… obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and enquired carefully, 11 enquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Being saved is like a game of Battleship. We ask God whether we have dangerous habits and opinions hidden from us and from others, but known to him. We find them and then we destroy them. We make every thought captive to God. Salvation is a game of seek and destroy. We ask God to examine us and we deal with the sin he reveals. We become open to correction from others and allow them to highlight our inadequacies. It is easy to find the battleships of lust or anger. It is harder to find the submarine lurking underneath why we want to spend so much time alone, or why we feel angry each time a certain person talks. In each case a little more of Christian holiness peeks through. Do you have the courage to ask someone to point out to you something that needs working on? I know that my mother did, and she listened to what I told her. She has been working on the issues God has brought up for about a year. Now she is sharing her growth with others. As she is saved she is able to save others. It may even be those who got saved years ago. Now, she is part of a group that are looking below the surface and examining the secret places of the subconscious and the hidden recesses of the heart.
The Christian is saved once and for all at the point of conversion. When a person admits that they are lost and morally bankrupt, and then they have called out to God to save them through Jesus, they are saved once and for all. BUT that is not the total story of salvation. Because we have been saved, we are continuously saved from our selves and the corruption that is still affecting our souls. The spiritually immature may only be ware of a fraction of how sin influences their lives. We tend to defend ourselves, make excuses or self-medicate. The more mature Christian asks themselves lots of searching questions. What does God want me to do? What do I want to do with my life and why? Who is God? How does one pray, read the Bible, or praise and worship? The most mature Christians see sin as ever present and fight to eradicate it and develop personal holiness in their lives. They seek to understand their motives and find selfish desires. They examine their inaction on key issues and ask how God can redeem them from passivity. They look at relationships and the struggles they bring, and they cease defending themselves so vigorously. They learn from interactions how to change. This journey to holiness and purity is as much ‘salvation’ as the initial steps into the Kingdom of God.
The absence of devotions, the absence of care for the poor and the lost, and the prevalent desire for personal tastes to be met tells me that the church is in some ways unsaved. The church today may get to heaven, but it will arrive stunted and weak. It will arrive as the immature self-obsessed sum of its component parts. Those who had suntans and pearly-white smiles as they gave us another tip on how to get more out of life will look foolish compared to those who pleaded with their congregations to pursue God fervently and faithfully. What do you pursue?
You have saved me so that I may be saved. I want to be saved, but I cower away from admitting fault and embracing weakness. I find it painful to admit that I might be wrong on so many issues. It does not feel safe. I know that ultimately I am safe when I follow you. However, I will not be sheltered from pain. In spite of the problem of pain, I will follow you. In each area where I feel unloved, I will ask myself why. In each area where I feel I am right, I will examine to see how I am wrong. Nothing is firmly established unless it is established in you.
- How is salvation the foundation of Christian identity?
- How is one continuously saved as a Christian?
- Are those who are unsaved able to change in ways that are significant?
- How did you change when you became a Christian?
- How are you being transformed into the new identity that you received at conversion?