Well, what in the world does that mean – to save completely? We tend to think in terms of people being saved or unsaved, but our Scripture today talks about being saved completely.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (NIV)
Can a person be partially saved?
Half-saved? Of course not. But the Scripture does speak of a progression in spiritual things. For example, love must be made perfect in us (1 John 4:17). Our faith must be perfected (Hebrews 12:2). We are commanded to be perfect in all we do (2 Corinthians 13:11). When we first put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are given the Holy Spirit, but then we are taught to grow up and mature, to keep in step with the Spirit (Hebrews 5:25). The Christian life is not a one and done act. Salvation in the Scripture is compared to being born again. Babies can’t do much and they are very susceptible to danger. They cannot protect anyone including themselves. Salvation is the gift of God given to us like spiritual babies who have received the full inheritance of the Lord, but we have not the ability to manage the inheritance nor fully enjoy it. But as we grow up into our faith, we become strong, able to stand in our own faith and help others do the same. We are born again as spiritual babies, but we are called to become fully mature. The Christian walk is progressive and we must never stop growing in our faith.
Perfect faith seems unrealistic…
Let’s go a bit deeper. We are saved by faith. To be saved completely, then, is to have perfect faith. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Perfect faith seems unrealistic. It seems too far. Who could have perfect faith? Faith is trusting God to handle each and every situation according to His word all the time. “Nobody’s perfect,” we say all the time. It feels as if the idea of being perfect is not precise, but simply a call to do better. The problem with that thinking though is that Christ did call us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). This is not hyperbole. We are called to be like Christ and we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) to help us in this process. We must accept this and strive toward a perfect faith.
Faith is a gift from God out of His grace (2 Peter 1:1) that allows us to be born again. But faith is not simply for salvation. Faith is the gift of God that when we act in it moves us to perfection. Once faith is given to us and we receive salvation, this same faith must be perfected and as it is perfected, we succumb to temptation less and less. We do not fall away. We do not backslide.
Every time we sin, it is a decision to not operate in faith.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to act in faith in the face of every temptation. We fall into temptation when we choose not to act in faith. We choose to not follow the teachings of Christ. To act in faith is believing that His ways alone lead to life abundant. We resist the empty temptations to find abundance through things of the flesh. In faith being perfected, more and more, we pursue God’s way in every situation. God wants to save us completely to bring us to a level of faith where we never lay it aside, ignore it, nor abandon it. Perfect faith is always in action and because the perfecting is done by God in us, His power is unlimited to perfect our faith completely.
We are unable to do this in ourselves, but as we operate in faith, the Lord honors us by changing our hearts giving us greater capacity to follow Him by faith and love Him with all of our hearts. This is the basic premise of my second book “With All Your Heart.” I delve deeper into this process of how the Lord perfects our faith and what it means for our life. You should check it out.
Don’t settle for less…
As the Lord perfects us more and more, His better-than-we-could-ever-imagine plan for our life is possible-so possible (1 Corinthians 2:9)! Don’t settle for less by resisting God’s power within you to perfect your faith, to save you completely!