For awhile now, the evangelical phrase “Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” has bugged me. Nevermind the whole process of reducing the salvation process to a catchphrase, the phrase itself presents a rather small view of Jesus Christ.
I say “small” because it takes the pinnacle of creation and the culmination of Israel’s and all of Christendom’s striving and makes the eternal Logos to be only there for you. God does love you. He cares for you. (Luke 12:6) But lest we forget, this plan is bigger than you or I. “For God so loved the world” as it says in John 3:16.
The plan that God had from the beginning of time was to send His Son on a rescue mission to save humanity and reconcile all of creation unto Himself. Yes, this is a love story for you, but you are a piece in a larger puzzle. You are redeemed along with creation first, but then the universal plan of salvation follows from God’s redemption of you, the individual.
We must also remember that because we are a piece of this plan, we must live in accordance with the entirety of creation. We not only are saved, but we are liberators, proclaiming truth and setting the captive creation free. Jesus Himself in quoting Isaiah encompassed His larger mission
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (Luke 4:18)
We are part of a larger story. Our personal salvation has meaning, but that story doesn’t stop after we’ve stepped into faith. It is actually a story filled with others and enfolding the universe. All of time and space converged on the cross and we are surrounded by a great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Can we stop and think of how amazing that is?
The story is both immediate and throughout all time. Many came before you who took on the life of Christ and many will come after you for the same. We shall not forget them. They are all around us, urging us on. And we in turn urge are brothers on and we will continue to do so until the day of judgement.
Two things you can do right now to let this sink in:
- Contemplate, read and study the words and wisdom of people 500, 1000, 1500 and so on years ago. People who confessed Christ, lived, breathed and died for Him.
- Contemplate where you’re at now and how the perseverance of the saints led to the point where you now proclaim Christ in your own life. The Holy Spirit used others to bring about your personal story.
I believe that salvation is a journey. It’s a path where we walk out into the world and live out the teachings of Christ. Jesus said that if we loved Him, we’d keep his commandments (John 14:15) and one day we’ll stand before Him. I can only hope he’ll say to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.
But you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and frequently accursed envy has wished to unsettle it, but has not been able. – St. Athanasius