When I say “salvation”, what do you think of? Maybe you think of being saved from your sins. Maybe you think of being saved from Hell. Perhaps you think of being saved from bad habits or actions that hurt yourself or other people. If one of these things came to mind, I would say you are with the majority of Christians in America. Christianity in America is largely viewed as being saved from bad consequences, or being saved from a list of sins. Salvation means we don’t drink, have pre-marital sex or smoke.
And all of these ideas are true. We are saved from Hell, sin and bad habits. We shouldn’t engage in sinful behaviors. Satan and his ways should no longer run our lives as Christians. But friends, realizing that we are saved from these things is only the very beginning of the Christian life.
I think that it is high time for American Christianity to stop focusing on what we are saved from and to focus on what we are saved for. We are very well aware of the things we are saved from. But what are we saved for? What is the point of our salvation? Is the point of our salvation simply self-focused? Are we really saved primarily for what it does for us? Are we saved for ourselves?
Or are we saved for the Other? Maybe we are saved because God deserves to have a people who praise him and love him, not because they have to, but because they want to. Maybe we are saved because there are other people who need to know the joy and hope and love that God offers. Maybe we are saved in order to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give a home to the homeless and hope to the hopeless.
Maybe, just maybe, the whole point of salvation is not me.
Don’t hear me wrong–I am so very thankful for what God has done for me. I just fear that we American Christians settle for so much less than what Christianity really is. Yes, it is amazing what we have been saved from.
I have a feeling, though, that it is infinitely more exciting, amazing, thrilling, holy and Christlike what we have been saved for.