The word lexicon describes a person’s vocabulary. Today, our lexicon includes words like, “Instagram,” “dope,” “selfie,” “sick,” “profile pic” and “legit.” Sometimes, I think we say and use words without really understanding what they mean. “Salvation” is one of these words. We talk about that moment—when we got “saved”—and it’s almost like MAGIC, right? Our sin is gone! We’re good! The problem is that everyone who prays a prayer still sins!
The apostle Paul says something in the book of Philippians that resolves a lot of the tension we feel about the word salvation (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV). Continue to work out your salvation. That would be a strange way to talk about salvation if it’s supposed to be a one-time prayer. The moment still matters. But to assume that all God wants for you is that one single interaction, one conversation—that would be missing the point.
Have you ever gotten a really nasty cut? Neosporin is a salve. A salve is a thing you use to help something messed up heal and grow back together again. When Paul talks about us working out our salvation, he’s talking about healing. Salvation is growing into who Jesus has said we are and learning to let our life look like what Jesus said it could be. God wants more than one conversation with you. He wants you to experience a salvation, and a healing that begins in one moment and then continues every day.
Salvation is more than a moment.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. -Philippians 2:12-13 NIV
Questions for Conversation
- Have you ever tried to use a word you really didn't understand? What happened?
- What's one way the world "salvation" or "saved" can be confusing?
- People often talk about salvation or becoming a Christian as a one-time thing. What could you miss if you think of your experience with Jesus was limited to a one-time moment?
- How does trusting in Jesus change our identity? In other words, what is now different about us?