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Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Not Just Fire Insurance

What is salvation? Is salvation's only purpose to keep us from going to hell? Or is it something a whole lot more? Is it possible that going to heaven is more of benefit of salvation rather than salvation itself? Could salvation simply be the relationship we have with God that lasts forever?

I see lots of people who say they believe in Jesus so that they won't go to hell when they die. They don't live so much differently than the rest of the world who have no religious ties. They go to church a couple of times a year. They don't seem to have any relationship with Jesus even though they say He is their Savior. Church is a social event if they attend church. Faith is something that is talked about. Prayer meetings are avoided because they can't imagine spending any real time in prayer. They can't tell you where their Bible is nor can they tell you the last time they read it.

But if you ask them about salvation they will tell the story of coming forward in a church service. They will tell when they were baptized. They will state categorically that Jesus is the Son of God who died on a cross for their sins. Heaven must be their destination because they can answer the questions correctly.

Can you have salvation without really knowing Jesus? Did the thief on the cross next to Jesus really know Him? How well did the three thousand souls know Jesus at Pentecost? Were they introduced to Him by faith and expected to get to know Him more and more as they lived?

I gave my life to Christ because I believed in Him. Of course, I would also say that He is the Savior who died for my sins. I would say He created the relationship I have with God. Sin was blocking that relationship. He cleared that aside. I gave my life to Christ because He made my life have purpose. I really wasn't thinking of dying. I was only eighteen. I didn't know anyone who had died at eighteen. I didn't think it would happen to me for a very long time. Why not wait until you are older if salvation is just about avoiding hell?

I trusted in Christ for the first time almost forty years ago. (You really need to trust in Him every day. That's not about salvation. It's about trust.) I have gotten to know Him a whole lot better. The relationship has grown. I am a different person because of it.

I know this is a double negative but I don't know how to really express it in another way. I was saved from not knowing Jesus. My salvation began the first day I trusted in Him. I haven't completed the journey yet even though I know He holds onto me so that I can't slip out of His hands. But I hold on too. I don't want to be arrogant about this, but I believe I will hold on to the end. He means that much to me.

No, it's not just about fire insurance. It isn't merely that I am going to heaven when I die. I am headed to heaven right now. Maybe I need to change the way I tell people about salvation.

Philippians 3:10-12 (NIV) 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

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