Tuesday, 29 July 2008

How much are we saved by Jesus?

A few nights ago I shared with a group of friends that God (the Trinitarian one) has done most of the saving work and the rest is up to us. One of the friends had a problem with the word most. You see, I used that word because I believed that the rest of the work I mentioned above involved things like obeying God's laws, opening oneself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, etc., which if not done invalidates God's saving plan on the individual basis. The above friend, however, saw it differently. He saw God's saving work as 100% complete, and all we had to do is to be a part of it.
As I reflected on what my friend said, I saw that he was right. Why?
1) God's plan does not work on fear, but love. You see, society 'saves' the individual by imposing on him / her a set of laws (expectations may be more accurate) and enforced them by causing aforementioned individual to fear the punishments resulting in breaking the laws. After all, society is an institution and thus (not being human) isn't capable of love or mercy, just affirmation and justice. I felt that this instilled in me a fear of punishments, as in to be punished means you have done something TERRIBLY WRONG. But God doesn't work that way. God gave us a set of laws (or expectations) to guide us, to show us where the boundaries are. And the punishments we receive fro breaking the boundaries are just consequences, nothing more- something to make us aware of something wrong (much like pain makes us aware of something wrong with our body). We won't be unsaved if we break God's laws- we just are in danger of going away from Him. Furthermore, God is merciful- in fact so merciful that you can commit the most heinous of crimes and yet be put right with Him by saying sorry (through prayer and/or Confession). That's all.
2) To say that we have to complete God's salvation for ourselves is to limit His power and to put the burden of salvation on ourselves. Think about it. How can we know what is necessary for us to be saved? We only know what it means to be saved, how to be saved, etc. because God reveals it to us. Not through our logic and knowledge of God, but through Jesus who told us about God's salvation. So if we had to complete God's work we would be lost. We would simply have no idea how to do so. We may have this idea or that idea, but how can we be 100% sure those ideas are correct? Besides, if God is all powerful, then He wouldn't let us spoil His plan to save us. He would instead have the plan prepared, do all the work, and tweak our circumstances so we are more willing to listen to Him, and, when we do, guide us into the plan through the spirit He put in us. Sure sounds like something only an all-powerful being can do, right? Sitting in the clouds somewhere and waiting for us to respond before doing anything (like Superman having to hear a cry for help before actually saving anyone) definitely isn't all-powerful.
So, the answer to the above question IMHO is 100%! Actually even more! God not only saves us but ensures we stay that way! And all we have to do is trust Him!


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