"SAVED" IN SCRIPTURE
by Fr. William Most
There are three senses:
1. Rescue from evils in this life: Mt. 8:235: "Lord, save us we are
2. Final entry into heaven:
1 Cor 3:15: " "He himself will be saved [at the parousia]
as though fire" --Final salvation.
1 Tim 2. 9: Women "will be saved through childbearing, if they remain in
faith and love and holiness with decency." COMMENT:here it does not mean
enter Church, but reach final salvation. Surely it does not mean same as
taking Christ as personal Savior. Basic idea: People must fill the niche
God has given them. Childbearing, and rearing, is, for most women, an
essential part of that niche--If there were infallible salvation by taking
Christ as personal Savior, no need to add this.
3. Entry into the Church:
Rom 11:14: ". . . to see if I may provoke my kinsmen to envy [of
gentiles who have entered] and so save some of them."
COMMENT: Paul knows well as he shows in Rom 2:14-16 that there can be
final salvation, entry into heaven, without formal entry into the church.
He says that the Gentiles who do not have the law, still do what the law
written on hearts calls for. It is the Divine Word that writes that law on
their hearts -- in accepting that message, they are accepting the Word, and
so are Christian -cf. St. Justin Martyr, Apology 1. 46 saying that some
like Socrates were Christians because they followed the Logos. If God did
not make such a provision, He would seem to be the God of the Jews only,
not of the gentiles: Rom 3:29.
Rom 9:27: "Isaiah cries out about Israel: If the number of the sons of
Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved." COMMENT: He
speaks of the remnant those who will return from captivity to become again
the people of God. By rejecting God, as Hosea 2:3 shows, they had become
outside that people. But now they were to be made again part of the people
of God: "And I will say to not-my-people: You are my people." In parallel
then, Paul speaks of the remnant of Israel who are saved in his day in the
sense of becoming part of the People of God, the church, by accepting
Rom 11. 25-26: "A blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the
fullness of the gentiles enters [the Church" and so all Israel will be
saved."COMMENT: In context, Paul refers to the conversion of the Jews to
Christ at the end. They were out of the People of God, as shown by his
comparison, in Rom 11 of the two olive trees. Many branches fell off the
tame olive tree, off of the People of God, and gentiles were put into their
place. So the context of all of Chapters 9-11 has been speaking of those
who did or did not enter the Church.
Rom 11:11: "By their transgression [that of the Jews who rejected Christ
and Paul's preaching of Him] salvation [is, has come] to the gentiles."
COMMENT: Paul first preached to the Jews in each city. Most of them
rejected it, even persecuted, tried to kill Paul. So Paul turned to the
gentiles, who did enter the kingdom of Christ, His Church. According to Rom
2:14-16 (see comments above on Rom 11:14) the gentiles could have reached
final salvation without formal and external entry into the People of God.
So here salvation means entry into the Church.
1 Cor 7. 16: "How do you know, wife, if you will save your husband? Or how
do you know, husband, if you will save your wife? COMMENT:Speaks of case of
Pauline Privilege. Clearly means bring into the Church.
1 Ths 2. 15: The Jews "did not please God and were against all men,
forbidding us to speak to the gentiles so they could be saved." COMMENT:
This does not refer to final salvation, since Paul knows--cf. again Rom 2.
14-16 that gentiles can reach final
salvation without knowledge of revealed religion. So this means preventing
the gentiles from entering the Church--save in that sense.
Rom 10:9-10: "If with your mouth you confess the Lord [that Jesus is Lord,
is divine] and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you
will be saved. For by the heart one believes [leading to] justification;
with the mouth one confesses [leading] to salvation [entry into the
Church]. COMMENT: One must believe in the divinity of Christ and profess
that belief then he can be admitted to the people of God, the Church.
This does not mean that by "taking Christ as your Savior one can be
infallibly "saved," as we see in the texts given in the section below:
Saved: No infallible salvation--saved often =enter Church
Rom 1. 5 "The obedience of faith" Here obedience is partly identified with
faith. Cf. Interpreter"s Dictionary of Bible Supplement p. 333: "'
obedience of faith' (Rom l:5, hypakoe pisteos 'the obedience which faith
is. ') " COMMENT:This does not mean that faith earns salvation, nor does it
mean only that good works are merely a fruit of faith- for this identifies
faith with obedience. Hence all Pauline faith is faith that works through
Rom 5. 3-4 "Trouble produces patience, patience produces tested virtue, and
tested virtue produces hope." COMMENT:This goes beyond taking Christ as
1 Cor 15. 2 "[The Gospel] through which you are being saved." COMMENT:
Sozesthe is present tense, process is going on.
1 Cor 9. 27: "I hit my body under the eyes and lead it around as a slave,
lest when I have preached to others, I myself might be rejected."
COMMENT:If anyone could be saved by just taking Christ as Savior, Paul
would be the one. But he fears he could be rejected if he does not keep his
body under control by mortification.
We must notice that in context Paul is speaking of final salvation,
heaven, not just of some extra, for he has been pleading since chapter 8 to
avoid scandal, which would ruin a soul for whom Christ died.
This thought continues in 1 Cor 10. 1-12: Paul tells of the old people
of God. They did not have it made, many perished. So the new people of God
do not have it made because by taking Christ as Savior. They need to be
Phil 2. 12 : "With fear and trembling work out your salvation. . . .
COMMENT: No working out needed if there is infallible salvation at one
move, taking Christ as Savior.
Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament s. v. sozein lists no
meaning of saved as taking Christ as personal Savior for infallible
salvation. There is no scholarly support for infallible salvation. The idea
came from Luther's failure to see what St. Paul meant by the word faith.
Cf. Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, p. 333. For Paul's
concept of faith. It includes these things: 1) If God speaks a truth, we
believe it in our mind:cf. 1 Ths 2:13; 2 Cor 5:7; 2) If He makes a promise,
we must be confident: cf. Gal 5:5; Rom 5:1; 3) If He tells us to do
something, we must do it;Cf. Rom 1:5, the obedience of faith; 4) all of
this is to be done in love: Gal. 5:6. NB, Luther thought if we have faith,
we can disobey God. But faith includes obedience, and so cannot justify
disobedience. (Cf. his Epistle 501, To Melanchthon,"Even if you sin greatly
believe still more greatly." And: "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe
and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . . no sin will separate us
from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand
times a day." (Weimar ed. vol. 2. p. 371; Letters I, Luther's Works,
American Ed. vol 48. p. 282) .
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