Book: By Grace You Have Been Saved— Now What?

Almost anyone who claims to be a Christian—especially a Protestant—will tell you they are “saved.” But what is salvation? Though entirely unbiblical, most believe that being “saved” means they have a one-way ticket to “heaven.” Such “salvation,” however, has little bearing on one’s present day-to-day life.

What does the Bible really teach about salvation? Why exactly do we need to be “saved”—and saved from what? To truly understand, we must first briefly examine why God created man in the first place. Moreover, we must comprehend the sordid condition in which humanity presently finds itself.

After creating the heavens and the earth, God made the first man, Adam, from the dust of the ground—forming him in His own image (Gen. 1:27). Adam’s subsequent sin, however, ushered in what the apostle Paul calls this “present evil world [age]” (Gal. 1:4), over which Satan, our enemy, temporarily rules as the “god of this world [age]” (II Cor. 4:4). Moreover, Adam’s transgression brought sin and death to all mankind: “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Because of Adam’s sin, the entire human family has inherited what Paul calls the “law” of sin and death (Rom. 7:17-24; 8:2). Thus, it is “appointed unto men once to die, and after this, the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

Yet—as few realize—God has a great overall purpose for mankind. Incredibly, He is in the process of creating many spiritual sons and daughters in His very own image! The physical creation exists to support this ongoing process of spiritual creation—of bringing many spirit-born sons and daughters into God’s family. “Because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:10-11). God says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.... And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters...” (II Cor. 6:16, 18). As the apostle Paul explains, those who are willingly led by God’s Spirit are the children of God now—and are destined to become glorified sons and daughters at Jesus’ return. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [even now] the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ— if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him” (Rom. 8:14-17).

Nevertheless, the human family is seemingly at an impasse: We were created to inherit eternity as members of God’s family, yet we are “sold under sin” and appointed unto death! Indeed, Paul writes that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and that “the wages [what we all have earned] of sin is death...” (Rom. 6:23). We all have the death penalty of sin hanging over us! But God has made a way for man to be delivered from this certain death. While the wages of sin is death, “the gift of God”—the gift of His salvation by grace—“is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Salvation, then, ultimately means being delivered from death—to live forever (through the first resurrection) as an eternal spirit being.

But what about the here and now—how does “being saved” affect your life in the present? What changes take place in your life when you become “saved”? Are you only saved from eternal death? As we have seen, Satan is the “god” of this present, evil age. However, true Christians—those who, as Jesus instructed, pray to be delivered from the “evil one” (Matt. 6:13)—are even now “personally rescued” from Satan’s “power of darkness” (Col. 1:13). Indeed, if you are “saved,” you are no longer subject to the “authority of Satan” (Acts 26:18).

Through salvation, God also has broken the power of sin in your life. As Paul wrote, “sin shall not rule over you because you are not under [the condemnation of the] law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). Likewise, you are also “saved” from your own carnal mind—which was subject to the “law of sin and death.” Notice: “Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2). Moreover, as a “saved” Christian you are no longer part of this godless society: “[You] are not of the world...” (John 17:16; also see John 15:19). Christ proclaimed, “But be courageous! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)—and thus stands ready to deliver you from this present evil society.

Indeed, the salvation of God is wonderful beyond description— and includes so much more than just being “saved” from eternal death. But how does God grant such salvation—and what is required of you if you are to receive God’s salvation by grace?