This article originally appeared at David’s blog and is used by permission.
Being saved refers to a person placing their faith, their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and being made right with God. Jesus bled and died for our sins, and rose again, that we might have salvation by believing in Him. So, Jesus is the One who saves. He paid the price for our salvation.
But, can a believer save a soul? Many vehemently deny this possibility. Many Calvinists (Reformed) insist salvation is only God’s decision, even to the point that God has to save or regenerate a person first, before he can believe. Therefore, a human being can do nothing for their salvation. The Bible, however, is not nearly that strict on salvation.
We sometimes get too picky with our terminology. Sometimes we insist others abide by our personal preferences, or we are ready to consign them to perdition, or at least proclaim them ignorant believers.
Do I believe Jesus saves? Of course I do. Do I believe salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone? Yes (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
When it comes to salvation, Jesus paid it all, but others participate in God’s salvation. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again. But the individual must repent and believe in Jesus (John 1:12, 3:16, 36; 5:24; Romans 10:9-10, 13). And those who point others to Jesus also have a part in that salvation.
Could it be proper to say, “I saved a soul from an eternity without Christ”? Regardless of what some might say, this is sound theology and it is biblical theology. It is just looking at salvation from a different angle. It also brings out the truth of God being in charge, yet God giving man a free will to participate in His salvation.
Do I have biblical evidence for men and women saving others? Yes, I do.
If by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. -Romans 11:14
Notice the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, referred to his saving some of his countrymen.
For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? -1 Corinthians 7:16
Many a husband has been saved by his wife. Many a wife has been saved by her husband. How? The wife prayed for him, lived a godly life in front of him, witnessed to him, pointed him to Jesus. Our “saving” others is biblical terminology, plain and simple.
To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. -1 Corinthians 9:22
Paul was willing to become all things that he might “save some.” Paul was willing to sacrifice to “save” others.
Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. -1 Timothy 4:16
In one sense, you can “save” yourself and others by taking heed to God’s Word.
Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. -James 5:20
A soul-winner is in the business of “saving” souls. When you win someone to the Lord, you are “saving” a soul from death.
But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. -Jude 1:23
We are actually told to “save” people. To save them with fear, knowing that Hell is a reality.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. -James 1:21
In another sense, the Word of God is able to “save” your souls.
Does this mean instead of Jesus, a man can pay for and forgive sins and assure others a place in Heaven? No, in that sense only Jesus can save (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). But this does mean that the Bible itself refers to Paul, the Word of God, others, and you, saving a soul from death when you have a part in bringing someone to Jesus.
Salvation is not nearly as one-sided as some would have you believe. God the Son is the One who bled and died for the salvation of the world. The Holy Spirit moves and convicts. But God calls on man, possessed of a free will, to repent and believe. Further, God even recognizes the saving work of man in pointing others to Jesus.
So, don’t get too demanding in your personal preferences and shibboleths.
Jesus saves. But, according the Bible, man saves as he sows the gospel seed to those lost and in need of a Savior.