BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
—: to save; to deliver; to rescue; to keep safe and sound; to preserve; to make well, restore to health
The above is a sampling of definitions from a couple lexicons. But since this is such an important topic, lets look as the Scripture for how it is used. For pre-Christian usage I will use the Septuagint (LXX).
The word is first used in Gen. 19:17, 22. It was used by the agents of the Lord in speaking to Lot and his family that they should “Save (deliver) thine own life (lit., soul)” by leaving Sodom. Lot suggests a small town to escape to; in vs. 22 the agent tells him, “Hasten therefore to be delivered (saved) in that place (thither).” So here we see Lot rescued from Sodom before the judgment comes. To be saved meant to not be destroyed along with Sodom.
The next occurrence is in Gen. 32:8 and 30. The occasion is Jacob leaving Laban to return to Canaan and his preparation to meet Esau again. He divided his people into two groups, “And said, If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp will be saved (delivered).” (vs. 8) In vs. 30 Jacob had just finished a night having wrestled “a man,” and says, “I have seen God face to face, and my life (soul) was (is) saved (preserved? kept safe and sound? delivered?).” Vs. 30 would seem to carry the same sense of meaning as ch. 19: 17,22, above. In both cases is seems to show that they were not killed. In 32:8, it could mean either not being killed, or captured, perhaps enslaved.
The word is next used in Gen. 47:25, where Joseph, during the famine, has arranged (vs.24) to buy the people of Egypt and their land for Pharaoh, in exchange for seed. They respond, “You have saved (rescued; delivered) us; we have found grace before our lord, and we will be servants to Pharaoh.” Here, an economic arrangement was something that would keep them from starving.
Next, it is used in Num. 24:19, in Balaam’s fourth oracle, “And one shall arise out of Jacob, and destroy the ones being saved (the survivors; those being delivered) out of the city.”
swzw is used 18 times in the book of Judges, ch. 2:16,18 being a good example, “Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered (saved) them out of the hands of these raiders…” In Judges 3:31 we see that Shamgar “saved (delivered) Israel.”
To save time, I will skip the many other places this word is used in the O.T., to the last place, Mal. 3:15, “… and all they who act unlawfully are built up; and they have resisted God, and [yet] they have been delivered (saved).” This verse seems worthy of pondering.
Now to the New Testament. Matt. 1:21, “… He shall deliver (save; restore to health?) His people from their sins (failures; bad shots).” The shadowlands of the O.T., where the word seems to have been used mostly of physical deliverance from an outward situation, are left behind, and instead of Jesus being raised up to deliver His people from the Romans, His deliverance is now within, dealing with their mistakes, their sins.
Yet, in Matt. 8:25 we see that this word still speaks of deliverance, preservation, within a physical context, “And, approaching, they rouse Him, saying, ‘Lord, save (deliver) us, we are being destroyed!’“ Now, for contrast, lets look at Matt. 24:13, “But the one enduring (remaining under [the load]) into the end (the full execution; the closing act; completion), this one will be delivered (saved).” Delivered (saved) from what? What was the context? Vs. 1-3 set the scene: the destruction of the temple (vs.2) and the end of that age (vs.3). The temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. The situations described in vs. 4-13 (and perhaps farther) could well have been literally fulfilled at that time. But that is for another study.
In Matt. 9:21 we see the woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 yrs. approaching Jesus to touch the tassel of His cloak, “for she said in herself, ‘If ever I should only be touching His cloak, I shall be saved (delivered).'” Here we can readily see the aspect of healing suggested by the word. In vs. 22, Jesus said to her, ” ‘Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved (delivered; given health to) you.’ And the woman was saved (delivered; restored to health) from that hour.”
We see temporal help given by the Lord in Matt. 14:30 when Peter is walking on the waters. “And, beginning to sink, he cries, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ ”
Then we have Matt. 16:25, “For whosoever may be wanting to save his soul shall be destroying it. Yet whoever should be destroying his soul on My account shall be finding it.” (Concordant Vers.) This statement was made by Jesus after He had just said, “If anyone is wanting to come after Me let him renounce himself and pick up his cross and follow Me.” (vs. 24) The context is discipleship, ending with the Son of Man coming and “paying each in accord with his practice.” Then He connects this with “the Son of Man continuously coming (pres. part.) within His kingdom.” (vs. 28) Here, the word “save” is connected to the disciple’s way of life (carrying his cross and living a life of self-denial) and if he destroys his soul-life he will receive pay, or reward. This is definitely not talking about a free gift! Once, again, I suggest that this is the same category as Paul pressing toward the goal for the prize – “God’s calling above in Christ Jesus.” (CV) This is more than “mere Chrisitanity,” to use C.S. Lewis’ term.
The use of swzw in Matt. 27:40,42and49 by the chief priests, scribes, etc. as they mocked Jesus on the cross, is obviously the sense of a physical delivering Himself from the cross.
