Skip to main content


1. Introduction

Yeshua means salvation; therefore, Jesus saves people from their sins! Jesus’ reconciling us to God through the cross is essential and keeps us from eternal separation from God. However, salvation is much more than being “saved from sin”. Unfortunately, we have equated salvation to the born-again experience, yet this is theologically inaccurate.

In this lesson, we define salvation and correct what it means. We will find that salvation is an incorrect terminology for being born-again. We will also show that salvation is not through the cross.


A. Why It Is Important.

There is a lot of confusion around salvation. Conversations abound around comments like “once saved, always saved” or “losing one’s salvation”, and does “salvation require work”? As a requirement of salvation, baptism is another error that has arisen due to the incorrect theology of salvation.


B. Rectifying Confusion.

This confusion is genuine because of the misunderstanding of the term salvation. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33), so we need to answer the question, what does the Bible teach us about salvation?
We will see that having a salvation experience may lead to being born-again, but on its own, it is not a complete description of:

  • being born-again (becoming a new creation with a new heart, through the Holy Spirit entering that person)
  • becoming a Christian – (a disciple of Jesus and believing that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except through Him), and
  • being a son and daughter of God.

Preventing confusion is very important for not yet believers or new Christians because they will see scriptures like “work out your salvation”. Therefore, suddenly they think they need to do something to earn their right to be a son or daughter of God.


2. Defining salvation

A. Greek for Salvation.

Salvation means (Gk: σωτηρία sōtēria;) rescue or safety (physically or morally): — deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. The root word is of a deity saving or rescuing.

That is ALL it means; there is no requirement for salvation being limited to accepting Jesus as Lord. This word is why the study of salvation is called soteriology.


B. Greek for Saved.

σώζω sōzō; from a primary σῶς sōs to save, i.e. deliver or protect: — heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

In a very general term, the word saved occurs throughout scripture without being in context with Jesus atoning work on the cross. For example:

Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.

Mark 3:4

Sozo means salvation from sickness, consequences of sin, difficulty, disaster and torment



3. Jesus’ Name means salvation

Jesus’ name in Hebrew is Yeshua means salvation.

A. Hebrew for Salvation.

יְשׁוּעָה yešû‘â; feminine, passive participle of 3467; something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity: — deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.

The root word for Yeshua is:

h3467. יָשַׁע yâša ‘; a primitive root; properly, to be open, wide or free, to be safe; avenging, defend, deliver(-er), help, preserve, rescue, bring (having) salvation, save, saviour, get the victory.

All these things Jesus does for us are defined as salvation!

Jesus name means victory, deliverance, help, salvation, save, saving health,
not just “save us from your sins.”

Preachers of the gospel have inadvertently and simplistically limited salvation to Jesus saving us from our sins. Yes, he does rescue us from our sins through reconciliation, but there is much more to salvation than this.


4. Salvation is Not Limited to Jesus

A. Jesus is our Saviour.

but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

2 Timothy 1:10

B. God is our Saviour.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

1 Timothy 1:1

Therefore salvation is not limited to Jesus.


5. When Does God Save Us?

A. Whenever Anybody Calls Upon the Name of the Lord Jesus.

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.

Acts 2:21

The only requirement for God to save us is calling on the name of Jesus with faith in God’s goodness. Therefore, anybody who calls on the name of Jesus can be saved from whatever predicament they find themselves in.

Let’s give a true-life example where a car accident happened to my colleague when His car went off the road into deep water.
He was not yet born-again, but he knew about Jesus. As a result of the pressure from the water, he could not open the doors. As the water was entering the inside of the car, he cried out to Jesus to save him. Suddenly he heard the voice of Jesus saying, “What are you going to do with your life?” Then Jesus challenged the man to follow him. He was not a believer in Jesus, yet suddenly the doors were free. Jesus saved him, yet he was not a Christian. I am sure you can think of times in your own life or the lives of others who called upon Jesus to save (deliver or protect) them from disaster or accident before becoming a new creation.


6. Biblical Examples of Salvation

In the following examples, Jesus shows that He is Saviour, which is what His Hebrew name Yeshua means. Remember that Jesus has not yet provided atonement in the following examples.


A. Woman Caught in Adultery.

Jesus saves a woman caught in adultery by rescuing her from being stoned to death.

