As Christians, oftentimes, our understanding of salvation is that it is our ticket to heaven after we die, and to have salvation, we have to receive Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds.
While this is partly correct, the idea that salvation can only be attained when we die is partly incorrect because salvation is not merely a ticket to heaven, rather, it’s a 360-degree turn in our earthly lives from someone that thinks only of this world to someone that is affected by the things that can be attained in heaven, which is the pure joy of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
To further understand this, let us take a look at a Bible passage that describes salvation as something that is not merely about eternity.
Salvation Is by God’s Grace and Received Through Faith
In Ephesians 2:8-9, it is written, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” This Bible passage emphasizes that salvation is not attained through works but by faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and reconcile us with our Father.
The Father gave His only begotten Son, not because of our good deeds, but because God is good to us and loves us. When Jesus died on the cross, we were free from sin and granted eternal life. This is further emphasized in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, it is only through Christ Jesus that we have received salvation but after we receive Christ, we are commanded to turn our backs to sin because sin is death. We are commanded to be a new creation once we receive Christ. As it is written,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Therefore, we should turn away from evil ways once we have received Jesus’ gift of salvation. This is repeated and we are reminded by it in the passages of John 15,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other (John 15:9-17).
Eternal Life Speaks to Both the Quality and Quantity of Life
Life begins when we are saved. Life begins when we receive Christ. In Ephesians 2:10, it is written, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Therefore, once we have received Christ, we are bound to an eternal responsibility to follow His commandments and that is to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This means that in order for us to love our neighbors, we have to have a good relationship with whatever God created. This type of life here on earth is of good quality because it is lived by the Spirit of God.
Aside from the quality of life, the quantity of our lives matters as well — by counting our blessings whatever it may be, no matter how big or small it may seem. Life on earth is merely a foretaste of what is in store for us in God’s palace and that is why we have to make the most of it by taking care of it and also being grateful for it.
We Are to Nurture the Ministry
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
As people who have received salvation, we must multiply the advocacy of Christ by sharing the good news. This is the Great Commission and we are part of it.
This is further echoed by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5. Our lives are bound to the ministry of Jesus Christ once we have received salvation. We have died from our sins and became anew through Jesus and that is why we should serve Him.
In choosing to receive Christ, we became the bearers of the good news and new hope and forgiveness for others. This is a very beautiful gift that we receive through salvation. When we are saved, we have an everlasting relationship with God.
This is not just experienced in the afterlife, but rather, it is experienced here on earth. It is written, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12–13).
Yes, we have the promise of eternal life through salvation but our continuous relationship with God through Christ Jesus is the effect of salvation and therefore we must continue to nurture it. As it is written,
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20–21).