What Is Saved?

      Sometime about age 13 or so I recall a revival tent & intense preaching on the “saved” theme coming out of it.  We threw rocks at that tent in some kind of youthful protest or entertainment. (That preacher put down his Bible & came out of that tent like an athlete & ran us boys down.)  I recall a girl in high school who had a bumper sticker on her car “Jesus Saves”.  Now she might have been the most un-attractive female in that school and the saved message on her car didn’t help her image.  It was after high school I learned what the word “saved” meant by divine appointment. On a school maintenance crew I was assigned to work with a retired missionary named D.L. who laid the "word" on me every day that summer.  I got "the whole enchalada" a couple years later, just after returning from Viet Nam.
      Now at least two things are clear to me.  (1)  Before being saved, I wasn’t saved.   (2)  After being saved my life changed dramatically.   Concerning  #1, This concept rattles the whole world. Man has the idea that he is quite capable & self sufficient.  Don’t need no “saved”, and don’t even want to be “saved”.  “Jesus saves, Prudential invests, so what,” – this attitude is prevalent today & I had my share of it.  But the missionary D.L. made it clear from scripture that God defines us as naturally unsaved.  Acts 4:12   Concerning  #2, The next morning my cigarette habit was GONE.  I could feel the Holy Spirit  “high” and my conscience was working like never before.  A profound change (2 Cor 5:17) had come from divine quarters,  not from any resolution or my own power.  But I knew I was a sinner & needed salvation.  What about the moral /religious man – do they need “saved”?
     There was a Roman soldier named “Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally, and prayed constantly to God”   Acts 10:1-2   But he wasn’t ”saved”,  and the apostle Peter was sent to him by an angel (divine appointment?) to hear the GOSPEL message.  This is what Peter told Cornelius – “he (J.C.) commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he (J.C.) is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead . . .  every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”  v. 42-43 (All of Acts chapter 10 is interesting, but chapter 16 just knocks my socks off.)    Now if this Cornelius character needed to be saved as righteous as he was, where does the moral person come in ??  (After all, it was moral/religious leaders that had the Lord J.C. put to death.)
     So what is “saved”?  It might be useful to look at Romans 10:9  “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  So – “saved” from what?  Living & dying without God, which can be a losing proposition.  (Ephesians 2:12)   It appears from the New Testament that we all need the GOSPEL message & the salvation that flows from it.  Are YOU saved?  If not, why not?  Yes there is a natural pride/ego barrier that can be hard to cross.  But for over 40 years I have tried this “saved” lifestyle & found it to be life changing, real,  and worth making a stand for & with Christ.   And the “saved” might have a funky image by this world’s standards, and there is a persecution issue that Christians have to deal with. But the Spirit and Blessing of God on one’s life is like nothing else offered by this world, and of course the prospect of Heaven is just too intense to imagine.  Then Christ did talk about Hell . . .  Choose Jesus, He is alive.     See also link #28  “What’s In It For Me.”

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