Jesus taught and showed us how to live in this world. The hope of life beyond this world is implicit, sometimes explicit, but it is never primary. The gospel is good news for this world, this life, today and tomorrow and each day to come. To be “saved” is to be healed, set free, made whole, empowered for the life given to us through the Spirit.
Long ago, I studied James D. Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion which taught us to ask the question, “If you died tonight and stood before God and he asked you ‘why should I let you into heaven,’ what would you say?” I was never comfortable with that, but now I abhor that approach to being a Christian.
If we don’t die tonight, and we continue to live among people tomorrow, how will we live? What will we do? That’s the question. Jesus taught us to live with people and with God in love. As long as we in this way, we are “saved.”