1 Corinthians 1:18 – New International Version For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
I would be perfectly fine if the phrase “got saved” disappeared completely from the vocabulary of the church, to be replaced instead with a phrase like “being saved”. One places emphasis on the work being done while the other points to an ongoing, lifelong growth in The Lord, being formed into His likeness. Instead of hearing new converts saying, “I got saved” it would be wonderful to hear “I’ve started the journey of being saved.”
That may not roll off the tongue as easy as “I got saved” but it would be more theologically accurate. “Being” or “becoming” saved is a better way to understanding of the salvation spoken of in scripture. Paul talks about the cross being the power of God to those who are “being saved”. The finality of “got saved” makes it seem like the journey is over, but with Christ, the conversion moment is simply an awakening to a whole new way of life. It’s the first step on the journey.
It takes a lifetime, or longer, to learn how to love enemies, pray for persecutors, bless when being cursed, fast without fanfare, pray privately, pray communally, stop judging, give generously, love without discrimination, show humility, stop worrying, worship together, become accountable to each other, care for creation, and develop the mind of Christ. When we achieve all that, maybe…MAYBE… we “got saved” but I’m pretty sure we would still be scratching the surface.
Scriptures like Ephesians 2:8 (For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith) which remind us that our salvation is a present reality are to be read as a whole, not as just one verse. If we read the entire chapter as a whole we can clearly see that we are being built into what Christ desires us to be with Jesus as the cornerstone. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
We live in the already and the not yet. We are saved through the grace of Jesus, but we are to press on to attain that for which he took hold of us. We “get saved” so that we can live out our salvation. Faith without works is dead.
We live in a time of shallow relationships. By simply a click of a mouse we can claim to be someone’s friend on Facebook, but does that mean we really know them? If we are introduced to someone for the first time and they shake our hand, we might say that we know them, but only in the shallowest sense. That handshake or that mouse click might start the relationship but to really know a person requires relationship. What makes them happy? What kinds of things do they enjoy? Where do they like to eat? What are their deepest dreams and desires?
My hope is that we will stop seeing our salvation as a handshake or a mouse click and see it more as an ongoing relationship. I leave you with the words of the apostle Paul who knew Christ better than any of us. When I consider that he never met Jesus in the flesh and didn’t have any of the New Testament to read, I’m amazed at how well he knew Christ. But, not even Paul will claim the work is done. Let’s press on with Paul to know the risen Christ in his fullness, in the power of His death and resurrection.
New International Version (NIV)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.