Saturday, January 12, 2008

Salvation in This Life

The following is something that struck me this month as I have been pondering being poor in spirit. I have believed the central principle for some time, but the specific aspect of salvation as it applies to this life is something I have not put into words previously:

Those who crucified Jesus did so because they could not accept Him as the one who had paid (Jehovah) and would pay (Jesus) for their sins. They said, in essence, "We don't need you. We are children of Abraham. We are fine. We'll do it on our own."

We decry deathbed repentance, particularly for those who consciously choose to procrastinate repentance until the end - to do what they want to do until they are facing death and the possibility of judgment. At the same time, too many members view grace, faith and works as follows:

I must do everything I possibly can do; I must give my all; I must wear out myself trying to do what He has asked me to do - THEN He will accept my effort and help me do more.

That might not be the exact same mentality as "deathbed" repentance, but it is at least "hospital bed" repentance. In very real terms, it is saying, "I will let you know when I need you," which really is the same mentality as the one who procrastinates the request for help until his deathbed. It also means that I will not receive the help He can give AS I struggle - which means I will not experience His freedom and joy until my frustration nearly (or completely) breaks me. Yes, I will then be blessed, but I will have missed SO much in the meantime.

Hillary Weeks has a song entitled "Unwritten". The central message is, in my own words:

"As I review the pages of the book of my life, I am grateful for what I read (what I have experienced), but I am most grateful for what has remained unwritten - those things from which the grace of God has shielded me - those things I have not had to experience - those things from which I have been saved **in this life**."

Jesus, as the Christ, saved us from the effects of our actions in the next life, but Jesus, as the exemplary man, showed us a way to be saved from much of the effect of our fallen existence in this life. In a very real way, not accepting what He paid so dearly to provide until we have exhausted ourselves is no different than not accepting that His offer was ever made in the first place, since they both tell Him to get lost until we get a handle on it on our own. That's worth pondering all by itself.


Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Ray. I am reminded of some of the thoughts of CS Lewis who said, something to the effect, that we do not really want a Father in Heaven as much as a Grandfather in Heaven who will make sure that it is said at the end of the day, "a good time was had by all." Or we look at God as some bit actor in the play of our lives who stays off stage until we need him very badly, then he rushes on stage, gets us out of the trouble that we have gotten into, then we push him into the wings until we need him again. He stays close enough that he will be there when we need him but far enough away so as not to be a bother.

But, there is more danger in thinking that we must do the play alone--that he is not an actor but a critic who, at the end will give us the thumbs up or thumbs down.

Maybe we should look to Christ as neither a bit actor or judgemental critic but as a prompter. Some one who is always there to support us, to give us the lines when we forget, to help us do the best we can. I have forgotten all the lines. I must play my part but I cannot do it on my own. I cannot do any of it on my own. I must rely on Him.

Does that even apply at all to what you are trying to say? Does that make any sense at all?

Papa D said...

I like that analogy, Darrell - which doesn't surprise me, coming from the 13th apostle - Bro. Lewis.

As a former coach, I like the analogy of an offensive coordinator who can signal the plays through a headset directly to the quarterback whenever he sees things in the defense from his position at the top of the stadium looking down - things the quarterback might not be able to see from his perspective on the ground. Most of the time, an excellent quarterback can call his own plays (or at least change the call at the line), but when he is connected to the coordinator he can receive instruction at any moment and avoid a backside blitz (for example) that might injure him otherwise.

Patty said...

This reminds me of the talk (and book) "Believing Christ," and not just believing IN Christ. We have to know that He can and will do all that He has promised, in the right here and now as well as in the eternities. I love thinking of His willingness to share His power with us- we can be given a share of His unlimited power to help us through whatever we face, but we have to ask for it and believe in it.

annahannah said...

nice post. I agree. Also Darrell's comment. Food for thought indeed