There is an important question that “haunts Christianity” which Emergent leader Tony Jones asked his blog community today: What Are We Being Saved From?
Often when I ask this question to people who say they are saved, they cannot give me an answer. To most evangelical Christians, their answer would be hell, but there is so much more. But what do the Emergents say? Most of the responses to Jones’ question completely miss the biblical answer. One typical Emergent deconstructionist answers, “Who is ‘we’ and what does ‘saved’ mean?” A more responsible answer from one commentator was, “power of sin, evil, and death.”
Among biblically-literate Christians, the answer to Jones’ question should be obvious and there should be no need for a conversation about it. I will take my opportunity here to join the conversation and suggest that primarily we are saved from sin.
To most evangelicals, it may be a surprise that the Bible does not explicitly say we are saved from hell. However, it does say that we are saved from sin. People die go to hell because of their sin. Thus, being saved from sin results in being saved from hell also.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
When we repent of our sins and trust in the blood of Christ for forgiveness of sins, we are saved in a number of different ways. Nevertheless, we are primarily SAVED from SIN by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved from sin’s condemnation and penalty resulting in justification and life: “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (Luke 1:77); “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:9).
But were not just saved from the penalty of sin. We are also saved from the sins themselves. We are saved from sin’s bondage and power resulting in sanctification, redemption and victory: For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). True evidence that a believer is being saved by grace is that sin has no more power over them.
Finally, we are saved from sin’s presence and annoyance resulting in glorification and rest: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22,23); “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:14).