In Mk. 3:1-6 the context is the healing of the man having a withered hand. In vs. 4, Jesus says, “Is it allowed on the sabbaths to do good or to do evil, to save a soul or to kill?” Here He puts “saving a soul” in the context of healing one’s body and compares it to “doing good.” In Mk. 5:23, Jairus uses the word in relation to the healing of his daughter, “Coming, Thou mayest be placing Thy hands on her that she may be saved and should be living!” In Mk. 6:53-56 those of the area of Gennesaret “entreated Him that they should be touching Him even if it should be the tassel of His cloak. And whosoever touched it (or, Him) were saved.”
In Mk. 10:15-27 we see the disciples use this word in a different context. Vs. 15 speaks of entering the kingdom of God by receiving it “like a little child.” This begs the question, “What is the kingdom of God, and what does it mean to enter it?” Here, the context was that “they brought little children to Him that He might touch them” (vs. 13). Jesus then said, “Allow the little children to come to Me … for of such ones is the kingdom of God.” (vs. 14)
Now in this context, “And at His going out into the road, lo! one certain rich man, running toward Him and falling on his knees before Him, inquired of Him, ‘Good Teacher! What shall I be doing that I should be enjoying the allotment of life eonian?’“ (CV) Note the response of Jesus: “You know the commandments; do not kill; do not commit adultery; do not steal …” Jesus is here telling him to keep the law. The man responds that he has kept all these from childhood – thus, this seems to be nothing new. Jesus responds, “For you, one thing is continuously behind (in the rear – perhaps as in running a race?).” (vs. 21) Then Jesus tells him to DO something, “Go. Whatever you have, sell, and be giving to the poor and you will be having treasure in heaven.” Now this response seems to me to indicate that he would have a reward, not a gift. It responds to his original quest for an inheritance. In vs. 23 Jesus relates this to “entering the kingdom of God.” Then in vs. 24 we see that “the disciples were awe-struck at His words. Yet Jesus, again answering, is saying to them, ‘Children, how squeamish it is for those who have confidence in money to be entering into the kingdom of God!’ Now they were exceedingly astonished, saying to Him, ‘And who can be saved?'” (vs.24-26, CV) So here we have the disciples associating the word saved with the idea of entering into the kingdom of God. And Jesus has said that it is hard to enter the kingdom, in fact, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all is possible with God.” (vs.27). Thus, it would seem that it was impossible for the rich man (by himself) to give away all his wealth. But the point is still that works, even God-assisted, or God-done, are necessary 1) to enter into the kingdom; 2) to inherit eonian life (vs.17); 3) to be saved (vs. 26). But was Jesus speaking of all this being a reward, or a gift? Are the requirements of being a disciple something that must be done to receive the gift of life, or to receive a reward for meeting these requirements? I think that this is a place where “rightly cutting” the Word is of great necessity.
In Mk. 10:46-52 we have the record of the healing of the blind man. This man asked Jesus for mercy (vs. 48), and by this the man meant “that I should be receiving sight.” (vs. 51) Here, Jesus says, “Go. Your faith has saved you.” Once again, we see being saved as meaning being healed. So what did Jesus mean when He said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved”? (Mk. 16:16)
Just how much have we assumed? Christians randomly quote Scriptures without regard to context, and often with an assumed connotation. I’m sure that I have been guilty of this. Can we get beyond this? It will be possible if God does this for us. May He give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the realization of Him, the eyes of [our] heart having been enlightened.
Let’s look at John 3:13-21. Here the central phrases and concepts are: 1) being saved;
2) being judged; 3) aiwnian life [eonian life – Concordant Version; age-lasting life – Diaglott; life age-during – Young’s Lit. Trans.; life age-abiding – Rotherham; agelasting life – Tomanek; aeonian life – Nathaniel Scarlet trans.(1798); life pertaining to the ages – my translation]
In this entire passage (beginning with vs. 3) we have our word “saved” in association with being born from above (or, begotten back up again) in order to perceive (see) the kingdom of God; with not being judged; and with having aiwnian life. In vs. 5 we see that one must be born of water and of spirit to be “entering the kingdom of God.”
As an interesting aside, please note that while Jesus is there on earth, talking with Nicodemus, He is “the Son of Man Who IS IN HEAVEN.” (vs.13) Does this give us a clue to the nature and sphere of heaven?
In vs. 14 we see that Jesus associates His necessity of being lifted up (raised aloft; elevated; exalted) with the lifting up of the serpent upon the pole, in the wilderness. Note that, in that time, looking upon the bronze serpent (the serpent in the state of being judged; the figure of the judgment which came of the result of their sin) brought deliverance and healing from the judgment which came upon them because of their sin.
Here in John, before one is believing he has already been judged (perf. tense – vs. 18) for he has not believed (perf.) into the NAME of the only-begotten Son of God, and thus he loves the darkness rather than the Light, for his acts were being (imperf.) evil ones (vs. 19). Thus, in vs. 36 we see that “he who is stubborn to the Son (the one continuously disobeying the Son) will not see Life [when He comes], but the wrath (anger, indignation) of God is continuously remaining (abiding) upon him,” and to observe this wrath, just look at the lives of unbelievers (the disobedient) for His anger is currently and continuously upon them.
In vs. 16 we have the classic verse of Christianity. “For thus God loves (or, loved – aor.) the world, so that He gives (or, gave) His only-begotten Son, to the end that every one continuously believing (pres. part.) into Him may not destroy himself (mid. voice), but may have aiwnian life…. (vs. 17) to the end that the world may be saved through Him.”
