Nobody to rescue me, nobody would dare,
I was going down for the last time but by His mercy I’ve been spared,
Not by works, but by faith in Him who called
For so long I’ve been hindered, for so long I’ve been stalled,
But I’ve been saved by the blood of the Lamb …
— Bob Dylan (1980)

There are some songs that I just can’t not like, and Bob Dylan’s song “Saved” is one of them.  It is a pure and unadulterated hootenanny, a frenzied Wednesday-night-prayer-meeting-and-revival of a song (I think the piano player probably lost about four fingers while they were recording, and probably didn’t care).  It may not be Dylan’s most popular song, but it is just plain fun!

Yet, it is its words that are remarkable; honestly, they have depth that even many old gospel songs don’t have. It’s all there: what we’re saved from (our being lost and dead in sin), how we’re saved (the power of Christ’s blood to save us), the result of salvation (the change that salvation brings through faith in him), and the purpose of salvation (the sheer contagious gratitude that we ought to have as a result)! The guy who wrote these lyrics really got what salvation is about, and put it to song in a truly powerful way. But the fact that it was Dylan that wrote them is just about as remarkable as the words themselves.

The Bob Dylan of the 1960s probably would have been the last person in the world to write or sing these lyrics with any sincerity (after all, he introduced the Beatles to mind-bending drugs), and people usually don’t believe me when I tell them that he authored one of the choruses in our Songs of Praise book at church. After the 1980s, Dylan remained, at best, an unconventional believer in God, but the guy who penned these words got it. He got the sheer enormity of salvation in Jesus Christ, and he got the spontaneous joy and enthusiasm that ought to flow from all the benefits that Christ purchased for us on the cross.

But while Dylan was enthusiastic about his salvation, he comes nowhere close to being as enthusiastic about it as God is. Paul writes to Timothy that God our Savior “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). God’s great passion, whether you believe it or not, is your salvation. He is the Good Shepherd who seeks you, the lost sheep, and brings you home rejoicing. He is the watching Father who welcomes you, his prodigal son, back into his open arms with cries of joy andflowing tears.

You may not feel quite as vocal about your salvation as Dylan, but if youhave been saved as he was, you have much to be thankful for. Numbered among the Redeemed, the cry of our souls is to be “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). Is this your cry, your passion? Do you need to rekindle your grateful enthusiasm for God’s saving work in your life? I ask you to take some time this week to meditate on the height, the depth, the width, and the breadth of God’s saving love for you!


This short article was published in the Resurrection Times: Wednesday Edition, July 28, 2010. Its purpose was to whet the whistle of its readers for the up-coming sermon on the Doctrine of Salvation.


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