Saved from What?

What does it mean to the “saved”? Different people answer this question different ways, and the answer to the question is as complex and vast as the Bible itself. Typically, folks define salvation according to the biblical notion as being saved from the punishment of sin and death which is eternal separation from God. Because humans were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), there is a deep longing in every human heart to be in a loving and dynamic relationship with God. This means that being separated from God is synonymous with eternal frustration (to put it lightly).

This helps us understand what Jesus means when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Jesus is making a profound statement here. He is saying that he alone can satisfy the eternal, deep, and mysterious longings of the human heart. The longing for communion with God can only be put to rest when you’re with Jesus (because he is God incarnate).

All of our needs, from physical needs, to emotional needs any beyond, stem from the fact that God created everything and everyone to be dependent upon Him, and his love and care as the sovereign Creator. As long as we are separate from him, there will be a deep, deep longing.

The problem, however, is that as humans we have this strong and undeniable spirit of rebellion (just spend two minutes watching the news). There is something instinctual in us that makes us buck anyone who tries to tell us what to do. This spirit of rebellion naturally keeps us from embracing God. It makes us too arrogant to put up the white flag of surrender and give all of ourselves to God. The bottom line is that we have a hard time being humble (which is why the Kingdom of Heaven is for the poor of spirit (Matt. 5:3).

Jesus, thanks be to God, took on flesh and nailed that spirit of rebellion to the cross. You know what the best part is? The best part is that Jesus, by coming back from the dead in bodily form, defeated that power of rebellion. We’re don’t have to live under that slave master of rebellion any more! See Romans 8 for more.

So back to the original question; what does it mean to be saved? It means a lot of things. It means being saved from the punishment of sin and death. It means being reunited with God. It means not being arrogant any more. It means living in a loving and dynamic relationship with God. It means having the our deepest, most mysterious human needs met through being at peace with God.

There’s one thing that we have to remember in the midst of all of these wonderful truths. We have to remember that our salvation is not all about us; it’s about Him. The story of God redeeming the world isn’t about you and I. You and are supporting actors at best in the grand narrative of God’s world renewal plan that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1. It is all about Him and His faithfulness to restore it all through a member of Abraham’s family.

This is the beauty of salvation. We are saved from ourselves. We are saved from the selfish pattern of thinking that we’re the main actors on the stage of human history. When we’re truly saved, we are utterly thankful to take a step back and give God the glory.

Are you saved?

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