When is a Person Saved?

July 11, 2022

(The focus of this article is on the when aspect of the term saved)

Using a great analogy that my wife gave me… if you fell off a cruise ship in the ocean you might feel doomed… but if you were to see the cruise ship turning around to come get you, you might exclaim “I’m saved”.   But in truth you are not saved in this scenario until you are on the ship.

The ship may come closer and the crew may throw out a life ring to you.  You might then say again… “I’m saved”.  But in truth you are not saved until you are pulled up on the ship.

There are a number of ‘catch phrases’ that folks use in regards to personally-held biblical doctrine.  We seem to use them as self-reassuring statements when around others.  Here are a few off the top of my head:

  • Once Saved, Always Saved
  • Are you Saved?
  • Nailed to the Cross
  • You’re robbing God
  • God knows my heart
  • That’s not what it means to me
  • That’s for the Jews

In the past I have used a few of these phrases without really knowing and understanding the actual Hebrew or Greek behind the English text… or more importantly the context of the phrase.  I repent for that lazy behavior… and error.

The phrase I want to concentrate on today is (Once Saved, Always Saved).  I have heard that phrase spoken in conversation; I have said it myself, and probably shared it with others for years without really thinking of the timeline aspect of when we are actually saved.

Once I understood the word behind the English word saved it gave me better insight to the when aspect.   

One of the given meanings is ‘to be made whole

Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries w/TVM, Strong – G4982

σώζω (sṓzō | sode’-zo)

Derivation: from a primary σῶς (contraction for obsolete σάος, “safe”);

Strong’s: to save, i.e., deliver or protect (literally or figuratively)

KJV: —heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

Cognate Group: G4991 (deliver), G4990 (saviour), G4992 (salvation), G4982 (heal)

Variants: σώζω, ἐκσῴζω, σῴζω

Hebrew Equivalents: אָזַר, בָּרַח, חָיָה, חָסָה, יָדַע, יָשַׁע, מָלַט, נָצַל, פָּדָה, פָּלַט, רָאָה, שָׂגַב, שׁוּב, שְׁזַב, שָׁלַם, שָׂרִיד

Other Resources: Thayer LSJ VGNT CWD GrLNT, G5392

I think of it like being (Saved, Salvation, Delivered, Complete, Changed, etc.…).  A good friend of mind suggested the word (Redeemed).

So, our being made whole or complete (think new spiritual body) happens at some point in the future for the believer.  I certainly do not have a new spiritual body today even though I made a confession of faith earlier in my life.

And those in the grave currently are not made (whole or complete) as they are still in grave today.  They are not in Heaven… they are simply dead… (resting, sleeping).  And the scripture is pretty clear that when the Messiah returns, those in the grave will be ‘caught up’ (Harpadzo, Rapturo, Raptured) before those who are still alive.

1st Thessalonians (Chapter 4:13-18)

  • But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
  • For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
  • For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
  • For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first
  • Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
  • Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

So, it is pretty clear.  There is an order to those being caught up.  Those who sleep in Jesus will be caught up first… then we who are alive and remain until the Messiah returns will be caught up after them.

Concerning resurrections… the text indicates an order of those resurrected.

1st   Christ (the First Fruit) – has already happened

2nd   First Fruits (may have already happened) – (graves opened after Yeshua arose from the grave)

3rd   Those at his coming (2nd Coming) Also referred to as the 1st Resurrection (we are looking forward to this)

4th   Those at the end (2nd Resurrection) Don’t want to be in this group for sure

1st Corinthians (Chapter 15:20-24)

  • But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
  • For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
  • For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
  • But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
  • Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

(cometh… intalics means added by translators)

When Yeshua (Jesus) arose from the grave there were other graves opened also. 

Matthew (Chapter 27:52-53)

  • And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
  • And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Were some of these folks taken to YHWH (God the father) as a first fruits offering also?  Christ was the first fruits of them that slept, but were these others maybe the 24 elders that are mentioned in Revelation.  They are mentioned in Revelation as being in the throne room… but are not mentioned earlier in the bible.

