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Saved From... Saved For!

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14

I've been thinking a lot about some familiar saying that I've heard as a Christian growing up around the church and I've been wrestling with why they often seem hollow to me.  Martin Luther is quoted as making this statement "We are all mere beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.”  We hear in our words and in our church culture that "I am sinner saved by grace".  And I'm reminded many times that by Grace through faith I have been saved from death, sin and Satan.  All of these are true and I don't argue with them, but all of these statements hide the full truth and I'm concerned about what that does to our Christian witness and the healthy worship life of the church.

On our own, apart from a grace fueled relationship with Jesus, we are simply sinners without eternal hope and life; we have no relationship with God.  We are beggers hoping to find something that will fill our appetites.  Death, Hell and Satan stalk its prey and we need a savior FROM these things.  But my concern is that we continue to see our identity as a sinner, a begger and someone who only need be saved from horrible things.  As I lived out my identity this way, much like Luther I tried to feel more "sorry" for my sins.  Church worship was not a place of celebration on a regular basis, only on Easter Sunday and Christmas did my heart leap for joy.  Church was supposed to feel more like Lent and Good Friday because that's how beggers and sinners who need to be saved from death should behave, speak, sing and look.  And my heart hurt... until I started really looking at what God says in the bible about people who have been given the gift of faith in Christ Jesus.

In many places in the New Testament Paul writes to the "Saints" in Ephesus with the new translation replacing "Saints" with "God's Holy People".  God calls me a Saint because of the finished work of the cross.  I have not only been saved FROM death, hell and Satan, but I have been saved FOR something.  For relationship with God almighty who loved me so much that if I was the only sinner, and I had been the one to kill Jesus myself, he still would have sacrificed himself so that he could save me FROM my depravity FOR his names sake and for perfect relationship.  Why?  Because I am not a begger.  Not I who have, in Christ, the greatest of fare at the marriage feast of the Lamb.  Not I who have been given every spiritual blessing!  Not I who has been given earthly gifts to live in him and to share him with others.  Why?  Because God calls us "Children of God - and that is what we are!".

In humility we must recognize that we are saints that sin, who need to humbly repent as the tax collector that God would have mercy on us.  We see the evidence and wreckage of sin in our lives all around us and we are called to be humble and admit our need for our Savior.  But in forgiveness, don't simply mumble an Amen and continue in the identity of a begger and helpless sinner.  Wake up, you've been risen from death, Christ HAS and WILL Shine on you!  In Christ, even though you are a sinner, God sees a SAINT.  In Christ even though you are a begger looking for bread, God sees a PRINCE!  In Christ, even though you have been saved FROM death, hell and Satan, God sees someone he has saved FOR relationship with himself for ALL time!  “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14

 

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