What it Means to be Saved

A look at the important religious word saved from a historical literary perspective.

Saved in the English contemporary language has many nuances and evokes powerful emotions. In Evangelical circles, this word is the basis for religious conversion. It is a required action to get into heaven while others see it as an archaic and outdated term that religious people fervently force on contemporary society. Many more have taken religion right out of the definition and use it for referring to the saving of data.

There are many accounts of the word saved throughout the New Testament. In this case, I have restricted the word saved as it relates to when Jesus often said, “Your faith has made you well.” The word saved doesn’t seem apparent here, but it exists in the original Greek. The Greek here, σέσωκέν sesōken can mean saved or made well. This difference between selecting made well and saved by the translator shows that the meaning has a much wider semantic range than supposed and begs a re-evaluation. What did the Greek verb, σῴζω sōzō, historically mean to the ancient writers and how can we apply it today?

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Evangelicals on the Problem of Being Saved

What does it mean to be saved? It depends on who you ask.

In general, the modern definition of saved according to many contemporary Evangelical Churches is a defined spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. How this relationship begins and the nuances that publicly confirm such a declaration varies slightly between denominations. The rudiments consist of an acknowledgment of one’s shame, the inability to correct one’s behavior, the need for divine intervention, and the promise of a changed life.

Evangelicals believe the only route for a divine intervention is through the mediation of Jesus Christ who substitutes Himself as both the sufferer and the redeemer on each person’s behalf. This portrait of Jesus, according to Evangelical doctrine, is the only way to forge a relationship with God. However, There is a problem here. What ritual does one have to do that both confirms yourself and works within the guidelines of the Church as being saved? This is where diversity starts to creep in.

Typically in Evangelical circles, a verbal confession is required to enact such an arrangement and a prerequisite to gain entrance into heaven. This declaration is volitionally done and expressed both privately and publicly.

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