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Self-Examination: Do I Really Know What I Am Saved From?

Many people within the church use terms like “I’m saved.” We’ve all heard it. It doesn’t matter what denomination you’re from (to be quite honest, if we’re believers in Jesus who stand upon the Bible as His word, then we must put aside small nuances of doctrinal beliefs and stand unified in Christ), this term has been thrown around and bandied about your whole existence within your church home. But do you know what it means to be saved? Do you know what you’re saved from and for? I hope that, as you reach the end of this, you’ll take some time to pause and reflect each and every day, throughout the day, on just what you’ve been saved from and who saved you and how. Perhaps not the best use of English, but the love of Christ is so deep and wide and high and vast that, as C.S. Lewis put it, the further in we go the bigger it gets.

Consider first what we’ve been saved from: we all know the word “sin,” it’s become a buzzword and byword, with multiple definitions depending on who you’re talking to. Ask any kid at youth group about sin, and the majority will tell you what many grown ups believe: sins are the “bad” things that I do, and being right with God is being “good.” On it’s face this may seem like a good definition, but I think it’s missing the mark (being that sin is an archery term, I felt that this is appropriate!). We define sin as “bad” and righteousness as “good” to make ourselves feel better about the lives we lead. Many within churches even believe that if you’re bad, you go to hell, and if you’re good you go to heaven. We look at people who lie, murder and steal and say “I’m not as bad as that guy, so I must not be a sinner.” Yet sin is far more sinister than that.

Sin is, to put it simply, rebellion. When the Bible says we’re born to sin, it means we’re born in to rebellion. When the Bible says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) it means that we all are in rebellion. Our definitions of good or bad don’t matter. Sin is the absolute absence of God in our lives, to the degree that it is a great sin to do good and say “See? I don’t need God to be or do good.” Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler that only God is good (Mark 10:18). Sin is the absence of God, no matter how good or bad we think we are. And all of us are born in to rebellion. Look at the way we justify ourselves, especially when compared to or confronted with Scripture. We make every excuse in the world to not follow the commands of Christ, and start listing our credentials. Dear friend, if you or I were to stand before God today with only our credentials, we would fall far short of His standard, and be numbered among the rebels, doomed to judgement.

It is not you or I who can save us. Our actions, words, or even deeds can save us. It is through Jesus Christ and Christ alone that we are saved. Christ was born in to this rebellious world, yet, in every way, He was obedient to the Father His whole life. He never strayed from His Father’s will, He never sinned, never disobeyed, and kept His heart fixed wholly on the Father. As an author explains his books, Jesus, as fully God and fully human, interpreted the scriptures to draw people back to the Father who loves them, yet He was despised and rejected, captured, tortured and crucified among rebels, the only perfect and innocent man in all of History. And He did this knowing our rebellion, knowing who we would be and what we would do. He knew we would despise and reject Him in our own right, and justify ourselves against His standard…and He died anyway! We are saved FOR Him and BY Him, because He loves and desires us. He bled and died for us, to pardon us, that we may have new life, both now and in the time to come. He rose again on the third day, and allows us to walk in the newness of life, and some day we will be perfected in His presence for all eternity. We were bought with a price for a purpose. We are not our own. Let us, then, live that way! Romans 3:21-31 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

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