What does "saved" mean?

What does it mean to be Saved?

Salvation? Jesus? Saved? From what, am I lost? Why do I need him, it? What? Where do I begin? These are all reasonable reactions and questions in our search for a deeper purpose and Spiritual connection. Let me encourage you not to be overwhelmed by the feelings of confusion, anxiety and not knowing. The important thing to note is that you are now starting somewhere. You will not understand it all, but as time goes by you will be happy you started. Let us take this journey together.

In our modern way of life many things are not as they used to be. When we use certain words they often have many other meanings. If we ask a millennial about “windows”, instead of thinking about panes of clear glass in a building, they may assume we are talking about the computer operating system. We therefore want to create a Biblical understanding of certain words that may seem confusing. Let’s look at the word, “save”, or “saved”. You may ask, what do I need to be saved from? Am I lost? To a modern thinker, the word “saved” may refer to the action of securing data on a computer or server. When we look at the Biblical use of the word “saved” we see a completely different meaning. When the Bible says that people need to be saved it means that they must be lost spiritually. Thankfully in the book of Luke (19:10), Jesus said he came “to seek and to save the lost.”

In the book of Acts, the Bible tells us about two men named Paul and Silas who were locked up in prison because they were speaking about Jesus and performing miracles. While they were in jail, their feet were fastened in chains and guards were assigned to prevent them from escaping. If any prisoner escaped then the penalty for the guards would be death. At midnight, God caused a great earthquake to shake the foundations of the prison and all the doors flew open, and the prisoner chains fell off. The commotion woke the prison guard, who trembling in fear for his life, took his sword intending to kill himself. It was then Paul interrupted, imploring him not to harm himself because all of the prisoners were all still there. Shocked, the guard desperately asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (read the whole story in Acts 16:16-40). The guard saw that there was something more to Paul and Silas that he needed. He realized a radical change in his life was needed. Paul responded in compassion; “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” 

You may be asking the same question today: what must I do to be saved? 

The Problem

First, we must realize that we are all sinners. Sin is to fall short of God’s standard. In other words, sin is missing God’s mark. We simply do not measure up to God’s standard. In the book of Romans the Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (see Romans 3:23). God tells us that in order to have a relationship with Him we must be holy because He is holy (see Leviticus 19:2). Our modern idea of sin downplays its significance because people tend to have a low view of God. When we see God as He is: Holy, and see ourselves as we are; sinful and accountable to Him, then we begin to see our need for God. To be holy means to have no form of sin or imperfection. God is perfect and there is no sin in Him at all (see 1 John 1:5). God is holy, and totally set apart from sin. He cannot allow sin in his presence.

We have all sinned, so we cannot have a relationship with God… unless by some miracle our sins are removed. 

Sin’s Consequence

The Bible is clear about the consequence of sin: “The wages of sin is death” (see Romans 6:23). This death does not mean ceasing to exist, rather it means a spiritual death which is an eternal separation from the life of God. So, we sinners face the penalty of eternal separation from God… unless by some miracle God forgives the charges against us.

The Mediator

We have missed God’s mark of holiness. Sin interferes with our ability to have a relationship with Him and must be paid for. God’s holiness will not allow sin to be ignored. However, God’s love for us is so deep that He made a way for us to reach Him – a way to prevent us from being punished for our sin. Jesus is the only way this debt could be paid. Jesus is God’s son, equal with God and entirely perfect. He never sinned, though He was tempted, just like us. He was born; God as a man. He lived a perfect, sin-free life. We have established that the payment for sin is death and so that’s what Jesus had to do: die. He surrendered himself to an unjust trial for offenses He did not commit. He ultimately surrendered himself to death by crucifixion, a punishment He did not deserve. We deserved to die for our sins, but Jesus took our place instead. “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (see Romans 5:6-8). Jesus died because of my sin and your sin. We were the guilty ones, Jesus was innocent, but He loves us enough that He took it upon himself to be the perfect sacrifice required to atone (pay for) our sin. Jesus became the mediator between us and God. That’s what we call salvation. Jesus came, lived, died and rose again to save us from the death and punishment of sin. With the debt of sin paid by Jesus, we can now have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ! Jesus is inviting you today to accept his sacrifice and believe that he died for you. You can begin a relationship with Jesus today. 

Here’s how to begin:

  • Believe that God loves you – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Acknowledge that you are a sinner – Romans 3:23For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • Believe that Jesus Christ is your answer – John 11:25-26Jesus said… “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
  • Acknowledge that we can only be saved by grace (there is nothing we can do or not do to earn it) – Ephesians 2:8-9By 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.
  • Repentance is necessary (we must acknowledge our need for him and ask his forgiveness) – 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Faith is the key to eternal life – John 3:16Whoever believes in [Jesus] will not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Peace is the result – Romans 5:1-2Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

How Will You Respond?

Would you like to respond to God’s gift of salvation? Invite Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior, through the following prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. I now understand that I deserved to die, but because of your love for me, you took my place. I open my life and receive you now as my Savior and Lord. I acknowledge my sinfulness and my need for you.  Please forgive my sins. I accept your peace, forgiveness and your gift of eternal life. Please help me to understand who you are and how you will use me to tell others about you. I am your servant. Amen.”

A New Beginning

This is a new beginning in your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you in making this vital and life-changing decision. God wants you to enjoy the many blessings that He has made available to you through His Son Jesus.

May God richly bless you in your new venture with Christ. Remember to always put your faith in Him, day by day. He is there to provide guidance, strength, wisdom, provision and help in times of need. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to let us know about your decision to follow Jesus. 

Crossroads would like to help you. In fact, that’s the whole reason we exist as a ministry! We would like to send you a series of messages to help you with your life with Jesus. If you wish to receive these messages, please send your name and email address to [email protected]. There is also a 24-hour-a-day telephone prayer line available to help and pray with you at 1-866-273-4444. Crossroads has discipleship and mentorship programs as well as 100 Huntley Street available to watch for free on Castle.

God loves you and we love you too!