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Video: Salvation is Jesus' very identity + Here's what that means for you-

emotional healing health + healing miracles sozo video Jun 13, 2017

The message of Jesus is bigger than the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel affects all of life. Jesus desires for the Kingdom to come present, now. The goal isn’t simply to get people to Heaven; the goal is also to get Heaven to people.

Some background on that...

At the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, we read that Mary was told to name her child Jesus. His name actually means “salvation, deliverance.” The angel told her, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). 

The name Jesus, Yeshua, actually means “salvation.” That is, “Name the baby Salvation because He will save…” Salvation is Jesus’ very identity. 

Jesus came to save people in a far greater way than we may have thought, however. It’s important to note that Jesus came to offer a complete salvation, a salvation that affects the entire person.  

Throughout the story of His life on earth, we see that Jesus is consistently willing to save people (i.e., see Matthew 8:2). We never see Him denying anyone healing or deliverance. And, he’s been far more successful at His work than we’ve often been taught! Again, salvation is His identity. It's what He does, because it's who He is...


He's been more successful than you thought

The verb save is the Greek word sozo. We find sozo in action in verses like Acts 16:31, when Paul tells the Phillipian jailer to “believe on the name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved / sozo.” 

The word sozo appears 101 times in the New Testament! However, the word sozo is far more powerful and far less limited than simply how God views our sin. Sure, the word often means forgiveness of sins (which is what we usually limit the concept of salvation to), but it means much more. The word is also used in multiple ways throughout the New Testament.

One pastor writes, “The word ‘saved’ comes from the Greek word sozo, which means to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, make whole, keep safe, or rescue from destruction.... Sozo speaks of all Jesus died to give us” (James Richards- see his book, Grace, pp56-57).


Salvation limited to the after life?

I used to think the benefits of the Gospel (of forgiveness, of total redemption) were limited to the "after life."

You know the drill… say a prayer, walk an aisle, maybe raise your hand at the end of the church service (when no one is looking, for your privacy, of course), and you get a "miss hell, make heaven" ticket.

Philosopher / theologian Dallas Willard called this “bar code Christianity.” He likened people to cans in a supermarket- none of which contain actual prices on them. You grab them off the shelf, take them to the checkout counter, toss them on the conveyer belt, and wait until the grocery store clerk scans the can over the flickering red laser. 


“Green beans,” the cashier says. Then, reading the screen- “Ninety-eight cents.”

Willard says that we wrongly think about salvation as much the same. You die (read: go to the conveyor belt and await your turn to be scanned at the judgment seat). Then God looks up the “price” (i.e., is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not?). Though you effectively looked like every other can in the supermarket, we don’t REALLY know your eternal destiny until that final scan… 

No one can judge.

You just have to "know that you know that you know..."

Sound familiar? 

When I was growing up, I was told that Heaven amounted to a bunch of singing, thousands of years of laying our crowns down at Jesus' feet, and watching all of our misdeeds on a big screen (where everything would be laid bare for everyone to see). It sounded like an amazingly long church service, complete with an added mega-dose of guilt and shame.

I didn’t want any part of it. I didn’t want to make that “scan.”

Of course, don’t get me wrong. I didn't want to go to hell, either. I wondered if there might be a third option.


Salvation is now + then, the Kingdom is present AND yet-to-come

Turns out, there’s a different way. 

Jesus didn't just come to forgive you- He came to make a radical re-set on everything in this life. Everything.

And that change happens now. In the present. In this life.

In other words, Jesus was more about getting Heaven here to us than getting us from here to there...

He even encouraged us to pray, "Your Kingdom come... on earth as in Heaven..."


So, His Kingdom comes present. And, when it comes, we see things like- 

  • forgiveness, and
  • physical safety, and
  • spiritual freedom- release from oppression
  • physical healing, and 
  • raising the dead

In other words, when you really read what redemption is, you realize that Jesus has been far more successful than you might have thought.


Straight from the Bible 

I know. That was a mouthful. We've got to back it up and in black and white. 

A series of miracles in chapters 7 & 8 of Luke show us just how broad this salvation- this sozo- is. These stories demonstrate scope of salvation and the depth of healing that is available even today.

