“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” I John 4:14
If we stop to think about it, the truth that God sent His son into the world to bring us salvation is mind-blowing! When we look at what Scripture says about the fallen condition of humanity and its hopeless state without Christ, our hearts are inspired to sing a never-ending song of praise and gratitude for the salvation that God provided for us through Jesus Christ! John 3:16 says it was because of God’s love that He sent His Son, and such love is hard for humans to comprehend. But we don’t need to fully understand something in order to be thankful for it, and if we’ve had even an inkling of insight into the Lord’s sacrificial acts on our behalf, we have probably been inclined to extend our gratitude to Him.
However, even though our hearts may overflow with thankfulness for God’s unmatchable act of kindness toward us, our mental concepts usually stop short of God’s full plan of salvation for us. Often times, we exempt ourselves from the involvement that is necessary to bring a complete salvation about. Not saying that there is some good deed you need to do to be saved, because Ephesians 2 (and other passages) makes it clear that that cannot suffice. But that does not mean we exempt ourselves from involvement. If our concept of God’s provision of salvation is that He sent His Son to accomplish a task, and all we need to do is be spectators that acknowledge that it happened, we have tragically missed the mark. For us to experience God’s provision of salvation, we cannot be distant (although agreeable) spectators. We must be involved. But, again, this involvement is not me doing “good things” for the Lord… it is me giving myself to Him, and receiving Him to myself.
A few days ago we saw the verse “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). We can see from this verse that God’s sending His Son into the world was not for the purpose of us watching His redemptive acts from a distance, and thereafter simply acknowledge it with praise. No! God sent His Son into the world so that He would become our very life source, and He provides deliverance for us so that this can actually happen. The major enemies we need to be delivered from are Satan, sin, and self. And Jesus’ provision of salvation is not summed up simply in defeating Satan and taking the penalty for our sin. Although He did those things, His complete salvation is found in the exchange of our self-life for His life. We cannot deliver ourselves from ourselves… we need a savior. And Jesus provides that salvation for us through taking our fallen identity, and giving us His in its place.
All throughout history, when a leader went out to war and conquered an opposing force, it is hardly ever for the purpose of defeating the other leader and then making a climactic departure, leaving the people to rule themselves. When one ruler defeats another, it usually follows that the conqueror then holds dominion over that land of the lord he just conquered; and then the people of that land are under the authority of the new ruler. The same is true of Jesus… He did not conquer Satan at the cross just to set us free from Satan’s oppression and thereafter leave us alone. He is now the prevailing Lord of the territory Satan ruled, and the inhabitants of that territory are rightfully expected to submit to the rule of the conquering King. However, the mode of life in the realm where Jesus rules is too high, too pure, too perfect for us to ever attain. And so, the incomprehensibly loving hand of God makes a way for us to not be at odds with the new King… where we no longer live by our own nature, but rather by the very nature of His Son.
So, let’s not stop half-way when considering the salvation that God provided for us through His Son, and seek to know what it means to walk in His full salvation… to live by the life of Jesus Christ.