What Does it Mean to Be Saved?

Biblical Authority Devotional: True Identity, Part 11

by Erik Lutz on May 13, 2011

Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., shows why salvation is not only protection from punishment, but it also enables us to live godly lives right now.

Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You. But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. (Psalm 5:10–11)

Today’s big question: what does it mean to be saved?

Christians hear so much about “salvation” that we often forget what the word even means. Evangelicals especially talk a lot about “getting saved.” But what are we saved from, and why do we need a Savior? Although you probably know the answer, please take time to read on and consider again the great salvation offered to us in Jesus Christ.

We all have rebelled against God in our thoughts and actions, and have chosen to trust ourselves rather than His Word.
We saw in the previous devotional that God cannot and will not tolerate evil. Because God is absolutely good, He must judge those who do wickedness.

This is why David made such a strong statement against sinners, calling on God to pronounce them guilty and cast them out because of all their evil deeds. It is right for a holy God to judge sinners. But wait, Romans 3:23 states that we all have sinned, and Galatians 3:22 says that “the Scripture has confined all under sin.” We all have rebelled against God in our thoughts and actions, and have chosen to trust ourselves rather than His Word.

On our own, we are in a desperate situation because our sin renders us utterly hopeless and entirely incapable of saving ourselves. Even our best works are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). Since God is holy, He will not just overlook our sins—they require punishment.

However, praise be to God because He did not leave us to die in our sins! He sent His Son to die to take our punishment for sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (1 Corinthians 5:21). Believers can “ever shout for joy” because God defends us from His wrath by His awesome love in the person of Christ.

We must also remember that salvation is far more than "fire insurance" to keep us from eternal punishment. We are saved not only from the wrath of God but also from bondage to sin. Therefore, “having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:22). God saved us to keep us from eternal punishment and to live godly in an unbelieving world. What a wonderful salvation!

Today’s big idea: we are saved from the wrath of God by the Son of God unto the service of God.

What to pray: give highest praise to the Savior and offer yourself to Him now.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.