Saturday, March 11, 2006

Salvation Is Not Ours To Work Out

I've been thinking a lot about the Cross, salvation, and the patient endurance that one finds in God when we draw near to Him who calls us. I've been thinking about the people of the Old Testament and how they confidently had faith that their Savior would come. And now He has come.

Buddha once said, "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others." I cannot tell you how it broke my heart to read those words recently. I praise God my salvation has never been mine to "work out," that I can depend on Someone to save me, that my salvation was worked out before time began. What a bleak existence - working out one's own salvation. What a hopeless, fruitless, and foolish existence. To think we are capable of saving ourselves? To think we, a sinful, violent, and rebellious brand, could do anything to earn our salvation. We cannot do the smallest things without assistance, we cannot even change the color of our hair without some outside aid. How then are we supposed to accomplish something so huge as our salvation on our own? It is nothing but foolishness to think we can do that! Yet it seems that this idea of salvation being by God's grace is something our flesh kicks at and without God's intervention one would never accept such a thing.

Canon 9. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone...let him be anathema.

Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins...or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.


How does a drowning man save himself when there is nothing in himself to draw upon to pull himself out of the sea? All he can do is hope that someone will come along in time to save him before his death. And that's where Christ comes in. He sees us struggling to keep our heads above water, He sees that despite our best attempts to save ourselves we are still drowning, and He walks out to us on the water. He reaches out as we fearfully cry "Lord, save me!" He pulls us from our sin that has enveloped us. Praise God that we are not left to work it out, that it has been worked out by Christ for us, because if it had been left up to us nobody would be saved.


Rick said...

can i throw a pushback at this, kristina? when i read your quote: "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others." - i was struck more by paul's admonition to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. how many times do people just sit back on the "i'm saved and not going to hell - woo hoo!" of salvation, and then don't grow, don't allow it to be real in their lives, etc? how many times have i taken or granted that i'm saved because of the people around me, the church i attend, etc? those are the things that came to mind from you opening.

Kristina said...

Hmm that is something to chew on, I'll come back to this later Rick.

Kristina said...

Ok, so I thought about it a bit.

Obviously the people that view serving God as a priority to be able to go to heaven probably aren't serving Him for the right reasons. Being worried about the after life shouldn't be the focus. I serve God, first and foremost, because I am called to do so. He deserves more thanks and praise than I'll ever be able to offer Him. Heaven is a perk, sort of like those companies that give you a car. ;) It's not the main thing, or I don't believe it should be anyway.

Now, as far as the quote goes... When I initially read it I took it to be saying that we are responsible for how our lives turn out (which I can agree with in part) and that we ultimately have the power to save ourselves. And that is the thing I take issue with.

I can't save myself. I can't even see my sin half the time because I'm so buried in it. So if I can't see my way out, how can I save myself? Know what I mean?

Look at the Psalms for example. They are filled with the writer asking for God's deliverance, for God's guidance. "I will wait on the Lord" and all that.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. (Psalm 31:3-4)

Now, if I misread the quote then just retract the whole entry. But, again looking at some of the basic ideas behind the religion and it's leader, am I so off base? Perhaps, but perhaps I'm not and you just like poking at me to make sure I've thought these things through! ;)

What do you think, Rick?