Part 2 of Saved From… To… For…
- We are saved from the Wrath of God. A.W. Tozer once wrote, “All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about him” (A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy). Sin is rebellion, treason at the highest measure against the perfect and holy God that has created all things for his glory. Ephesians 2:3 says that by nature, all people are children of wrath. Indeed, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). One of the most vivid Old Testament images we have of God’s wrath is a “cup” (Ps. 75:8; Is. 51:17; Jer. 25:15). This backdrop highlights the beauty of the cross of Christ all the more. Christ drained the cup of wrath on the cross so that we would not taste one drop of it. Growing up, I knew I had done some bad things and I didn’t want to go to hell. I had no understanding that it was God who would inflict this punishment because of my rebellion against him. A deep reflection upon this brings about much gratitude and humility. As many have proclaimed, “How can one be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?”
- We are saved to the people of God. As a youngster, I sang “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,” yet I never understood what it meant to be adopted as God’s son. I didn’t understand what it cost Christ to purchase his bride and the cost he requires from her. Or where accountability, equipping the saints and raising up leaders from within the local body are the biblical standard and model. Or that God has gifted me and others in unique ways that, “when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16) until “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood” (Eph. 4:13). When one tastes this, it is a foretaste of what’s to come. Church is not a calendar event and a good business network. This is a family who loves and serves one another. A family who fights for one another: killing sin and exhorting one another daily so that our hearts do not become “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). As Bruce Milne states, “True Christian fellowship has a vein of steel in it” (Bruce Milne, We Belong Together, 37). God has always been about a people, from the cultural mandate in Gen. 1:28 to Revelation. And in the end, we see a mighty throng, consisting of people from every tribe, tongue and nation worshipping Christ together. Whenever I share the Gospel with people now, I almost always hear one brother saying, “if you haven’t said anything about the Church, the people of God, have you really shared the Gospel?”
- We are saved for the mission of God. We are saved from the awful wrath of God. We are saved to the people of God. But lest we forget that this world is not our home and become mighty comfortable in our holy huddles, we are saved for the mission of God. 1 Peter 2:9-10 states “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Since the beginning, God’s plan is for a people to dwell with him. This is how the biblical narrative concludes: life forever with God dwelling among his people in the good land! Nothing can thwart this plan. But that time has not come yet. Until it does, we’ve been given the incredible privilege of living 1 Peter 2:9. And we have the reminder of verse 10 just in case we lose sight of who does the redeeming or motivation for the task at hand. Growing up, witnessing was inviting people to church. Again, this is not a bad thing in most situations, but it simply doesn’t come close to bringing the Scriptures alive regarding the mission of God. Christians ought to be about this: making disciples of all the nations. He saved us to display and proclaim the worth of Christ above all things!
This post is by no means comprehensive. However, over the past couple of years, God has deepened my love for the Gospel through him teaching me on the points above. It is my prayer that through a better understanding of biblical salvation, perhaps we can minimize statistics such as “twice baptized.” I also pray that a better understanding will drive a never-ending gratitude for the Gospel and fuel a quicker obedience to the commands of Christ. Finally, I pray that God would be glorified in our words and deeds as we live lives worthy of the Gospel and go to all the peoples of the earth and herald the good news about Jesus. May we never neglect so great a salvation.