Monday, April 04, 2011
Salvation: Deliverance from what??
Over the years, many have come to Christ thinking of deliverance or salvation as primarily escape from hell. Or perhaps more prominent today, salvation is deliverance from my difficult circumstances I'm currently trudging through--sort of God's way of helping me to get my life back in order. But, Christ and the New Testament writers seem to speak of the need of salvation from something far closer to home than a location in a future life or a challenging time in life. Deliverance that is granted in salvation is deliverance from the self that's infected with sin. Ephesians 2 speaks to this, as does Colossians 1. Biblically speaking, salvation is primarily about deliverance from SIN...from the old self, the dominion of evil lurking within. It is the sin within that has created the false-self and has left me estranged from my Creator. The gospel offers deliverance of the false-self enmeshed in sin. But, such a deliverance only comes to those who surrender that old self to God. And, this releasing is a death blow to be sure. Baptism is a visible sign of that blow. My emergence into the water is the burying of that false self that had to die. "If anyone wants to save his life", says Jesus "he must lose it". Many people, I find, have a difficult time seeing that sin is actually the big WHAT that we need deliverance from. Our security, satisfaction and significance holds so tightly to that false-self (the sin within) that so often we can't see that it is precisely what we need deliverance from. Surely Christ delivers us from bad situations, bad places, bad people and bad hands we've been dealt in life. . .we think this way, yet overlook the worse thing pulsing in our lives. The sin within. G.K. Chesterton the great British journalist was once asked to respond to an editorial that posed the question "What's most wrong with the world today?" Chesterton's response was simple, yet profoundly true. He wrote: "Dear Sir: Regarding your article 'What's Wrong with the World?', "I am". Yours truly, G.K. Chesterton We need deliverance from the sin within. . .daily. And, so repentance is coming to the place where we have become convinced that "I am" most what's wrong with the world. Repentance is thus the cry of a heart that needs deliverance from nothing other than one's own self. And, in a very tangible way, repentance is a bidding to die to our old self. And, lo and behold, we find that in such a death, we turn towards a God who exchanged his own life for ours. Paradoxically, as we lay down our life, we come face to face with the One who has already exchanged His life for ours. And, lo and behold, we have been delivered. In dying to the false-self, we are granted a new-self that is being renewed in the image of our Creator.