Friday, December 5, 2014

Tree Trimming #4: Savior

For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord
Luke 2:11

It has been said that the entire message of the Bible can be summed up in one word: rescue.  It is a powerful thought and certainly one worth exploring.

The concept of rescue automatically implies the presence of a precarious predicament.  Who needs rescue from pleasant circumstances?  Rescue denotes deliverance from danger.  But the biblical narrative, what or who is the danger?  Well, that's where many well-meaning and otherwise sincere churchgoers make a mess of the gospel story.  Some of the most popular but ultimately wrong answers to the question:

"I'm saved from lack of purpose!"  Sorry, no cigar.  This is not only wrong but it was never the issue to begin with.  God doesn't make anything without a purpose so being saved from a purposeless existence is actually a slanderous accusation against the God Who according to Isaiah 46:8-11 and Ephesians 1:11 works everything for His purposes.  Romans 9:17 declares that even Pharaoh had a purpose--pretty sure he wasn't "saved" in any sense of the word.

"I'm saved from sickness and poverty in this life!"  Really?  Does this even deserve an explanation as to why such a thought is folly?  If you haven't seen any of Justin Peters' presentations on what is commonly called "Word of Faith" theology/movement, you should really invest the time to bless yourself or get equipped to bless others with the corrective power of God's word.

"I'm saved from sin!"  We're getting a little closer to the root issue but depending on what is meant by "sin", we could still be in left field.  If a professing believer tells me that they're saved from sin, I immediately ask, "Do you still sin?".  Invariably, the answer is "Yes, of course."  It's 1 in 5 who can explain how salvation from sin still provides for the presence of sin in their lives. After all, why would there be provisions made for confession and forgiveness in 1st John 1:9 if believers never sinned again?

"I'm saved from the Devil!"  Okay, so... authentic salvation does ultimately provide protection from Satan.  And while it is true that the name "Satan" means "adversary", he is the enemy of believers.  While he has no good intentions for the unbeliever, he's not the primary enemy of the unsaved (believe it or not!).  There is a much more dangerous "clear and present danger" than the Devil for the person who does not repent of sin and receive Jesus as the Lord of their life.

Now, we know that a Savior is one who rescues or delivers another from trouble.  The interesting but sad thing about Christmas time is that we celebrate a Savior when most don't even know what or who He saves us from.  The answer may startle and surprise some while bring out reviling and revolting from others.  Either way, you'll have to see Tree Trimming #5 to get my argument for the biblical answer to the question, "Saved from what?"

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