Yesterday, we talked about salvation and discipleship (mostly discipleship)… but I felt compelled to spend some time talking about what salvation means and how it is essential to our lives.
What does salvation entail? What does it bring to our lives? How do we experience salvation? These are important questions that deserve solid answers…
To understand Biblical salvation we need to understand the problem of sin and its horrible effects upon our souls and spirits…
In the very beginning, God gave the original man and woman one warning: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)
But what did God mean when He spoke of this certain death? We know, from the account, that even after eating from the forbidden tree, the man and the woman continued to remain alive. So God must have been focusing on something else.
His focus is a principle of Scripture: death is always connected with separation. James teaches: “As the body without the spirit is dead…” (James 2:26a) When our spirits are separated from our bodies… we are physically dead.
So when God mentions death as the punishment for eating the forbidden fruit, His focus was not completely on physical death (though this is also true), but on spiritual death… a separation from that which gives life to human beings.
We see an example of this whenever we cut flowers from a living plant. We bring the flowers inside, and place them in a vase, but now they are separated from that which gives them life. They are destined to “death” as soon as we separate them from their source of life. From our perspective, they will “certainly die.” The death (by separation) occurred when we cut the flowers from their life source.
This is what happened to human beings in one act of sin. Mankind severed themselves from their own Source of Life – God, their Creator. No longer could we draw direct “sustenance” from our Creator. Sin separated us from Him – it broke the unbroken relationship… and destined us to the slow death that consumes all things which are separated from that which gives them life.
This one act also opened the door to all of mankind’s most pressing spiritual needs – the needs which torment our souls, and cause us to seek to fill these needs with any means possible. We are like the cut flowers… only we are longing to reconnect with a life source… (often times) ANY “life” source.
The problem is that there is only ONE Source that can bring us the life we need – though we are prone to seeking life from all kinds of other places. Every one of our addictions traces back to this need to bring back the life to our lives. Every pursuit we may pour ourselves into (many of them positive) is, essentially, our attempt to restore the life back to our lives. And our consuming passion to find meaning and value is the constant ache of our souls… yearning for the life that we need.
Unfortunately, every path that we seek (outside of Christ) will ultimately leave us unfulfilled and still yearning for the life we need.
So we often turn our attention to pleasure, relationships, or entertainment (NOT necessarily bad things) to fill the aching void. We try to fill our lives with vices or questionable (even deviant or destructive) behaviors… all in our attempt to fill the lifeless void within us.
In the end, there is only ONE Life Source from which we were created to draw the life we need. And Jesus came to be that Life Source.
John testified: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) Every other source (no matter how promising) can never bring the light we need.
Jesus came to make a way for us “cut flowers” to be re-attached to our Source.
This miraculous re-connection is what we call salvation…