I have been blessed reading about the successful rescue mission of the 33 miners in Chile who were trapped for more than 2 months underground (from August to October 2010). I have been following the news about their plight for the past few weekends when I read about them in the newspapers. I think it’s almost like a real-life parable or illustration of how we all are rescued or translated from darkness to light.
Colossians 1:13-14 says “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
We were once in darkness, a place of ignorance. We were blinded in our minds to the immense love of our Father in heaven. We did not know our true identity. We felt alienated from God, when all the while God has never alienated Himself from us. He wants us to KNOW Him.
I believe then that Jesus has come to save us from our ignorance. He has come to give us understanding of who God is and who we are in Him.
Someone may quote Philippians 2:13 and say that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (meaning to imply some work on our part to remain “saved”). But I think we need to look at the historical context of this verse as well as consider the audience relevance. Have done a bit of study on Philippians 2:12-16 – I think the Concordant Literal Version of the Bible kinda captures the original Greek thought better:
So that, my beloved, according as you always obey, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, with fear and trembling, be carrying your own salvation into effect, 13 for it is God Who is operating in you to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight. 14 All be doing without murmurings and reasonings, 15 that you may become blameless and artless, children of God, flawless, in the midst of a generation crooked and perverse among whom you are appearing as luminaries in the world, 16 having on the word of life, for my glorying in the day of Christ, that I did not run for naught, neither that I toil for naught.”
Paul was writing to the first century christians who were living among the “crooked and perverse generation” which refers to the religious people in Israel – I believe the salvation in that context is referring to being saved from the destruction together with the temple in 66-70AD — indeed, none of the christians were reported to perish during the Roman army siege – they had heeded Jesus’ warning to flee to the mountains of Judea. Besides, the salvation they knew then was salvation in all its fullness (wholeness, preservation, protection, etc) – it comes from the Greek word soteria. And yes, salvation is also a Person – Jesus is the Yeshua of the world. 🙂
If we know Jesus as He really is – that His name is Salvation (Yeshua) – we will know that He is the Saviour of the world. Love came to save, love came to serve, love comes to give – Jesus is love personified, and He is salvation personified.
Jesus is the Saviour of ALL men. (See 1 Timothy 4:10)
When we say we are in Jesus, we actually mean we are in Salvation.
The good news is that: Salvation is here – in us, with us, for us. Even for those who do not know Jesus, HE knows them – that is their security. It is WHO knows us that matters, not how much we know Him – we cannot never fully know Him, for that matter. We all may lose sight of Him at times, but He never loses sight of us.
I have had a misconception about what salvation means. I used to think salvation means being saved from hell (whatever that ‘hell’ meant), but I have learnt that salvation is simply saved from having a wrong mindset about God and about ourselves.
‘Hell’ is a pagan concept that has been used by the Roman Catholic church to control the masses with fear. This website “Hell is a misunderstood concept in Christianity” explains the details.
You may also like to listen to this video ‘Hell as an invention of the church‘.
The lake of fire is not literal but metaphorical. If it were literal, how would it be possible for death (which is non-physical) and hades (grave) be cast into the lake of fire?
We all have (had) a part in the lake of fire, which was not meant to torture us, but to purify. Phillip explained it like this: “The Greek word for fire is pur. Strong’s Concordant of the Bible #4442. This is where we get our English word ‘purify’. The lake of fire is no more than a purification process that every man will endure. (Mark 9:49) So the lake of fire is symbolic and it is not a literal fire.”
Revelations 21:8 speaks of the old Adamic nature and the old identity that experience the second death. It is not referring to people being burnt and tortured forever.
In short, Jesus came not to save people from ‘hell’ (which is a pagan concept). He came to save us from having a wrong mindset about God and about ourselves. He came to show us that God is all the while with us and He has never alienated Himself from us. He came to show us God is love and to restore our sense of identity which is found in Him.
“And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:21-22)
Notice that this sense of alienation and being enemies took place in our minds? Hence, God sent His Son to renew our mind (or repent – change our mind or change our thinking) to see ourselves in His image – that we are holy, blameless and above reproach.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ ALL shall be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
In God’s mind, we are all made alive in Christ. We are new creations. We are the righteousness of God in Him. We are beloved children of God, accepted and highly favoured in the Beloved. We are the apple of God’s eye, and He loves us with an everlasting love.
When we awake to the truth that we are righteous in Him and He is in us, we will experience the abundant life He has given us – full of hope, full of joy, full of peace, full of health, full of finances. That is spiritual awakening at its fullness!
“Awake to righteousness (awake to the truth that you are the righteousness of God in Christ), and do not sin (do not fall short of the understanding that you are one with God and as a result living below the best He wants you to have); for some do not knowledge of God (who is in us and in whose image we are made).” (1 Corinthians 15:34; words in parentheses are mine)
Mary Lou Houllis said, “The Bible is not about the physical realm.” Indeed, the gospel (or good news of Christ) is about our belief system. What we believe will manifest in our lives. Our perception creates our reality. When we align our minds with the mind of God that proclaims we are one with Him, we will experience the truth of the gospel in tangible ways, in manifested blessings.