I don’t need to elaborate too much on these stories, because you’re most likely very familiar with them. The only part you may not have known is that the Greek word sozo is the linchpin that connects each of them. Like a “connect the dots” picture in a children’s coloring book, when we link this word together in the narrative, we get a better glimpse of everything Jesus came to do. 

Let's talk through them briefly. 

The first story is this: A woman of the street anoints Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:36f.). You know how it goes. She apparently interrupts the dinner party, then uses her hair to wash his feet. Whereas the host of the party is offended, Jesus is overwhelmed with grace and honor. 

He responds that her faith has saved, that is, sozo her (Luke 7:50). Clearly, according to the narrative, He has forgiven her sin.

Shortly thereafter, the disciples get into a boat to cross the sea. Soon thereafter, they find themselves in a storm (see Luke 8:24f.). 

 (Side note: don’t you appreciate how, just about every single time Jesus tells His men to hop into a boat a storm comes?)

Anyway, Matthew (who was on the boat), says that Jesus slept though the storm. That is, He slept until the disciples- most of who were sea-trained and had weathered many storms before- grew so fearful that they awakened Him in their desperation. 

Matthew records that they cried out, “Sozo us!” (translated in English as “Save us!”) (see Matthew 8:25). 

They were not crying out for Jesus to administer “last rites” and forgive their sins in the manner a Catholic Priest might do. Historically, Catholicism wouldn’t be birthed for hundreds of more years. Here, they obviously speak of their physical safety- not the forgiveness of sins, even though the word is translated the same (“save” = sozo = physical safety).

In other words, we’ve seen that sozo is translated as- 

  • forgiveness of sins (the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet)
  • physical safety (the storm at sea)

Well, as the disciples cross the sea and begin making they way towards the next city, we find a third usage of the word. Somewhere along their path, a demoniac, self-proclaimed Legion, approaches Jesus (Luke 8:26f.). The demons in the man ask if Jesus has come to torment them (a great question- but we see in the New Testament that Jesus never torments; He always heals in some way). 

Jesus casts the demons out of the man, the demons invade a herd of pigs, and the pigs rush down a hill into the sea and die. The man, who had been naked, clothes himself and appears to be in his right mind. 

A crowd from the nearby town hears what has happened (no doubt frustrated that hundreds of pigs have just died and that they’ve just taken an economic hit), and ventures to the site of the calamity. Luke says that they marvel that the formerly demon-possessed man has been made “well,” that is, sozo. Obviously, the third instance we see in this sequence of stories shows us that sozo is also spiritual freedom / demonic deliverance. 

Jesus and the disciples journey on. They make their way through a crowd in a nearby town when the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, approaches Jesus about healing his sick daughter (see Luke 8:40-42,49-56). 

As Jesus tells Him that He will go see her and begins to walk towards his home, a woman with a flow of blood (long-standing menstrual issues, most likely) interrupts Jesus and Jairus’ conversation (Luke 8:43f.). She doesn’t say anything to break up their conversation. Rather, she quietly reaches out and touches His cloak. 

This is the famous woman who said, “If only I may touch the hem of His garment I will be made well…” That is, she will be physically healed. 

When she reaches out and touches Him, Jesus actually feels power surge from Him.

He turns and declares that her faith has made her sozo (Luke 7:47). Here, we see that physical healing is another usage of the word sozo

{By the way, if you’ve been tracking along on this site, this usage makes sozo  the third word we’ve seen for healing, setting it alongside iaomai (instantaneous healing) and therapeuo (healing, over time). Here’s the graphic for that, as well as a link to the posts where I discuss the other two kinds of healing (miracles post here, lottery post here).}

 Back to our story… 

Apparently, the delay the woman causes creates just enough time lapse so that Jairus’ little girl dies. Just as Jesus and the religious leader turn to continue their journey towards his home, messengers come to them, saying, “Don’t bother the Teacher any longer, your daughter is dead…”

Jesus tells Jairus not to worry, simply to believe and she- the dead girl- will be made well... 

When they arrive at his home, mourners are already present. Jesus removes them from the house, goes to the girl, and tells her to arise. Then, taking her by the hand, He helps her up.  Luke describes this as sozo, the word he uses to denote raising the dead (see Luke 8:50).


