Scripture: Romans 10:9 …if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Observation: Can you guess what caught my attention in this morning’s passage from Romans? You are correct! There is this word “saved” used multiple times. In Western Protestant culture we tend to think of “saved” as something that happens after death, on judgment day. Rather than being condemned for our sins, we will be spared by the grace extended to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. And that is indeed one aspect of “saved”, but only one. The Greek word Paul uses here is “σῴζω” which has several related, but subtly different uses in scripture:
Matthew 1:21 (Mary) will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 9:21 for (the hemorrhaging woman) said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.”
John 11:11 After saying this, (Jesus) told (his disciples), “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.”
Matthew 16:25 For those who want to save their life will lose it…
Clearly being “saved” from a biblical perspective has a much broader meaning than we tend to appreciate. Yes, it can be translated as “saved” from sin, but it can also mean “rescued”, “healed”, “spared”, “preserved”, “restored”, and more.
Application: The life Jesus came to give doesn’t start upon our death, but at the moment of faith. When I began following Jesus in a serious way, as a younger adult, I could see a number of things in my life that were holding me back – particular behaviors and especially particular relationships.
We tend to become like the people we hang out with, whether we want to or not. We take on their habits, their values, their ways of seeing the world. As a young believer I had to let go of some people to whom I was very close and grab hold of others. The “letting go” part was terribly painful. I didn’t want to do it, but it was a sacrifice I had to make. Many years later I can see why it was so necessary, especially when I see what became of some of those people. By the grace of God, I was “saved” from the consequences of poorly chosen relationships.
By the way, the process of my “salvation” continues. Because of my sinful nature, ways of death are always a temptation. They call to me, though less than before. Each day I have to die to my sinful nature and ask the Holy Spirit to give me life. The battle never stops friends, not on this side of death anyway.
I wonder, in what current areas of your life do you need to be “saved” by the Lord?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you indeed came to save us. Help us to see that your salvation starts today, right now. Give us grace to embrace the right people and the right practices that give us life. Amen.