What Are We Saved From?

by James I. Packer

"He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him." (Hebrews 7:25)

What are we saved from? Paul gives several answers to the question in Romans:

We are saved from sin, that demonic dynamic of hostility to God. All people, says Paul, are under sin by nature, and it drives them into the way of disobedience so that "none is righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). This is a person's natural state in which he plays God by treating himself as the center of his world and fights God by refusing the claims of his own true maker.

We are saved from being under the Law which both irritates sin, stirring it into activity, and passes censure on it in all its forms and expressions. The Law is good in itself and promises life to any who keep it entirely, but for us human beings it is very bad because of its allergic effect on moral natures already infected and dominated by the sin principle. We are saved from God's wrath, which is not ill temper but divine righteousness in action: righteousness that will be shown fully in the final judgment but already is apparent in the way that sin begets sin and increases misery, moral corruption, and social disruption, person against person.

We are saved from death, the destructive principle that negates all God's intentions for a person's fulfillment by cutting us off from God's life. Death operates both spiritually and physically in the present and will be experienced increasingly in the future existence for which eternal death is the only proper name.

Salvation means that we are saved right out of the order of things in which sin, Law, wrath, and death are the dominant forces.

We are saved from all that, but for what? Paul's answer is that we are saved to be with the Lord and to be like the Lord.

Think through the above in non-theological language, as though speaking or writing to an unchurched person who was questioning you about it.

Lord, I long that everyone should be saved from all those dreadful things, especially these people for whom I care.

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