Scanning the thread, I saw where Darin wrote:I guess the real question is whether acknowledging one's own sinfulness and need for a savior is a fundamental threshold salvation requirement essential to the gospel message, or rather a question of growing in holiness and truth.
Over the last decade or so I've been influenced by thinkers like N.T. Wright. He defines the gospel (roughly) as "the good news that the kingdom of God has come and Jesus is Lord." This, as contrasted over against classical Reformation/evangelical concepts that see the gospel as "the message that you need to repent and be saved."
'Salvation', throughout scripture, is always a 'this-world rescue'. As Paidion noted, Jesus was to have saved His people from their sins. Which Jesus did, albeit, only those of the remnant.
In what sense were they 'saved'? I'd say, literally. Actually saved from death and destruction, just as God had delivered His people in Old Testament times.
Had not that remnant of Jewish Jesus followers believed that God's kingdom was arriving and at the door, they probably would have been killed in 70AD (noting how 'no flesh would have been saved' had God not shortened the tribulation leading up to the fall of Jerusalem).
Can I be 'saved'? Not literally as the first generation of believers were. Keeping in mind that their (actual, physical, this-world) salvation came during a time of great wrath and destruction.
In any event, growing up Pentecostal, I know what people mean by "getting saved", etc. I still say I'm that sometimes, usually around people who know what I mean.
But these days I see myself more as a beneficiary, a member of the community that traces its roots back to Jesus, who rescued His people from bondage into the kingdom of God.
When I talk with people about being or becoming a Christian, I emphasize conversion to God and His kingdom. I seldom mention "getting saved" unless I'm discussing how the kingdom got here, going over the above 'history of salvation'-- to the Jews first, and also to the Greeks and Americans!
I(f this doesn't make much sense, I have insomnia).
But I hope it does, thanks!