What is salvation? If you asked me this question a couple years ago, or the 30 prior to that, I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue in how to answer. I didn’t know what it meant, what it looked like, what it felt like. The past couple weeks, though, I have been given a few opportunities to share what I’ve learned from my salvation.
Do you know what salvation is? Have you ever looked at yourself, your life, your dreams and thought, “What’s the point anymore?” Do you fear death? Not fear as in “I really want to see my kids grow up and I’m afraid they’ll never know me if I die while they’re young.” I mean fear as in “I don’t want to stop existing!” “I don’t want to go through this life for it all to end in nothing!” Or even, “I am SO going to hell for this!”
I used to think and say those things. I was certain I was going to hell for my sins, and though I hoped, I “knew” it was a long shot that my good qualities would be enough for God to forgive me and count me worthy enough to go to heaven. Then I learned what salvation truly was. Biblically true, not pope decreed or someone’s opinion or my own imaginings. True as in, God himself said.
“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:6-13
Salvation didn’t depend on the magnitude or tally of my sins. It didn’t depend on a priest or bishop giving me the “okay”, it didn’t matter how old I was or how much I knew. All that mattered was that I knew I’m a sinner and that I would never be good enough on my own to get to heaven. But rather, that Jesus was, is, and will forever be that perfect payment for my sins. That He didn’t just die for my sins as a “good deed” or a publicity stunt, but so that I would go to heaven when I died just like He did. All I had to do was proclaim with my mouth this belief I had in my heart.
After salvation comes growth and wisdom. What it looks like is desiring and craving time with God and with that comes change. Continual change. Changes as in wanting your life and your character to resemble that of Christ’s because of the love you have for him and the love He has for you. When God saves you, he changes you. You are no longer the same, always changing, always getting better. Things that were once difficult for you will become easier…not all of them, but a lot of them. And you’ll find more and more evidence of God’s work in your life.
What it feels like is, safe. Even in the most desperate times of your life, when you turn to the God that you love and who loves you, you know that you will be ok. That He is capable of the most magnificent things and that He wants the best for you. Remember all of those sins He covered? The past ones, the present ones, the future ones? How could He so willingly do that if He still saw you as your ugliest self? He only sees Jesus when he looks at you after you’re saved and Jesus was perfect. He may still choose to chastise you for sins you commit but it’s only to teach and direct you, like any good Father.
True salvation is a constant reminder of how much closer you want to be to God and to being the person He designed you to be. To follow His wishes and to be as selfless and as loving as He was for you. That’s not to say that you won’t have times when you’re selfish or when you want things to go your way and that others would just do and be what you wish they were. However, you will be made more aware of the God given will you have to make the right choice…His choice…and you will desire to be better at choosing his way. Because you know His way, in the end, is always what gives you the greatest joy! It won’t be easy at first as He’s changing you, but it will eventually just become who you are. New. Splendid. Fruitful. Selfless. Wise. Confident. A testimony to His amazing grace, love and power.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15
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