Throughout, the Lukan narrative focuses attention on a pervasive, coordinating theme: salvation. Salvation is neither ethereal nor merely future, but embraces life in the present, restoring the integrity of human life, revitalizing human communities, setting the cosmos in order, and commissioning the community of God’s people to put God’s grace into practice among themselves and toward ever-widening circles of others. The Third Evangelist knows nothing of such dichotomies as those sometimes drawn between social and spiritual or individual and communal. Salvation embraces the totality of embodied life, including its social, economic, and political concerns. For Luke, the God of Israel is the Great Benefactor whose redemptive purpose is manifest in the career of Jesus, whose message is that this benefaction enables and inspires new ways for living in the world.

Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.

It grates on me when people say, “I’m saved.” Better, in my opinion, is to say I am being saved. But even more important than that distinction is the whole idea of what it means to be being saved.

It’s more than a transaction that frees me from the fear of hell and grants me eternal bliss. As Professor Green points out, it is social, economic, and political in its ramifications.

It’s a good time of the year to think about this. The Christ-gift is the totally life-changing. It is not an add-on to life. It is life itself.