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 8:10-11

Jesus rescues this woman from natural death and the consequences of sin – rejection by her peers. She was not yet a believer, but she had a saving experience from being stoned to death! Jesus then instructs her to go and sin no more. Jesus could not “save her from her sins” because Jesus had not died yet and, therefore, could not atone for sin.


B. Invalid at the Pool of Bethesda.

Jesus finds a man by the Pool of Bethesda with a 38-year disability. After instructing him to rise, take up his bed and walk, the man walks away. Therefore, Jesus saved the man by rescuing him from a life of sickness and despair.

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

John 5:8

He was not yet a believer, and he didn’t even know that it was Jesus who had healed Him because later, Jesus found the man at the temple and instructed him to sin no more.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

John 5:14

Jesus saved this man from a lifetime of physical impairment. In this case, sickness was a consequence of sin, so Jesus also kept him from this consequence of sin.


C. Zaccheus the Tax Collector.

Jesus saves (rescues) Zaccheus from a lifestyle of sin by extortion and deceit. He was “lost” in his mindset of greed and selfish ambition. Zaccheus’ change of mind is what repentance means.
But Zaccheus could not have been born again because Jesus had not died and risen again.

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:8-10

Jesus saved Zaccheus from the consequences of his greed and selfish ambition, which were, in his case, broken relationships, loneliness and wrong mindsets.


D. Peter Walking on Water.

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save (sozo) me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Matthew 14:28-32

Like my colleague in a car, Jesus rescues Peter from drowning and the consequences of his unbelief.


7. Salvation Message at the First Pentecost

In this section, I will show that the often quoted scripture of Acts 2:21 is not related to being born-again. Instead is a specific instruction to the Jews on how they can be rescued or delivered from the day of judgment coming in one generation through the destruction of Jerusalem – the awesome day of the Lord.

You will remember that Acts 2 is the start of the church on the day of Pentecost. I want to look at this closely because people often refer to the “salvation” message of Acts 2:21 from a theological standpoint. Quoting the prophet Joel, Peter says:

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.

Acts 2:21

However, in the next verse, we find that the salvation message is to a particular group of people.

A. Message to the Jews.

Peter is preaching to the Jews:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—

Acts 2:22

B. What they Needed to Be Saved From.

And if we look at the previous verses, we find that this salvation message has a specific context.

I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,

Acts 2:19-20

They needed to be saved from terrifying signs and happenings.


C. Salvation from the Day of the Lord

Now let us complete the prophecy from Joel:

Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.

Acts 2:20-21

What were they being saved from by calling on the name of the Lord? The awesome day of the Lord.

Fifty days earlier, the Jews in Jerusalem had witnessed amazing things. The veil had split in two, and nobody died due to the Holy of Holies being open to the public. There had been an earthquake and sudden darkness in the middle of the day. God raised many people (we do not know how many, but potentially thousands) from the dead. Five hundred people had seen Jesus after His death.
But this was not the awesome day of the Lord. It would be exactly forty years before the awesome day of the Lord would come. There was still much more that generation would go through to whom Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24.

Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

Matthew 24:34

Interestingly, if we read on in Acts, we find that Peter uses the word generation to say who they will be saved from if they call on the name of the Lord!

D. Salvation from a Perverse Generation.

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 2:40-41

What are they being saved from? A perverse generation!

And as a result, three thousand were saved from the perverse generation. Yes, the three thousand were born again and entered into sonship. But here, in this passage, their salvation is from what is about to happen to this perverse generation.
It is related to the current Jewish generation going through the Jewish wars and great tribulations.

E. Destruction of Jerusalem

We go through all these signs in Wars and Rumours of Wars, Last Days’ Proofs and Jesus’ Comings.
Jesus would then appear in 66CE, allowing the northern armies of Rome to destroy the city and temple in 70CE. By calling on the name of the Lord, how would they be saved? By listening to Jesus’ warning:

Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),”then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Matthew 24:16

In 67CE, the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem. Caesar called the troops back to Rome to quell an uprising, and the believers fled the city of Jerusalem. The believers’ departure saved them from a horrific massacre in 70CE when Titus sacked Jerusalem, and his army destroyed the temple.


F. Acts 2 Salvation Message is Not About Being Born Again

Peter is saying that they will be saved from what will happen to the perverse generation. He is not saying salvation only refers to the new birth.

The salvation message of Acts 2 is being saved from the Day of the Lord in 70CE and being saved from a perverse generation. It is not a theological argument for being born again.

