Surprising Insights from The Greek Word SOZO
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- Summary: Salvation, in its most important sense, speaks of forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That is the essence of "being saved". But it also includes such blessings as divine healing, deliverance, preservation, and more! This message today will hopefully broaden your appreciation of the scope of our "great salvation".
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape if we ignore such a GREAT SALVATION? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
- •• If someone asked me, “Jim, when were you saved?” I would reply, “February 1969.”
- • But also July 1972 ... December 1986 ... March 2000 ... yesterday ... today ... tomorrow!
- • And I'm being saved every day from February 1969 to the present moment. Huh? (Read on)
- •• “SAVED” comes from the Greek word SOZO (pronounced sode-zoe). It surely includes the classic meaning of being saved from our sins. But also:
- • Rescued ... delivered ... kept safe ... preserved ... healed ... and similar words speaking of being made well in a full sense.
- •• Let’s look at SOZO in the Bible, with help from The New Englishman’s Concordance of the New Testament Greek.
- • We’ll see that it is indeed “a GREAT salvation”!
• SALVATION in the TRADITIONAL sense:
Matthew 1:21 [Angel to Joseph] She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will SAVE his people from their SINS.
1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS...
- •• Clearly the single most important sense of SOZO — that is, being saved from the penalty of eternal judgment due to our sins.
- •• But now let’s see the broader scope of SOZO.
• SALVATION in the sense of RESCUE:
Matthew 8:24-25 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, SAVE us! We’re going to DROWN!”
- •• “Lord, SOZO us! We’re going to drown!” And Jesus did save them from sinking and drowning in the tempest.
Matthew 14:29-31a ...[Peter] walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to SINK, cried out, “Lord, SAVE me!” [31a] Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
- •• Sinking Peter: “Lord, SOZO me!” Keep that in mind when you feel that you are "sinking" under the weight of your crises and problems.
• SALVATION in the sense of DELIVERANCE:
Jude 1:5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord DELIVERED his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
- •• The Lord SOZO’d Israel out of Egypt. Supernaturally — every sense of SOZO is supernatural.
• SALVATION in the sense of being KEPT SAFE:
2 Timothy 4:18a The Lord will rescue [not sozo] me from every evil attack and will BRING ME SAFELY [sozo] to his heavenly kingdom.
KJV: ...and will PRESERVE me unto his heavenly kingdom.
- •• The Lord will SOZO us from evil attacks, human or demonic, all the way through to heaven.
1 Timothy 2:15 But women will be KEPT SAFE [in NIV ©1978] through childbearing — if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
- •• God will SOZO women, He will keep them safe, in the process of CHILDBEARING.
• SALVATION in the sense of EXORCISM of DEMONS:
Luke 8:36 Those who had seen it told the people how the DEMON-POSSESSED man had been cured [sozo].
- •• Jesus SOZO’d the man from demon possession.
• SALVATION in the sense of DIVINE HEALING:
Matthew 9:20-21 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be HEALED.”
- •• And (vs. 22) she was immediately SOZO’d.
Mark 6:56 And wherever he went — into villages, towns or countryside — they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were HEALED.
- •• Jesus SOZO’d all their sick.
- •• The same word SOZO is used for healing in numerous other verses.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save COMPLETELY those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
KJV: “...save [you] to the UTTERMOST...”
- •• This great salvation will SOZO you completely, to the uttermost, now and forever!
- • Any need you have can be touched, “saved”, SOZO'd, by this “great salvation.”
How do I receive this multi-faceted "great salvation"?
- •• By repentance and faith. As a beginning place, we come to the Lord in sincere repentance for our sins. The apostle Paul wrote that "godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation" (2 Corinthians 7:10). As we repent and believe in the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ and His blood shed for our sins, we are "born again" and become children of God, heirs of eternal life.
- •• Then, as born-again children of God, we begin to appropriate the broader measure of this great salvation by faith, by believing the Lord for it.
- Ephesians 2:8, KJV For by grace are ye saved [SOZO’d] through FAITH. Every aspect of “SOZO” comes through faith, not by works or by anything supposedly deserving in us.
- 1 Corinthians 1:21, KJV ...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that BELIEVE.
- Mark 16:16 Whoever BELIEVES and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
- • Unbelief versus belief is what leaves you either condemned or saved.
- • But water baptism has a part in contributing to the fullness of our “great salvation”.
- Matthew 9:22 “Take heart, daughter,” [Jesus] said, “YOUR FAITH has healed you.”
- James 5:15a And the prayer offered IN FAITH will make the sick person well [SOZO him].
- •• So choose to BELIEVE the Lord for every wonderful aspect of this “great salvation”.
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©2006, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.