There is a popular song by Israel Houghton that goes like this:
What does it mean to be saved?
Isn’t it more than just a prayer to pray?
More than just a way to heaven?
What does it mean to be His?
To be formed in His likeness?
Know that we have a purpose.
To be salt and light in the world
Or even that NXGN song that keeps going round and round in my head – New Creation by Eddie James.
Now guys, what does that song mean to you? What does it mean to be in Christ?
We all probably know this song. Most of us have probably used these words – salt and light; saved; I’m a new Creation but what do they really mean?
Salvation is redemption; it is the restoration of mankind from what we were to who we are supposed to be. Have you ever heard that passage from the Bible that goes like this: All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God? (Romans 3:23) – That is the mankind that needs restoration. I think I need to break it down further. Remember the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. When they were first create, they were cool with God; chilling in the garden that God shared with them; eating and drinking and doing whatever they liked completely naked. They had an open relationship with God where nothing was out of place; just one massive party with their Daddy.
That was until they sinned by eating out of the forbidden fruit which gave them the knowledge of good and evil and then they had to hide from God out of shame and because realised that they should cover their nakedness. What they did here was symbolic; they wanted to KNOW stuff like God and in turn, they became a god unto themselves. And our God is a God that does not like to share His Glory with anyone so He was furious and then punished them accordingly and sent them packing from the Garden of Eden. This is the ‘fallen state’ of mankind that I was talking about; from then onwards we could not return to this fellowship garden. Why were they sent out of the garden? Sin. If sin was not committed, we would still be in the Garden of Eden.
Salvation therefore is the restoration of mankind to the Garden of Eden; saving us from sin and putting us back in the Garden of Eden where we are able to resume uninterrupted fellowship with God.
Who is salvation for? Who needs to be saved?
I don’t know about you guys but I remember that when I was a kid, reading the Bible, I would say to myself – ‘Why did God create Eve? She was the one that caused all these and now I have to suffer pain in childbirth and all. Or why did God create the serpent?’ I would even say sometimes ‘If I was the one, I would have listened to God and obeyed Him’.
It’s easy to say this stuff. It’s easy to say that God should have given us a chance in the Garden of Eden too since we weren’t the ones that failed the test. It’s easy to say all manners of things but let’s look at it this way. Let’s forget that the sins of Adam and Even have any effect on us and let’s just think about ourselves for a bit.
Ever since you’ve been born, have you not committed sins? I know I have. I’ve lied, I’ve eaten out of my immediate brother’s plantain when he was not looking, I’ve taken 2 meats out of the pot instead of 1, I’ve idolised myself, my phones, my friends, I’ve put other things before God, I’ve called God’s name in vain many times, I’ve used swear words, I’ve been rude to my parents; the list is endless. Bear in mind, any one of the stuff I’ve listed above can be classed as a sin. So that means I myself have done stuff that has got me kicked out the Garden of Eden.
Even then, remember what I quoted from the Bible a few minutes ago, Romans 3:23. Let’s read it quickly.
So who then needs to be saved? Everyone.
What are we being saved from?
These questions might sound funny but I just need you guys to have a deeper understanding of this. What are we being saved from? From sin. We need to be saved from that pitfall that we as humans continuously fall into.
Also, the Bible says that the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]. What does this mean? Quite simply, this means that whoever sins is going to hell [second death]. So we need to be saved from this second death in order to meet with God and Jesus in Heaven.
Who is the Saviour?
In John 4, Jesus had just finished a mission in Judea and was on His way to Galilee via Samaria. He took a pit-stop and sat by a well at Samaria. He was well thirsty because He didn’t even have a donkey to ride on; He walked by foot with his disciples. He had been walking for about 30 miles. You can imagine how hot and thirsty He must have been.
So at this well, he met one woman and asked her to help him get some water to drink and she was like “Oi fam, you ain’t from this ends. This ain’t your postcode. Allow it”. I’m serious. She basically went to him like “You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Better know there have been postcode wars from back in the day.