The text does not say saved from what. Christianity has said that this verse refers to man’s “eternal salvation.” Having observed the ways in which the word “saved” has been used, I wonder if we can immediately jump to this conclusion? Can we say, using the scenario of the serpents in the wilderness (vs. 14), that He saves the world from the bite of the Serpent (Satan) who figuratively bit mankind through his sting operation in the garden? Thus Jesus saves us from suffering the penalty of our sins, and we are “healed” from the Serpent’s bite by looking upon Jesus suffering the judgment of the serpent bite for us, upon the cross. But the notion in tradition is that the main focus of salvation is from future punishment, e.g. in the lake of fire or “hell.” Thus far, I fail to see evidence for this conclusion from use of the word swzw in either the O.T. or in the gospels. Rather, I see the word employed to mean deliverance from current situations, or conditions, in this life. But the investigation is not over yet. Give me your input!!!
From the context, I do not see that we can say for sure how Jesus was using the word in John 5:34. In ch. 10 we have His teachings using the figure of sheep and fold. The danger to the sheep is identified first, in vs. 1, as “a thief and a robber.” The sheep have the protection of both the Shepherd and their fold. They will not follow an outsider, because they are not acquainted with his voice (vs. 5). Jesus identifies Himself as the Door of the fold, and His sheep can enter into the fold through Him and “he shall be saved, and shall be entering and coming out and will be finding pasture” (vs. 9). This describes the good life for the sheep – he is protected from thieves, hirelings, wolves, and is provided for by the Shepherd, Who “is laying down his soul for the sake of the sheep.” (vs. 11-12)
This good life is described in vs. 10 where He said, “I came that they may have life eonian, and have it superabundantly.” (CV) Here the superabundant eonian life is tied to being “saved,” in this case, “protected” in the fold, fed, and cared for. Most believers agree, as do I, that this is something we can enjoy now, as well as in the future. But I think the context would stress the “now” aspect in this parable. In regard to my original question, I would point out that all of this good life and protection is “for the sake of the sheep” – those who are His, those who know Him (vs. 14, 15)
In John 11:12, the disciples use the word, regarding Lazarus, to mean that he will get well. In ch. 12:27, Jesus uses the word in regard to His current situation, “And what may I be saying? ‘Father, save Me out of this hour’?”
Another aside: Jesus defines aiwnian life in John 12:50, “And I know that HIS commandment is aionian life.” (Diaglott) Also, in ch. 17:3, “And THIS is aionian life:
THAT THEY MAY KNOW THEE the only true God, and HIM whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ.” (Diaglott) Neither of these definitions contain the sense of duration for this phrase. I think that perhaps we need to adjust out thinking to align with His thinking.
In Jn. 12:47 Jesus speaks of “saving the world” as the opposite of “judging the world.”
He goes on to say, in vs. 48, “the word which I speak, that will be judging him in the last day.” Here would be an inference that “saving the world” may be that which would keep one from judgment “in the last day,” for “repudiating Me and not getting My declarations.” (CV)
Now let us move beyond the Gospels to consider the use of this word. Acts 2:21, “And it shall be that everyone, whosoever should be invoking the NAME of the LORD, shall be saved,” is a quote by Peter of Joel 2:32, and is associated with “the day of the Lord,” in which the sun is converted into darkness and the moon into blood. Now Peter was apparently applying these passages to the happenings on the Day of Pentecost, but does this passage in Acts define the connotations of “being saved” as the evangelicals use the term? I think not, unless you come to this passage with your mind already made up. Consider how Peter used the word in vs. 40, “Be saved FROM THIS CROOKED GENERATION.”
This seems to me a present application, not future. And now, the next use is in vs. 47, “Now the Lord was continually adding to the church the ones continually being saved (pres. part. pass.).” The deliverance, the salvation, was something that happened to them at that time. There is no inference that it was a deliverance from a future event or condition.
Peter used the term “saved” to refer to a man being healed in ch. 4:9. Continuing the same discourse, he says in vs. 12, “And there is no salvation (deliverance; restoration to health) in any other one, for neither is there any other name, given under heaven among men, within which it is binding us (it necessitates us) to be saved (delivered; restored to health).”
Skipping on to the Philippian prison scene with Paul and Silas, ch. 16:23-34, what makes us think that the warden, or jailor, would have the concept of being saved from hell or the lake of fire following the great white throne judgment off in the indefinite future? The charge against P and S was, “These men are confounding our city. Belonging to the Jews, they are also announcing customs which it is not allowed us to assent to, nor to do, being Romans.” Can we assume that this jailor knew the good news about Jesus Christ? His response was to the great quake, all the doors being opened, and Paul’s news to him that everyone was still there. He is shaken, and prostrates himself before Paul and Silas. Then, preceding them out, he said, “O lords (masters, sirs), what is it necessary for me to do, to the end that I may be saved?” It is then that they told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and they went on, then, to speak the word of the Lord to him, and he, together with his family, is instantly baptized. But my thinking is that, prior to their speaking the word of the Lord to him, he may have had a different purpose for inquiring after salvation. He may have thought them to be gods, and was in fear for his life. He may have thought he would be in trouble with the city government – remember, he was about to take his life. Paul would have given him a greater view of the term, from sharing the Word with him, but I think he would have been seeking deliverance from his present situation.
