The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!” Acts 16:30 MSG
What does being saved mean?
Not cussing, no drinking? Letting go of the Black and Milds for perfect attendance at church? What verse is that from? What version of the text can we turn to and point at forbidding humble souls from listening to a whole genre of music or that a style of clothing determines their soul?
Or is being saved turning aside from a prideful heart and realizing there's no need to judge others when personal accountability is a priority? Is it tapping into personal faith, being unashamed to share that? (Romans 10:10)
What it means to be saved gets different answers from different people. That may explain why it’s usually well intentioned and sadly misconstrued. There’s no shortage of human rooted definitions of what being saved means and trying to hold others accountable for self glorifying standards.
People hold on so tight to ideas in their mind that they’re frequently unable to accept the probability they might be wrong. If anything, those in the Bible who had major impact at least considered it was feasible they were ignorant. They were open to having a mistaken point of view.
Then, we witness some church folk “operating by faith” failing to hold their celebrated leadership and gifted accountable when there is a blatant violation of the Word. In the past, many would blame the victim or keep things quiet in order to maintain the status quo.
Is that what being saved means? If so, it’s no wonder we have so many youth leaving or flat out avoiding the church. Young minds have always questioned and challenged ideas. To matter of factly dismiss their constructive feedback is hypocritical, if you’re claiming to be interested in sharing the Lord with them.
Some evangelicals would argue up and down they’re saved, yet idly sit by as fellow believers are targeted, attacked, and marginalized. Not on TV, but right down the street or behind them in line at a grocery store. Claiming clemency because of religious order or deformed dogmatic mindsets.
Being saved doesn’t mean you now are licensed to pass judgement on other people nor that having a tattoo is going to send you to hell. It’s not mandatory to give up watching Love and Hip-Hop or Power. What it does mean is that you’ve given your whole heart (and life!) to the Messiah. Signaling that the Kingdom comes first and nothing will take priority over your life.
Credit cards can’t have your trust. Your job or relationship status aren’t what you put your trust in. The life you’re meant to have, the full one is connected to complete trust in the Lamb of God.
The scripture says, “Put your entire trust”. Not a partial portion. Not the weekend version. It says, if you want to be saved, then put whole trust in the Lord. That nothing will come before Him, means even worrying needs to shrink.
Being saved doesn’t mean your life will be barren and boring. If Jesus was hanging out with the righteous and a little ratchet, then please believe He loves you via your works and a heart that’s centered on Him. Don't let a hypocrite stop you from streaming Cardi B or Lizzo.
What’s being saved? Start with what it isn’t. Sometimes being saved means letting go of what’s being thrown at you from the pew in front or behind. Forget the snobby and sanctified.
To really live this saved life, turning over your entire life, was the answer offered by the disciples. That’s good enough to me all these years later.
So often the focus is on what we have to give up, and not on what to keep.
Keep trusting Him fully. Keep studying His Word. Keep away from rigid religious ideas faking roots in scripture. Keep being blessed.