God Love You -- Rev. Sheen
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The Active Choice of Salvation...
Heavenly salvation is inconceivable. What set of terrestrial circumstances can equate to a mortal man savoring in Heavenly delights for all eternity? Could such unimaginable joy be a reward for a lifetime of do-gooding. Inept as I am to unravel the mysteries of eternity I concur with the Apostles of old who deemed it impossible to attain such wonderment through a life of religious observances: Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” How implausible it seems that everlasting joy could be bestowed as a gift. A benefaction beyond all belief should inspire the upmost humility and reverence and possibly confusion.
There have been those who were naturally inclined to contribute unto this gift. Historically many have been accused of formulating religious dogmas that equated to a works based salvation, essentially concocting religious methodology in order to be co-contributors of the gift they received. An opposite extreme was birthed by those who sought to alienate themselves from this perceived error. This next group viewed salvation as completely irrelevant to human actions, so much so that not even human will is a factor. The underlying thought was that consent equated to work and as the gift of salvation had to be void of work to be valid, then consent forfeited the requirements. This reactive assembly taught that God saves by forcibly bypassing His subjects' will in order to bestow this gift.
This conflict begs the question “does man save himself by consenting to be saved?” or another way to ask, “is choosing to be saved a works based salvation?” Let us use the fine art of etymology to shine some light on our query. Picture yourself on a beach, suddenly you spy a distressed body in the water, whaling and beckoning for immediate help. Promptly a toned Baywatchesqe lifeguard zips by with beeline precision and swift motion into the water, pounces on the engulfed fellow, locks the drowner in his muscly arms and drags him to shore. The lifeguard gently lays the limp body on the sand; the quick thinking lifeguard descended his square jaw and perfect teeth to puff life into the suffocated sufferer. After moments of powerful CPR the limp body jumps to life sucking precious air and a crowd of onlookers cheer for crisis averted. The half-drowned fellow is saved thanks to the trained efforts of our lifeguard. Later that night a crowd gathers as the lifeguard regales all with his tale of heroic bravery. Just as our hero winds down from his climatic conclusion a frail voice interrupts
“yeah, well, you may have pulled me from the water but, seriously, I totally didn't resist you. Like, had I have started kicking I would have been in big trouble. And, yeah, you may have given me CPR but once I started breathing I kept on breathing, I mean, that's the key right? If it wasn't for me I'd be dead. Sure, you helped but, strictly speaking, I probably saved myself.”
Such a conclusion could not be the mental fruit of any rational individual. Approbation is not a saving action. The victim may have vehemently resisted and lost his life doing so but his unimpeded submission is hardly saving oneself. The retrieved swimmer should have been kissing the feet of his rescuer; acknowledging that his salvation was the sole product of one individual and it wasn't himself. The approval to save is not part of the saving. The individual is having an action done onto to him, 100% of the saving action is committed by the deliverer. If party A saves another party B, then party B has been acted upon. If party A gives party B a gift, party B is strictly a beneficiary and party A is strictly the benefactor. In relation to being saved in the Christian sense, we can safely say that God is the sole author of salvation regardless of consent. God gives the gift and we are merely the donee. Our will is not a contributing factor in the gift of salvation but it is necessary to exercise. The gift is composed without it but received upon it. God has this gift for all, we have only to accept; and know the limitless love of the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
God Love You -- Rev. Sheen