“Saved” is next used by Paul in Acts 27:20and31. Here it is in relation to a then present danger, a great storm which resulted in their shipwreck.
Next is Paul’s use of this word in his epistles. In Rom. 5:9-10 he says “we shall be saved IN HIS LIFE.” Paul began this passage speaking of something different, something that was completed in the past, saying, “Being, then, justified out of faith, we continuously have peace toward God, through our LORD, Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have had admission (access), by the faith, into THIS GRACE within which we have stood and now stand, and we are continuously boasting (glorying) upon an expectation of God’s glory.” (vs. 1-2) Then in vs. 5 we see that “God’s love (or, the Love of God) has been poured out within our hearts through [the] Holy Spirit (or, through Holy Spirit) – the One being given to us.” We are here encountering a different arena: being justified – a term of legal status and relationship to God; His love in our hearts – the sphere within us (the kingdom of Love within us??). Vs. 6 tells us that He “died in behalf of (for the sake of) irreverent (impious, ungodly) ones.” – His work was in relation to our condition. Vs. 8 gives a second witness – we were sinners. Again, condition. Vs. 9 returns to the subject of justification – our status, our new condition – and tells us that this condition is “within His blood,” and that “THROUGH HIM we shall be saved (delivered, rescued) from anger (wrath; internal swelling emotion).” Vs. 10 also brings up the fact that “we were reconciled to God through His death” – once again, relationship.
Now within this context involving 1) our relationship to God; 2) our condition; 3) our legal status, we have this concept of being “saved.” Now this term is in the future tense, but how future is it? It is being “saved in His life,” which is something which we are given, and which we now have. Now that we are given this life, Paul tells us in Phil. 2:12,13, “You must continually work down (be effecting) your own salvation with fear and trembling, for God is the One continuously working (energizing, operating) within you both to will and to work (operate, energize), for the sake of good pleasure (good thoughts; delight).” This puts “being saved” into our current situations, in this life. That good thoughts and pleasure are the results, or the end in view, this salvation seems to be an interior work, yet one that will affect our current situation. Recall John 3:36, that “God’s anger (wrath) is continually remaining (abiding) upon” one who “disobeys – is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to – the Son.” (Amp.) In areas of our lives where these things may yet apply to us, through Him we will be saved from the anger (Rom. 9) that remains upon those areas. He is faithful to judge us. Paul tells Timothy (I Tim. 1:15), “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I.”
Now in the context of the above verses, could not the “saving” be from the situations in this life, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual? Deliverance from the “strong men” in our lives.
James 1:21 speaks of “the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.” Now this takes my thoughts back to Matt. 16:24-26 and the injunction to His disciples that they must destroy their souls in order to find them. In fact in Mk. 8:35 Jesus says that destroying one’s soul for His sake, and the gospel’s, is the way to save it. Such activities are the work of this life.
Then we have Jude 23 where we “must continually be saving (delivering) [some], in fear snatching them OUT OF THE FIRE, hating even the garment having been stained from the flesh.” This delivering of some to whom we must be continually showing mercy and continually discerning (vs. 22), is an activity in this present life. They are presently in the fire, else we could not continually be delivering them out of the fire, even as we are hating their presently stained garments. It was in their then present life “that the LORD once delivered (saved) a people out of Egypt‘s land; the second time He destroyed the ones [that] did not believe (the ones not being persuaded).” Note that those of this second category did not retain the state of being “delivered” since they were later destroyed. This would be true of the children of Israel who God sent into slavery in Babylon: while they were there they were not in the state, or condition, of being “saved.” They were in bondage.
“My brothers, if a certain one among you may be led astray (caused to wander) from the Truth, and a certain one may turn him back, you must know that this one turning back a sinner out of the straying (wandering) of his way, will deliver (rescue, save) a soul out of death, and will cover the fullness (a multitude) of sins.” (Jas. 5:19, 20, JPM trans.) The one here being rescued has wandered into the same condition as the one in Jude 23. He is now strayed into death (for the Truth is also the Life and the Way from which he has wandered).
In I Cor. 5, concerning the one who had his father’s wife, Paul tells them “to give up such a one to Satan, unto the destruction of the flesh, to the end that the spirit may be delivered (saved) in the day of the Lord.” (vs.5) This seems to speak of a present judgment, yet with an end in mind of a future situation and time (the day of the Lord) when he will be rescued from this judgment, when the judgment has done its work.
In I Cor. 1:18, Paul speaks of the cross being God’s power “to us, the ones being continuously saved (delivered).” Then in vs. 21 he says, “God chose through the nonsense of the message proclaimed” (Wms.) ” to save (deliver) those continuously believing.” This, once more, sounds like a present-life work and result.
