Can A Christian “Save” Others? Yes.

David Brumbelow, Pastor
Northside Baptist Church, The Highlands, TX

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.



Nelson Banuchi 13-10-2016, 08:03

Although it is true that strictly speaking only God saves, it is not true without the qualification that God uses men as believers as a means to save other men as sinners. That is, in salvation God uses men as an instrumental means. Only God can actually regenerate, but men, in accordance with the divine plan, are necessary to bring men to that state, that is, conversion, where regeneration that be divinely effected.

As Charles G. Finney stated, “There are many passages [in the Bible], which represent the conversion of sinners as the work of men.” Furthermore, he adds that the Bible “ascribe conversion to four different agencies – to men, to God, to the truth, and to the sinner himself.”[21]

Since Christians seem to be more familiar with Bible texts that ascribe salvation as the work of God alone, I thought it would be helpful to point out below some verses that ascribe salvation also to man:
1. Men save themselves:
– Ezek 3:19 – “you will have saved yourself” [22] (cf. v.21)
– Ezek 18:27 – “he will save his life”
– Ezek 18:31 – “make for yourselves a new heart”[23]
– Mark 8:35 – “whoever loses his life…will save it”
– Luke 7:50 – “Your faith has saved you”
– Luke 28:42 – “your faith has healed you”[24]
– 1 Tim 4:16 – “you will save both yourself and your hearers”

2. Men save others:
– Prov 11:30 – “he who wins souls is wise”
– Rom 11:14 – “in the hope that I may…save some”
– 1 Cor 9:22 – “by all possible means I might save some”
– 1 Tim 4:16 – “you will save…your hearers”
– James 5:20 – “Whoever turns a sinner…will save him”
– Jude 23 – “snatch others from the fire and save them”

Charles Finney gives this example: “There is a man who has been very ill. How natural it is for him to say of his physician: ‘That man saved my life.’ Does he mean to say that the physician saved his life without reference to God? Certainly not…It is true, then, that the physician saved him; and it is also true that God saved him. It is equally true that the medicine saved his life, and also that he saved his own life by taking the medicine.”

Rick Patrick 13-10-2016, 10:38

Thank you for this excellent article. While it affirms the role of man in his own salvation and in the salvation of others, at no point can it be considered man-centered or less than Christ honoring.

Part of what we need to do in our overall engagement with Calvinists is to recover a healthy theological anthropology. Dr. Yarnell said, “Calvinism vitiates anthropology.” As we restore a strong doctrine of man, this can only serve to balance New Calvinism’s monergistic overemphasis. If God does everything, then man becomes passive—even complacent. How can that possibly be a good prescription in this day when we are so evangelistically challenged?

Nelson Banuchi 13-10-2016, 11:01

” If God does everything, then man becomes passive…”

Even worse, taken to it;s logical conclusion, to talk of transgression (that is, violating the law and will of God) would be nonsense since, if God decreed that man commit certain acts of sin, to do so is merely fulfilling God’s intended will and command.

Calvinist are so blind with double-think to be able follow their doctrinal notions to their logical conclusions.

Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to read my comment.

David R. Brumbelow 17-10-2016, 10:18

Thanks for posting this article. Thanks for the comments and further information.
Hope this brings a little balance to the issue of salvation.
David R. Brumbelow


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