Have you ever pondered the meaning of that question? When Moses told the Israelites to “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” He was referring to their being saved from Pharoh’s armies. (Exodus 14:13). In 1 Samuel chapter 2, Hannah was saved from the taunting of her adversary Peninnah. Job trusted that God would save him from his afflictions. (Job 13:16). Countless individuals in the Old Testament sought God for deliverance from enemy armies like the Philistines and the Amorites.
Today our saviors can sometimes be doctors, firefighters, police officers and others who save us from disease, accidents and those who would do us harm. In the New Testament, however, we are confronted with a problem that is more serious than any of these. We need a savior who can save us from ourselves. That is we need someone who can save us from our sins. (Matthew 1:21)
The people of Israel in New Testament times knew of God’s promise of another existence beyond the grave, and that some would awake to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting contempt.(Daniel 12:2). Jesus was quick to remind them of the seriousness of the situation. (Matthew 5:29) He revealed the solution to the problem of both the present and the future. He proved that not one of us was on the road to eternal life, and that only He could change the direction to which we are headed.
Over the years I believe the emphasis has changed concerning the subject of salvation. On the one hand, some preaching is focused on avoiding hell. Salvation is more from hell than from the sin that sends us there. People want to know that their eternal destiny is secure, and many look for the steps to securing this security. Some may think that as long as they keep up on the premiums of their “eternal life insurance policy,” things will be good. So they attend church, read their Bibles, pray, pay their tithes and so on. Check. Check Check.
More recently we see another emphasis which presents salvation as the fulfillment of the “American Dream” of comfort, ease, material prosperity, popularity, happiness and long life. Sin is almost becoming a non issue. “I am okay. You’re okay.” We are all okay because of Jesus, and a “negative confession” that admits to any of our human weaknesses is counted as unbelief. Again we are encouraged to follow certain steps to obtain this goal. Anyone who falls short of this ideal has obviously overlooked one or more of the steps.
The best, real good news is simpler that all that. We need an encounter with Life Himself, Jesus Christ. His plan was to send those people who had experienced His power, presence and word first hand out to share that reality with others. Several have left their testimony in writings that survive to this day. The apostle John bore witness to what he saw in order that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might have the same experience of eternal life in His name. (John 20:31).
The Spirit of God works through the witness, whether a live person, or the living testimony found in the Bible. He also moves in the hearts of the hearers, who can otherwise not comprehend a thing. All this is part of and leading up to an encounter with a Living Savior. The story of Jesus Christ, His life, death, resurrection, and the affect He has on sinful humans produces faith in the hearers. (Romans 10:17).This process is very mysterious and can be very different for each individual.
After we turn from self trust and come to the place of personal trust and confidence in Jesus to rescue us from our sins, there is so much more to understand. We must be fully established in the fact that we were never able to save ourselves, but that He so freely has offered salvation instead. Ours is to receive not only forgiveness, but justification. That is, we are declared to be righteous before God by faith in Him. Being now in relationship with Him our identification is now with his death, resurrection and righteous life. (Romans 6:4).
This is what it means to be truly saved! An immediate change has already taken place, from death to life. Nothing more can be done to justify a person before God, but to trust in the righteousness of Christ alone to save us. Sanctification is the process of taking that righteousness that has been applied to our account, and working it into our very experience. To God we are fully in Christ, but we need to be reminded at times. Ahead is a lifetime of learning what His grace has provided, and how to grow in it.
The knowledge of the Lord is more than the acquiring of information. The information we receive from Him in the Bible is life-giving understanding of His nature and ways. Every day we renew that confidence in His power, and every day we become stronger in our faith. The Holy Spirit gains greater and greater access to our thoughts, attitudes and actions. It is by the very life of Christ Who lives within us by which we are empowered to demonstrate our daily victory over temptation and sin!
That life is shared with every other believer in Him. We are not talking about merely attending church services, but a mutual love and support for every brother and sister we have in Christ. We too are the children of God by faith in Him!
The destiny that God has for you is beyond description! Are you a believer? Are you sensing the Spirit of God convicting you of your need for His forgiveness? Have you come to the point of truly believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He is Lord of your life? This is the change of mind that will lead to a new and wonderful existence for you. Simply surrender your will and trust in His. He will accept you and fill you with His Abundant and Eternal Life!
For “whosover shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13)