Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Do You Respond to "Have You Been Saved?"

I bet you've been asked that question at least once in your life (and it came from someone who sincerely desired the best for you.)  Depending on which Christian denomination you were raised in, you might have been a bit stymied for an answer.  Considered globally, it's a small minority of Christians who hold that salvation is a one-time event.  They are mistaken, but innocently so; it is what they have been taught, and they have been shown a selection of biblical passages that seem to support the notion.  But those passages are divorced from a multitude of others that give a fuller explanation of Jesus and the Apostles' teaching on salvation - not to mention the Church's uninterrupted historical understanding from the time of Christ until today.

So how do I respond to the question, "Have you been saved?"  Here is the brief, nuanced answer that my youth minister (Paul Masek) shared with me many moons ago:
"Yes, I have ... I am also in the process of being saved right now; and in the future I hope to be saved - to obtain final salvation with Christ in heaven."
I think it is a marvelous answer.  Let me provide a couple of verses of Scripture in support of each its parts:

Yes, I have been saved
"He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5)

"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21)

I am being saved
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13)

For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." (Gal. 5:5-6)

"..but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7)  
I hope to be saved
From Ash Wednesday's second reading, "Brothers and sisters ... We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God ... we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Cor. 5:20; 6:1)

"Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end" (Hebrews 3:12-14)
As I said, these verses can be multiplied.  Chapter 6 of The God Who is Love can provide you with more.  Hope your Ash Wednesday is going well! 

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