15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
So here we have – yet again – another intriguing verse in Paul’s letter to the pastor of the church in Ephesus. If we’re not careful, we could make this text say a woman can only be saved if she has children. Look at it again – doesn’t it appear to say exactly that?
But this CANNOT be the right interpretation. Not only do many of us know many God-fearing and Jesus-loving women who do not have children; but Paul himself claims in other places the only way to be saved is by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
So Paul MUST mean something other than “how” one gets “saved.”
Indeed, there are other places in Scripture that point to the fact that “saved” can also mean “ongoing” or “persevering.” In other words, “saved” can also – biblically – mean “demonstrate salvation by persevering in the faith,” or “prove salvation by ongoing faith and obedience to Jesus.” (see Matthew 10:22 and 24:13 for instance). When the word “saved” is used in some places, then, it means there is a sense that “saved” will be a result of demonstrating genuine, authentic faith and salvation.
If we bring that meaning to this text – which I believe we just about HAVE to – then Paul means here that women, Christian women, demonstrate their salvation and faith in Jesus by carrying out their God-given roles. Like Christian men, Christian women are to persevere – continue – in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Women, however, live this out through their God-given roles; just as men live the realities out in THEIR God-given roles. In other words, for Christian women who have children, they will demonstrate their authentic faith by carrying out their roles as designed by God.
To put it another way: Followers of Jesus – men and women – authenticate their salvation by submitting to the way God has ordained the world to work through the roles He has ordained for each.
We are saved by grace through faith. Period. No works AT ALL. However, we demonstrate our salvation – give evidence that we are indeed children of God – by joyfully living out the roles He has given us for our good.