I do not wish to belabor the point, but I also do not wish to overlook other significant passages. So, if you are of like mind, let us look at verses which speak of the Savior, and of salvation. In Lu. 1, the agent Gabriel is sent to Mariam to tell her that she shall bring forth a Son. He tells her that His name will be called Jesus, the Gr. equivalent of Joshua, meaning Yah saves, or delivers. He says that Jesus will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. Then he tells her what He will do: God will give Him the throne of David, His father, and He will reign over the house of Jacob into the eons, and of His kingdom there will be no end (vs.32,33). In vs. 46, Mariam begins her praise saying, “My soul is magnifying the LORD, and my spirit exults in God my Savior, for He looks on the humiliation of His slave.” Note that she sees this word from the Lord as affecting her present condition in this life: humiliation (the state of all mankind prior to the work of Jesus). Her focus continues on how this will effect her: “all generations will count me blessed” (vs. 48); “the Powerful One does great things for me” (vs. 49). In vs. 50 she declares “His mercy is into generations and generations.”
Vs. 51-54 speaks of His works in others – from potentates to the humble; from the hungry to the rich – ending with how “He supported Israel, His boy.” She finishes her praise “according as He spoke to our fathers; to Abraham and to his seed into the age.” From this passage one could assume that what she perceived was that God was going to revive His work with His people, as He had done since Abraham. I can see nothing here that shows that she perceived His work to go beyond helping her and her people in this life, on this earth. The message of the agent to the shepherds, in 2:10-12, was “good news of great joy which will be for the entire people, for today was brought forth to you a Savior, Who is Christ, the LORD…” Here again, the message was to and for Israel, the entire people. However, the Samaritans had an expanded revelation and realized the Jesus is “truly the Savior OF THE WORLD, the Christ.” (John 4:42)
The next place we see the Savior is in Acts 5:31, where Peter is speaking to the Jews, saying, “This Inaugurator and Savior, God exalts to His right hand, to give repentance to Israel and the pardon of sins.” (CLNT) Next we hear Paul, speaking to Israelites, tie Christ to the history of Israel and says, “From this one’s seed, God, according to the promise, led to Israel a Savior, Jesus.” (Acts 13:23)
In Eph. 5:23 Paul tells us that “Christ is Head of the called-out (the church), and He is the Savior of the body.”
This is, of course, His corporate body. But do we yet see more of just what this term means?
Phil. 3:20 expands our understanding. “For the administration (or, constitution) of our commonwealth (polity) continuously (repeatedly) begins below, within the heavens – out of which we are also repeatedly (continuously) awaiting a Savior, the LORD, Jesus Christ.” The work and purpose of this Savior is explained in vs. 21, “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, to conform it to the body of His glory …” (CLNT) So this is something that we are continually waiting for Him to come and do to us here. He is going to come here to us and change our condition. Is this not what we’ve been consistently seeing in regard to “salvation”?
Paul confirms the revelation given to the Samaritans (Jn. 4:42) in I Tim. 4:10, “that we rely on the living God, Who is the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.” (CLNT)
In II Tim. 1:9,10, Paul tells us that GRACE was given to us in Christ Jesus, and that this now “is being manifested through the advent of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who, indeed, abolishes death, yet illuminates life and incorruption through the evangel …” (CLNT)
Here we have even more “illumination” of the purpose and work of the Savior. Yet, are not these gifts and works of the Savior done here, in this life? Some will, of course, disagree that this happens here, in this “life.” But this is another subject: life, and death.
Titus 2:11-14. “For the saving GRACE of God made its advent to all humanity, TRAINING US … in the current eon, anticipating that happy expectation, even the advent of the glory of the great God and our, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, WHO GIVES HIMSELF for us, THAT HE SHOULD BE REDEEMING us from all lawlessness AND BE CLEANSING for Himself a people to be about Him, zealous for good works.”
Once again we see that this Savior and His saving grace train us, redeem us, and cleanse us, and all this to be His people and do good works – here and now. Ch. 3:6 tells us that this Savior richly pours out His Holy Spirit on us.
II Pet. 1:1,2 says that this Savior will multiply grace and peace to us. Vs. 11 says that He will richly supply to us “the entrance into the aiwnian kingdom of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
I John 4:14, “the Father has sent forth the Son with a mission: Savior of the world.”
Now let us examine the passages which use the word swthria, salvation, deliverance.
Lu. 1:71, “Salvation (deliverance) out from our enemies, and out from the hand of all those who are hating us.” In this context, Zechariah had said (vs. 68), “For He visits, and makes a redemption for His people.” Then in vs. 77, “To give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the pardon of their sins.” So here we have deliverance from enemies, redemption, and forgiveness of sins (failures; errors) all tied to the visit of the Savior, and His salvation.
In Lu. 19, following Zaccheus’ proclamation of the change that was going to be in his life, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation (deliverance) is birthed (came into existence; comes to be) for (or, to) this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.” (vs. 9) Jesus continues is vs. 10, “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost (destroyed).” Vs. 8 had given the evidence of this salvation: the change in Zaccheus.
