Thursday, 9 January 2014

Salvation is not all about you

You might be thinking that the point of salvation is to save you. Strangely enough, it's not about you. And it's not about the family next door. And it's not about your boss. So what's it for?

It's for everyone, and it's for here, and it's for now.

When Jesus preached salvation, he talked about the kingdom of God. It's a vision for how the world should be. We know this because Jesus used a political term (basilea) to describe it. It's a word used to describe governments, but since the primary governmental form of the era was monarchy we can safely translate it as kingdom. Of course, Jesus redefined lots of things and perhaps this is one of them. After all, he said that his kingdom is not of this world.

Sure, it's not of this world, but it is in this world and it is for this world. When Jesus preached about the kingdom of God he told us how to live here and now. He made it clear that we can't relax and feel comfortable. Jesus didn't tell us to just put up with today's crap while we wait for things to change, he told us to start changing the world by changing how we relate with our neighbour.

The way we live with our neighbours is the way we form society. It's the way we sculpt the kind of world that we live in today. Jesus is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card, he is an ethical teacher as well. He wants each of us to individually be changed so that we change the world around us.

Our first experience of salvation may well be the moment that we begin to change as individuals, but it's not our last experience of salvation. That experience continues in each and every moment that we act as disciples of Christ. Every time we obey the command to love our neighbour is yet another experience of salvation for us and for the world around us.

I think that salvation is about us as individuals, but this is just the beginning of salvation in our lives. Salvation doesn't stop there. It goes on through us to the world around us. God's salvation is in us is so that the world can experience God's salvation through us.
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