Let's do some fun, and brief, theology, in a way that may explode your beliefs about being saved. The theological word: soteriology, or the more common word: salvation. What is it? Getting into heaven? Staying out of hell? Good news, we get more than we often imagine.
I need more
or escaping hell’s delights
I feel empty
of the dedication that following you should have
I fall short
of the sacrifice that you modeled and command
I have gaps
in my goodness that should reflect who you are
I cannot cling
to my courage that would allow me to risk
I possess much less
than what I should
I need to be whole
I need to be saved
Merriam Webster defines salvation as "deliverance from the power and effects of sin; preservation from destruction or failure." The first gives us heaven, but overall, salvation allows us to overcome obstacles so we can be whole, complete, to grow, to develop into all God designed us to be.
Obviously, that definition doesn't always match the roadmap of my life. I still yield to sin's power, and too many failures haunt me. But frankly, as part of the human race, even those of us redeemed by Christ, we face temptation and sin every day of our lives. We don't experience salvation if we expect deliverance from all sin.
But, and this is a big but. We do progressively feel less of sin's power. We fail less frequently. We grow closer to wholeness as humans. So yes, salvation means we do get heaven. We do avoid hell. But add wholeness, now. Not a bad deal, and we get Jesus too!
So, what's the hook for growing in Christ? To have hope. To allow our failures to increase our motivation to yield to God's preserving power. To acknowledge them and sincerely want to decrease them. OK, we SHOULD want to eliminate them, but let's be realistic. Guilt can help us recognize we failed, but living there merely brings discouragement.
Salvation. Protection. Deliverance. Wholeness. It's a growing thing.
Kick Starting the Application
What was your concept of salvation before reading this? Has it changed? If so, how (try to be specific)? How will your life change in the next week or so?