When exactly is one considered saved?
The Bible teaches clearly that the way to salvation is to believe in and confess Jesus as Lord:
Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
Rom. 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul teaches that God moves a person to make such a confession by His Spirit through the gift of faith. Simply put, a person believes and confesses in Christ because the Lord gives that person the ability and desire to do so. Unless and until a person receives the gift of faith, a person cannot and will not confess Christ.
When the Lord by His grace enables a person to believe in the Gospel, they will cry out to Him as Paul says:
Rom. 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Notice Paul says that we received a Spirit of adoption from the Father, by which we made our confession of faith (i.e., our cry to the Father). In John 3 Jesus described this process as being “born again” by the Spirit of God. The moment of our salvation comes when the Holy Spirit the gift of faith, and that moment inevitably leads the person into making a confession of Christ. In the course of events, the moment of confession may follow sometime after the arrival of faith, but salvation is assured from the moment of faith. Our confession is result of believing and therefore is the means by which salvation is shared with others.
For a complete description of Romans 10:9-10, please listen to our Romans Bible Study.
For a complete discussion of these matters, please listen to our Ephesians Bible Study.