward in heaven. When the Muslims in the Middle East want men and children to blow themselves up as martyrs to kill Jews, they promise a heavenly reward. Each martyr is assured of seventy virgins in a heavenly harem. That seems more generous than the Catholic offer. The Native American Indians go to their happy hunting grounds in heaven. The Eastern religions offer repeated opportunities to gain heavenly bliss. One may be reincarnated many times until, at last, heaven is achieved. If it were only Christian religions that used heaven as a tool to gain and hold a following, it would not be quite so obvious that heaven is being exploited.
One must ask-Does God have any choice in who will enter heaven? Doesn't it seem wrong to preempt the Lord's judgment by assuring heaven to anyone? Would you allow anyone to have permanent residence in your home without your consent? Yet people are being promised heaven as though anyone may enter by just saying, "I believe in Jesus." Why would the devil pass up such a marvelous opportunity to send his followers to heaven? If he could send just one unregenerate sinner to heaven, what triumph that would be. God would no longer have his will done in heaven even as it is not being done on earth. Better yet, that the devil should send millions of his wicked children to heaven. It would be far better to send them to heaven to corrupt God's dwelling place than to have them underfoot in his proverbial "hell."
Is there any danger of this happening? No! "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). Anybody can say, "I believe in Jesus." All one has to do is read church history to see what terrible things professed Christians have done.
Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Whose disciples were they who carried on "holy wars," the "inquisition," the pogroms against the Jews, the massacres of Protestants, and the list could go on and on. Could it be that Satan had engaged Christians to do some of the most terrible things in history? There virtually is no evil that has not been done by professed Christians. This should cause true believers and followers of Christ to be very careful about what they believe and that they are true examples of Christ.
Go to next chapter