What happens when we see salvation as the opposite of being lost? What happens when we seek salvation as the opposite of being dead?
I ask these questions because sometimes we limit salvation to the opposite of being damned. But in the Scriptures salvation means much more than not being damned. In the Scriptures salvation includes coming home to God, rising to new life with Christ, experiencing the relief and joy of rescue; and such a list only scratches the surface of what the Gospel means by “being saved.” Cornelius Plantinga Jr., a favourite teacher of mine, defines salvation as “a broad and dynamic program of God to reconcile all things in Jesus Christ.” (Beyond Doubt, Question 16)
In our worship at Willowdale on May 27, we will hear the Apostle Peter urging: “Save yourself from this corrupt generation.” (Acts 2:40) We will also hear Luke report that “day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) And in between those depictions of salvation, we will note that Spirit-filled followers of Jesus “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) These people did not experience such discipleship practices as necessary obligations. Instead, they experienced discipleship as creative insight, working friendships, glad community, and life-giving dialogue with God. They experienced salvation not as an arbitrary escape from flames but as an ever growing reconciliation of all things in Christ.
What would happen if you read Acts chapter 2 as a teaching through which God pours life, love, and light into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us?