Guest Blog by Josh Reed –Josh is a follower of Christ, husband, father of 4, an intern at North Wake Church (A church planting church, check out their plants in Tampa and Washington D.C.), and a student at SEBTS pursuing MDIV in Christian Ministry. Josh is considering doing church planting either nationally or internationally.
Saved From, To, For…
I grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist church. I walked the aisle at the age of 8, prayed a prayer asking Jesus into my heart, took baptism shortly after and lived like hell for 16 years. Even though I do not see that as the time I was born again, even from an early age, I knew I did not want to go to hell (at least cognitively, but there was a lingering Jer. 17:9 problem in my heart). At the age of 24, newly married, it was time my wife and I “got back in church.” (Still not quite sure what that means, but we had embraced the lingo and the action. Proved to be a good decision!) We began attending a large church and a young married Sunday School class. The pastor and teacher clearly explained the Scriptures regarding the person and work of Christ and man’s need for salvation. After 9-10 months of sitting under deep conviction, I repented of my sin and trusted Christ to save me from the wrath of God due me because of my sin. I was baptized and became a member of the local church. At that moment, that was about all I knew regarding salvation.
Over the next year, my wife and I grew closer to the people in our Sunday School class. Our teacher met up with me somewhat regularly and began to challenge me regarding sin and holiness, being a faithful husband, and most importantly, spending time with Jesus. Then the Lord saw fit to bring a man into our Sunday School class to co-teach it. This brother and his family had served in a South Asian country and was working for a missions agency focused on church-planting all over the world. He began to disciple me. I count this as one God’s greatest acts of kindness to me. Even though I could not articulate it at that time, I was experiencing “body life.” I had been saved to the people of God.
But one thing this brother emphasized (and still does!) is that Christ did not save us to sit. People need to hear the Gospel and see how it changes those who trust Christ. We read through the book of Romans verse by verse for a year and half with another brother. During this time Christ began to use this brother to encourage me to see my office as a mission field. We went to India twice together, which ironically, is where I began to learn how to share the Gospel. Upon returning from India, the Spirit of God began to move me to share and serve the people in my office. The people at the restaurant. My friends I grew up with. Through all of these experiences (and many more) Jesus was teaching me that when he saved me, he saved me for the mission of God.
Over the course of the last couple of years, through God’s amazing grace via 1) reading and rereading the biblical narrative 2) going ‘behind the scenes’ of a church in a pastoral internship and seeing the intentions and theology that drives its methodology, while seeking to make disciples in the community/world 3) multiple conversations with multiple brothers within the community of faith 4) proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers and 5) reflecting on my story, God has been revealing a portrait of salvation that is much more robust than an ‘event-based’ understanding of salvation. Many of us have come to articulate this as the “From-To-For.” Perhaps biblical salvation can be better understood and lived out if we think in a comprehensive,God-centered way: We are saved by Christ from the wrath of God, to the people of God, for the mission of God.
In the final part, Josh will explore more in-depth this idea of being saved from the Wrath of God, to the People of God, for the Mission of God…