Summary: What does it mean to be saved? Nowhere is there a clearer answer to that question than in our text.
DO YOU STILL TALK ABOUT BEING SAVED?
INTRO: Some time ago, as I was visiting a new family in the community where I served. I was asked the question: “Does your church still talk about being saved?” They explained that they came from an area where they had visited in several churches, and not once had the proclamation been made that man had a problem from which only God could deliver him. So they wanted to know, “Does our church still talk about being saved?”
I told them yes, for salvation is at the heart of everything we do as a church. This is the first mission of the church, the primary function of the church, to help people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to be saved? Nowhere is there a clearer answer to that question than in our text. Paul gave us three dimensions of the experience of salvation.
I. TO BE SAVED FROM SOMETHING.
Paul began with the reminder that salvation means to be saved from something. In verse 1, he said that sin causes spiritual death. When a person is spiritually dead, how can you tell? Spiritual death means the inability to reason about spiritual matters.
ILLUS: As a high school student, I loved football, but I did not love the beginning of football practice. The coach would make us run wind sprints up and down the field to toughen us up. After the first day of practice, our feet were covered with blisters and we were sore all over. But after a few weeks, our soreness went away and we could feel no pain.
That’s what sin does to our lives. When we first commit a sin, our conscience hurts. Then the more we commit the sin, the less we feel it. Before we know it, our soul has become so calloused, our conscience so hardened, that we can no longer discern between right and wrong. Our spiritual reasoning power has ceased to function. We are spiritually dead.
Spiritual death also means the inability to respond to spiritual stimuli. If you put a corpse at an exciting football game or set it beside a radio with some great music, what will it do? Nothing. Being dead, the corpse is no longer able to respond to external stimuli.
The same thing happens spiritually. Put a spiritually dead person in an exciting worship service or give him an hour with the Bible, and how will he respond? He is bored. Why? Because being spiritually dead, he is no longer able to respond to external stimuli.
This is what Paul said in verses 1-3. That is what we need to be saved from. We need to be saved from the sin which cuts us off from God, confuses our minds, confounds our feelings, and causes spiritual death.
II. TO BE SAVED FOR SOMETHING.
Paul said that salvation also means to be saved for something. Jesus wants to save us so that He can make us “alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5 NASB). Jesus came not only to save us from something — spiritual death — but He also wants to save us for something — spiritual life. Often we miss this point.
When we hear the call to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, we think of the things we will have to give up. Read the New Testament and you will get a different perspective all together. The New Testament focuses on what you take up.
Jesus came to save us for life — a better life, a abundant life, a joy-filled life, eternal life! In our mad dash for meaning in life, in our intensity to grab for all the gusto we can, we need to remember the simple truth that life, read life, is found in Jesus Christ.
III. TO BE SAVED THROUGH SOMETHING.
How can this happen? Paul gives us an answer to that question in our text. He says that we are saved through faith (v. 8). The response on our part that lets us in on this salvation is faith. We are saved through faith.
What does faith mean? Faith means to believe in Jesus Christ and to give yourself to Him. It means to believe that He is the Son of God, to believe that He lived on this earth, to believe that He died on the cross for your sins, to believe that God raised Him from the dead, and to believe that He is coming back. Faith means to believe all of those things and because of that belief, to give yourself to Him.
What a great plan! If it took intelligence to be saved, some would miss out on it; because some of us are short on intelligence. If it took money to be saved, some would miss out on it; because some have less money than others.