Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 28. Impossible Salvation
1 Cor 9:22 “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
For some the concept of being ‘saved’ and ‘salvation’ is a quaint, out of date religious term only used by the overzealous, but those who think like that fail to understand what ‘being saved’ means.
Earlier in this series we used the analogy of a lifeboat. Without the lifeboat the people in the sinking ship were lost. The truth is that the world is ‘sinking’ without God. On one hand we vaunt our mighty achievements, whether in science or sport, while on the other we still have the homeless and the hungry, we still have slaves, we still have the needy. Sometimes those things are the sign of sinful people who bring such things upon themselves, other times they are the sign of sinful people who fail to share and to act to help the less fortunate.
But these are merely the obvious failures of society. The next stage are those who live lives of self-pleasure and so the figures of teenage unwanted pregnancies, of abortions, of marriage breakups and divorces, often signs of adultery and lack of self-control, all these things continue to abound in modern western societies.
All of these things are signs of not only a decaying society but of individuals who have lost control. To know the proof of these things, ask any of those in the descriptions above if they wish they could turn the clock back and the answer will be in the affirmative. The increased numbers of both single men and women living alone in our societies are a testament to failed relationships, people who lost control and are now alone. Sinking lives, sinking society which we try to cover up by sounding so brave, so normal, but deep down acknowledging there must be a better way.
To speak of people needing to be saved, speaks of people who are lost on a sinking ship. But there is also the meaning of lost that speaks of having lost the way, wandering without meaning or purpose, full of fears and worries. All of these things are symptoms, symptoms of people who are ‘godless’, i.e. they had little or no contact with God, little or no relationship with Him that might have prevented their present plight. How many ‘nice’ people exist, in reality, in a grey world, just existing, lost? Oh yes, never say the language of salvation is outdated or unneeded. But from the Christian perspective, I can’t save people, only God can. It sounds so simple – and it is true – but it is so easy to forget. I may have already sought to reach out to those who don’t yet know God (hold on to that word ‘yet’!) and have been rebuffed, but that isn’t necessarily be the end of the story. It may be for us because we may not be their next link in the chain that eventually brings them through to surrendering to Him. Our call is to be open to each and every person, putting aside prejudices and dislikes, and seeing them as those loved by God who could yet have a home in eternity. Maybe – if He decrees – we may be instrumental in that, maybe not. We rest in doing what He puts before us, for all else is doomed to frustration.