We live in a world that is often only concerned about the bottom line. We want to know if our team won, if the business deal ended in the black, if the goal was reached. We want the headline, and perhaps the summary, but have little time to actually live it or get emotionally involved. We want the college degree now. We want to lose weight now. We want to get rich now. In a nutshell we want the facts so we can get on with our own business and retreat to the comfort of our own homes. However, we do not have the patience to live, work, and breathe for 365 days a year and still be pursuing the same goal as years turn into decades.
Why are our resumes strung with pages of job experience? Why are we so good at making new friends, but not keeping the old friends? Why are so many marriages failing? How could our grandfathers stay with the same woman, visit the same friends, and do the same work for a lifetime? Why do so many begin to follow Christ, yet either bail out or end their days warming a pew? We have been duped by the promises of unscrupulous marketers. Vain promises have drained us of our strength and perseverance for anything different or difficult.
Sadly, Christian evangelists have often done the same thing as the unscrupulous marketers that surround us, myself included. Christian salvation is marketed with the same strategy that Lou uses to sell cars. We get a customer hot for the sale with money burning a hole in his pocket, but he drives away not even knowing what he has purchased.
Warnings like "Are you saved?" and "Pray this prayer" lead you to believe that you can take action to add your own name to the Book of Life. You have entirely missed the point of grace. You think you have "bought" salvation, but do not even know what it is! You have bought, but you have not rested in the Father's love. You have your fire insurance policy, but you have no fire or passion for Christ. There is no heart for a life of rugged discipleship for our lover.
Instead, true faith is a longing to leave sin and a commitment to righteousness. Open the car hood of your life and check the timing and temperature of your engine! Get to a hospital for open heart surgery to see if you actually have a new heart of flesh or the same old heart of stone! Is the fire of Christ burning in your life or are you just a good (or perhaps bad) church kid?
What if instead you looked at Jesus Christ and received that you have been loved by him from before the very beginning? What if instead you confessed that your eternal destiny is fully in the hands of Christ... period? What if you truly believed that the victory was guaranteed and played for the love of the game and the love of your coach? Then you would be thankful for your eternal destiny and thankful to live for him now.
Another friend suggested that if we told people that Christ had already forgiven all their future sin, then there would be no reason to quit sinning. What an unfortunate understanding! First, this man must think that fear is a more powerful motivator than love. However, love, hands down, is the most powerful force in the universe. Secondly, this man is blind to his own sin, voting a nebulous victory for himself, but without the power of God's love in his life. My friend's heart is exposed, not as God's son, but as a slave to sin. Sin is bad and harmful and this man does not even seem to know it! Why would you prefer to know God as an angry slave master? Why not know him as he actually is, as your loving Heavenly Father?
The point is that Christian salvation is much more than salvation from a bad end, but also salvation from the harm of sin now. Read my article, SAVED 5X, for a larger list of the things we all need protection from. Yes Christ finalized the TRANSACTION for our eternal salvation at the cross. And now Christ fights for our TRANSFORMATION, opening our eyes and leading us to faith, a purposeful life, and Christ-likeness.
It is given that we want salvation for a pleasurable life after death. But do we want salvation from sin now? Do we want to be transformed into Christ-likeness? Do we want to suffer with him for opposing self-righteousness and proclaiming grace? Or, do we just like the style of the W.W.J.D. wristband?