In Acts 7:25 we have the situation where Moses smites the Egyptian, as Stephen has been relating it, “Now he thought that his brethren understood that God by his hand would give them deliverance; but they did not understand.” (Diaglott)
In Paul’s discourse in the synagogue (Ac. 13:26) he says, “Men! Brothers! Sons of the race of Abraham, and those among you who are fearing God! To us was the word of this salvation sent forth.” Some might here argue that from this statement by Paul it should be concluded that everything concerning the “word of this salvation” would apply only those of the physical “race of Abraham.” As the word kai, translated “and,” above, can also be translated “even” (the ascensive use – W. D. Chamberlain), the phrase following it in the vs. above could be seen as a definition, or explanation, of the term “race of Abraham,” and thus this phrase could read, “Sons of the race of Abraham, even those among you who are fearing God!” If so, this would correspond to Paul’s words to the Galatians (3:7), “Know, consequently, that those of faith, these are sons of Abraham.” Thus is the term “race of Abraham” both defined and expanded by this definition. These two verses would then have a critical impact upon our original question.
But if kai is translated as a simple connective “and,” vs. 26, above, still expands the target group to whom “the word of this salvation” was sent. It is now seen to include “those among you who are fearing God,” who would be ANY BELIEVER, even the Gentiles who were called “God-fearers,” who did not convert to Judahism.
The foregoing discourse in Antioch, of which vs. 26 is a part, was delivered in the synagogue (vs.14), and thus to Jews and proselytes. On “the coming sabbath” (vs. 44), “almost the entire city was gathered to hear the word of the Lord. Yet the Jews, perceiving the throngs, are filled with jealousy, and they contradicted the things spoken by Paul, blaspheming. Being bold, both Paul and Barnabas say, ‘To you first was it necessary that the word of God be spoken.
Yet, since, in fact, you are thrusting it away, and are judging yourselves not worthy of aiwnian life, lo! we are turning to the nations. For thus the Lord has directed us: I have appointed Thee for ‘a light of the nations; for Thee to be for salvation AS FAR AS THE LIMITS OF THE EARTH.’ Now on hearing this, the nations rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and they believe, whoever were ones having been set (arranged, appointed) into life aiwnian.” The scene is one of immediate turning, or focusing, on whoever will hear, receive, rejoice at the good news, glorify the word, and thus believe. Focusing on who had been SET, it is interesting to note that those who had been were ones who had been SET into this life. This is a perfect, passive, participle. They were chosen for this. Being put INTO this life was a gift. Once set into it, they were within it as a sphere of existence. And thus are we. It is a present condition and state of being. We also see the immediate move from the ones to whom “first it was necessary that the word of God be spoken,” upon their rejection of this word, into the nations.
In Acts 27:33,34, we see that food was a part of their “salvation.” “Wherefore I am entreating you to partake of nourishment for this belongs to this salvation of yours …” (vs.34)
Rom. 1:16, the good news “is God’s power into salvation (deliverance) to everyone who is believing – to the Jew first, and to the Greek as well.”
“For a heart continually believes into righteousness, but by a mouth it is continuously confessed (avowed; the like thing is spoken) into salvation.” (ch. 10:10)
RE: Israel, Paul says, “but by their stumbling (falling) aside [is] the salvation (deliverance) to (for) nations.” (ch. 11:11)
“This, also, do, being aware of the season (the fitting situation), that IT IS ALREADY THE HOUR for us to be roused out of sleep, for now is our deliverance nearer than when we believed.” (ch. 13:11)
“For He is saying, ‘By an accepted fitting situation (for an acceptable, approved season) I listened upon (hearkened; heard with favor; replied) you, and within a day of deliverance I helped you [or,’ in a day of salvation I help (aor.) you]. Lo, NOW is an accepted fitting situation (acceptable season)! NOW is a day of salvation.” (II Cor.6:2)
The word “now,” repeated twice by Paul, would seem to put the concept of “salvation” into our current time and situation.
“For sorrow down from God (or, in accord with God) continually works out (is producing) a change of thinking into deliverance (salvation), but the world’s sorrow continually produces death.” (II Cor. 7:10) The aspect of “process” is obvious in this verse. Repeated or continuous action is in the present tense of the verbs.
In Eph. 1:13 we see that “the word of the Truth [is the] good news of your deliverance (salvation), in Whom, also having believed, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit of the promise.” The term “the promise” connects us, through Israel, all the way back to Abraham, once again.
Paul, in Phil. 1:12-22, speaks of his bonds, of those heralding Christ because of envy and strife, and how that he is “aware that, for me this will be eventuating into deliverance (salvation) through your petition and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ …. Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death. For to me to be living is Christ, and to be dying, gain.” I see a two-fold sense of the “eventuating into deliverance, or salvation.” First is the magnification of Christ in his body, for a witness to the world. Second is the process of deliverance within himself, so that Christ will be magnified in his body. Once again, this deliverance was a present, though far-reaching, event. In vs. 28, the destruction, proved by the believers’ not being startled by the opposition, was a present condition of the opposers. Their not being startled (terrified) was also a proof to the believers of their own state of “salvation,” or, deliverance. One group was destroyed, the other group was delivered (out of bondage to fear).
In I Thes. 5:8, “the expectation of deliverance” is a helmet that we are to be putting on.
In Eph. 6:17, it is simply “the helmet of salvation.” So, salvation, or, deliverance, is a part of God’s complete armor, in which we are to stand in this life.