Apostle Peter


8. Salvation Includes Entry into Eternity.

Most theologians and Bible scholars agree that the fullness of salvation is when we enter heaven.

receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:9

The context of this verse clearly shows this refers to our eternal life after our physical body sleeps (death).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4
 
 

Jesus saves us from the consequences of sin – the second death – to enter into eternal life through the New Covenant and the associated sacrifice – Jesus’ atoning death.


9. Theology of Jesus’ Salvation


A. When did it Come into Effect?

The Bible teaches that salvation became available only after Jesus died and rose again (to be rescued or delivered) from our sins. We see this teaching in more detail in God’s Plan for Kingdom Rule.

She (Israel) bore a male Child (Jesus) who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. …
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Revelation 12:5,10

In other words, only when Jesus had gone into heaven carrying His blood in His resurrected body can people be born again. Therefore none of the people in section 6 was yet born again.


B. We are Being Saved Through His Resurrection, Not the Cross.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 5:11

As we can see in this scripture, Paul explains how Jesus’ resurrection life saves us. Salvation is not in the past (the cross) but in the present (resurrection life).

Jesus’ death reconciles us to God. In this scripture, Paul talks to people who are already born again. We will look at reconciliation under Covenantal Atonement.

His resurrecting power saves us. At our new birth, the Spirit of God breathes new life into us. The process of salvation now starts.


C. After the Time When we Become a Son or Daughter of God.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18

We see in this verse that the process of salvation starts once a person is born again, and we need to be active participants in our salvation – our deliverance from a wrong mindset or making bad choices.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

Philippians 2:12

Reconciliation with God requires no work because Jesus’ atoning work did that.
So here are examples of working out our salvation.

  • By changing our mindsets, we can live a life of victory and
  • walk in divine health by making wise choices in how we live, such as eating healthy food and drinking to prevent diabetes or cancer.


10. “Saving” Grace

A. In Grace When Born Again, We Found that There is No Separate “Saving Grace”.

Reformed and pentecostal theology has focused on Ephesians 2:8 as a result of the Lutheran Reformation – salvation by grace through faith and not by works. This theology has wrongly summarised salvation as being saved from our sins, yet we have seen this is not the case. There is no doubt that Jesus saves us from our sins. But building a simplistic theology to try and make it easy for people to understand harms discipleship. It raises the questions and confusion I referred to in the introduction.

Indeed, Jesus’ atoning work on the cross to bring to pass the New Covenant has saved us. But that is not a complete description of salvation, as we have seen. As in the other examples above, Jesus saved the people from something.


B. Saved FROM Something.
  • The adulterous woman was saved from being stoned; by Jesus’ wisdom.
  • The invalid’s faith in Jesus saved him from a life of sickness.
  • Zaccheus’ repentance (change in thinking) saved him from broken relationships and loneliness due to his wrong mindset.
  • Peter’s belief in Jesus saved him from drowning.
  • Salvation for the Jews from the awesome day of the Lord
  • Our belief in Jesus saves us from judgment on the Day of Judgement and the second death – separation from God. This salvation is different from all the other examples in that it has eternal consequences that the others don’t have.


11. A Closer Look at Ephesians 2

We need to look at the cornerstone scripture on salvation by which reformed and pentecostal theology has been built.

A. For by Grace, you Have Been Saved.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:8

The translation reflects this teaching because Lutheran theology is adamant that the new birth is not by works (which is true). However, let’s look closely at the Greek text.

Ephesians 2:8 NJKV Greek-English Interlinear

Because our mindset on being saved is about being born again, we think the scripture is about ‘saved’. Let us look at it from another perspective.


B. Audience.

Firstly, this letter is written primarily to the Jews. Jews taught their followers to perform works to partake of the benefits of the kingdom of God. So the context is Paul arguing that entrance into the family of God is a gift. The focus is on grace, not on being saved.


C. Grammar Tense.

Now let’s look at the grammar tense for the words:

For by grace, you have been saved through faith. The root word for ‘you have been’ is one word in Greek – eimi:

εἰμί eimi; the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic): — am, have been, x it is I, was.

Do you notice that it is the present tense? It is not past tense. Everywhere else, it is present tense! We need to realise that translators sometimes translate out of their beliefs, and here is an example of the translates being so focused on salvation that they have altered the tense.


