It seems that among those that call themselves "Christians," there is fairly consistent agreement over what the word "salvation" means, but much disagreement over how to obtain it.
Let us start by addressing the first, and then speak at length of the second.
- The act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
- Deliverance from the power and penalty of sin.
The first definition above might be considered a secular definition of salvation, but is nonetheless closely tied to the second, non-secular or religious definition. To deliver someone from the "power and penalty of sin" is at the heart of our discussion of salvation, and closely tied to "redemption." See the article about "God's Redeemed" on the home page.
The word "salvation" comes from the Latin word "salvare," meaning, "to save."
Why do we need to be saved?