What does it mean to be saved? The other day, a friend asked me this question, and it caught me off-guard. It seems like a simple inquiry, but as I began thinking about how to respond to him, I couldn’t find the right words to say. No one had ever asked me what it meant to be saved before; it would’ve been one thing if a Christian or Believer had asked, but trying to explain the answer to someone who doesn’t have the same faith or belief proved to be a little more difficult.
My answer was weak and unclear. I think I said something about finding God and that having a relationship with Him saves you from the evil in this world. Honestly, that answer is partially right, but I could’ve explained it a lot better. I’m not sure why I blank so much when this friend asks me faith-based questions; maybe it’s because they’re usually deep, thought-provoking, questions I’ve never really thought about before. Or, because I keep thinking that my answers must sound so ridiculous to his ears that he couldn’t possibly take me seriously for believing this stuff.
The next day, as I was walking my dog and contemplating my friend’s question, the song Simple Pursuit by Passion played through my headphones. As I listened to the lyrics and sung along, I felt God give me the answer I should’ve said.
He made two points: The first was that I shouldn’t shy away when asked questions about my faith. I have a terrific opportunity to answer questions I’ve never been asked before, but my fear of saying the wrong thing was keeping me from learning how to hear God’s voice and replying correctly. It’s so much easier for me to explain things through writing than speaking, but we don’t always get the luxuries we want.
The other point God made, was that being saved is about a lot more than having Him in our hearts and being protected from some of the evil in this world (which isn’t always the case, anyway). It’s one thing to say that you’re a Christian or that you are saved, it’s another to actually live like you are; so, how do you become saved or a believer?
The dictionary definition of the word saved is, “To rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss.” While the theological definition is, “To deliver from the power and consequences of sin.” Both are fitting, but what does the Bible have to say about it?
The most renowned passage used is Ephesians 2:8-10, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
However, I think I found the jackpot with Romans 10:9-13, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Coming to faith, or becoming saved, is an occurrence that is between you and God, no one else can make you believe. It’s not about saying a little prayer or telling people that you’re a Christian/Believer; instead, it’s about wholeheartedly believing in Yeshua, the Messiah, and professing that belief to others. It’s all about what is in your heart and allowing God to take the reins. You are saved through your faith and belief alone, not by the things you do to prove your faith.
Now, that’s what it means to become saved, but what does that entail? What does being ‘saved’ symbolize? I believe that when you become ‘saved,’ you officially become a child of God (becoming a part of the House of Israel) and come under His protection. You can now have a personal relationship with Him and hear His voice. Your life is no longer yours; you are just a vessel to do God’s Will. Once we are saved, we are no longer under the Law of Sin and Death but are under His Renewed Covenant that takes death away and replaces it with everlasting life through Yeshua/Jesus, the Messiah.
The entailments are endless, but it’s not so much about what you gain from becoming saved as the transformation that occurs in your life. When you become saved life changes. The things that used to appeal to you won’t any longer, and you’ll start to see the world as God does, though some will debate about what that world looks like. For me, the world is a massive adventure waiting to happen and doors of opportunity anticipating the day they will be opened. We are all a part of this world, and God wants to use us to bring forth change and restoration.
A couple of weeks ago, someone was telling me about the journey they’d been going on and how they’d realized that as a believer they were called to be Set-Apart and different from this world. I agreed with the terminology they used, but our definitions were fairly different. To them, being a believer meant that we should be completely separate from this world; that we should make our differences known and not interact with non-believers the same way we do with believers.
My view, however, is that we shouldn’t be trying to fit into this world’s bubble, doing the things others do, but reaching out to those who need a friend or helping hand. We are a part of this world whether we like it or not, so we shouldn’t act like we are above those who think differently to us and try to indoctrinate everyone we come across. Yes, we will be different from those who don’t share our faith, but we should still be relatable in order to make connections. Only listening to godly music or solely speaking about God is alright for some, but it won’t get you very far with those outside your religious circle.
Yeshua said to His disciples in John 15:18-25 that the world is going to hate them because it first hated Him, and that they should not belong (keyword) to the world. However, just two chapters later, as Yeshua was praying for His disciples (John 17:13-19), He states that He has sent them into (another keyword) the world!
To belong to this world and to be in this world are two very different statements. Belonging to something is taking ownership of it. If we belong to this world, we are treasuring our possessions on earth and fitting in with those around us. To go into the world means that we are a part of it but it doesn’t own us; we can leave at any moment. In a sense, we are vagabonds wandering the earth, not belonging to a group of people but God alone.
The Bible tells us that we should go out into the world and make disciples. We shouldn’t stick around the same, like-minded, crowds because they already know what the Scriptures say. Of course, all believers need encouragement and should have like-minded friends, but our real goal should be to meet new people and listen to their thoughts and beliefs. How else are we going to reach the multitudes if we stay in the same place, hanging out with the same people? We don’t need to go to exotic locations to fulfill this calling either; it can happen wherever you are!
But, how do we portray all this to someone who has never learned about Yeshua, the Bible or faith? I don’t think there’s one right answer to this question but there is a commonality, and that is love. No matter what we say, it should always be said in love. Listen to God and say the words you feel He is giving you, chances are they’re the right ones to say.
As I travel, I meet different people at every stop. I don’t automatically start talking about my faith or ask if they’ve heard about Yeshua. Instead, I get to know them and tell them about myself. I think that unless God has called you to speak into someone’s life, people will not receive what you have to say concerning themselves and God. When forming friendships, we should always start by learning about the other person and answering whatever questions they have; even if you don’t talk about God, they will probably notice something different about you and comment on it. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
So, this week, keep your eyes open to the people who are around you and try something new. Go over to that person who always sits alone at lunch, or do something outside your usual routine. Ask the Father, and He will guide you to the places He wants you to go. When friends ask you questions, answer them honestly and don’t shy away from the truth when tough questions come your way. If a person is asking, they genuinely want to know. I can’t wait to see where God leads me this week, and I look forward to hearing your testimonies, as well!