D. Preceding Verses.

If we look at the context, we get further insight into when salvation occurs:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:4-6

Looking at it in Greek, we see that the placement of the phrase ‘by grace you have been saved’ is purposefully put between being “made us alive with Christ” (His resurrection) and “raised us together”:

In this verse, salvation is between His resurrection and His enthronement. Jesus received His authority after His resurrection at His coronation. The same applies to us once we become a son or daughter of God. God’s continuing work of salvation is because God wants to give us more authority as sons and daughters with authority over the Father’s house through Jesus’ name. And we have already seen that salvation is through His resurrection, not the cross.


E. A More Accurate Translation of Ephesians 2:8

Now that we have seen that it is present tense, we can translate Ephesians 2:8 as

By grace, you are being saved through faith.

Remember that salvation starts with His resurrection power after being reconciled (atoned for) to God. That is not by our works.

Let’s look at another similar verse that will help us understand, this time from James:

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

James 5:15

Notice that the prayer of faith WILL save. The only component missing between this verse and James 5:15 is grace. However, we learned that grace is a gift that benefits the recipient. So we can conclude that grace is released through prayer.

A more accurate translation would be:
By grace you are being saved through faith.

Ephesians 2:8



12. Salvation Requires Work

That is why He tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

Philippians 2:12
A. Reconciliation Does Not Require Work.

We can not work out our reconciliation because that is a gift of grace through faith in Jesus – our reconciliation with God is a gift.


B. Work Out our Salvation Through Victory Over Sin.

But we can work out our character to be seated in the heavenly places – therefore, we receive more authority.

That is what it means when Jesus says:

So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Matthew 15:16-20

So a person is defiled when, for example, they steal, speak maliciously against another, or engage in sexual immorality. A defiled person cannot receive greater authority. Working out our salvation (Which means victory) by getting victory over sexual thoughts, false witnesses, blasphemy, and evil thoughts, you will receive greater authority.

By working out our salvation over sin in our life, we will have greater authority.


C. Work Out Our Victory Over Sickness.

Not all sickness results from sin, so how do we work out our salvation related to disease?

We work out our salvation from sickness by watching what we confess with our mouths.  

For example: After we have prayed for healing from cancer, we need to replace all negative phrases like: “I have cancer” with a positive phrase that declares a prophetic statement:” I am in the process of being healed from cancer”.

.

13. Leading a Believer into the New Covenant


A. Correct Terminology.

My evangelism meetings may surprise people that I do not refer to as “salvation”. Instead, I refer to the new birth, new creation, being born-again, entering the kingdom, and becoming a son or daughter of God through Jesus Christ. And I often say that Jesus will save them from sicknesses, sins and torments. When I use these terminologies at large meetings, God confirms His word by healing up to 40% of the attendees.


B. Power Evangelism.

First, I share God’s message in my heart for these people. Usually, it is a simple message from the gospel, or it may be prophetic preaching. After that, I pray for the sick, with or without words of knowledge. Because I have a gift of healing for backs, I usually start with that to build up the faith level of the people to receive more extraordinary healings. Then I begin to call out diseases as the Lord leads. I then allow people to become a son or daughter of God. Once I have explained the gospel, I pray with them per the New Covenant.


C. Prayer for New Disciples of Jesus.

I invite them to join me in prayer through the following statements:

  • I believe in Jesus as the Only Begotten Son of God;
  • He died and rose again on the third day for their sins, sicknesses and torments.
  • And I choose to change how I think and that Jesus is now Lord of my life.
  • I decide to give Jesus my sins in exchange for His righteousness.
  • All my sins are now forgiven and forgotten by God.
  • Now I welcome into my life the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • I choose to enter the family of God through the Spirit of adoption.
  • And I now personally know the Lord-
  • and have eternal life.

During the crusades, between 30 and 65% of people accepted Jesus when we prayed in this manner.


14. Summary

  • Salvation simply means saving, rescuing or delivering from danger, disease or fear.
  • Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved, even if they are not Christian, in accepting Jesus or becoming a mature believer.
  • Salvation starts at Jesus’ resurrecting work, not His atoning work
  • The correct translation of Ephesians 2:8 is that we are in the process of salvation.
  • Sozo means salvation from sickness, consequences of sin, difficulty, disaster and torment.
  • We need to work out our salvation through victory over sin and sickness.


Referring to salvation as the born-again experience can confuse. Salvation is not limited to entry into God’s family. Using the term ‘Born Again’ or ‘Becoming sons and daughters of God is preferable and accurate.



© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

Leave a Comment