Remember also, that when Yeshua was recognized by Mary the next morning, he told her ‘Don’t touch me’.

Gospel of John (Chapter 20:17 AV)

  • Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.

To recap the resurrection timeline shown in 1st Corinthians (Chapter 15):

  • Yeshua the anointed (Christ means anointed).  He was the firstfruits from the dead (those asleep)
  • First Fruits (maybe some from the other opened graves) (possibly these became the 24 elders)
  • Those at his coming (2 groups – those sleeping in the grave and those alive at his return) (new spiritual bodies) (1st Resurrection)
  • Those at the end (2nd Resurrection) Not good…. These folks must be judged according to their works.  Even for these folks I think some may be able to eat from the tree of life… depends on which book their name is written in.

Revelation (Chapter 20:12)

  • And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

*Note – there is a major difference between being (rewarded for your works) versus (being judged according to your works).  Do not think these are the same concepts.

Revelation (Chapter 5:5-6)

  • But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
  • Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

When does this occur?  When does the person here on earth change and is made whole?  I think this happens when we are changed… at the last Trumpet.  We are made whole (in our new spiritual body) at a point in the future.

1st Corinthians (Chapter 15:51-53)

  • Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
  • In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
  • For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So here the Scriptures are telling us that for those in this 1st Resurrection (the good one) that there are two groups of people that belong to Yeshua.  Those who sleep (already dead in the grave – corruptible) and those who are (currently alive – mortal) when Christ returns.   This 1st resurrection happens at the last trump.   These two groups of people will both be changed (made whole, salvation, saved, or redeemed) and be given a new spiritual body.

Revelation (Chapter 20:6 AV)

  • Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Matthew (Chapter 24: Assorted verses)

  • 3, And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
  • 4, And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
  • 5, For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

……

  • 13, But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

……

  • 31, And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

This is when those who have endured to the end will be saved.   Just because I made a confession of faith at some age of my life does not guarantee that I will be in the 1st resurrection.  I must endure to the end.  Either the end of my mortal life or the end times if the Messiah were to return in my lifetime.  Either way I must endure to the end to be saved (made whole, salvation, saved, or redeemed, etc.…)

That is a different teaching from what I received as a younger man.  The teaching I received and passed on in error is that once I ‘came forward’ and made a confession of faith and probably baptized (immersed) then my name was written in the Book of Life and I could go on about my business.

Even though I was taught that although I ‘am a new creature’ and have been ‘begotten with spiritual seed’; I was never taught that I still must endure to the end.

I might be begotten again (imbued with Spiritual seed) … but for sure I was not Born Again… not yet.  The begotten again is from incorruptible seed, not corruptible (man) seed.

1st Peter (Chapter 1:23) (compare these three versions below)

  • having been begotten again (G313), not of corruptible (G5349) seed (G4701), but of incorruptible (G862), through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. (ASVs) (American Standard Version with Strong’s)
  • Being born again (G313), not of corruptible (G5349) seed (G4701), but of incorruptible (G862), by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (AVs) (Authorized Version with Strong’s – KJV)
  • Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (AV) (Authorized Version – KJV)

As you can see the KJV (AV) translators used the English word born… the more correct term would have been begotten as shown in the ASVs version.  You cannot be born (new body) on this earth. You are born again (new spiritual body) at the time of the last trump (trumpet).

We have been begotten again with incorruptible seed (through the word of God) … and so we are a new creature of sorts.  The first time we were begotten (male seed… corruptible male seed) was when our earthly father passed his seed to our earthly mother.

Later in life if we choose to accept Yeshua as our Messiah then we are begotten again but this time it is with incorruptible seed.  That is a huge difference.

Then later we will be born again.  At the end…as we have read above. (at the last trump)

Yeshua was first ‘born’ from among the dead.

