Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23
Last month I shared that I had been experiencing some television nostalgia by watching the Andy Griffith show. Enjoying stepping back into the past inspired me to watch another show that I watched as a child. When I was younger there was nothing more exciting than Friday evening at 7:00 PM. The was when "The Dukes of Hazzard" would come through the airwaves to channel 11 on our TV set. The show had cars flying through the air and arrows with sticks of dynamite attached to them. What's not to love?
As I was feeling the nostalgia and laughing at how corny the show is, one scene jumped out at me. One of the more popular characters in the series was Deputy Enos Strate. He was notorious for being an all around good guy. During the episode I was viewing, the Duke boys and Enos are riding in a car. As so often happens on the show the brakes of their car fail. The car careens down a mountain road and extreme measures need to be taken. The old wreck they are driving plows through a fence and splashes into a pond. As the camera angle moves us to a view inside the car we see the virtuous Enos with his eyes closed. He tells his companions that he fears opening his eyes. He says "What do you see out there? A bunch of naked babies with harps and wings or a bunch of red fellers with horns and pitchforks?"
Obviously, this statement is to make us laugh but it exposes something in the way in which so many of us view our status before God. In the minds of a lot of people our eternal destiny is up for grabs. We teeter on the brink of either heaven or hell and where we end up is determined by the good or bad that we do in each moment. While this may serve a purpose to cause some people to behave in a more positive way,it isn't the Christian way of viewing salvation.
When we talk about whether or not we are saved we don't speak about the individual deeds that we do piling up on the scales to determine which side is more loaded. We talk about assurance of salvation and a trust in the promise of God to save his people. Our salvation is rooted in the work that Jesus did for us in his life, death, and resurrection. If we have been given the gift of repentance and faith in Christ then we are in him. We don't have to wonder what we will see when we breathe our last. We know that we shall see our Savior face to face. This is because our sin has been atoned for and we have been given the greatest gift of the righteousness of Jesus. We are not teetering between the good place and the bad place. We are right now seen as righteous in God's sight.
This has application for us not only when we think about eternity but in our daily lives too. As we saw in Hebrews 10:22 we can draw near to God in full assurance. We do not think of God in such a way that every move we make is sliding us back and forth between his favor and his wrath. Because we are in Christ we know that we can come before God and serve him in freedom. His promise of salvation is sure because he is faithful. So we have a sure confidence in this life and the next. A confidence rooted in who God is and what he has done for us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17
A few weeks ago I needed to make two visits in Sioux Falls. One visit was to someone in the hospital in the morning. I then had another visit to pray with someone before surgery. There was about a three-hour window of time that I needed to fill. I went to a coffee shop, got a little caffeine, and did a little work on my tablet. Before I went to do the afternoon visit I decided to go to the mall. I wanted to see if I could find a good price on some clothes that I wanted to get for the upcoming trip to Sandusky, OH with the youth group. I parked near the food court entrance and spent roughly 30 minutes looking for a new pair of shorts. On the way out I was observing how little activity there was at the mall compared to time past. The handful of cars in the parking lot reflected how few people were moving around the interior of the mall.
As I was nearing my car I saw a mother and I would guess a three-year-old child. The child pulled his hand out of the hand of his mother and began to run from her. There was not much of a sense of urgency from the mother. There were very few cars and she could see every area of potential danger. I got into the car and thought about how differently that mother would have acted if it was a busier day. If it was Christmas season there would be no way the mother would have let her child run through the parking lot. Her quiet and passive pleas for the child to stop would have instead been a frantic scramble to make sure her child was back in her control. She would have dropped her shopping bags and done everything she needed to do to make sure that her child was safe. In fact, she would probably not have even allowed the child to walk next to her holding her hand. She would have held the child safely in her arms from the mall until she safely placed her in the car seat.
This got me to thinking about how we view God and what he has done to save us. If we believe that sin is merely something that we can correct on our own or that sin isn't that big a deal then our view of how God saves us and holds on to us is going to reflect that. If we see God like the mother I witnessed in the parking lot then we are ultimately in control of our salvation and God is overseeing us and keeping us from doing any major harm to ourselves.
On the other hand, if we hold to a Biblical view of sin and an understanding that we are dead in our trespasses and sins, things will be different. We would see God much more like the scenario I imagined during the Christmas shopping season. God would not only take hold of us but he would not let us go until he delivered us safely.
This is so important for our understanding of who God is, how he saves us, and how he holds on to us. Our sin is a big deal. It is treason against the Most High and in order to be rescued from it the ultimate price had to be paid. God the Son took on human flesh, lived for us, died for us, and rose again for us. He is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Through the proclamation of the gospel, the Holy Spirit has brought us to faith. All to rescue us from sin and death. As we know so well from John 3:16-17 God showed his love for us in Jesus Christ. He did not leave us to wander. He did all that needed to be done to bring his people to himself. If you are in Christ, God has laid hold of you and he will not let go. He will bring you safely home. Rest in that good news and trust in his great saving work in Christ for you.