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What is salvation?
Lexham Theological Wordbook Salvation
Salvation is the rescue from a state of danger and restoration to wholeness and prosperity. In the Bible people are “saved” from foreign nations, from enemies, and from the penalty of sin. Salvation also entails health, wholeness, and victory.
In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul spends his energy talking about our salvation.
Now, when the term salvation comes along it is easy to get a compartmental idea of what we are talking about. Salvation is not just being saved from Hell; but salvation extends beyond our eternal destiny and impacts all of our lives. In a past youth sermon I used the example of food coloring and water. If you add food coloring to a glass of water the entire glass changes. It is the same way in our lives. If we add salvation to our hearts our entire life begins to change- at least that is God’s will.
Today let’s look at some of the ways Paul’s words describe these changes in our lives.
We are given a new life. Listen to watch James 1:14-15 says: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Sin brings death into our lives. When we are living in sin we are living in death. It is the reason that Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 that we must be born again; because sin compromised this Earth and our births into it. That is why Paul says in v5 that even when we were dead in our trespasses God has made us alive together with Christ.
Consider the story of Adam in Genesis- it was when the breath of God entered his body that he became alive. The lifeless body and form of Adam came to life when God breathed into him.
In the same way, though our hearts and spirits may be dead in sin, when we invite Jesus to come into our lives and his Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts we too can come alive.
All of this is from God; it is a gift that only he can give. Think of it, of all of the things that man can do- all of the medical science; all of the technology; all of the discovery and inventions- we cannot create life. I can’t make anything come to life- no chance that I can make a person from playdough and breathe into it and see it come to life- only God can do that.
Salvation gives us a new connection. Paul says that we are made live together with Christ. Salvation connects us to Christ.
Just like in our children’s story today this connection fills us with the presence of Jesus.
Have you ever been invited to hang out with someone completely out of your league? Like backstage passes to a concert; or getting invited to a really rich persons home; or maybe you got to sit in the owners box at a game?
I remember when I was around the twins age our family was headed to the outer banks for vacation and we stopped at Grave Digger’s garage and our car broke down. It was late on Saturday and all the shops were closed and we couldn’t find any open on Sunday. So, Dennis Anderson himself found the part at a local shop and they pulled my dads Ford Taurus into the garage and fixed it right alongside Grave Digger- those mechanics fixed our car- that was about the coolest thing that could happen to an 11 year old boy!
I was so stocked about that; I told everyone I knew- our car was basically a celebrity in my eyes and in the eyes of my friends, just being the same garage; being serviced by same tools and the same mechanics as Grave Digger- now that is cool!
And that is nothing compared to being in the company- to be connected with Jesus!
We are connected to Jesus- we are his and he is ours. Jesus claims us and then calls us his own; this is a connection.
Salvation gives us a New Position. V6 tells us that we have been seated in the Heavenly places with Christ. This verse is all about Spiritual status. We have been promoted in the Spiritual world, and instead of being compromised by sin we have not been brought high and we are seated with Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us where Jesus is at this moment:
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
So, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us- that is amazing to think about.
Earlier this week I had lunch with someone who has a personal relationship with Matt Lohr. Matt was recently named the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the new Youngkin administration. Many of us know Matt, he is a Broadway resident and has roots all over this county. They were talking about how cool it is to know someone who sits at the governors table; someone who has the governors ear. But think about this- you have the ear of Jesus; the son of God; who is sitting at the right hand of the Father!
This new position is extremely important to remember in moments of temptation, suffering, and doubt. Remember Paul exhortation to us that we are in a war; a war not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities? We are in a war; in a battle. Well, what is one of the most important strategies of battle? Get the high ground! From the high ground it is easier to defend off the enemy and gain a strategic advantage for victory.
Seems to me that there is nowhere higher to fight from than the Heavens, When this world, it’s desires, it’s stresses, it’s sin tries to defeat us, we need to remember that our spirits are seated somewhere else- they are seated with God in Heaven.
Salvation give us a new revelation. Before I met Jesus- like really met Jesus- I had some misconceptions about God. I saw God as some big bossy old man in the sky who wanted to spoil my fun, make me give up all the things that I liked; and a God that wanted to punish me for all the “wrong” things that I did. Somehow, I don’t think I am the only one that had those misconceptions.
In v7 Paul tells us that through salvation God wants to give us a new revelation- he wants to show us the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness. But let’s be clear here; it is not God who changes, it is us and our perception of God. It is not like one second God is a mean person out to get you and the next second he is a kind gentleman who gives you all you want. No, God is always full of grace and kindness- salvation opens us to being able to see that in it’s fullness.
It should not surprise us too much when people who have not been saved have slighted views of God. They cannot understand grace until we have experienced it. So, instead of getting mad and frustrated it should encourage us to share Jesus with those who do not understand the goodness and mercy of our God.
Salvation brings us a new purpose. Have you ever seen someone use something for the completely wrong purpose? I mean, most of us guys know what I am talking about- sometimes in the garage when you don’t have the right tool you have to improvise, right?
Well, COVID has made this really apparent. Check out some of these people that used regular household items to try and create masks to keep them safe from the virus.
Looks kind of silly doesn’t it? But I wonder, from where God sits, does the way we live our lives look silly sometimes to? Think about it, when God created each of us he created us with a plan and purpose. At its core our purpose is to bring honor to God, but there is more than that. God designs us with particular goals and purposes that he want to do through us. However, so many people miss those. They center their lives on making money, paying taxes, going on vacations, and dying.
I wonder if God gets a little confused by us sometimes. That he has made us for amazing purposes and we often overlook them for temporary pleasures and momentary desires.
But when we are saved God opens up our hearts to this purpose, and we are asked to operate in it.
The truth of the matter is that God did not save us from sin for us to continue to walk in our old ways of life. He saved us, not just from something, but to something. And that is where this new purpose comes into play.
Have you ever seen the furniture that people make out of reclaimed barn wood? When they reclaim the wood they just don’t nail it back together how they find it, do they? No, they sand it and refinish it; the make it beautiful and fashion it for exactly what they need it to do- that is exactly what God does in each and every one of us; if we choose to accept it and walk in it.