Sunday, June 25, 2017
Salvation According To #Jesus (Part 1) #JesusFollowers
What does salvation mean in the teaching of Jesus? He declared that he came to seek and to save the lost. He frequently expressed the purpose of his mission in another set of term: He came to found the Kingdom of God and to induce humanity to enter it.
To be saved and to enter the Kingdom of God must mean substantially the same. He also spoke of men becoming sons of God and of being like God. In view of such expressions there is hardly room for doubt as to what the idea of salvation was as it lay in the mind of Jesus. It is the life of obedience to God, or, more fundamentally stated, it is the life of Sonship or moral likeness to God.
Jesus came into the world to save us in the sense that he came to win us, to help us to, live the life of fellowship with God and of likeness to him. Jesus described salvation as a moral recovery from an evil life.
It is seen in the life of that lost son who repudiates all his natural obligations to his father and friends, abandons all restraints, and gives himself over to a life of selfish gratification.
It is seen in the Pharisee with his counterfeit piety, trying for social advantage - to seem what he inwardly knows he is not.
It is seen in the hardness, the cruelty, the intolerance of the rich and ruling classes of the age; in the pitilessness of a priest and a Levite who put social distinctions above humanity
These are examples of sin as Jesus views it. They are the "lost" who are forfeiting their lives in selfishness in its various forms: pride, hypocrisy, sensuality, cruelty, hatred. All these sins are simply various phases of that self-gratification in which a person loses their real, true self.
From this kind of life, we need to be saved. This can be done in only by a change in our motives and purposes. The sinful life can only be abandoned by being replaced. Love must supplant selfishness; kindness, humility, and sympathy must replace hardness, arrogance, and indifference.
We are to be saved to a life of service and helpfulness. We must learn that to give our lives is to save them.
Jesus' idea of salvation centers in his idea of God. His most characteristic description of God is as the bountiful Giver. With liberal hand He pours out His blessings upon all. His love is large and generous. He is ready and eager to bestow His gifts. This impulse to give and to bless springs from God's boundless, universal love.
Love is the law, not, primarily, because God enjoins it, but because it is the principle of His own moral perfection. His requirements are grounded in His Nature.
The life of love is the Godlike life; it is the life of Sonship; it constitutes men members of the Kingdom of heaven; it is salvation.
This teaching of Jesus does not minimize the requirements of holiness.
He knows nothing of a love which is not holy and morally exacting. Love is no mere easy, good nature. It rebukes and punishes evil, while it yearns to forgive and cure it.
There is no lack of strenuousness in our Master’s doctrine of salvation. The divine love repudiates and condemns sin, and there is no salvation which is not salvation from sin to holiness.
Adapted from a 1917 Sermon by Rev. George Barker Stevens