Why I Never Got Saved

Why I Never Got Saved

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.

 

Philippians 3:12-14
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.

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6 thoughts on “Why I Never Got Saved

  1. There’s a great discussion looming on the outskirts of this blog post that could be had. When are you saved? What saves you? Who saves you? How are you saved? Soteriology is something I like to talk about. We talk about it with our kids a lot now because many of them are at an age where they can decide to live for Christ. Ahh! I’m stopping now because I have to work!

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    • Thanks John,
      I hope we can have some meaningful dialogue on what it means to live a life of discipleship. Even in passages like Ephesians 2 where we are told that we “are saved” as a present reality it seems to refer to an ongoing work in the life of the believer. That is my concern. For too long we’ve spoken of salvation as a one time prayer of mental ascent and have slacked off on continuing the process of being made like Jesus.

      Relationships aren’t complete with an introduction are they? It strikes me as I type this how strange it would be if we met someone, they shook our hand, and said hello and then we never talked to them again, but said that we were friends.

      That seems like being a friend only in the Facebook sense but without actually building a relationship, and getting to know them, calling them a friend would be dishonest.

      Our concern is to know the risen Christ in the way that He desires to be known. “Getting saved” is only the initial handshake.” Christ’s work on the cross introduces us to Jesus, but it doesn’t end there.

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  2. Rick says: “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”. “

    Not to be an insufferable knothead, but you need to also need to do away with Ephesians 2:8 Rick, where the apostle tells us:
    “are ye saved” KJV
    “you have been saved” NIV, ESV and NASB and even the Romanist NAB

    While the Romanists are no roll here, the ol Douay-Rheims Bible might be best of all:
    “YOU ARE SAVED”

    Isn’t it wonderful?

    You know why they all translate that these ways instead of “being saved”?

    Because that’s not what ti says. That’s two words, ἐστε σεσῳσμένο which can actually be simply translated as “you are saved”. The first is a present indicative verb (demanding the passive voice unless somebody wants to say that Paul was proposing self salvation in the case of the technically possible middle voice. ) That means it is saying YOU ARE NOW what follows, through an action done TO you. Not by you. The second is the real kicker. That’s a perfect participle. Completed past action. You are now saved by an action completed and done to you in the past.

    “YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED”!!!!

    Bless His glorious name, that sounds like Calvinism!!! :D (I couldn’t help myself)

    Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful son. To your good lady as well.

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    • You are right of course but the chapter you are quoting in Ephesians proves my point in verse 22

      22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

      As I said in the post, our conversion is a starting point. It is not complete until we see Christ. We are being built together. We are saved because if what Christ did 2000 years ago, but are being saved as a process of God working his plan out in our lives.

      The point you are making is valid. We are saved, but are also in the process of being saved. I know too many people that simply base their faith on one experience with God at an altar and then they never go on to become a disciple of Jesus.

      To borrow from Paul again, in a race “all the runners run” but our concern of course is not just to start the race. Our goal is to run to get the prize, to finish well. Running well requires much training. To enter a race is only the first part, then comes the actual running which requires discipline and endurance.

      I’m perfectly fine with the phrase “got saved” as long as we use it like Ephesians 2 does as the entry point, and not the end in itself. Christ’s saving work already happened. Ours is to respond with a life lived for him, not simply a one time conversion prayer of mental ascent. We are in the kingdom of God which is of course the already and the not yet.

      Philippians 3:12-14
      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.

      Thanks,
      Tiribulus

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      • and you are right of course as well. This is also a humongous set of topics.

        We are saved, but are also in the process of being saved. I know too many people that simply base their faith on one experience with God at an altar and then they never go on to become a disciple of Jesus….”Ours is to respond with a life lived for him, not simply a one time conversion prayer of mental ascent. We are in the kingdom of God which is of course the already and the not yet.”

        I could not possibly agree with this more. A person for whom this is not true has not been saved. There’s no such thing as a non disciple Christian.

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