Do You Believe “You Must Be Saved”?
This post was written by Mel Lawrenz
Surely she would escape from her kidnappers if she had the slightest chance, everyone assumed. If there was any opportunity for her to call out to someone for help, or pass a note that said, “I’m Elizabeth Smart, help me,” she would. And so, for the nine months of her captivity since she was snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night, most people assumed the worst-she must be dead.
Yet fourteen-year-old Elizabeth was very much alive. During her captivity she had been around many people, yet had not signaled for help. She was left alone at times, capable of walking away. When police approached her on the street, inquiring whether she was Elizabeth Smart, she denied it. This poor young girl, practically brainwashed by her domineering abductors, needed so much to be saved, but didn’t see it, and couldn’t take advantage of it. It was a good thing a police officer who recognized her on the street knew better, and was determined to find the truth.
Today some people think it’s a joke when they hear, you must be saved. “That’s the kind of thing religious kooks say,” they think. “Isn’t salvation an antique idea, or maybe just the mental crutch of some people who still aren’t willing to stand on their own two feet in life? Isn’t it just derelicts who need to ‘come to Jesus’?”
But what if you do have two broken legs? In that reality a crutch is not an excuse, but a treatment. What if we have no idea just how much trouble we are in and how desperately we need to be saved?
Almost all religions begin with the assumption that we need to be saved from that something dreadfully wrong in the world–or with us. Salvation is a belief and a hope that there is a way out of captivity, a rescue whether we know we need it or not.
Christian faith says specifically that we need to be saved from evil, from judgment, and from our own self-destructive sin. Salvation from evil means that we can hope in God’s power to prevent the whole human race from descending into the deepest darkness–even though evil will keep on appearing in tomorrow’s headlines until God comes to remake the world. Salvation from judgment means that, by God’s gracious act of free forgiveness, he frees us from the penalty of our spiritual crimes and misdemeanors. And salvation from sin means that God’s power is available to reshape our character so that we need not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
That is precisely why the Bible speaks of salvation as a past, present, and future reality. The biblical authors say we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.
Looking backward, the truth is that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Complimentary DVD available now.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 at 2:00 am and is filed under Everything New.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.