In I Thes. 5:9, Paul says, “Because God did not Himself place (set) us into anger (violent emotion; wrath), but rather into an encompassing of deliverance (unto establishing a perimeter of deliverance; into making salvation encircle; into a forming of salvation around) through our L0RD, Jesus Christ.” (JPM trans.)
We see the “salvation” is something that we are “chosen into” by God, in II Thes. 2:13,
“But we are indebted (continuously owing) to be continuously expressing gratitude to God always concerning you, brothers, ones having been and continuing to be [so] loved (preferencially valued) by the Lord that God chose you for Himself (took you in preference) from [the] beginning into deliverance (salvation), in setting apart (holiness) of spirit, and faith (belief, persuasion) of truth [or, within the Spirit’s holiness and Truth’s faith].” (JPM trans.) There seems to be something yet to be effected, once we are set apart unto, or into, this deliverance, for Paul tells Timothy (II Ti. 2:10) that it is “on account of the chosen ones” that he undergoes “all things,” to the end that “they may hit the mark of the deliverance (salvation) within Christ Jesus, with aiwnian glory.” I would call this an example of “body ministry,” i.e. Paul undergoing, and they hitting the mark. It also shows that this process has a goal, a vision, in mind: the glory, which pertains to these ages.
In II Ti. 3:15 Paul speaks of “the sacred Scriptures which are able (the ones continually being powerful) to make you wise into (unto) deliverance (salvation), through that faith within Christ Jesus.” Is this saying that the Scriptures have the power and ability to impart wisdom which will lead us into (eis) deliverance, through means of the faith which is resident within Christ? I think that’s what it said. Once more, I sense the essence of process here.
Heb. 1:14 speaks of “those being about to inherit (receive by lot) deliverance (salvation).” To receive by lot speaks of “God’s choosing,” as in II Thes. 2:13. Heb. 2:3 introduces the idea of “caring for so great a deliverance,” then continues on, “which, receiving a beginning – to be spoken through the LORD – was made firm unto us by those who heard, God joining in according witness …” Speaking of “process,” again, note vs.10, “to perfect (finish, complete, mature) the Prince (Beginner, Leader, Ruler) of their deliverance through experiences [pascw: to have sensible experiences; to feel; to suffer; be affected].”
This same theme is picked up again in ch. 5:9, “and being perfected, He became the cause of deliverance pertaining to the ages (aiwnian) for all who are obeying (giving the ear to; submitting to) Him.”
“So also, the Christ being offered once (once for all) unto (for) the many [cf Ro. 5:15,19] to bearing back up of sins [or, …Christ being offered once to carry up the failures of the many], will be seen (made visible) out of [the] second (place, or time; cf. ch. 9:7 and 10:9), apart from sin (or, the sin-offering), by those continuously receiving from out of Him, into deliverance.” (Heb. 9:28, JPM) Note the qualifier: continuously receiving from out of Him. It is like the branch needing to abide in the vine in order to produce fruit.
“By faith Noah, being instructed [or, being managed – pass. of crhmatizw: to manage business or public affairs] concerning those things as yet not seen, acting cautiously prepared an ark unto a deliverance of his house …” (Heb. 11:7, JPM)
Peter says that God “giving birth, back UP again, to us, into a continuously living expectation, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ out of [the] dead ones, INTO an incorruptible, undefiled and unfading INHERITANCE having been kept (guarded, watched) within [the] heavens – INTO YOU – those who are garrisoned through faith into a deliverance (salvation) ready to be unveiled within [a/the] last season (fitting situation), within which you must continuously rejoice …” (I Pet. 1:3-6, JPM)
He continues, in vs. 7 speaking of the proof of their faith, “though proved by means of fire,” and in vs. 9 says, “continuously taking back into keeping the end (the perfect discharge, the final realization, the attained end, the completion and consummation) of your faith: deliverance of [your] souls.” Then, vs. 10, “Concerning which deliverance the prophets seek out and search out, who prophesy concerning THE GRACE [which is] INTO (for) you.”
“For God’s GRACE which imparts deliverance (or, the saving grace of God) is manifested to all men (or, was made to appear for all men; shone upon in clear view for all men – aor. with the dat.), is continuously instructing us as children … in the current age” (Tit. 2:11, 12).
“And be deeming the patience of our LORD deliverance (salvation).” (II Pet. 3:15)
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “You are worshiping that of which you are not aware (what you do not know); we are worshiping that of which we are aware (what we know), because deliverance (salvation) is continuously (continually exists) from out of the Jews.”
Now Jesus continues His discourse on worshiping, ending with “those worshiping Him must be worshiping IN SPIRIT and TRUTH.” (vs. 24) In reply to her question on worship, Jesus inserts the statement of the origin of “deliverance.” (Jn. 4:22, above) One must be delivered in order to worship, and this deliverance is only in Jesus, Who sprang forth out of the Jews.
What can we conclude from the use of this word family? It seems to me that its application and work are for here and now, in this “current age.” Its scope is for spirit, soul and body – every area of our life. It delivers us out of bondage and bad situations or conditions. It heals us, makes us whole. It comes though grace, which imparts deliverance and continuously instructs us as children in this present age.
