Reading a few posts back, I realized that for people who don't know much about the Christian faith, talk of being "saved" must be pretty nebulous. Let me take just a minute to explain what being saved means to me.
As I have mentioned before, at the core of the Christian faith is relationship, between God and humanity. As a Christian, I believe that through Adam and Eve, our covenant with God was broken, and a new covenant was made between humanity and Satan. Satan is the enemy of God and man, and will do everything in his power to turn people from God, because God's greatest desire is to restore relationship with us.
Traditionally, Christians, along with those of several other faiths, believe the soul is eternal. This means that when you "die" physically, you don't actually Die; there is an afterlife that goes on forever.
You've probably heard of heaven and hell. What I've learned growing up as a believer in Jesus is that if a person physically dies, having rejected the gift of salvation that God freely offers, that person will go to hell, but whoever accepts the gift of salvation, procured through Jesus' death on the cross, will go to heaven when they die. Hell, usually depicted as a burning pit with a red, horned, pitchfork-wielding devil in attendance, would probably be better described as eternity separated from God. Heaven, then, is eternity spent with God.
So, I believe that everything good comes from God, and that heaven is living in restored relationship with him forever, healed and whole. I live in hope that the broken pieces and scars that I live with in this present, earthly life, will be made beautiful and new. I picture hell as a place that's utterly void of good. This means, no party in hell, folks. Instead, all the depression, pain, self-loathing, evil, despair, and ugliness of this life just continues, magnified 1,000 times over, with no hope of ever getting better.
When you hear a Christian talk about being saved from their sins, there's a good chance they are talking about this restoration of relationship with God and the confidence that they will go to heaven rather than hell after this life. God longs to be reconciled to all people, and offers this reconciliation with an open hand to anyone who wants it.
Anyway, I'm no theologian, but I hope this little post is helpful to anyone who has wondered what Christians mean when they say they are "saved!"