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Saved from What?

A while back, I said something that could accidentally offend another in the discussion. I quickly clarified, and another friend said: "good save." Stores tell us to come on in and "SAVE!" Someone who is drowning might be saved by a lifeguard. The word 'save' has many meanings. The way we tell the difference between the uses of 'save' is by paying attention to the context.

The same holds true in The Bible. Foundational passages make it clear that we are saved entirely by God's Grace, and that no effort, improvement, or work on our part is needed. It is a free gift. But there are also passages that seem to tell us we must do various things in order to be saved. How confusing is that?

It turns out that Greek and Hebrew (the original languages the Bible was written in, among others) are like English, in that 'save' is used for a variety of purposes. So, you have to ask yourself what the context in The Bible is telling you. If you read carefully, you'll find that being saved by living a good life refers to being saved from the consequences of a bad life. It does not mean that you have to save your own Eternal Soul by doing good things, being a good person, or hanging out with the right people.

To draw present-day analogies, are you worried about having a heart attack? Eat right, rest right, and get plenty of exercise and you will be saved. Do you want to avoid bankruptcy? Have a budget, live within your means, and you will be saved. These sentences aren't trying to tell you how to be saved from sin and death, they are telling you how to avoid terrible consequences.

So, when reading a troubling passage about being "saved" in The Bible, ask yourself: "Saved from what?" Saved from my sins so that I can be with Jesus forever? Saved from being tricked? Saved from living a pointless life? Not all saves are the same.

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