Christianity / Religion

What really saves us?

Christianity’s most basic tenet is that Jesus Saves, right? Well, it seems like it depends. When Christians discuss the broad topic of salvation, yes, Jesus alone saves. But it’s when we get to the finer points that it gets more and more conditional. Believing that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again to save us from our sins and is coming again to take us into glory gets tacked on. Sometimes apologists such as this fine gentleman say that the gospel is what saves. Salvation Made SimpleThen there’s general revelation to contend with. The world is created that none should have an excuse, but does that mean that one can be saved without knowing the semantics? Then there’s Catholicism. Forgiveness of our sins becomes tantamount in their salvation discussion, and the re-applying of the blood. So I suppose my question is what really saves? Is it faith that there is a Creator God? The knowledge/faith the Jesus is the Messiah? That He died? That he rose again? That He will return someday? That he is in fact the Son of God? Is it the begging of forgiveness for our sins as we commit them? Is it subjective? Is every person held accountable according to what they have been given? Is it unconditional? Do you pass directly to Heaven or get stuck in purgatory? And why do we have such vastly different views on such a basic tenet?

These questions matter. They tell us what we really think of other religions. And I’d love to have some opinions. I know I keep coming back to these questions, but I don’t feel they’ve been sufficiently answered. So, I can eek them out in many different ways or call out for your opinions and faith traditions. Let’s talk about the implications.

To delve deeper into this I’ve started a post on the assumed principles behind my questioning. Sorry I ASSumed too much.

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30 thoughts on “What really saves us?

  1. Hi Struggler. Do you mean what’s the bare minimum belief required to get into heaven or, “Will this be on the exam?” I believe it’s about relationship with Jesus Christ, who shows us what God the Father is really like. Asking what we need to believe or what rituals we have to perform to keep the relationship alive is like entering a marriage and consulting advice column writers on what your lover likes instead of talking to him. Ask him. He’s real or he’s not. (in my humble opinion)

      • This was Jesus’ answer in Luke 10. 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
        What can you give to earn his love? Nothing. He cannot love you more than he already does.
        What does loving God back involve? Everything.

  2. Two things first. 1) Remember I’m insane, so don;t yell that at me later like it’s going to change anything. 2) Most people will not like this answer.

    To be saved all anyone has to do is… die.

    Yeshua was scourged for ALL of our sins and he died so that ALL of us would have grace, power and authority in the eyes of God. When the Lord looks at us he sees small children bumbling around. Now if you were him, would you intrust something as important as an “Immortal Soul” to a toddler?

    • Hopefully no one will yell at you. 2 questions to clarify, I you consider yourself a Christian yes? and you address Jesus as Yeshua, are you aware that that is trendy and (oops 3 questions) why do you choose to address Him as such?

  3. 1) Someones gotta yell or I’m not doing my job.
    2) Yes I am a Christian.
    3) I address him as Yeshua because that is his name. “Jesus” is ancient Greek for “Son of Zeus.” I doubt a Jew born two thousand years ago was named that.
    4) How does any of that pertain to your original question?

    • Well, just laying a groundwork. The idea that you have is not really one that’s included in Christianity.
      And nothing really, I just read tonight about people beginning to call Jesus Yeshua and the whole trendy use of rudimentary ancient language to employ circular reasoning blah blah blah. So I wondered why you used it.

  4. I believe that no-one was created to be damned, and no-one is- Hitler, Stalin, not damned though they came to ghastly ends: Stalin’s Terror led to Stalin himself terrified. But I am a liberal-liberal Christian.

    Of course Muslims can be saved, and not just those cuddly Sufis.

  5. To make it painfully simple, I’d say Christ’s death is what saved us. That’s where the sins were cast and that’s where they die to this day. The resurrection gave us hope and assurance that Jesus was who he said he was, but he already WAS Son of God, so the death fixed things either way.
    It does get a bit complex, but scripture keeps pointing back to the blood of Jesus being what saves us. Yes, I know the phrase “solo fide,” from Martin Luther’s study of Romans, but faith in what? Christ’s sacrifice. Faith alone meant that works don’t save you; we can’t earn our way into heaven, it’s faith and reliance on God and his ways.
    Jesus said he was the way, truth, and light, so it all points back to him. All of the OT points towards him and all of the NT points back to him.

