“Salvation” isn’t an event, it is a continuum of encounter with the one who saves…Jesus. It is a product of relationship. It is a precursor to relationship. It is a culmination of relationship. It is a past, present and future reality. It isn’t a contract. It isn’t a get out of hell free card. It isn’t a free pass from a punishing God. It isn’t a product of a sin payment at the expense of a child sacrifice.
I suggest you take a look at “Destination Theology??” and “Wrong Obsession” and “Marriage vows” as a background for this post. Oh yeah, “Poles and Snakes” is a good look at how the ugliness of sin is presented on the cross. Caution…it will stretch your brain.
Jesus came to reveal the Father. The good news, the gospel, is God is like Jesus. That is pretty awesome considering our previous experience as mankind. We “grew up” with a fallen understanding of the God who is love. As broken humans we looked to our surroundings and experiences and circumstances to create an image of God that was more like a wrathful man than a Jehovah Saves (Jesus). It started in the garden when we ate the fruit. The knowledge of good and evil, that was intended for a divine being, completely saturated the limited nature of a finite being and it destroyed (killed) our ability to “see” the loving God we walked with in the beginning. Our desire for right and wrong, our lust for lists, our obsession with law precluded opportunity and occluded sight that would reveal to us again the infinite love of Love. This complete death to the knowledge of a good God could only be countered by a resurrection life from Life Himself. He had to breathe on us His life again so we could come to life in Him and to Him and with Him. Jesus did that. Jesus does that. Jesus will do that. Eternal life is that we would know God (Johan 17:3). Salvation is what it looks like to be set free.
Jesus said this:
Jn 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. (ESVST)
Salvation is a product of the relationship. As I grow in relationship I am transformed more and more into His image. I become love Himself as I am joined with Life Himself. My spirit is one with His Spirit. I move from “knowledge” to “intimacy.” I move from “human wisdom” to “divine love.” I get set free from “sin obsession” and fall into “total acceptance.” I am no longer an orphan, I am a child.
Jesus came to set us free from anything that would get in the way of our relationship with the Father. In my freedom I get to seek Him for answers and rescue. I come to Him because I know He loves me and accepts me explicitly. There are no passive aggressive tendencies. There are no hidden agendas. There are no secrets. There are no skeletons. There are no stumbling blocks. I bring to Him all my worries, missteps, hangups, hurts, pains, dysfunctions, obsessions, offenses, dependencies, addictions…anything that keeps me from falling into His arms. He takes that stuff away because He loves me. He takes that stuff away because it is destroying me. He takes that stuff away so He can give me life, abundant life! Jesus came to rescue. He continues to rescue. He will rescue.
I think about my marriage. If I come to my wife and say “you don’t know all the stuff I did before I met you” her response is “why does that matter, you have me now.” If I come home late and I am feeling guilty for not calling she says “I understand, I don’t shame you or condemn you, I love you…let me help.” If I am stressed about some future event she jumps in and says “let me take some of the burden. Let me help in the division of labor. Let’s talk about what it is that makes you stressed so we can find a better way next time.” That is what people do that are “one flesh.” That is what Jesus does with us as “one spirit.” It isn’t complicated, it is perfection in love. He wants us to succeed. He saves us to success.
I had a bunch of verses that I was going to inundate you with so you would be “convinced” that salvation is a past, present and future reality…but…I can see that approach is of no value. Instead here are a few that should inspire you:
Jn 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (ESVST)
Saving the WHOLE WORLD…I like that don’t you? It gives me hope that no matter what I mess up in brining His message He is way bigger than my mess-ups.
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ’ (ESVST)
I don’t know about you but I call on the name of the Lord all the time. Jesus is King! Lord help me. Jesus help me in my unbelief. God give me wisdom. Jesus I was a real jerk to that guy…what am I not seeing that You see in Him? Jesus help me to be free from offense. Papa let me KNOW You and Your love for me. Holy Spirit please show me your glory…let me experience your presence. Holy Spirit use me to help others…please God use me! He answers. He saves me again and again.
Mat 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name ‘s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (ESVST)
No matter what the world brings, I have Jesus. No matter what attack is coming, I have Jesus. No matter what tribulation is around me, I have Jesus. No matter how much I am hated, I have Jesus. I know that I can endure for the next installment of His saving mercy, grace and power. He always shows up. It may seem late in the moment but is always perfect in perspective. OK, one more:
1Co 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (ESVST)
For all those who insist on a God who must punish, the cross is the revelation that He will not. The power of God is His goodness expressed. When I can see His goodness expressed in love I step into His power provision and the dead are raised, the sick are healed and hearts are repaired. What kind of God would absorb my Sin and take its death wages and forgive me in the process? What kind of God would let mankind reject Him like a criminal and forgive them in the process? What kind of God would let the world beat Him and ridicule Him for His passivity and enemy-love and still forgive them in the process.? What kind of God, who has the power to create a universe in a word, lets us put Him on a cross and still He forgives us? What kind of God would let us kill Him and come back from the grave to live in us? I don’t know about you but that is POWER.
Jesus saves us yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is saving us past, present and future. He is in a relationship before, during and after this life. We are His children from the beginning of time to the end of time. He thought of us before the foundations of the Earth and will be with us forever. That is our salvation.