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In the Gates

Mostly Saved?

Mostly Saved?--I laugh every time I hear Billy Crystal, in The Princess Bride, explain that Wesley is only “mostly dead.”

Uses of the Law: To Guide Us in Doing Good (6)

T. M. Moore

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2.26

I laugh every time I hear Billy Crystal, in The Princess Bride, explain that Wesley is only “mostly dead.” I think a lot of Christians might want to say they’re “mostly saved” but maybe not “completely saved.” They’re mostly saved because they profess to believe in Jesus, feel certain that their sins are forgiven, and are assured that they’re going to heaven when they die.

But they don’t manifest the kind of devotion to good works that Paul says is the reason we have been redeemed and saved. And they aren’t much interested in learning to be so devoted, either, for they just don’t have (read: aren’t willing to devote) the time, interest, or inclination to meditate day and night in God’s Law or to have a regular, daily time of reading and meditating in the Word of God (Ps. 1). They believe the fundamentals, are sure they’ve “tasted” of the Lord, and are faithful at church and Sunday school, sitting under the showers of the Word preached and taught (Heb. 6.1-8). But they’re not really “into” good works as a way of life. So the absence of any real zeal for good works perhaps means that they’re only “mostly” saved, no?

Well, I’m not so sure. “Mostly” saved, according to the writer of Hebrews, could well mean, “still dead in trespasses and sins.” What pertains to salvation, as James, Paul, and John also insist, is the “work of love” that we do each day in living out our faith before others (Heb. 6.9). Truly alive believers understand that they have been saved to do good works, and they get busy learning all they can and being alert to the opportunities around them so that their devotion to good works can come to light as the manifestation of their being “completely saved.” This is the only way to make the most of every opportunity for doing good (Gal. 6.9; Eph. 5.15-17).

Are you completely saved or only “mostly” saved?

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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