          • Can you define “general revelation” please? Not sure what that is :D. FYI, I appreciate your ability to have constructive dialogue. After my latest post you read, you know how rare it is.

            • Oops sorry. General revelation is the idea that God reveals Godself in nature and that people can come to a knowledge of through creation, our conscience and/or the providence of God.

              The idea of this leading to a saving knowledge of God comes (most clearly) from Romans 1:19-20 where it says that all that needs to be known about God is manifest in us and that leaves them “without excuse.” There are other verses, but this is the most clear. It’s from this that the idea that one can come to saving knowledge of God by looking around and within comes from. That’s why the verse says they would be without excuse, so even if they didn’t have the gospel; they could still know.

              There are thought to be other kinds of revelation as well. There is special revelation meaning by miracles or dreams etc. Direct revelation is right from God. Divine revelation in catholic tradition is the gospel. Etc. I feel like I should post on this so it can generate a more interesting discussion. I kind of just assume that this stuff is common knowledge and everyone works on these premises. Damn my Christian school education. haha

              Anyway, once you think of this passage and general revelation things can get muddy.

              • Any time. As for the general revelation, thanks for the explanation.
                I read the passage in Romans and thought about what you said about God revealing himself in a dozen different ways and you’re right about that; he reveals himself through nature, dreams, miracles, dozens of different ways.
                But then what?
                Knowledge of God’s existence is not what saves, for “even the demons believe” (James 2:19). Knowledge that his is Good is not what saves, for there are many who like Jesus, but do not follow him. You can see everything about God, but it is not awareness that saves us. I believe the Romans verse simply says “you have no excuse for ignorance–God is all around, you just fail to acknowledge him.”
                But if salvation relied on our knowledge/awareness, then the Cross would have been pointless, unnecessary. We wouldn’t need the cross if all we had to do was give honor and glory to the One who is due. Worship is important, but sin still exists.
                God put all his chips on the cross with Jesus. As I said before, everything in the Bible, OT and NT, seems to point to the cross. The cross is what killed sin. We must accept this salvation, but the gift is already under the tree, waiting.

  6. Too many answers, all correct to some degree, none complete. And I can’t do any better, but at least probably won’t do any worse!

    Paul says “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) and the dying thief simply asked Jesus to remember him and jesus assured him of his salvation, so it’s that simple. But as Charis Psallo says, Jesus answer in Luke 10:25 requires everything we have and are, so it’s that complicated. But as Supashmo says, “all” that is required for our salvation is Jesus’ death.

    Part of the “problem” is that “salvation” can have different meanings – does it “just” mean saving our skins and getting to heaven (which may be closer to Paul’s meaning) or does it mean becoming whole in body, mind and spirit and playing our part in God’s kingdom (which is what I think Jesus meant)?

    Surely all we can say is that (1) God knows and (2) we should respond to God whole-heartedly.

  7. I think Unklee is correct in suggesting that salvation may represent becoming whole in body mind and spirit and playing our part in God’s kingdom. The most serene and content people I know are those who have distanced themselves the farthest away from the carnage of the human condition and who are not as likely to be pulled into their ego through emotions such as envy, hatred and contempt. I have realized how damaging human emotions are when ruled by the ego and I see being able to remove ourselves from that destruction as the possible meaning of the salvation Jesus spoke of. Pehaps salvation simply means being saved from the human/animal part of ourselves.

  8. Pingback: The Gray Areas of Salvation: Alternate Ways to Acheive or Forfeit Salvation | Sacred Struggler

  9. Checking this convo out. My question wouldn’t be, “What saves us?” but instead, “What is “saved”, what does it mean to be saved? If you know what it is to be saved, or what saved means presently, then you can seek it. If saved is simply going to heaven, then sorry, we just won’t know until we’re all dead. And maybe not even then…

    I asked a prof once (who is a priest), “Are you saved?”
    He replied, “Well, I hope that everyone is saved.”

    No matter what saved means, or what gets you saved, I think it’s important that we all hope that everyone is saved, and in the meantime create a world of salvation, reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing.

  10. Pingback: What I’m for: Religiosity as experience, not an idol. | Sacred Struggler

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