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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are You Saved?

Back from vacation and now back to work. I am on "study week" which in theory is a time for me to read and think and recharge my brain for work. It is a nice combination with vacation where in theory you take time away (vacate) and do nothing except live life with your family. As we all know, vacations are potentially fun but there is always a chance it will be more stress than work. I was blessed, our time at the beach and last week in Chicago were good times. I saw family and Chicago has lots of nice things to do (like the Botanical Gardens and Art Museum). It was a good week.

Now I am back and my study time is preparing Bible study notes for my parallel Gospel Bible study. I am way behind so this blog will be brief. I am really, really way behind! I have lots of reading and writing to do...

We went to Wrigley Field (which is Cubs' Park--I am a White Sox fan) last Friday night to see Billy Joel. It was a birthday present to my wife and we did not know he would be there when we decided to go. My Aunt and Uncle (and cousin) took care of my son and we drove and took a bus to the concert. It took a long time, Chicago traffic is bad and so much construction! We could not find a place to eat because of the crowds so we decided to eat the ball park food. My wife walked in and then I heard a buzzer sound when I tried to get in. I screamed for her and thankfully she heard me. After we did a brief analysis we found that we had a duplicate ticket. Whoever sent her the tickets had printed off two of the same. It looked bad.

We were sent across the street to Stub Hub (she got the tickets through them online) and I was amazed at how wonderful the two men we dealt with were. They asked some questions, got the information they needed, and kept assuring us it was going to be fine. I have rarely met people more kind or pastoral (to use a theology term). They were attentive to us and kept saying it would work out. And it did. We were able to get replacement tickets and returned to the stadium in time for the concert.

We were saved.

The Bible uses the word 'saved' a lot. It usually refers to situations and events like the one we experienced. A person is in some sort of trouble or need. A person finds themselves unable to take care of the problem. A person cries out for help and the help comes and there is restoration. It may be danger or may be hunger or it may be any number of other "tight spots" but in each case the person is unable to take care of it themselves. Someone else has to intervene.

Sometimes we use the word saved in a very limited and spiritual sense. It is a code word for "getting into heaven." Now I certainly think that eternity is important (one might say eternally important). I am not negating that, but the use of the word 'saved' is analogical and based on every day experiences. What God has in store for eternity is a 'big version" of the every day ways that He (in and through creation) saves us in all manner of ways. All salvation is not life and death. Sometimes we get saved by two wonderful employees of Stub Hub who view our problem as their own, take care of it while being attentive to our worries and fears, and send us on our way with replacement tickets. Sometimes we have our souls saved. Sometimes we have our birthday evening concert saved.

The ancient Jew knew to be aware of the multiple moments each day that a hand of salvation was there to deliver them from this or that, big things and not so big things. Getting saved, from whatever it is, is a reminder that we are cared about and cared for. I have been in lots of situations where people "doing their job" did not exhibit the care and efficiency that the two men in Chicago at the Stub Hub tent outside Wrigley Field before the Billy Joel concert did. For what they did I remain thankful. And for a moment of grace that opened a window of awareness in my mind about how God is always at work I am thankful. It is easy to tak it for granted. I am glad I had a chance to see and be aware.

Jesus looked at the world that way, always attentive to what was going, always able to see insights or analogies or metaphors for God. It is tempting to think that the only things that matter are life and death issues. However, sometimes it is all a matter of living every day life, things like eating and drinking and music. God cares about each moment of each day. Each moment is a gift. And it we are paying attention, we may notice how often we are being saved, from this or that.

1 comment:


    Believers in Christ, as well as, non-believers are guilty of procrastination of faith. Believers in Christ postpone dealing with their spiritual problems, believing tomorrow will be soon enough. Non-believers think time is on their side, that tomorrow is the day of salvation.

    Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone.

    James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.(NASB)

    If you are Christian but are living an unrepentant sinful lifestyle, do you really want to wait until tomorrow to repent?

    Revelation 16:15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will see his shame.")(NASB)

    If you are not a Christian do you want to wait until tomorrow before you, believe-John 3:16, repent-Acts 3:19, confess- Romans 10:9 and are baptized in water-Acts 2:38? (SALVATION IS AVAILABLE TODAY---TOMORROW MAY NEVER COME)

    2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief , in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.(NASB)

    If you are believer in Christ and know in your heart that water baptism is essential for salvation, but you are waiting until tomorrow to start teaching it to others for fear of losing your preaching position or not wanting to be condemned by family and fellow church members, remember there is no guarantee of tomorrow.

    Psalms 144:4 Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow. (NASB)

    If you are telling the world that only a select few have been preselected for salvation, then, the time of repentance is now. No man knows what tomorrow will bring. (All who hear the gospel and are obedient to God's terms for pardon will be saved.)

    1 Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.(NASB)

    Does it matter if churches look and act more like the world than the Lord's church? Can churches use man-made doctrine as the rule for faith and practice if they make a pledge to change tomorrow? Can churches wait until tomorrow to mirror the church found in the New Testament Scriptures?

    Revelation 3:3 So remember what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.(NASB)

    Repentance only works if there is a tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

    The procrastination of faith is faith not experienced if tomorrow never comes.