Someone recently asked me the question, "when did you get saved?"... It had been a long time since I'd been asked that question and I wasn't sure how to answer it. Just before I let out and awkward answer along the lines of, "... I've been saved for as long as I can remember...", I thought to myself several responses which all would have made sense in their own way.
"well, when Jesus died & rose again. Just like everybody else"
"actually I'm not finished yet"
"saved from what?"
"I get saved every day"
"once when I was baptized, once when I became a Christian, again when I began to learn what being a Christian meant, again when I learned that my value does not come from my capacity to produce or contribute, again when I touched the hand of a homeless man in Los Angeles, again when I met my wife, again when I married my wife, again and again and again..."
"I got saved when Christ set me free and I've been getting saved ever since"
It's interesting how someone could ask such a loaded question with such casualness. How did they expect me to answer? I suppose that they assumed that I knew exactly what they meant by the question. I assume that they expected me to decode the question as "at what point did you first say the sinners prayer and accept Jesus into your heart?" Well... I guess that question would have been easier to answer, although I wouldn't automatically place the whole weight of my salvation in that moment... not anymore, at least.
Most of us who use the language, "getting saved," take for granted just how strange the question really is. Salvation is not like a light switch, nor is it the only motif for understanding the work of God in the world. I'm afraid our familiarity with the word "saved" has made us less aware of its meaning, it has softened its radicality and domesticated our understanding of God's life-giving, transformational, ongoing, unrepeatable, and mysterious work.