As I continue with this series on the Cross and what it stands for, today I will be focusing on salvation. God’s gift of salvation is for anyone who seeks Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Focus Scripture: Luke 18: 18 – 30
Scripture Text: A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”. “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Seems rather peculiar doesn’t it? To have lived during the time of Jesus, meet Him face to face, and choosing to walk away from His salvation in favor of material possession just seems so ignorant. Could you see yourself doing that?
What if you were the rich young man who Jesus spoke to? Would your material and your wealth blind you to the gift of salvation from Jesus?
Truth is, we’re no different.
Let’s start with an establishment of what salvation is and how one comes to be saved. The baseline of salvation is the death and resurrection of Jesus. In sports like tennis and basketball, the baseline is referred to as the line at the court’s end that marks where the playing ends. It is important to think of salvation in the same way. We spend our lives playing in this four sided box. We juggle our sins, accumulate our wealth, and stockpile our stuff. Then we come to the end of this court, step across, and accept salvation.
That is supposed to be the beginning of a radical transformation in our lives. But instead, we look at the Cross and then we look back at all of our material possessions and we go back in the box to play until things get rough again.
Look at Jesus’ life. When he grew into a man, He had no home. He had no food readily available. He had no material possessions. He walked everywhere He went with the exception of riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. He had no money. Through His life, He showed us that though He had nothing in material, He had everything to give through His work.
We need to learn to stop letting the material of this world get between us and God. It is hard. The idea of forsaking everything we have and trusting God to provide for us is difficult to conceive.
After all, we work to be able to have shelter, clothing, electricity, and food. So once we get all that “business” out of the way, the rest of our intake is for anything we want, right? Wrong. Jesus calls on us to use what we have to help those who have less. To give what money we can to charities, to ministries, to our churches. We all know this.
We all know that, as Americans especially, we are blessed enough to go out and buy material things whenever the finances present themselves. We do these things for ourselves to satisfy ourselves. We accumulate movies, video games, TVs, CDs, cell phones, and cars among many other things to the point where they become our idols. We covet these things. We fight for these things. We spend our last dollar on these things.
The one dollar bill in our country says the phrase “In God We Trust”. It isn’t talking about the Savior. It isn’t talking about the Creator. It isn’t talking about the Alpha and Omega. It’s talking about material possession. It’s talking about itself. The world lives and dies by the dollar. People hold out to play lotteries in hopes of winning hundreds of millions of dollars every day.
And for what?
Have we ever considered what we would do if we were to come into a large sum of money in the millions? Maybe we would get that house in Malibu. Or may we would get that Lamborghini we have always dreamed of. Does this describe you? It should. I have yet to see a person talk about winning the lottery without it being for material gain.
People constantly say they hope they win the lottery. For what? God is providing for you comfortably now. That should be good enough.
When Jesus said: “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”, He was talking about us. We are so rich in the United States. We are so blessed and so privileged to be living in a country full of freedom and financial blessing. But it blinds us to the rest of the world.
We are constantly in pursuit of more while third world nations are getting less and less. We are blessed by God with a little extra money so we buy a new TV while our neighbor has no food on their kitchen table. We all do it. We get so caught up in the world of material that we forget that Jesus died on the Cross to save us from it.
Salvation HAS TO come from the Cross. There is no other possible way we could even dream to receive it. Last week I wrote about worry being a barrier between us and God. Well, material is too. When we look at the Cross, we see the physical material of wood. That isn’t the Cross. The Cross was the body that was on it. The Cross was the Man who died, and the Savior who rose. A man who had nothing and gave everything so that we may be saved and experience an eternal life in Heaven.
We need to learn to use of gifts and blessing to help where and when we can. My talent happens to be writing, that is why I write this blog. Not so people will read it, but so people who don’t know Christ may learn more about Him through it. We should be dedicating all the time we can to God and doing work for Him.
But because of how difficult that is for us, we have the Cross.
Reflective Scripture: Romans 3