What Is Salvation About?
If I ask the question, “What is salvation about?”, we seem to have a ready made, database accessed answer. “How can I go to heaven when I die when I am so sinful and deserve to be punished?” Without hesitation the words peal out from inside us, “Jesus was punished in our place!”
The words come so easily, and they are true. We are sinful and we do deserve to die. Not a single one of us is worthy of that which God has done, is doing and will do in our lives. It all seems so simple, actually, but is it really?
When God created all things, the last day of creation was the creation of man. You know the story about the serpent tempting mother Eve and how she, in turn tempted father Adam. Sin entered the world and man was separated from God and the struggle began.
For six days God created, finishing with man on the sixth day and resting on the seventh. It was all GOOD, but with man God said it was “VERY GOOD!”
Sin touched the good and perfect world of God’s creative genius. That’s not strong enough. Sin WRECKED God’s good and perfect world of His creative genius. Everything He had created suddenly had its bright and shiny presence painted over with a dark, smoldering color of darkness. The whole reflection of a shining bright God was overshadowed by darkness, and it continued to get worse at an escalating pace.
Our theology is selfish. We are so centered on ourselves and the sin that has devastated us that we have little to no time to consider all of the other glory-reflecting creation of God. Our theology gives us a hope of raising from death to life and to finally reach a resting place in the presence of God almighty. And, consequently, we care little about any of the rest of it. We clamor to get all the people we can to go to heaven with us, passing on our “it’s about me” view.
We know, as covenant believers, we are called to something higher. What effect are we to have on the whole creation of God? If we join in covenant with God, have our sins removed and set our sights on heaven, what does that leave us to do while we are still here?
We are told to live well and provide an example to others around us. All of that is fine and good, but what if we are asking the wrong question about salvation?
What if the question broadened out and we asked, “How can God’s plan to rescue His creation (all of it) and renew His reflection within it, even though there is corruption and decay, knowing that I am a part of that decay, involve me?” Is it possible that through the cross and the redemptive work Jesus did for us, that God will renew His creation beginning with me? And, am I the focal point of His redemptive work or am I redeemed to become a part of the renewing of His glory to the entirety of His creation?
When Jesus died on the cross He defeated and destroyed the powers of evil that have enslaved us sinful humans and guaranteed the spread of more corruption. By bringing us back into His embrace, He chooses to use us as part of His recovery process. God took that which He deemed VERY GOOD and brought us in to help rescue the rest of His GOOD.
So, is my (our) salvation about me (us), as we have propagated for so long? Or, is it about Him and the rescue of all that was GOOD and still is? Sobering isn’t it?