SAVED FROM WHAT?
What must I do to be saved? This question was asked by the jailer at Ephesus and it is asked by countless thousands each day as people consider their soul's circumstances. I remember asking that question in my heart many years ago. I still remember today the answer I received. Clearly, as though sent by the Holy Spirit Himself, the question came back to me - "Saved from what?" What did I want to be saved from? What was it that was flashing fear and dread through my soul at night? I knew in a instant what it was I wanted to be saved from. I wanted to saved from the awful dread of judgement for the sins I had committed. Not that I had a history of dark or dastardly sins. I had some petty larceny experiences but nothing that would have put me at odds with the civil authorities. I had found the lie to be a convenient, if sparsely used, aid in times of distress. Yet I knew a rebellion and discord with God that kept my soul tumultuous.
I wanted to be saved from that dread, that fearful looking forward to judgement. And that is what I told the Spirit who had raised the question in my heart - "Saved from what?" The Spirit raised another question for me to ponder - "So, if I turn off the guilt and fear so that you no longer live in dread of judgement - will that satisfy your need?" Somehow I saw instantly what the Spirit meant - was I better off going to Hell and not dreading it? Or was I better off when I was aware of the impending destruction awaiting me?
"No!, No!," I cried back to the Spirit who had awakened me in ways I had never dreamed about before. "I want to be saved from more than the fear and the dread of Hell. I want to be saved from Hell. I want to be saved from going to Hell. I do not want to go to Hell. I want to be saved from the judgement and condemnation of my sins only because the judgement and condemnation of sin is what sends me to Hell."
"Is that so," replied the Spirit who now had my full direct attention. "You may consider that done, if that is what you desire." "You are," the Spirit continued to explain to me, " Saved by Grace through Faith' as was clearly taught to you from the Bible since you were a child." You must simply want it so much you are willing to take forgiveness by way of your repentance and restitution."
I set out to undo as best I could the wrongs I had done and the hurts I had inflicted. This was much harder than I could have believed before I started in the endeavor. The joys and peace that followed were also more than I could have imagined.
There were also more conversations with the Spirit that occurred in my heart as I sought to find more about the spiritual experience I was living. The Spirit continued to raise questions for me to ponder. If I am saved from guilt, not because the guilt is harmful, but, because of the judgement the guilt told me I was under, it is the judgement I had to fear not the guilt. And if it was the judgement that was the problem, then the solution was not forgiveness but prevention. Judgement came from sin. "If I could control the sin", I thought, "I could eliminate the judgement. If I could eliminate the judgement, then I would wipe out all of the guilt and fear and dread." The Spirit reminded me of Simeon's words when he prophesied about the Lord Jesus when the baby Jesus was laid in his aged arms on the day Jesus was presented at the temple when Jesus' was one week old. "He shall save his people from their sins".
"So that is it", I suddenly comprehended what was so clearly revealed in the Bible. Jesus came to save us from our sins. He came to make the sinner into the saint. He came to change the heart. Jesus came to make a new creature of me so that the I, who so liked the pleasures of sin but hated the judgement for sin, could have power not to sin. Fear of judgement and guilt could not change my heart, but Jesus did. No longer do I struggle with guilt. I cling to his promises that I can be "more than a Conqueror" over sin. Sin no longer has dominion over me or my desires.
One day it dawned on me. "I AM Saved!" I had done what I must do to be saved. I had turned from my wicked ways. I had obeyed. I had believed. None of those had saved me. I had learned to hear and to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. My learning and listening had help me grow, but that had not saved me. No - it was Jesus. When I let Him, he came into my heart and recreated me so that I was a new creature who had the power to live above sin.
Don't get me wrong. I have not become divine. I still make my share of mistakes. My judgement is still faulty. But my motives have been sanctified so much that I surprise myself at times when I realize what a change Jesus made in my life. Best of all I know I am saved from the sin.