Anyways, Jesus kept talking to her and told her that if she knew if He was, she would serve Him. That reminds me of some things. During my last trip, I went to * and then the receptionist was basically getting rude and was being totally unprofessional towards me until she found out who I was. It was deep!
Yeah. This is what happened to Jesus. He then had to tell her stuff about herself like how she had not1, not2, not 3 or 4 but 5 husbands. That’s not even the shocker! He then revealed that she was with another man now who was not even any of the 5 husbands. Jerry Springer kinda stuff – she was amazed that He knew these things but she still didn’t believe He was the Saviour. Let’s read v25 and v26.
Do we now know who the Saviour is? Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity. Keep that in mind; I know that could be confusing but just keep it in mind for now. We’ll talk about that one of these days.
Why is He saving us? Why didn’t he just leave us be?
Jesus came to give us salvation because He did not want to see us perish in Hell [John 8:51]. He has compassion for the lost souls; no one forced Him to do it [John 10:18, 14-16, 28]. He wants to give us eternal life. He wants us to be free from sin [MUST READ: John 10:34]
John 3:3 – We need to be saved in order to see the Kingdom of God and what He is asking from us is that we believe that He is the Son of God.
What’s new about being saved? What’s the difference?
The difference between a saved person and an unsaved person is quite clear; although there are some unsaved people who might look on the outside like they are saved but deep down, they are not.
A saved person, i.e. born again, will be a new creation – would turn away from their sins. This person will be a friend of God. This person will be able to communicate with God with no hindrance because they are in a relationship with God through Jesus. This person will go to Heaven after Judgement day.
How are we saved?
Now this is THE question. How are we saved?
In the Old Testament, people used to give kill animals (such as lambs, rams, goats and so on) as sacrifices to God for forgiveness of sins on a yearly basis. This was usually conducted by the priests. But God then spoke in Israel 1 saying that He really wasn’t interested in this; but He was interested in a change of behaviour and in our purity.
This is why He sent His son to the earth to die for us; He shed His blood as a sacrifice for our sin so as to end all other sacrifices. That’s what it means when we say “He gave His life atonement for sin”. This is what we mean when we say “You are the Lamb upon the throne”. He died the death of those animals just to save us.
Also, I used to think to myself “why did Jesus allow Himself to be treated like a common thief when He had done nothing wrong? Is He not God, the Son? Why didn’t He free Himself?” But let’s read John 12:24. Jesus could have decided to keep living on earth; walking from Nigeria to Congo or maybe He’d have a car by now but this would have benefited just a few. Also, it’s hard to believe that someone can die and rise again so He subjected Himself to death; He allowed Himself to die so that He rise up from the dead so that we would find it easier to believe and this way, He can reach out to the whole world “and opened the floodgate that all may go in”.
It is not enough to sing these songs during worship or sing these hymns on thanksgiving Sundays – singing them without being saved is basically you practicing for BGT or X-Factor; nothing more. It is not enough to come to church every Sunday – that is church attendance NOT salvation. It is not enough to hear this message for the sake of hearing it. We NEED Salvation – urgently, desperately, immediately. I’m telling you, we need it NOW.
Jesus has done His part in the Salvation business, what’s our own role? We have to believe! I could read you the sinner’s prayer and ask you to recite it after me a billion times but if you don’t understand what you’re saying, you’re never gonna get that salvation. John 11:25-27 – Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He is the Messiah, Son of God.
We need to obey God’s words – John 8:31. Verse 47 of the same chapter says that we do not hear from God because we do not belong to Him. Salvation is necessary to bridge the gap between us and God so that we can hear Him when He speaks to us.
When we are saved, the Spirit of God will dwell in us [John 6:35, 8:38-39]. Also, John 5:24-25, only salvation through Jesus Christ can bring out eternal life.
How do we know we are truly saved?
When we are truly saved, we no longer desire to stop doing bad because we are going to be caught out or because we’ve matured past the stage of stealing our brother’s dodo but we want to stop sinning because God wants us to be Holy. It is when we stop sinning because we know that God cannot talk to someone who has a filthy mind – filth is not just porn; filth is any type of sin at all. That’s how ‘neat’ God is. Everything must be in order.