Two Ways to Understand What It Means to be Saved

In most cases the New Testament uses the words “save” and “salvation” to refer to deliverance from sin (Matthew 1:21; Mark 16:16; Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 3:21).

But we also find a number of uses of the same words in reference to deliverance from physical calamities.

Rescue from danger

Today we speak of someone being saved from a fire, from drowning, etc. Note these biblical uses:

The panicking disciples woke Jesus during the storm they thought was about to sink their boat: “Save us, Lord; we are perishing” (Matthew 8:25).

Luke records that during another storm on another sea, “all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned” (Acts 27:20; see verse 31). But by God’s mercy, everyone made it safely to shore.

Cure from a bodily affliction

“Whenever He [Jesus] entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured” (Mark 6:56). The word translated “cured” is the same usually translated “saved.”

What this teaches us

These two non-religious uses of “saved“ help us understand that when Christ saves us from our sins, we are being rescued from a danger far worse than the threat of bodily death. We are also healed of a soul sickness that unless treated would result in our spiritual death forever in hell.

“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound! /That saved a wretch like me! /I once was lost, but now I’m found /Was blind, but now I see” (John Newton).

hand of drowning person-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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When Trouble Comes

What they faced

When Daniel learned that Nebuchadnezzar intended to execute the wise men of Babylon if they could not tell him his dream and interpret it, he went to his friends “so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven . . .” (Daniel 2:17-18).

Centuries later Peter and John were forbidden to preach Christ. They informed their friends and then together they “lifted their voices to God with one accord . . .” (Acts 4:18, 23, 24).

How they responded

In both cases: 1) they were threatened by the authorities, 2) they went to their fellow believers, 3) they prayed, 4) God answered them mightily.

Note: Before the crisis came, they already had a strong relationship with God and His people.

They had their resources ready.

Do we?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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The Courage to Go

Ready to go

We remember Todd Beamer for his courageous leadership in the face of extreme danger aboard Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

“Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!

Jesus faced a far deadlier peril. When He announced, “Let us go to Judea again” (John 11:7), His disciples protested that His enemies there had just tried to kill Him.

Willing to go

Jesus explained His intention to go there to raise Lazarus, “so that you may believe . . . .” Bringing others to faith was more important to Him than His own personal safety.

His disciples had only a vague idea of what they would be facing. Jesus knew only too well.

But still He said, “Let’s go.”

And so they went.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

Adapted from an article by JDG in the daily devotional guide Power for Today

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Dealing with a potential risk

A crotch in an oak tree near our house is rotting. Other dead wood is evident here and there.

This may be due to a severe ice storm that broke limbs all over town. Then too, some ants made their home in this same tree some time ago.

Is the tree endangering the house? Should it be trimmed way back or removed entirely?


A far greater danger!

Is there something in our lives that could jeopardize our eternal welfare—perhaps a sinful habit, a questionable friendship, a rotten attitude?

Is anything worth going to hell for? Jesus said, in essence, “Whatever hinders you, get rid of it now before it destroys you” (Matthew 5:27-30; see 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Hebrews 12:1-2).

How we respond reveals whether or not we really believe Him.

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Life endangered

When my mother answered the door, her neighbor said, “Mrs. Gibson, did you know your house is on fire?” Flames were shooting out the upstairs windows. Do you suppose she stayed where she was? Escape was the only sensible option.

A far greater danger!

John the Baptist urged his hearers to flee from the wrath of God (Matthew 3:7). Peter writes of escaping “the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:4).

My mother felt no need to leave until alerted to the danger. Will we be motivated to escape from certain damnation until we see the consequences of our sins?

Thank God, He has provided a way out! (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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