“Are you saved?” I used to hear that question a lot growing up in the deep South. We were a family of church-goers. But the message of the Gospel never really made its way into my heart. Saved from what? I’d wonder. Life was good. I didn’t need to get saved—or so I thought. Maybe you can relate.
Welcome to the 21 Day Experiment in Prayer. In our reading of John 3, we meet a religious leader named Nicodemus who came to visit Jesus. Jesus rocked the boat of this respectable Pharisee when He told him he needed to be saved. Jesus said no one could even see the kingdom of God unless he was “born again” (John 3:4).
I’m intrigued by all that’s wrapped up in the word “saved.” It comes from the Greek word sozo and has earthly and heavenly meanings. Sozo can describe how we’re healed from physical disease or rescued from danger.
In the spiritual realm, sozo means to save someone from spiritual death. A person is brought safely into Christ’s heavenly kingdom. We are saved from sin and death and born again to eternal life. Pretty weighty stuff!
The watchword I selected from today’s reading is John 3:17. I especially like the Amplified Version: For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him (John 3:17 AMP).
Jesus’ assignment on earth was to save us so that we can spend eternity with Him. To make us “safe and sound.” All other world religions grasp the need for people to be saved. But they teach that we must live up to some standard or law—an impossible task for imperfect humans!
What good news that we have a Savior—the One who gave His life for our salvation! A free gift of grace. If that seems too easy, just remember it cost God everything. I’m amazed at how the very same word which used to offend me as an unbeliever now fills my heart with peace.
What verse from John 3 did the Holy Spirit impress upon your heart—your watchword for today? Who is on your prayer list? How will you be not just a hearer, but a doer of the Word?
As for me, I’m reminded to pray specifically for my friend Hana (not her real name) whom I met on a missions trip to the Middle East. She is very religious and has tried desperately to work her way to God. But I sense she yearns to know the saving love of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I ask for an open door today to share the gift of grace with Hana. May your Holy Spirit give me the right words at the right time. Please go before me. Or send someone to speak of Your love for her—perhaps through a dream or vision.