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What Is Salvation?

What Is Salvation?

The Bible’s answer

 The terms “save” and “salvation” are sometimes used by Bible writers to convey the idea of a person’s being delivered from danger or destruction. (Exodus 14:13, 14; Acts 27:20) Often, though, these terms refer to deliverance from sin. (Matthew 1:​21) Since death is caused by sin, people who are saved from sin have the hope of living forever.​—John 3:​16, 17. a

What is the way to salvation?

 To gain salvation, you must exercise faith in Jesus and demonstrate that faith by obeying his commands.​—Acts 4:​10, 12; Romans 10:​9, 10; Hebrews 5:9.

 The Bible shows that you must have works, or acts of obedience, to prove that your faith is alive. (James 2:​24, 26) However, this does not mean that you can earn salvation. It is “God’s gift” based on his “undeserved kindness,” or “grace.”​—Ephesians 2:​8, 9; King James Version.

Can you lose out on salvation?

 Yes. Just as a person saved from drowning could fall or jump back into the water, a person who has been saved from sin but fails to keep exercising faith could lose out on salvation. For this reason, the Bible urges Christians who have received salvation “to put up a hard fight for the faith.” (Jude 3) It also warns those who have been saved: “Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”​—Philippians 2:​12.

Who is the Savior​—God or Jesus?

 The Bible identifies God as the primary source of salvation, often referring to him as “Savior.” (1 Samuel 10:19; Isaiah 43:11; Titus 2:​10; Jude 25) In addition, God used various men to deliver the ancient nation of Israel, and the Bible calls them “saviors.” (Nehemiah 9:​27; Judges 3:​9, 15; 2 Kings 13:5) b Likewise, since God provides salvation from sin through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Bible refers to Jesus as “Savior.”​—Acts 5:​31; Titus 1:4. c

Will everyone be saved?

 No, some people will not be saved. (2 Thessalonians 1:9) When Jesus was asked, “Are those being saved few?” he replied: “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able.”​—Luke 13:23, 24.

Misconceptions about universal salvation

 Misconception: First Corinthians 15:22 teaches universal salvation by saying that “in the Christ all will be made alive.”

 Fact: The context of this verse discusses the resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:12, 13, 20, 21, 35) So the phrase “in the Christ all will be made alive” simply means that all who are resurrected receive this blessing through Jesus Christ.​—John 11:25.

 Misconception: Titus 2:​11 teaches universal salvation by saying that God is “bringing salvation to all people.”​—International Standard Version.

 Fact: The Greek word translated “all” in this verse can also mean “every kind or variety.” d Thus, the correct understanding of Titus 2:​11 is that God is making salvation available to all sorts of people, including people “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.”​—Revelation 7:​9, 10.

 Misconception: Second Peter 3:9 teaches universal salvation by saying that God “does not desire anyone to be destroyed.”

 Fact: God wants people to be saved, but he does not force them to accept his provision for salvation. His “day of judgment” will include the “destruction of the ungodly people.”​—2 Peter 3:7.

a The Bible refers to a person as having “been saved” even though his or her actual salvation from sin and death is yet to come.​—Ephesians 2:5; Romans 13:11.

b In the cited verses, some translations use the terms “champion,” “deliverer,” “hero,” “leader,” or even “someone” rather than “savior.” However, in the original Hebrew text of the Bible, the same word is used for these human saviors as is used elsewhere in the Bible when referring to Jehovah God as Savior.​—Psalm 7:​10.

c The name Jesus is derived from the Hebrew name Yehoh·shuʹaʽ, which means “Jehovah Is Salvation.”

d See Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. The same Greek word appears in Matthew 5:​11, which records Jesus’ statement that people would say “all sorts of” evil things against his followers.​—International Standard Version.