Yes, more than just forgiveness

We see that sozo is not only the forgiveness of sins, it’s the total reign of Jesus over all of life. Sozo is the absolute restoration and reconciliation of all things. 

We see clearly that there is no area that is outside the scope of the Kingdom (see Colossians 1:20). Again, to repeat the catch phrase here, Jesus has been far more successful than you may have thought! 

And, yes, many people have had an encounter with the “Gospel of the forgiveness of sin,” which is in itself a beautiful message. These people have prayed a prayer. They may have even walked an aisle. They believe in Jesus, but there is more than the remittance of sins on the line. 

The Bible tells us that after each these stories Jesus looked at His disciples and “He gave them authority over all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). Then, “He sent them out to announce and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and bring healing” (Luke 9:2). 

In other words, Jesus showed them what the Kingdom was like; then, He empowered His followers to “do the stuff” of that Kingdom! Again, notice what He sent them to do- and compare it with what we often do. After reading through Luke's story and seeing the word sozo defined you're probably realizing that the Gospel is LARGE and all-encompassing, far bigger than you might have imagined. 

Don’t misunderstand. Forgiveness is important. In fact, if it were the only thing the Lord provided, it would be a great deal. However, the word “salvation” (we often ask people, “Are you saved?” and “Do you want to be saved?”) means so much more than we typically represent.

Jesus demonstrated and empowered His Church to announce more, to walk in more. To show the world- and to offer the world- a fuller way of life. To show a complete picture of God’s goodness. To show what sozo means. 

Jesus sent the disciples to announce the Kingdom- the total reign of God over every area of life- not just announce the forgiveness of sins. 


Putting it in context

I love the story that happens JUST BEFORE this “sozo sequence.” In Luke 7:28 Jesus tells His disciples- and a group of bystanders- that John the Baptist (who is about to die in prison, being beheaded by Herod) is the “greatest man born” up to this point. Jesus is validating and honoring  John’s ministry. Remember, John is the One who was Jesus’ cousin (Luke 1:36) and actually emerged as a forerunner, preparing the way for Jesus (3:1f.). 

After honoring John, Jesus says something shocking, however. He tells everyone, that the one who is “least in the kingdom” will stand in a greater position of privilege than John.

This was not to discredit John at all. Rather, this highlights the more preferable position of standing in the wake of the Kingdom.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • John ministered under the Old Covenant. Believers in the Kingdom minister under the New Covenant (Luke 16:16).
  • Under the ministry of John, people had to first repent in order to experience God’s goodness (see Luke 3:8f.). This was His primary message, in fact. We see that under the message of the Kingdom, though, repentance isn’t a prerequisite to experience God’s goodness. God often blesses people first- and then watches them transform.
  • John preached for people to flee from wrath (see Luke 3:7); now we preach for people to embrace goodness (Romans 2:4). This shift is more than linguistic.

This chart will help you visualize what happens with this shift- 


In other words, it’s after relaying this “grace shift” to people that Jesus then demonstrates the power of the Kingdom- even doing so to people who didn’t merit God’s favor. True to grace, He simply gives to people freely without expecting performance from them first.

Notice who He sozos in each of the stories above- 

  • The woman of the street (a prostitute) who anoints His feet (Luke 7:36f). Her faith has sozo’ed her (7:50).
  • The disciples from the storm at sea (Luke 8:24). Matthew 8:25 terms this as “Sozo us!”
  • The naked demoniac who has been living among the tombs, self-mutiliating by cutting himself (Luke 8:26f.). He is made sozo in 8:36.
  • The woman with the flow of blood (Luke 8:43-48). She reaches out and is instantly cured / sozo of her affliction (7:47).
  • The raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56) (yes, Jesus even blesses a religious leader- but he’s just one of the mix, not the exclusive recipient of grace). The daughter is raised from the dead, which Jesus describes as sozo in Luke 8:50.

 In my mind, it’s as if Jesus did the following:

  • Tells the disciples that John the Baptist was a great prophet- but that the least in the Kingdom stands in a greater position than he did because John stands under Law and we minister in the freedom of the grace of the Kingdom (see Luke 7:28).
  • Gives them a demonstration of what He came to do (Luke 7:36- 8:56). Then,
  • Releases them go to do the same thing (Luke 9:1-2).


