Summary: The Resurrection leads us to much more than a personal salvation.
A Cultural Salvation
We have spoken at length about personal Salvation. We just celebrated the Resurrection of Christ last week, as we really do every week, but especially at Easter. We all know the feeling that exists within our hearts before our personal resurrection experience – the pain, numbness and confusion, the sense of meaninglessness and heartbreak. But then someone loves us enough to tell us about Jesus. They tell us about Jesus’ compassion, and we begin to realize that even though we know that we deserve to have really bad things happen to us in repayment for our own crimes, that God doesn’t want us to suffer eternally, and that in His infinite love He has provided a way for us to be saved from “the bed of our own making” by the blood of Jesus Christ. They tell us about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, who was a religious man, but who still needed to be “born again.” It takes a while for many of us to grasp all of this, but when we do and we repent of our old lives and are baptized into the new life with Christ, it is like a ton of bricks has been lifted off our shoulders, and we walk with Jesus in a life that is dedicated to much different priorities than those we lived by while we were committing those crimes that created such havoc and guilt before.
And then we continue throughout life trying to glorify God the best we can. We fail often, but, in inverse proportion to our pride, we learn much about ourselves and the life that God wants for us. We apply a new discipline to our lives to live up to a standard that is far higher than we ever thought about adhering to before, but rather than getting frustrated and depressed at our inadequacy, rather than being overcome with hopelessness at our inabilities, we give all of that to Jesus, keep putting one foot ahead of the other, and come out the other side with a profound and enduring love for the One Who stands by us, lifting us up, making us better, giving us hope for our futures. We recognize that He is the One Who will never fail us. And life is different – all new. The metaphor of a “rebirth” becomes understandable, becomes who we are. And we quit living in the past, we stop looking back, and we begin to focus on the future and how we can live a life that will express our love more fully each day to the One Who has made it all possible. And we look for ward to things that previously were unimaginable – even death itself is not a concern, for we look to the time beyond all of this earthly temporal and temporary to a time when death and sorrow will be no more. We know that our Lord is all-powerful and that He will put all enemies under his feet, including death itself.
We compare this reality with the world’s philosophies of life, and we get just an inkling of what God has done. The best the world can do is to tell us that death is simply a reality that we have to deal with – there will come a time when we will cease to exist, and all that can be said about it is that since it is going to happen, just get over it. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die. That’s all humanism has.
But that’s not all Jesus has!
That, in a nutshell, is the basic abbreviated idea behind personal salvation. We enjoy today, walking with God, even in the worst of times in this fallen world, with an inner peace that the world doesn’t have and cannot fathom; and we die with grace and peace, to live forever.
But as fantastic as all that is, and as complete as the story seems to be to that point, there’s really much more to the story. If we are saved in this manner, what does that leave for us to do here on this earth? Just be good while we eat, drink and be merry waiting to go live with God? Keep all the goodies to ourselves? Is salvation in the sweet by and by all there is to Christianity? Sadly, that is the life that far too many Christians live in today’s world. Is it possible that there is much more to our way of life than personal salvation? What difference does it make to the world we live in if we keep it to ourselves? And why do we feel that we must keep it to ourselves, when Christianity has been such a blessing to us personally, and such a driving force throughout not just American history, but WORLD history?