According to Merriam-Webster online, salvation is “deliverance from the power and effects of sin.” But to understand why salvation is important we also need to understand what sin is. I think that perhaps James sums it up best in James 4:17 where he says “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Knowing what is good and not doing it. Breaking moral or religious rules. That is sin.
When we choose to ignore that feeling in the pit of our stomach that warns us against something. When we go along with the crowd because it’s easier than standing up for what we believe. When we purposely go against the teachings of Jesus to get what we think is the more important or impressive thing. When we step outside the will of God to live our lives as we want, instead of as He directs. All these things then are sin.
But many of us don’t think about the little things we do during the day as sin, we think of sin as the Big Ten of Exodus 20.
“And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3“You shall have no other gods before me”. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
7“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
12 “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
13“You shall not murder.”
14“You shall not commit adultery.”
15“You shall not steal.”
16“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”(ESV)
This is a pretty exhaustive list and covers anything that can and does occur during our daily lives. The people of Israel were terrified of God after witnessing His power in delivering these commandments to Moses. But Moses encouraged the people by saying, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you that the fear of him may be before you that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:20
There’s that word again. Sin.
To understand salvation we have to understand sin. And, we have to understand that sin is a real part of our lives. When the fall occurred in Genesis, man was condemned by God to live his life trying to find communion again with God. We do that through salvation. And that, through the sacrifice of Jesus “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” Galatians 1:4(NIV).
This month I am going to look back on my own salvation and share with you the steps I took to find my way to God and then after a long desert period to find my way back to God. I didn’t lose my salvation, I lost my zeal. I took my eyes off of God and learned that as the Bible says “The way to life – to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention.” Matthew 7:14 (Message)
I’m ready to dig in. I hope you are, too.