Then he brought them outside and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?”Acts 16:30
Are Christians trafficking in guilt and illness? What raises such a question? The lipservice given to the Sinai Covenant and the essential reality of falling short of God’s glory. Since claiming sinless nature or conduct is false (1 John 1:7-10) and since no Christian is in perfect health we can say guilt over sin and illness are being used to oppress and harass the elect.
“Be saved” is passive action. Passive action puts the person receiving the action as the actor. I must be saved, but who saves me is the question that will sniff out the truffle. As long as people keep separating the promise that makes lost people sons of God from generosity no safe space exists. Nothing is guaranteed. There is no real gift.
Here are two pairs of passive action and active action.
- He was saved by grace
- Grace saved him
- They are often kissed by their mother
- Their mother kisses them often.
Simple vs Infinite
Who is doing the kissing? Who is doing the saving?
In Ephesians 2 :8 “saved” is also passive but it is definitely not an ordinary (finite) action word. It is the linked condition or identity to “you”. Sesosmenoi (safe or saved) is like a colour or some other quality: in this case persons are sesosmenoi.
We cannot twist “saved” into an active statement such as
• Grace saved you
• Grace saved you through faith
Paul is describing an outcome or status. You are safe by grace through faith.
Saved, though it is a based on a verb, lacks person. It has the characteristics of a verb except for person (actor)
• You (one or more)
• He / she
It is a statement of fact, not action.
You are light.
You were blind
You are my friends
Need to come and let Christ save us
This is one of many cases where translations have failed to state what the text says. One is safe and cannot drag works into the picture, except perhaps if one wants to brag about one’s contribution to the redemption that is exclusively by Lamb’s blood. Moreover, if one accepts that Yeshua’s gift of the Holy Spirit is a downpayment towards (or a guarantee of) resurrection one cannot harbour the thought that Yeshua’s eternal will can be thwarted by human will or action. He did not need our will to shed grace on us, and he certainly does not need it to keep us graced. We only needed to come to him. We only needed to surrender our record and efforts to set ourselves right. Apparently most of us stil do.