“Is this seat saved?”
“No. But I hope you are!”
When I told one of my best friends, a Christian, this joke, she and I busted out laughing. Another close friend, a non-Christian, was within earshot and either wasn’t paying attention or just didn’t find it amusing at all. After talking to another friend, I realized that this was because “saved” is one of those words that we so often throw around and think everyone understands.
“Christians are always telling me that I need to be saved,” the latter friend said.
I don’t think that’s a good word to use, I told him, unless you know what you’re being saved from. He agreed-what’s the point of being saved from nothing?
Well, in order to be “saved” from anything at all, you need two things: 1.) something that you have to be saved from, usually something dangerous or upsetting, and 2.) a savior- someone to do the saving.
1.) You may have noticed that this world is a bit ridiculous. There are corrupt governments, ruined friendships, broken homes, and millions upon millions of hurting people. This all happens because of sin, which is the downfall of all of us. Because God is entirely perfect and holy, He has to punish sin. It would go against His nature and His promises for Him to let these things slide. And, unfortunately for us sinners, the punishment for sin is death. Everlasting death, and separation from God, otherwise known as hell.
You might not know what’s coming after this life. Death might sound peaceful, even. But separation from God for all eternity will not be pleasant, to say the least. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age,” Jesus explained. “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
2.) Things might seem pretty grim and hopeless at this point, since we all do evil. And basically, the only was to escape the punishment that Jesus spoke of is to not be evil. To be righteous. To be perfect, in fact. Since we’ve already messed that up, we need God Himself to intervene and take this death for us.
And believe it or not, Jesus did. While we were running around doing what we wanted, sometimes in direct opposition to what He wanted, and saying that He doesn’t exist and trying to run our own lives, He took on every single bad thing you have ever done and ever will do and died a really, really terrible death. “The wrath of God was satisfied, for every sin on Him was laid. Here in the death of Christ, I live,” one song says. When we believe that Jesus is God and that He died in our place so that we are not only saved from a dark fate, but also introduced and welcomed into a glorious eternity with the Lord God, we are saved.
Some have compared it to a situation where you’re drowning, and Jesus tosses you a floatation device. But others pointed something else out: you’re already dead– you already drowned with the weight of your sin. We’re “dead in our transgressions,” the Bible says. What Jesus does is actually resuscitate us.
He brings us from death into a life so much better that we can’t even fathom it.
Then, the dwelling of God will be with men, “and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4).
Being “saved” isn’t just a religious catchphrase. It’s actually the difference between life or death, and between eternity with God or without Him.