What Does It Mean to Be Saved? Paying Attention to the Verb

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

In yesterday's reflection, we began to consider the meaning of the phrase "For it is by grace you have been saved." We saw that the context of Ephesians 2 reveals that from which we have been saved: death, bondage to spiritual powers, fleshly cravings, and divine wrath. Thus, salvation is more than just a ticket to Heaven when you die. Rather, it touches and transforms your life in this age as well as in the age to come.

The Greek verb translated as "to be saved" confirms this broad understanding of salvation. This verb is used in the Gospels, for example, to describe instances of physical healing. In Mark 5, a woman seeking healing touches Jesus' robe and is miraculously healed. Jesus says to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you " (5:34), using exactly the same verb as in Ephesians 2:8. Thus, the verb "to be saved" doesn't refer only to what we might call eternal salvation. It also suggests healing, that is, restoration to the wholeness God intends for us.

Often, Christians use the language of salvation in a narrower sense, describing only what happens after death. To be sure, it is wonderful to be saved in this way. But, from a biblical perspective, God's salvation is more inclusive. We who are saved by God's grace begin to experience God's shalompeace and wholeness, live as it was meant to benow, even as we anticipate the fullness of shalom that is reserved for the future. (As we'll see in the second half of Ephesians 2, salvation transforms, not just individuals, but also our relationships and the social order of our world.)

The good news embedded in the verb "to be saved" is that God is at work in you, mending your brokenness, healing your wounds, helping you to be the whole person he intends you to be. God wants you to experience life in greater abundance and to work through you to foster wholeness in this world, even as you await the joy of Heaven.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How have you experienced God's salvation in your life? What areas of your life are still in need of God's healing touch?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for saving me. Thank you for delivering me from death, spiritual slavery, bondage to the flesh, and eternal judgment. Thank you for allowing me to begin to experience salvation in this life, even as I await the complete salvation that is yet to come. Thank you for healing my wounds, softening my heart, and reorienting my passions.

Lord, continue your gracious work in me, making me more and more like Christ. Continue to transform my thinking and feeling, my speaking and acting. May my life reflect the reality of your salvation each day.

To you be all the glory! Amen.