The topic of “salvation” is a broad topic, which makes it difficult to know just where to begin this study. One of our primary concerns is that many seem to have attached a very specific meaning, and/or a very much oversimplified definition, neither of which satisfies the more comprehensive Biblical revelation regarding the topic, and in some cases, as we will attempt to show, the narrow understanding of the term (or the way in which it is understood and applied personally) promotes a faith that is lacking in the depth and breadth that it should have and may even lead some into a false sense of security regarding their eternal destination (there are many who seem to trust in that which they believe to be God’s “method” for “salvation”, such as baptism, good works, etc., rather than trusting fully in the One Who does the saving!).
For many people, the Biblical concept of “salvation” is a foreign concept – one which they have never studied, they rarely if ever hear about, and thus probably seems strange to them. In some “evangelical” circles, it seems to us that the term “salvation” is used in such a way as to communicate the idea that “salvation” is the ultimate goal – and therefore, “getting people saved” is the primary activity in which one should be engaged. In these circles you will frequently hear about the “plan of salvation”, and questions like: “Are you saved?” Among those who answer “yes” to that question, you will find a variety of understandings as to what it means to be “saved”. The “plan of salvation” seems to usually be centered on the "plan" for how a person “gets saved” (such as the "Romans Road"), as opposed to focusing on God’s plans and actions (including all the various aspects) for saving men.
We fear that, for many, there is an overemphasis on “gaining heaven” and/or “avoiding hell” (both of which are wonderful!) but the real crux of the matter has more to do with:
Believing, trusting and being committed to God
Loving God above ALL else (Deut. 6:5)
Knowing Jesus (Whom to know IS eternal life! - John 17:3)
Righteousness (Matt. 5:20; 6:33; Acts 10:35), and
Holiness ("without which no one will see the Lord" - Hebrews 12:14)
Those who believe, trust and are committed to God, who love God above all else, and who know Jesus personally, HAVE eternal life – God will mercifully spare them from wrath and judgment and He will graciously grant a heavenly home, both of which are consequences and benefits of believing, trusting, committing, loving and knowing Him.
Following is a quote from a book entitled Finding The Reality of God written by Paris W. Reidhead: “For many people in our churches these days, salvation is all in their minds…. They know the verses, but they do not know Him; whom to know is life eternal. It is little wonder then that many are disillusioned with Christianity. They have yet to realize that salvation is NOT a plan, NOT in scripture verses, NOT in ordinances, and NOT in a scheme of theology. Salvation is NOT a decision and NOT a pronouncement of an evangelist, a pastor or a teacher….salvation is Christ Himself. He is our salvation. He is our life. The Christian faith is based on the cardinal truth that salvation is not giving mental assent to a set of doctrinal statements: Salvation is a PERSON – Jesus Christ. Misunderstanding this point has created a generation of disillusioned and ineffective Christians. Christ did not SEND us salvation, He died to BECOME our salvation.”
Mr. Reidhead goes on to state that: “Did you know that no one in the Bible claimed he was “saved”? Paul expressed his new inner life this way: “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me.” But no one in the early church ever used the word “saved” in declaring his personal testimony. I believe they sensed that “salvation” is such an immense word that there would be no particular place or time in the Christian’s pilgrimage when all that the word implies could be fulfilled by one man living and walking in time.” God’s purpose in “salvation” is not just to give us a hell-insurance policy and a ticket to heaven and to allow us to ignore or neglect all the things that accompany Biblical “salvation”.
A related link on our site may prove helpful. Please click HERE