What does it mean to be saved to the uttermost?
To be saved to the uttermost speaks of a much deeper salvation; a salvation not just from the wages of sin, but from the very chains of sin.
You have just given your heart to Jesus. You have repented and your sins have been forgiven. In other words, you have been saved! Saved from the wages of sin, which is death. Jesus Christ has paid that debt for you, and now, because you believe in Him, you have received eternal life! (John 3:16) This is an unspeakably great gift of grace.
But is this it? Is that the whole definition of what it means to be saved? What about what the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes? “… He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25. What does it mean that He will “save to the uttermost?”
He is able to save to the uttermost – a much deeper salvation
Hebrews 7:25 speaks of a much deeper salvation; a salvation not just from the wages of sin, but from the very chains of sin. You can be saved from being bound to committing sin over and over again, from needing forgiveness again and again! In other words, you can be saved not just from the punishment for giving in to outbursts of anger and wrath, for example, but you can be set free from the root of anger and wrath that is in your flesh. This happens when you, in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, deny these lusts in the flesh. You make a conscious decision not to give in to them, and by the Spirit overcome them before they develop into sin. (Romans 8:13) Doesn’t that sound amazing? And since Jesus always lives to make intercession for you, it is a guarantee through the help and power you receive from The Holy Spirit, the Helper He has sent us.
When you are faithful to overcome your lusts whenever you are tempted – things like impure thoughts, envy, pride – then you will, through faithful endurance, come to the point that these lusts are completely overcome. Piece by piece, they will be completely uprooted and dead! Virtues will grow where once the lusts were so deeply rooted. This is what is meant in Hebrews 7:25 by “save to the uttermost.” It is not the work of a moment, but a lifelong process of faithfulness.
The process of this salvation
This is described and explained by the words of the Apostles, and by Jesus’ own words as well:
“… let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works …” Hebrews 6:1. “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on … I press toward the goal …” Philippians 3:12-15. “But let patience have its perfect work …” James 1:4.
This is how you “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Not because you are so strong and capable, but because with great expectation, you look forward to your goal, to the end of your faith. You are obedient to “God who works in you both to will and to do,” and who gives you the power to do! You can be “… confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:12-13; Philippians 1:6.
If you are still doing the works of the flesh wilfully, then you are not in the process of salvation, let alone being saved to the uttermost. But if you are walking in obedience to the Spirit, overcoming the lusts of the flesh as they are revealed to you, then you will gain the fruit of the Spirit. Things like love, joy, kindness, self-control, etc. Then you are in the process that Paul describes in Romans 5:10: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Following Jesus’ example, you are on the way to being saved to the uttermost.
The end of your faith
You will not go into eternity empty-handed, but with the rich content of the fruit of the Spirit in your own spirit! This is the content you have gained in the various opportunities that come to you as the trials, temptations, and challenges in your everyday lives that bring the sin in your flesh to light. You will be transformed – conformed to the image of the Son! (Romans 8:28-29) You will become a partaker of the divine nature! (2 Peter 1:3-4)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ … receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your soul.” 1 Peter 1:6-9.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.