Psalm 119:41 – “May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise;”
One of my favorite theological truths about Jesus is that He is God incarnate; God in the flesh. Jesus Christ left the glory of Heaven to dwell among us. In a moment’s time the Prince of Peace entered our world of war.
In Psalm 119:41, David pleads with God for His unfailing love to come to him. He longed for God’s salvation. Those of us who have tasted and seen that Jesus Christ is God, know this love. We have experienced God’s grace. We have been granted His salvation. Because of the incarnation, we have reason to celebrate. Faith in Jesus Christ, and He alone, is the basis for our salvation. Romans 10:9 tells us that “If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.”
Do you know what a HUGE deal that is? The greatest gift in all of the world has been offered to you. The God of the universe wants to save us. A couple of years ago, my brother Mark and I were talking. He asked, “Brian, what is it that God saves us from?” The seminary grad answered his businessman brother, “From hell. From Satan. From ourselves.”
“Wrong!” he answered back. “God saves us from God.”
My brother was right. God saves us from His furious wrath. And, that is a message that is being lost on the church today. David understood it. He understood that his salvation was completely dependent upon God. So many today want to believe that Jesus will save everyone in the end. Or, we want to believe that there are more important things that the church can be involved in than seeing lost people come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus still transforms lives. The majority of people in the world will reject His message. Too often that is because of the messengers. In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, actor and activist Martin Sheen is interviewed. In the interview he says, “I’m a radical Catholic who sincerely believes in the Gospels. We are commanded by the Gospels to love our enemies. I love Gandhi’s quote about [how] Christianity would be a great religion but it’s never been tried.” You can read the complete interview here: Link.
It’s a valid point. A new book, released earlier this week entitled, unChristian reports about the incredible skepticism that has arisen towards Christianity by today’s 16- to 29-year-olds. This new generation believes that Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, and full of hate. Only 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties have a positive impression of Christians. To read more follow this Link.
Martin Sheen and the book unChristian aside, we have to recognize that even when Jesus walked this earth, with a love like the world had never seen, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
If it is true that if there is salvation to be found in God, if Jesus Christ is the Savior, then there is something that we need to be saved from. I read a blog entry on The Ooze Blog, yesterday, that concerned me. The most disturbing part was this paragraph, which read, “This alleged holocaust by God, or at least the threat of it, portends much harm. It is a distraction from the true plan of the creator—a plan for peace and restoration. There are adequate resources in the church to thwart hunger, disease, pollution, everything, yet those resources are too often being used to save souls from hell. There is way too much focus on dying and not nearly enough on living. Jesus’ focus was not for us to save souls. He told the believers to make disciples—people who live out the way of the Sermon on the Mount.” You can read the post, and my response to it, in it’s entirety Here..
It is time for the church to get back to the whole Gospel. Yes, we need to be about social justice. Yes, we need to care about the earth, and take care of God’s creation. But, of utmost importance is sharing the Gospel. The Gospel won’t be heard if Christians try to preach repentance without demonstrating love. But, some will never want to hear it. Remember what Jesus did when he walked into a town? “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Jesus was filled with compassion. He loved his enemies. He loved those who would never follow Him. We need to do the same.
Thank You for Your incredible gift of salvation. There has never been a gift like it, and there will never be another like it. We do not deserve it. Forgive us for making Christians look hypocritical, judgmental, full of hate, and by default making You look bad. Give us courage to walk with You when others won’t. Give us compassion to meet people where they are at. Give us wisdom to know understand the economy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Help us to make investments in the things that really matter. We hear all the time that the church has enough resources to solve world hunger, disease, famine, etc. If that is true, then help us to do it. If not, then help us to give more than we do, and to do more for others than we do for ourselves. Bottom line is, we want to please You. We want to ultimately be about the things that You are passionate about. We want to love You, to make You known, to make You look good, and to love others more than we love ourselves.
In Jesus’ name,