I think it interesting to note, that in the discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus did not say, “You must be saved.” He was speaking of beholding the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3), then entering God’s kingdom (vs. 5). To do this one must be born from above (vs. 3 and7); one must be born out of water and spirit (vs. 5, and vs. 8, Cod. Sinaiticus). In vs. 3 He spoke in the singular, but in vs. 7 He said, “It is necessary for you (plural) to be born from above.” I think that we can conclude that He was speaking in vs. 7 of all of Israel. So Israel had two problems (at least). They needed deliverance and they needed birth. Again, many have assumed that these two words meant the same thing. I think this assumption is a mistake.
We have already taken a long look at the concept of being “saved,” or “delivered.” But in John 3 Jesus refers to God’s people, Israel, as needing to be born from above. Throughout Israel‘s history they had needs of being delivered – mostly from their enemies. Now they still had this need, but He came to “deliver His people from their sins.” (Matt.1:21) He did heal them, and a couple times on the lake He did rescue them. But now they need another birth. Some have said that the birth by water referred to natural, physical birth. This seems reasonable, since Jesus’ reference to this followed Nicodemus’ question about reentry into one’s mother’s womb. Then in vs. 6 Jesus has the comparison of flesh to spirit, saying, “that which have been born out of the flesh is flesh; and that which has been born our of the Spirit is spirit.” He proceeds in vs. 7 to speak of being “born from above.”
“From above” has been translated “again,” and “anew.“ But this same word is used in vs. 31 where John the Baptist is speaking of Jesus and makes an earth: heaven comparison, “The One coming from above is over all. The one being from out of the earth is out of the earth. The One coming from out of the heaven is over all.” So here we can see from John’s usage that the term “from above” is equivalent to “from out of heaven.” Thus, I would conclude that those to whom Jesus was referring must be born “from out of heaven.”
Here is a good place to refer to my original question. To whom did Jesus’ words in Jn 3 apply? Some conclude that Jesus was here referring to the “regeneration” of Israel. [Here is where the Concordant Version lets us down in not being concordant. In vs. 3 and 7 it translated anwqen “anew.” In vs. 31 anwqen is translated “from above.”] This passage is connected to Matt.19:28 where it speaks of “in the regeneration,” or “in the renascence” (CLNT). But this is a different word, paliggenesia (from palin: back again; anew; and genesis: birth; generation), thus, “new birth,” “regeneration,” “the process of being born again.” The only other place that this word is used in the N. T. is in Tit. 3:5, “He saves us, through the bath of regeneration and renewal (a making back up new again) of a Holy Spirit, which He pours out upon us richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior …”
At the time, in the situation at hand in the days of Jesus, He was speaking of and to Israel, God’s chosen people. But here’s where Paul’s unique revelation sheds light.
Romans 11:17, “Now if some of the boughs are broken out, yet YOU, being a wild olive, are grafted among them, and became joint participant of THE ROOT AND FATNESS of the olive …” Once a branch is grafted into a tree, it becomes a part of that tree. WE are, by Paul’s words here, now a part of Israel. What applied to Israel now applies to us – we are a part of them – we are “joint participants.”
Eph.2:11-22. Hear what he is saying. “Wherefore, remember that once YOU, THE NATIONS in flesh – who are termed ‘Uncircumcision’ by those termed ‘Circumcision,’ in flesh, made by hands – that YOU were, in that era, apart from Christ, being alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and guest of the promise covenants, having no expectation, and without God in the world.
“Yet NOW, in Christ Jesus, YOU, who once are far off, ARE BECOME NEAR by the blood of Christ. For He is our Peace, Who MAKES BOTH ONE, and razes the central wall of barrier (the enmity in His flesh) nullifying the law of precepts in decrees, that He should BE CREATING THE TWO, in Himself, INTO ONE NEW HUMANITY, making peace; and should be reconciling both in ONE BODY to God through the cross, killing the enmity in it. And, coming, He brings the evangel of peace TO YOU, THOSE AFAR, and peace to those near, for through Him we both have had the access, in one spirit, to the Father.
“Consequently, then, NO LONGER ARE YOU GUESTS AND SOJOURNERS, but are FELLOW-CITIZENS of the saints and BELONG to GOD’S FAMILY, being built …. together for [lit., into] God’s dwelling place, in spirit.” (CVNT)
Let’s consider the breaking off of some of the branches of the Olive Tree (Israel). Paul says this in another way in Rom. 2:25, “yet if you [the circumcision] should be a transgressor of law, YOUR CIRCUMCISION has become UNCIRCUMCISION.” This is God’s view and judgment of the matter. Paul goes on to explain this vs. 28, “For he is not a Jew who is so outwardly, neither is circumcision that which is outward in flesh; but a Jew is he who is so inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit …” (Young)
And how about vs. 26? The maintaining of “the just requirements of the law” by the literal “uncircumcision” makes “his uncircumcision [to] be reckoned into circumcision.” Why would Paul make this association if these two groups had separate evangels? In I Cor. 7:19 Paul says “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the precepts of God.” Things had changed. Paul’s revelation here showed the new reality. What were once two separate groups (circs and uncircs) are now one new humanity in which all are treated the same. Humanity has a new corporate (or, federal) head – the last Adam, the second Man. And boy is this “good news.”
SAVE – SAVED [Jonathan Mitchell] 1