Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What does "Being Saved" mean?

When I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Harper asking Jesus in her heart, I received a lot of emails and comments asking me what exactly it meant to "be saved".

I want to preface this post by saying that first of all - I'm not a theologian or a preacher.  I'm just a girl who loves Jesus and believes with all her heart what the Bible says.  And I want to share this post not out of judgement or to say that I'm right but because as someone I know wrote recently, "I feel like I have the best kept secret in the world."  If I knew the secret to losing weight easily or how to stay young forever - I would share it with you.  And I believe with everything in me something that's so much bigger than that, so out of my love for people - I can't NOT share this.  You don't have to agree with me.  I don't have all the answers.  I just know that if what I believe is true, than I could never live with myself if I didn't shout it from the rooftops to everyone I know.

Knowing so many in the last few years who have died at a young age, I feel so strongly that if I don't do anything else with my life - the most important thing to me is that I share my love of Jesus with others.

So first of all - God is Holy.  He is perfect.  And he created us but the first people he made (Adam and Eve) chose to disobey Him and out of that became sin.  We live in a broken world.  We all are born sinners.  Our natural instinct is to not follow the ways of God.  Because God is Holy, our sin separates us from Him.  The Bible says "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  Our sin keeps us from spending eternity in Heaven with God.

In the years before Jesus, people who believed in God would offer sacrifices of animals as an atonement for their sins.  This was the way they were "saved".  But then God sent Jesus to come and live on earth as a man and he died on the cross to be the ultimate sacrifice.  When Jesus died (and rose again), we no longer have to offer sacrifices because He did it for us.  All we have to do is just believe in Him.  Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

It's really very simple - if you understand this and believe it - that you have sin and that Jesus died for our sins so that we could live eternally with him - you just have to follow what Romans 10:9-10 says,
"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."

It's not just about praying a prayer or even trying to get "insurance" from going to Hell.  Being saved means you recognize your need for a Savior and you choose to live your life following the Bible and trusting God (even when you can't understand why things are happening or why bad things happen or have questions).  This is faith.

It's also not about "being good".  Who could measure what "being good enough" truly would be? Can you imagine what that standard would even be to a Holy God? The Bible says "our good works are like filthy rags" to God.  We could never be good enough alone.  That's why we need Jesus.   Ephesians 2:8 says "For it is by GRACE we are saved, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. NOT as a result of works, so no man can boast".  

Grace is the wonderful gift God has given us.  We don't deserve His goodness but He loves us and saves us from ourselves by His grace.

Being saved is just the beginning.  The Bible says "they will know you are Christians by your fruit".  Or in other words, you can't get saved and then just to choose to continue living like someone who is lost.  None of us are perfect.  Christians mess up CONSTANTLY. But the love of God should pour out of us.  

It's important once you are saved - to be discipled by a wiser, more mature Christian and to grow in your faith by reading the Bible, praying and joining a local church.

What about the people who live in remote tribes and have never read a Bible or been told about God? That's a great question to ponder.  The Bible says "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20.  I believe God can reveal Himself to them without ever hearing one sermon.  They can see and know there is a God and believe in HIm.  God knows what each of have had the knowledge of in life and had the opportunity to hear about Him and whether we accept or reject.  That's the difference.  

I've written a few posts that come after getting saved but not the actual act of asking Jesus in your heart.  Here are a few that might help:

So you found Jesus - now what?

On the Importance of Being Discipled

So you Want to Find a Church

Teaching Kids to Pray

My greatest desire is for everyone I meet to know the love God has for you.  You certainly don't have to agree or listen.  But I can't go another day without sharing what I believe.  My faith is everything to me and what kind of person would I be if I kept it to myself?

I would love to "try" and answer any questions you might have.  I don't have all the answers.  I think you reach a point where you have to decide "Am I going to trust God or am I not?"  I have a ton of questions for God when I meet Him.  There is so much I just don't get.  But if we could understand the mind of God - why would we have a need for Him?

God gives me peace and comfort that I can't explain.  He also gives me so much joy and love.  It's something that I wish for everyone to know. 

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have suffering. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

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