With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Act 2:40-41
I believe one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th and 21st centuries is the American church’s redefinition of the “gospel” or the concept of “salvation”. How many times have you asked someone, “Are you saved?” To most that would mean, are you going to heaven? The modern definition for salvation, especially in the western church, connotes the need to accept Christ as an escape from hell. It embraces forgiveness from sin and the idea that Christ died to free us from the penalty of eternal death. All of this istrue; however, it is what has been omitted about salvation, that is so tragic.
Salvation, as the Bible refers to it, deals primarily with the “here and now”, not the “later and forever.” Could this be another reason the church has failed to address present conditions and offer real hope for today, because we don’t emphasis the power of the gospel to deliver us from our present condition. Paul believed that the gospel is about a salvation in the here and now. In the letters he wrote, he reminded us that Jesus, who gave himself for our sins, did so in order that we could be rescued “from the present evil age.” Galatians 1:4-5 Peter, in the verse above, was the first one to mention the meaning of salvation in the New Testament when he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.“ This statement was in answer to a question from those who wanted to embrace this Jesus whom Peter preached. They said, “What shall we do?’ In other words, what shall we do to be saved? Peter’s answer was not about the later and forever; rather, it was for the here and now! James even defined religion different than most by saying that true religion was keeping oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 Do you see the contrast in the scriptural definition and how we often use this term in our modern-day discussions?
The word salvation in the Bible could be translated as deliverance and freedom from bondage caused by sin. The “good news” is not about being free from bondage in heaven (there is no bondage in heaven). The “gospel” is that you can be free from sin and its bondage now! That’s the power of the cross and His grace at work in us. His grace teaches us to say no to sin and live upright lives in this present age. Titus 2:11
While the world is busy trying to ignore their sin condition, we must not. We are sinners and our heart’s desire is to be free and found in God’s image once again. We were designed to be like Him and with Him. That’s the goal. That’s the longing in each of us even in those who do not believe. Roman 1:18-23 We cannot change the reality of our Designer nor His perfect design (Genesis 1:26). We have not come from monkeys or a primordial slime. Had we; what good would it be to consider attaining to anything higher? However, we are from God and nothing short of returning to God will satisfy. No distraction will cover up this longing in each of us for redemption.
Now, having said all this, do you really want to continue masking your need to be with Him and like Him? It will take time and effort to train yourself to experience more of God’s presence and the L.I.F.E He died to give you. Love’s Influence For Everyone who truly wants to be “saved.”