Recently, a person with whom I correspond asked this question. Here is a part of the question:
Am I saved because I say “I love you Jesus, come into my heart”? Or am I saved when the Spirit enters my soul and sends a message to me that we are now one. …
My point is this. I believe that Jesus makes the decision, not us. He has the power to give Salvation. Man does not have the power to take it when he wants it.
Here is my reply…
I understand where you are coming from. The problem (IMHO) is in the definition of the word “saved.” It all depends upon your theological perspective. The varied definitions of what & when have caused a multitude of other conflicting theological issues as well (“once saved, always saved” is a good example.)
Recently, I saw a non-trinitarian church sign which said, “Acts 2:38 – The plan of salvation.” I assume that they believe (as many “oneness” churches do) that you are not SAVED until you repent, are baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (as a simplistic reading of Acts 2:38 may suggest).
Not meaning to “throw gasoline on the fire” but the NIV uses the term “being saved” in Acts 2:47; 1Co 1:18 & 2Co 2:15. This suggests that it has not yet happened! Another phrase that speaks of our relationship to God is “redemption.” But that also is used for events that have not yet come to pass: cf. Ep. 4:30; 1:14 & Lu 21:28.