Walk through a shopping mall. Randomly ask people what Jesus can do for their lives. If people are willing to chat, what would they say? For those who know something about Christ, the predominant answer would likely relate to salvation.
To be sure, the good news about Christ crucified centers upon salvation. However if we limit salvation’s impact to being rescued from our sins and becoming God’s people, we will overlook a massive component of God’s work on our behalf.
Paul’s letters connect salvation with its resulting ramifications for our lives. Recall his words, “For by grace you are saved through faith, … For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them” (Ephesians 2:8,10). God’s work in the believer’s life does not end with providing salvation, this is only the beginning.
When God saves people, in grace he also provides purpose, meaning and guidance for living. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
Accordingly, we should anticipate that Paul would tie this moment of being released from sin and made alive with Christ with the impact salvation brings upon the new believer’s life. For example, Paul related how being buried with Christ in baptism and raised with Christ (Colossians 2:11-13) should shape the new believer’s life (Colossians 2:20; 3:1).
Salvation means more for the Christian’s life than just being forgiven. To be saved is to be blessed in being a new person who has been given a meaningful path for living.
It would be short-sighted to limit the benefits of “being saved” to forgiveness. How fulfilling would life be if we were only granted a clean slate, provided adoption papers as God’s people and then cut loose to live aimlessly until we die? In his grace, God has addressed all of our deepest needs, including our ability to possess a meaningful life whether we face difficulties or ease.