Revelation (Chapter 1:5) (compare these three versions)

  • and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn (G4416) of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; (ASVs)
  • And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten (G4416) of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (AVs)
  • And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (AV)

In comparing these three versions we see the ASVs gives the correct context.  Since we are talking about folks going from a mortal body into the grave… and then being resurrected into a new spiritual body the term born (firstborn) is the correct context.

Think of the term begotten as a seed or seeding process (physically impregnated or spiritually imbued).

Think of the term born as a physical process (childbirth) or spiritual rebirth in our new kingdom allowed version.

This verse in Genesis is an example where both the (English word) born and (English word) begat both have the same Hebrew Strong’s number (H3205) behind them.  The context provides the key nuance.  A man would provide the seed (begat/begotten) … but the woman will give birth (bare/born) to the child.

Genesis (Chapter 4:18 AVs)

  • And unto Enoch H2585 was born H3205[(H8735)] Irad H5897: and Irad H5897 begat H3205[(H8804)] Mehujael H4232: and Mehujael H4232 begat H3205[(H8804)] Methusael H4967: and Methusael H4967 begat H3205[(H8804)] Lamech H3929.

On a another point we need a spiritual body of some type to inherit the kingdom of God.

1st Corinthians (Chapter 15:50)

  • Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (AV)

So, as we see… at some point we will need a different body type to inherit the kingdom of God.  That body type must be a spiritual type.  There seems to be two flavors of spiritual body types.  I refer to them as body type A and B.  One is called Incorruptible and the other is called Immortal.  Obviously, I have no clue on what that will look like or if it matters… but there seems to be a distinction between the two.  We can find this out later… after we endure to the end.

These verses reinforce the concept that those who endure to the end shall be saved (at a point in the future).  But the individual must endure to the end.  The end meaning either:

  • The end of their life if the Messiah does not return in their lifetime.
  • At the last trump when the Messiah returns and send his angel to (gather and separate) those alive at the time of his coming (1st Resurrection)

Matthew (Chapter 10:22)

  • And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew (Chapter 24:13)

  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mark (Chapter 13:13)

  • And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mark (Chapter 16:16)

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

To summarize… we are saved when we are changed (made whole, salvation, saved).  What I mean is we are not made whole (σώζω (sṓzō | sode’-zo) (changed, salvation, saved, healed) until we are given our new spiritual body.  Until then we must respond appropriately in our behavior, actions, words, and deeds as a new creature that has YHWHs (God) instructions (TORAH) written in our mind and on our hearts. 

There must be a continual renewing of the mind as we strive to be perfect.  There is the constant striving and enduring to the end.  These actions are not to be used ‘as justification’ since one cannot merit salvation based on works… rather this behavior change is a love response to the Creator and his Son.

Matthew (Chapter 19:17)

  • And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

1 John (Chapter 5:2)

  • By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1 John (Chapter 5:3)

  • For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Revelation (Chapter 12:17)

  • And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(Revelation 14:12)

  • Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

And if we are living to the very end then we will be those who did not worship the beast, nor his image, nor had the mark of the beast.

(Revelation 20:4)

  • And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Just like King Solomon said near the end of his book…

(Ecclesiastes 12:13 AV)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

Thanks…pfw

Paul Williams

Note:  When I refer to the last trump (trumpet)… in my view we are talking about the 7th trumpet as referred to in Revelation 10 and 11.

Credit: 

I want to give credit to Michael Rood (Michael Rood Ministries) for his teaching on the nuances between the words (born and begotten).

I want to give credit to Tom Bradford (Torah Class) for his teaching on the concept of (wholeness).

Published by Paul F. Williams

I am a recovering sinner trying to share some scriptures along with my thoughts... with those who 'have an ear to hear' and 'an eye to see'. I am not trying to be adversarial. I simply want to get folks thinking...pfw

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