By Joe Slater
Sometimes talking about being saved makes people uncomfortable, which, in turn, makes us hesitant to talk about it. Some folks think it is arrogant to say, “I am saved.” Let’s see if we can clear the air a bit.
First, saying “I am saved” acknowledges my need to be saved. Suppose I was among those snatched from the sea by the crew of a rescue ship. By saying, “I am saved,” I would be admitting that I had been in the sea, in danger of drowning, freezing, or being eaten by sharks. So it is in spiritual matters. The name “Jesus” was given to the Savior because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In essence, then, when I say, “I am saved,” I am admitting that I was lost because of my own sinfulness. By what logic is that arrogance?
Second, saying “I am saved” acknowledges that I couldn’t do it myself. If I, by myself, could have a right relationship with God, then I would not need to be saved. As Paul wrote, “If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21). In the sense that we comply with the terms of pardon God has revealed in His word, we “save ourselves” (Acts 2:40 KJV; see also 1 Timothy 4:16). But in no sense do we earn or merit anything from God. It certainly is not arrogant to acknowledge that I was lost in sin and could not remedy the situation myself.
That leads to the third and final point. Saying, “I am saved” does not imply that “I am better than you.” Being “saved” says nothing whatever about how good someone is. If I say I was saved from drowning, am I claiming to be a better swimmer than others in the sea? Hardly! I might be the poorest swimmer of all. Just imagine someone angrily shouting, “How dare you claim to be saved while you claim that other fellow is drowning! He’s ten times better at swimming than you are! If you are saved, then surely he is saved also!”
I might try to explain that being a good swimmer won’t save you – being saved depends on whether you get into the rescue ship. No matter how good a swimmer you are, you’ll drown if you don’t get into the ship! Likewise, salvation from sin is not based on how “good” you are. Yes, God requires that we repent, obey, and live faithful lives. But in the final analysis, all of us are imperfect. Our salvation depends on being in the right relationship with Christ. Thus, it is not arrogant to say, “I am saved.”
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.