What Does It Mean to 'Get Saved'?

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Get saved

The following is for friends and family who have recently made professions of Faith or those who are "giving religion a try".

What does it mean to "get saved"?  Saved from what?  Does it mean you won't go to hell when you die?  What happens when you are "saved"?  Do you suddenly start being a "good person"?  Do you start acting all churchy and religious?  When you "get saved", is there a list of "dos" and "don'ts" you suddenly must live by?

Well, first typically "getting saved" ISN'T something you just wake up one day and decide to do. 

As a matter of fact, many new Christians are surprised by the experience.  Often, people who "get saved" were not even thinking about God or religion.  They certainly didn't set out to "get saved" and lots of times are even resistant or hostile towards religion.  They may think religion is for dumb people or maybe people who can be better than them, or even worse, they see all that church stuff as hypocritical since they see how supposed Christians act when they aren't in church.

So, how does it happen?  How does a person like this "get saved"?  Well, first of all, no one can really talk a person into it.  As a matter of fact, the Bible says unless God makes the first move, a person WON'T "get saved".  (John 6:64-65)  Even more, the Bible says God has actually picked people BEFORE creation and time to be the people who will "get saved". (Romans 8:29-30)  Not just anyone can "get saved" -- most people don't even want to or care about "getting saved".  But if God predestined it, it will happen no matter what the person has done in their life.  You will even hear stories of really, really bad people who "get saved".

WHAT'S FIRST?

Again, it is like God put a sensor in certain people before He made them, and then at some point in their life, God sends out a signal and the person hears it and responds. (John 10:27)  Not everyone hears the signal.  You can tell whether you are hearing the signal, because you will suddenly become interested in God and who or what He is.  Maybe at first you won't even know what to do.  Maybe you will try all kinds of religions, but if you were one picked to be "saved", you will at some point draw closer to the God of the Bible.

If you think you are hearing this signal from God, I'd first tell you to pray.  Pray that God make Himself known to you.  Now, this isn't likely to be a light coming down on you or a angel or spirit coming into your room.  When you experience the presence of God, you won't really be able to explain it to anyone who has not.  Which makes you wonder why God doesn't just come real visible to you and everyone.  Could you imagine what that would do to you if He did?  You wouldn't really be able to share that with anyone without them thinking you are crazy, so it's good that God does things the way He does.  Oh yeah, to pray to God doesn't mean you have to know some magical words or even some magical way of doing it (folding hands, closing eyes, kneeling -- although that might be showing God you respect His power, it is not required).  You can pray simply by quietly thinking your thoughts to God.  You can do this anywhere, not just in a church.

Now, if you are one that God picked before the world began, you will find yourself more and more praying or talking to God.  But how do you know what God is saying back to you?  Will it be a voice you can hear...even if only in your head?  Not really.  God has a plan for how He talks to us...the Bible.  God worked through time and through people to tell us His plan. 

First, you might have heard of the story of Adam and Eve, the first humans.  No, we didn't evolve from apes, otherwise according to evolution apes should have all died out and been replaced by humans, yet apes are still here. (Gen 1:26-28) The next part of the Adam and Eve story is real important.  You may have heard about how Eve ate the forbidden fruit. And Adam later ate it too. (Gen 2:16-17)  Whether there was an actual fruit tree or not, the story is supposed to show how these first people betrayed God's trust.  What this betrayal did was cause ALL HUMANS after Adam and Eve to be "cursed", unworthy to be part of God's plan. (Romans 5:12) 

This "curse" is what makes it so people need to be "saved", not just from Hell but from themselves, saved from a meaningless life.  Life isn't about just existing.  Life isn't about going to work, going to parties, doing stuff until one day you get old and die.  Also this curse caused it so no human is good enough to "get saved" on their own.  God has to send the signal first.  And the person must understand they aren't good enough to get to God on their own.  No matter how many "good" things you try to do, it isn't enough to buy your way into Heaven.  If people could just do a bunch of good works and get to Heaven, then people would brag about being better than everyone else, and the Bible says ALL people are "sinners", or cursed. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Some people even think that to get saved and go to Heaven, a person must do the "Ten Commandments" (Exodus 20:3-17), but the problem is God says NO ONE can keep the commandments. (James 2:10)  Then why did God give the commandments if we can't keep them?  They were given to show humans that they can't be good enough on their own to get to Heaven.

Getting saved, or being picked by God to be saved is sort of like being picked for a team.  You don't pick yourself, the captain of the team picks you, and in this case God is the captain and He picks people not by what "good" things they have done, but God picks people so He can show how "gracious" and kind He is. (Ephesians 1:4) Since otherwise NO ONE "deserves" to be "saved", but God out of kindness saves some people.

Lastly, you may have heard Christians use the phrase, "born again", because becoming a Christian is like being born again, or starting over new.  All that is in the past is the past and you become a new person. (John 3:3)  Maybe not instantly, but every day you look back on the old you and are amazed that that was ever you.  To be a Christian isn't doing a long list of things and not doing another long list of things.  Instead, you will find that being a Christian you still struggle with things in life, but with God there with you, you have strength to go on.  You are "saved" not just from Hell but from this world and the things that would bring you down and make life meaningless.  You will begin to see that even things that happen that might seem "bad" actually have a purpose.  You will find yourself wanting to know more about God and His plans, by reading the Bible.  The peer pressures of the world will not be so "drama".  You will even find that many of the things you worried about when you weren't a Christian seem silly now.  You will find yourself wanting to be around other Christians.

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