question: “who can be saved” was answered with great confidence. Jesus made a
statement to His followers that with God everything
is possible. On the other hand, an anonymous writer of a letter addressed
to the Hebrews uses quite the opposite language (Hebrew 6:4+6):
“For it is impossible to bring back to
repentance those who were once enlightened – those who have experienced the
good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit (…) and who then turn away
from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance;”
How is convicting a person to turn around impossible to God? It must be
impossible because God has decided a long time ago to refrain from interfering
with human decision making. I believe God definitely has the power to coerce His
creatures into submission, but it’s His ethical choice not to use manipulation;
instead God humbly accepts whichever rejection comes His way, and He lets go of
everyone insisting on having his or her own way.
If you are a parent dealing with a
son or daughter going down the slippery road of self-destruction, then you know
to an extent how God feels. He is the parent of creation. He feels very strongly
about us. And yet He respects our decision and lets us be if we so insist, even
if it destroys us. This is who God is.
In the end, all our wrong has been made right. It’s hard to take in this
astonishing truth that has been preached about for centuries. Most of the time
people tend to either beat themselves up over their failures or defiantly dig
in their heels. Prophet Isaiah proclaims in the 44th chapter
of his book (Isaiah 44:22):
“I have swept away your sins like a cloud.
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I
have paid the price to set you free.”
God has done all His legwork. He has swept away our failures so we can start over with a clean slate. This actually puts the ball into our court. From God’s point of view we’re worth every penny He paid when He sacrificed His Son on Mount Calvary. The question, however, remains: Is God worth everything we’ve got? That’s for us to decide. And whenever we go for it, accept His gift and return to Him, nothing, absolutely nothing will be impossible to God. No despair will be too deep, no fall too steep, and no storm waves too high that He can’t rescue us. Generations have come and gone, and this still holds true: our God is faithful. Our God saves – if we let Him.
Saved is a
state of being, not an end result. The fact that it is so hard to discuss the
message of the cross intelligibly has everything to do with disclosure. The
message of the cross has to be revealed by God’s Spirit. God Himself endorses
this message and gives it its seal of authenticity.
The idea of God dying on the cross for us is just as mind-blowing as the idea of God becoming a human being – for real – not just for a week or so, no, the entire human experience. Jesus was born like any human baby; he grew up, went through puberty, became a man and ran his own business before He went into public ministry. All of that is part of the story of the cross. He didn’t just fall from Heaven and got martyred. The Son of God was a citizen, had a nationality and belonged to a family tribe.
Jesus didn’t fall from Heaven because there was more to conquer than death. He also came to redeem our lives by living the full cycle of the human experience. God got His hands dirty; He cried; He laughed; He got tired; He got sweaty; He got hungry; He got refreshed; He cracked jokes; He had parents; He built friendships; He was loved and He was despised. He was revered and he was ignored.
And Jesus prayed. I bet praying
was a different experience for Him as a human being. Praying on Earth has its
challenges. You have to really want it! Distractions are everywhere. I imagine
if we pray in Heaven where God lives that’s a whole different story.
Then Jesus died publicly in front
of everybody a very cruel death. Dying in itself is tough. Why He had to be
humiliated and murdered that way is incomprehensible, but so is human brutality
that happens on a daily basis. The point being Jesus came to redeem us from all
of that. He came to save us from ourselves.
For some reason the message of the
cross got some of us twisted into thinking that we’re to blame for Jesus’s
death. It’s our entire fault that this glorious Son of God had to suffer so
badly. This is only half the truth. The other part of the truth is that Jesus
chose to bail us out because He thinks we’re worth it.
Let this message of the cross sink
in as we go through another Easter season. Jesus’s greatest joy is to see our
healing process as a result of His sacrifice. We accept the truth God whispers
into our ear, and we shed off all the things that tie us down and hold us back.
Being saved simply means we get to be real. Turning to God and allowing Him to
heal us turns us into the person we’re designed to be.
Discover God and you’ll discover
who you really are.