Monday, March 19, 2012

More From Sunday

Our speaker on Sunday, aside from what I observed in my previous post, did have some good, positive and on-topic things to say. The most important thing is that salvation has never really been about getting to Heaven. We aren't called to be baptized and then go to church hoping to not sin to the point of being excluded from Paradise. We are called to a salvation life now, right here, right now. Some people refer to this as our baptized life or even living into our baptism, a phrase I like because it parallels the idea of living into the likeness in which we are made. 

If salvation isn't about getting to Heaven, then what is it about? If you read my previous post, you already know that it's about transformation; about coming to actually be the image of God in it's finer details. We take on the character of God as our character; it becomes the warp and woof of our very existence. This is not a mere learning do be nice, although we will be. It isn't about learning to have empathy, although we will. It is about becoming niceness and empathy in our very essence. It isn't so much that pitiful me learns how to be nice while remaining the pitiful me, as though I am separate from my being nice. Niceness and me merge into one.

This is why John tells us that disciples cannot sin. He doesn't mean humans absolutely cannot sin, but that if we so own God, it won't be in us to sin. We don't look to sin. Rather, our focus remains on the transformation of our beings promised by God. When we sin, we move back toward God without fear of punishment.

This last brings up another of our speaker's good observations. While I would not endorse the once-saved-always-saved view of eternal security, I also do not endorse the idea that if I miss verbally repenting of my last commited sin, I'm toast. The tension here is where an appropriate understanding of doctrine and relationship comes in. We are in relationship with God if the major thrust of our lives is toward alignment with God. This is a relationship God welcomes without demanding perfection from beings he knows to be imperfect. This does not trump doctrine but it does trump negative judgment.

God loves you and he wants you to live the fullest, blessed life possible here. This is what salvation is about more so than a ticket to Heaven (which remains available), that we allow God to transform us into his likeness which is the very likeness in which we were made to live. This love isn't a nice, touchy feely sort of love, although that may well be in the mix. It is rather a knowing you inside and out and wanting you to live into that completion; that satisfaction. Not because he has butterflies in his belly, but because he knows it's best for you.

Take him up on it. It will be one of the most frustrating and yet satisfying endeavors you've ever tried.

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