What does it mean to be “saved”?
“Salvation” and “saved” are commonly used words within christianity, but they are usually not used in the way the scriptures use them. This results in people reading their confused understanding of the words back into the scriptures, consequently producing confused interpretations.
Biblical salvation is deliverance from things in this life. The scriptures speak of being saved from sickness, disease, demonic oppression, drowning, perverse generations, enemies, crucifixion, imprisonment, being lost, sin, death, ignorance of the Gospel, escaping the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, etc. Notice how everything refers to things in this life, not the afterlife.
Modern christianity has wrongly tied “salvation” and “being saved” in the scriptures to escaping an eschatological hell. Salvation can only be made to refer to the afterlife if such ideas are read into the text; it must be assumed that the afterlife was being spoken of (because the context never implies it). Yet such a theory cannot be substantiated because a detailed paradigm of the afterlife (like what currently exists) did not even exist in the Jewish mind during Jesus’ time on earth. Most people simply said that all who died, both righteous and wicked, went to “Sheol.” This term meant “the grave” or “the place of the dead” and it had neither a positive nor a negative connotation.
Even thinking of salvation in terms of individuals is largely derived from Platonic dualism and the development of the concept of the autonomous human individual beginning in the Renaissance in the 14th century and peaking in the 18th century Enlightenment. In contrast, salvation in the scriptures is consistently spoken of in cosmic terms.
“I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).
“…I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).
“All flesh will see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11).
“As in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
“Just as the trespass of one man resulted in condemnation for all, so one righteous act resulted in justification and life to all” (Romans 5:18).
When the New Testament says all, it means all (shocking, I know!).
Are you saying everyone is saved?
Yes and no!
I’ll expound upon what I mean by that in the next post.
In the meantime, I encourage you to read over the verses above one more time and consider what they are really trying to say (reading them in context should help). They are pretty crazy! I think you’ll find that pat answers for explaining away the “all” as applied to the salvation of humanity will not suffice. Have you even ever considered that they could be saying that all are saved? Have doctrines you have always been taught prevented such a reading from even entering your mind?
Saved: The Most Misunderstood Word in the Bible