Is there more to salvation than “getting saved”?

26 04 2017

iStock_000007201305XXLargeOne of the primary aims of evangelical Christianity has been for people to “get saved”. It’s been the purpose of evangelistic meetings, crusades, and Sunday morning sermons. People are invited to repent of their sins, seek God’s forgiveness and then receive the free gift of eternal life. The message is that unless you do these things your chances of winding up in hell after death are pretty good.

While this message is essentially true it has greatly confused one’s understanding of what salvation is all about. There is more to becoming “ok” with God than clicking off the boxes, following certain steps of repentance and confession or performing a series of disciplines. It is more than having your ticket punched for heaven or a get-out-of-hell card.

As a young boy, I remember the many times I “got saved”. Being concerned about my eternal future, I responded to many “evangelistic” invitations, yet was never really sure I got it. I was told that I could be sure because the Bible said so. All I had to do was accept God’s free gift. While that was all true, it still did not satisfy an inner longing for something more.

I have since discovered that salvation is not just about a process but getting to know a person. You may pray a prayer, repent of your sins, and say you’re sorry without being aware that you are really entering into a relationship. You can make all the promises to God you want but the real truth is that something happens in you.

Salvation is not just getting free from something, it’s being connected to someone. It’s coming to a knowing, the knowing of a person. Having eternal life is not a blessed state of being but a person to know (Jn. 17:3). Knowing you have that relationship is what distinguishes you from just being another religious performer.

Getting saved is pictured in the Bible as a marriage (Eph. 5:31,32). A man leaves his parents, meets his new bride, and they become one through a physical and emotional “knowing” of each other. A marriage is not really a marriage if that knowing has not occurred. Knowing Christ is much the same. It’s realizing that you have a spiritual consciousness of another person in your life and that is Christ. Together, you are one.

We have a generation of Christians that are living their lives by the Bible and moral principles but have no intimate knowledge of Christ. They have a respect for God and how to serve Him but have no personal knowledge of Him. They are experiencing what has been called “the Jesus deficit disorder”.  They know a thing but not a living person.
Salvation needs to move from external, propositional truth to an internal relationship, the true reality. It should move from something not just done to us to something done in us. The living Christ is born in our hearts through faith and He can become real in our consciousness as part of our lives, like knowing you have a spouse. This is why once Paul met Christ he gave up everything to really get to know Him more. He found that nothing compared to having this intimate “knowing” of Jesus as his life (Phil. 3:8-10). He is there, in us too, ready to be known.

What has been your experience when you got saved? Did you just acquire a new set of standards for living or did you come to know the greatest person you will ever meet? Move on from just being saved from hell to growing in your knowledge of Him (2 Pet. 3:18). You’ll find “being saved” is a lot more exciting and fulfilling.

 


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2 responses

30 04 2017
Steve

I know I want to experience this Christ in me relationship but how can you tell it’s Christ at work and not just living by following the rules.?

Steve

1 05 2017
nwmenscoalition

Since you have died, what now lives as you is Christ (Gal. 2:20). He is living as you! You are Christ in Steven form, as absurd as that may sound it is the true reality of your life. Just be yourself and let Him take care of what you might consider all the negatives of your life. Those “negatives” are there for Him to “swallow up” and to let Him be seen (2 Cor. 12:10, 1 Cor. 15:54). If you are concerned about trying to live as Christ, then you are operating with the old, false self. Live free!

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