Stop Trying To Get Saved -Greg Albrecht
Are you saved, brother?” the earnest young man asked me. He continued, “If you’re not saved, you need to get saved.” I responded to him, “Before I reply, may I ask you what it is you believe I need to be saved from?” The young man didn’t miss a beat (as I suspected he wouldn’t) and immediately rattled off the stock answer he’d been taught.
The young evangelist wanted me to get saved so he could save another soul from the eternal torment of the fires of hell. He told me I needed to get saved from my sins so I would not go to hell. So I asked, “Let me get this straight. I need to get saved from my sins so I won’t go to hell?” “Exactly,” he said.
Locking eyes with him, I evangelized the young evangelist. “So, it seems to me that you believe the primary reason I need to get saved is to avoid the pain and anguish of eternal torment. Further, if I get what you’re saying and why you’re saying it, if I get saved, you will have saved me from eternal torture in hell. It seems to me that your definition of getting saved is all about what you and I do, or fail to do.”
I then explained what I was given when I received the grace God so generously provides: “Jesus saved me from the self-righteousness, arrogance and legalistic religion that once enslaved me so that he could live in me and transform me into who and what he wants me to be. He rescued me from the clutches of performance-based religion so that I can be free—free in Christ both now and forever. Nothing I did saved me. I didn’t get saved. Rather, I accepted what Jesus has already done for me. I received God’s love, and it is because of his love that he saved me—not by my works but by his grace.”
Further, I said, “speaking of getting saved can lead us away from the grace of God. When we or our religion presumes to take any spiritual credit whatsoever for any actions of behaviors, we are more likely to be in a relationship with religion than we are in a relationship with our loving God—a relationship that I define as by faith alone, grace alone and Christ alone.”
Separation and Reconciliation
After my conversation with the impassioned, fervent young man was over I continued to think about this term getting saved.
I realize I have two major problems with the phrase “getting saved”—1) “Getting” is antithetical to the gospel. We are given God’s grace and love. 2) “Saved” is a biblical word, but in much of Christendom it has come to mean being saved from our sins. However, the biblical usage is much more than being saved from sin. In fact, the Bible often uses the word “saved” or “salvation” when the context has nothing to do with sin. “Saved” and “salvation” are primarily used by the Bible to describe being set free from slavery, either physically or spiritually, or both.
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