Foundations Of Our Faith March 2003
Why Have We Been Saved?
There is a grand deception being perpetrated on the church as a whole - by the church itself. If you browse in any Christian bookstore or Christian magazine rack, you would likely find the vast majority of books and articles focus on how we can improve ourselves in Christ. In fact, it seems that that is what our goal is to be, if you accept these works as they are presented. All of their focus is on self-improvement and living a comfortable, trial-free life.
While I agree wholeheartedly that we are indeed to become more like our Saviour and less like our old, sinful selves, this in and of itself should not be our goal.
Over the decades we have been presented with a Christianity that is on par with other avenues of self-improvement. But is this the thrust of Yeshua's message or that of the Old Testament? Is worldly gain and our own self-improvement the reason that Yeshua had to suffer and die a most hideous death? If we look at the progression of history as outlined in the Bible, beginning in the Garden of Eden, we find that there is a very clear, very black and white message. It is in this message that we can find the real purpose for Yeshua's sacrifice and our need of a Saviour.
In the Garden of Eden we are introduced to the main players of earth's history - God, man, and Satan. Man's original purpose was to have full, unfettered intimacy with his Creator. In addition to this, God charged man with overseeing creation. Adam and Eve were living fully in God's kingdom. They were clothed with the light of God's glory. They knew the utter fullness of God's love and presence. Then along slithered the serpent.
By the time we see God reforming the heavens and the earth, and creating Adam and Eve, Satan has already sinned against God and has fallen from his exalted position as the anointed cherub who covers. For the first time there was more than one will in the universe. It was probably Satan's desire to not only have man disobey God, but to then align himself with Satan in a united front against God. Although Adam didn't join Satan's forces, he did disobey God and was exiled from God's kingdom.
Because of our tainted lineage, we are born outside of God's kingdom. The sad fact is, if we are outside of God's kingdom we are, by default, in the kingdom of darkness. We may not have made a conscious decision to dwell in Satan's kingdom, but we can see from Scripture that there is no middle ground. Deuteronomy 30:19 states that we must choose between life or death. Then God tells us which to choose - Life! Anything other than a decision for life is a choice for death - even indecision. If you aren't actively pursuing God and His kingdom, you're in the dark. This struggle between the two kingdoms is shown throughout Scripture in many ways.
So, what is our responsibility once we have accepted the Lord and transferred our citizenship to God's kingdom? Are we to take our indescribable gift and focus on ourselves? Should we regard God as some cosmic Santa Claus who is just sitting around waiting to grant us our wishes? Is the Bible to be used as a book of incantations we use to bend God's will to ours? NO!
Yeshua told His disciples to go out to all the world and preach the good news. What is that news? To repent for the kingdom of God is at hand! We are to reach as many people as we can with God's love and mercy, to show them His kingdom that they might choose life! Of course, while we are reaching out to minister to the lost for God we should also be pressing in to God to deepen our relationship with Him. It is through this vital relationship that we will be molded into the image of the Messiah and begin exhibiting the fruit that God desires for us to bear (Galatians 5:22-23).
God is not a genie in a bottle to grant our wishes. Nor is the Bible to be used as a magic key for our personal success. God is holy and His word is precious. He desires to have a personal relationship with each one of us, through the atonement the Messiah has made for us. His word, the Bible, is one way God reveals Himself to us.
To try and use God and His word to our purposes is no less than sorcery. We must humble ourselves before Him, seek His will, and love Him for who He is - a holy and just God - not for what He can do for us to bring us worldly success.
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