Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus. Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10, CEB)
I have read some things lately about the word σῴζω (sozo) which is the basis of the word σωτηρία (soteria) or salvation. And it is centered around not using saved as the translated word but liberated. And that seems to make sense to me.
Because in our passage above Zaccheus was a tax collector who had to charge a fee to those he collected taxes from to make a living, we need to work through this on paying back 4 times to those who were cheated. If the fee is minimal it is the only way he lives so it would be cheating but an exorbitant fee would be cheating. But Zaccheus was liberated and set free from his bondage to wealth and has now seen love and returns love in giving to the poor.
How are we liberated?
Loving People. Loving God.