The Gift of Salvation
by James Metsger
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
To be saved is a bit of a foreign concept. Up until this point I haven’t been rescued from a burning building. Nobody has had to breathe air into my lungs while medics hurried to my rescue. I have had exactly zero near death experiences except for the time I hit a deer on the highway. Even then I realized I was in better shape than she was. Sure, I’ve told a friend “Man, you just saved my life” a few times but usually it was because he took good notes when I skipped class. It’s hard to imagine what it means to be saved. At least it does until you realize your desperate and dire condition.
In order to be saved you need to know you have to be rescued. That realization can come slowly. Like a frog in a pot of slow boiling water our world for can seem a bit warm, but overall fairly comfortable. By the time we realize we have a problem it’s too late. Maybe that’s why Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and told them:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)
Paul tells the church, “Don’t forget your roots. Remember where you came from. You were on the losing side and loving it. But you weren’t alone. We’ve all been there before.” Spiritually speaking we were dead on arrival. But…
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
What have we been saved from? We’ve been saved from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and one day we will be saved from the presence of sin. We don’t pay God back for our sin. The penalty has been paid in Christ and God does not send us a repayment book. That’s good news, but it gets even better. We’re being saved from the presence of sin.
At one time we were dead in the “trespasses and sins in which you once walked.” We were lost and loving it. We couldn’t get out of our own way. But sin no longer has a death grip on our hearts. We don’t have to walk away defeated, helpless, and hopeless. God, by His Spirit, gives us increasing victory over sin. Notice I said we are being saved from the power of sin. That means we’re not there yet-we haven’t arrived. If anyone tells you otherwise encourage him to head to the back of the line. He’s lying and full of pride.
One day we will also be saved from the presence of sin. Sin will no longer set up base camp in our hearts. Personally, I can’t wait for that once and for all closet cleaning to take place. I need a renovation. I long to have a conversation that isn’t tainted by sin. I can’t wait to do right for all the right reasons. I can’t wait to see God for who is and not just for what he does. I can’t wait to have a faith that is sure, steady, steadfast, and doesn’t shift with the wind and the waves. I can’t wait, but I will. Salvation is near.