Again, what did Jesus empower His people to do? 

Notice, then, Jesus wasn’t telling His disciples to simply preach the forgiveness of sins. Jesus told His disciples to preach the Kingdom- to go announce the total reign of God over all areas of life. The complete rule of the King includes the forgiveness of sins. It also includes God’s triumph over illness. His victory over strife. His prosperity and abundance. His relational healing. His reconciliation of all things (Colossians 1:20).

This is the salvation we are to bring (see Luke 9:2). We take it with us, wherever we go. Often the Church has assumed that there are certain commands of Jesus we can obey, certain actions that are possible (i.e., love one another, be compassionate), but that there are other commands we cannot do (bring healing, for instance). We limit the scope of what Jesus came to do- and what He desires to continue to do through His Body, His Church.

Because of this, many people have had an encounter with the “Gospel of the forgiveness of sin,” which is in itself a beautiful message. These people have prayed a prayer. They may have even walked an aisle. They believe in Jesus.

But Jesus told the Church to announce more, to walk in more. To show the world- and to offer the world- a fuller way of life. To show a complete picture of God’s goodness. To show what sozo means.

I believe, too, that many people (even in the Church) are still stuck in an “I get what I deserve” mentality. They still live under law: actions = consequences. This type of thinking leads people to believe the strange paradox of:

  • God forgives me for my sins.
  • I still reap a load of bad consequences because I’ve done so many bad things.

Luke reminds us in another passage that “The Law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]. Since then, the Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached, and everyone presses into it” (Luke 16:16). Everyone presses into grace when it is fully preached, when unconditional love is offered. 


What are you arguing against? What are you fighting for?

I’ve taught this view of salvation for several years now. In multiple venues. In churches. At business workshops. In small groups. On live video over the Internet.

Oddly enough, I never get pushback from people outside of the church. They desperately WANT this message to be true. They know that we need purpose in life… and physical safety… and healing… and spiritual freedom… a new pattern for living… forgiveness…

No, the opposition to a teaching like this typically comes from “religious” people. They say things like:

“I’m already saved.” By this, they mean that they have been forgiven of their sins and that their eternal destination has changed. (Back to Willard's "bar code Christianity" example.)

“The church should keep the main thing the main thing.” (But what if the main thing is the WHOLE thing?)

“We should seek God’s heart not His hand.” (Notice that if you get to God's hand His heart is not too far away, right?)

As well, many people feel that if you teach the “last four” items on the chart above, that you are minimizing the first- the forgiveness of sins. Far from that, I believe that highlighting everything Jesus achieved actually amplifies and magnifies that greatness of His work.

One pastor writes, “We too are citizens of a heavenly kingdom: a Kingdom not of this world (see Philippians 3:20, John 18:36). Because we are citizens of Heaven, we have a legal right to access all the blessings of Heaven. We know that there is no sickness in Heaven, no disease, no poverty, no depression, no sin, and no broken families. Therefore, we have authorized permission to not only access healing, wholeness, prosperity, deliverance, and restoration, but to take those things and manifest them on Earth” (Jeff Jansen, Glory Rising, p33).

In other words, we can access the Kingdom now. We can leverage the future blessings in this present moment. 

Joseph Prince says, “I don’t know why there are some believers who fight against ministries that proclaim the truth that God wants to give us success, prosperity, and health... they are essentially fighting to remain sick and poor” (Unmerited Favor, p267).

Think about it. He's right on. Why would we argue against sozo

Jesus prayed a great price for healing, deliverance, and protection. Just as it would dishonor your parents if you left Christmas presents sitting under the tree because you liked the first one, so also does it dishonor the great sacrifice Christ has made to leave His provision sitting untapped. It’s bad stewardship. And sure, there’s grace for leaving those blessings “under the tree,” but why would you? It doesn’t dishonor the first gift (forgiveness) because you took the second or third, too (healing, deliverance). 

They were all purchased for you.


Enjoy this? You might also like The Healing Workshop. More info at



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