Friday, August 30, 2019

Salvation - What Exactly Are We Are Being Saved From?

Salvation is a fundamental Christian principle. For example in Romans 10:9 we are told, that if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. To better understand exactly what it is we are being saved from I prefer to use the word reconciled, not because it is a synonym for saved, but because it is synonymous with the principle of salvation. Romans 6:23 tells us, for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So what we are being saved from is the antithesis of eternal life which is of course eternal death. Again I prefer to term it in this way; we are separated from God (eternal death) outside the presence of God. And we can then be reconciled through Jesus and receive (eternal life) or be restored into the presence of God.
Many people know the story of Adam and Eve. For those who don't the short version is as follows. God created the universe and all its contents. In the process of this creation man was created. Man is intended in this context to mean humans. Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. God first created Adam and then Eve, Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. The chronology is a whole bible study or sermon in itself; I don't want to detour too far from the crux of this topic.
The Separation:
In the beginning Adam and Eve for the most part were just hanging out living in the Garden of Eden. They had been created in God's image, without blemish or malady or infirmity of any type. All provision had been provided for them. God is walking about in the garden communicating with them and them with him, and everything is hunky dory. Now enters a key player in the separation. We call him the deceiver because of this initial event, but he is known by other names as well, Beelzebub, Satan, Lucifer etc... Lucifer which is Latin for "Light bearer" started his existence out as an Archangel. Not only and Archangel but reported biblically as the most beautiful of God's angels. There came a time about the time of man's creation that Lucifer became discontented. In fact even as he is today, he became jealous and envious of man. You see in all his power and beauty which was imparted to him by his creator God, there was an element that did not sit well with him. This element is that God created man in his own image and likeness, and as such created him for personal relationship or communing. The bible tells us we are created a little lower than the angels, Lucifer was cool with that part, but the bible tells us that angels were created as servants to God, and that he ordained they should serve man as well regarding his will toward mankind. This is the part that did not sit too well with the deceiver. So the short paraphrased version is Lucifer rebelled against God and God cast him from heaven (his presence) forever, eternally, until the ends. The enraged Lucifer decided the only way to get back at God or hurt him in some manner would be to corrupt the relationship God has with his most beloved creation "man". So Lucifer enters the garden as the "deceiver" and convinces Eve, who then convinces Adam to commit the first or original sin. Until this point Adam and Eve were without sin. This is why Jesus is called the second Adam, the first Adam wrought death upon mankind, Jesus brought us into eternal life through reconciliation, or salvation. The original or first sin was Eve, then Adam eating from the tree of knowledge. God had told them they could eat of any fruit they chose except the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge is not the tree of academic knowledge it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating of this fruit would make Adam and Eve aware of evil, and God said would cause death, Spiritual death. (Separated from God's presence)
From the moment of the first bite, and consequential knowledge of evil and sin (the first sin disobedience the second lust, as God warned them don't eat that fruit and knew they did when they exclaimed I am hiding lord I am naked) we have been separated from God spiritually. In the time before Christ the only way to earn God's favor or gain a way into his presence was through atonement. (Hence Jesus is the last high priest and final atonement, sacrifice.) The atonement of sin involved sacrifice, repentance and intercession of high priests. The bible tells us in Romans 3:23 for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. God is so committed to making a way for all people to be reconciled to him, because he loves us so much, and intends even today to have the communing we were intended for, that he had to find a way to overcome the dilemma. The dilemma is God can have no sin or evil reside in his presence. Just as dark does not endure light, it is the nature of God who is perfect in his glory and righteousness; he is the antithesis of evil. Evil exist as a result of potential. (Another topic, study or sermon we will post at some point) Just as dark exists simply as the absence of light, there is potential in all things, this is a spiritual attribute imparted from God, in all he has created. So how does God save us from an eternal existence out of his presence? Jesus Christ: Jesus the begotten son (not made) God incarnate arrives on earth and lives a perfect life, commits no sin, and is never separated from God until his death. This was his primary purpose in life, to die for our reconciliation or salvation, which we could never achieve for ourselves. As a man just as you and I, Jesus was able to make a final atonement for the sin or unrighteousness of man that separates man from God. Jesus the perfect man, takes all the sins of the world upon himself, present and future and suffers, dies, and is buried in fulfillment of the scripture. He descends into the pit or place of evil, and arises 3 days later, resurrected and victorious. Evil could not contain him, as evil had no claim on him. John 14:30 I don't have much more time to talk to you, because the prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the father requires or me, so that the world will know that I love the father. Come let's be going. He was without sin, and had made no free will choice to participate in evil. In doing this he not only provides a way for each of us to be reconciled by grace through our faith or belief, but he overcomes all the curses associated with evil for us. He is ascended to the Father (God) where his kingdom is complete, and he is coming back per his promise in God's divinely appointed time to complete the establishment of his kingdom on the new earth.
Salvation
Hopefully it is now clearer why I prefer reconciled to saved. Salvation is specific, however reconciled is more to the point explicating what salvation provides. What are we being saved from? We are being saved from eternal separation from God. We are being saved from eternal anguish in the presence of a perfect evil that hates us. We are being saved from malady, infirmity, and the other attributes of the curse evil propagates upon us, like a poison in a healthy creature. Certainly eternity is a long time; in fact it is immeasurable by time as it has no beginning or end. But right here, right now, you can reap the benefits of reconciliation or salvation. This is what Christ says, John 14:12-14 The truth is, anyone who believes in me will the do the same works I have done, even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the son brings glory to the father. Yes ask anything in my name and I will do it! John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you will have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. God says although our righteousness is like filthy rags, we are made worthy and righteous through Jesus' blood. We are worthy right now as people who have received salvation, been "reconciled" to receive God's blessings.
I realize no one is going to win anyone over beating them over the head with eternal damnation and a 10lb bible. It is not my intention to win anyone over but rather to inform and hopefully encourage all to consider their eternity. Not the If; but the where. I hope this article, bible study; sermon whatever you choose to call it helps with making the right decision when it comes time for us to choose. We know the right decision, Christ gave his life showing us, the apostles gave their lives telling us, and now I have taken time to make sure all that read this know. All that can be done, has been done. Now the choice is ours, accept or reject won't be because no one told us. If you read this then ignorance will not be an out. It's like a gift left by UPS, its already arrived all you have to do is pick it up; I hope you do so soon.

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