For many in Christendom today, salvation is seen as simply a one-dimensional act. You make a decision for Jesus, you walk the aisle, you say the sinner’s prayer and you are saved. From there on out you’ll hear folks say ‘I am saved’. Interestingly enough, you never see that same phrase repeated anywhere in Scripture …
I, on the other hand, tend to look at personal salvation as a journey … one with a start, one with a finish, one made with Jesus and one made with His church. In fact, one of the names of Jesus is Salvation. In my eyes, to suggest the start and the finish are one in the same subsequently robs people of the love, joy, hope and transformation that is found in the midst of the salvation journey.
Perhaps, we confuse assurance with salvation.
I tend to relate the words save and rescue closely together. And yet, describing the salvation process using the word rescue removes some religious interpretation, that is so often ingrained in our minds by the word save. Here is a brief story to illustrate:
I was floundering and drowning in the waters of this world. Death seemed imminent. The shores of heaven, and the safety and security found there with God, seemed unreachable. With my last gasping breaths, I had screamed out to Jesus for rescue.
He had anticipated my cry long before I was even a glint in my parent’s eyes and had already prepared the way for my rescue. He was patrolling these waters omnipresently, and by His omniscience, already knew not only that I would cry out but when I would cry out as well. In some kind of way I cannot begin to understand, He even prompted my cry.
The scream seemed like it had hardly escaped my mouth, when I sensed His presence right there. My rescue had begun so long ago, when as a result of God’s love a rescue plan was set in motion. To me personally, my rescue began in that moment as His presence arrived as a result of my cry.
But to the Lord, that rescue began before the very foundations of this earth.
I find rest and peace in His embrace – the sense of floundering and drowning begins to fade. As He begins to carry me towards the safety and security of those heavenly shores, I realize this rescue is just beginning and this journey will take the remainder of my life, regardless of how long or short that might be.
But I am being rescued by Jesus. As long as I remain in His embrace, I have no doubt I will indeed make it home … I trust Him. I have faith IN Christ as my Lifeguard and my Rescuer.
I think of those lifeguard lessons I took long ago … I was taught to approach a drowning person with caution. Their first response could very well take the life of the lifeguard if he is not careful … I suddenly realize my Lifeguard has already given His life for my rescue …
I also remember the first thing that must be done in such a rescue is that the lifeguard must gain control of the person, they must earn their trust, so they can bring them to the safety of the shore. So many refuse to trust the lifeguard. In fact, they fight against the efforts of the lifeguard … at times to their very own death. They are almost but not quite rescued …
I feel the love of Jesus in the midst of being rescued. I sense the progress we are making towards the shores of heaven. I sense my trust in Him growing with each stroke taken. The waters don’t seem quite so threatening anymore.
But could I fight it? Could I get away from Him? If I really wanted to … but WHY would I want to? With every passing moment, I have a growing knowledge of who Jesus is and who He intends me to be … it’s no wonder I nearly drowned … I now realize I knew nothing about swimming.
When the rescue began, I thought it was me and Jesus alone. But then I began to hear the voices, and to truly see what my eyes had been blinded to. Jesus was in the midst of rescuing an entire crowd … looking around a bit … it appears more like a flock … people seemingly walking on the water in the midst of being rescued by Jesus.
I see folks floundering and screaming apart from us, BUT they do not cry out. I see some with flotation devices that have given them some sort of false sense of security. But, nonetheless, they seem to remain one with the waters of the world while we who are being rescued seem to be becoming one with Jesus, in the water BUT set apart from the water … Is this the church He is building?
This rescue seems to have been going on for decades and the shores are coming into focus as we draw nearer and nearer with each passing day. At times, I believe I see folks on the shore waving and clapping for us as the rescue draws near its end.
One day soon, Jesus will be lifting me totally and completely out of the waters of this world and setting me up on the safe and secure shores of Heaven, in the presence of His Father. In that moment, my rescue will be complete. I will indeed be saved!
For now, I will simply bask in the love, the hope and the glory, of being rescued. I will abide IN Jesus and He in me … that mutual indwelling seems to make the rescue so much easier for me … I would like to imagine it also makes the rescue easier and so much more pleasurable for my Lord. I like to think that He also basks in our love and our faith.
For now, I in turn will simply bask in His love and the hope and the glory of being saved by Jesus.
Thank you Lord!
This is just one man’s thoughts, captured in 2008, regarding the multi-dimensional aspects of being saved …
So based on Scripture, what do you believe about salvation?