Tag Archives: Salvation

Would you like MORE?

Charles Dickens’ Oliver, still hungry after his meager portion of cruel, boldly approaches the workhouse master and asks, “Please sir, could I have more?” In a world where the majority of people face a similar situation every day, even those of us with full bellies still ask for more. More bang for the buck, more miles per gallon, more value added features, more happiness, more fulfillment, more time! Even when we simplify our lives and focus our energies and discover that “less is more,” it’s still “more” we’re after. More peace, more balance, more of everything good.

But what happens when you actually get more of what you’re seeking? Does it lead to more contentment and satisfaction? Or does getting more make us want even more yet? Many of our appetites for things like food, fitness, and life festivities leave us saying, “That was great! Let’s do it again!” Whether we are “addicted” to something good or something bad, our appetites easily become satiated and yet left wanting more.

Consider facing a terminal illness or any other situation that leaves you pleading for “a second chance.” If your life circumstance was redeemed and restored, how would you respond? We’ve heard “there are no atheists in foxholes,” and we know that many desperate “negotiations” are made in desperate times. “If only you do this, I’ll certainly do that.” But would we follow through? If faced with a month to live, you were granted many more months or even years, would it forever change the way you spend your remaining time? Or would you continue to fritter it away on meaningless activities? If the court gavel came down with the verdict of guilty, and yet someone stepped in and paid the price for your wrongdoing, would it change the way you lived your life each day after?

That’s the picture of God’s gift of grace. He gives us life with so many second chances. He gave his Son to not only pay the price for our rebellious ways but also to provide an inheritance into his kingdom. And more yet, he gave us his very Spirit to guide, comfort, strengthen, and teach us everything we need.

Whether you have good reason to believe your days are very short or whether you think you have many years left, why not live each and every day with a thankful and generous spirit as if you were miraculously redeemed? If you’re sure you’d rejoice if the darkness of your worries were wiped away tomorrow, why not let the light of that hope shine brightly in the midst of your pain today?

Today is called the present because it is a gift. Look for and celebrate the goodness that remains in your life today and share it with others. I think you’ll find more of everything you really wanted.

What if salvation was all you had?


We ask God for so many things: safe travel, a happy day, a secure job, good health, more of nearly everything, and so much more. And it’s well we do come before Him with our petitions for He encourages us to depend on Him for all our needs. He wants us to ask for everything in the name of Jesus, according to His will, not ours. IF we desire Him more than anything else, He will give us the desires of our heart.


If you have ever been to a land where believers have no access to clean water, safe food, or barely sufficient shelter, you’d realize we live in a land of plenty. We say we walk by faith and yet we all depend so much on our own resources as much – perhaps more – than we sometimes depend on God. And I wondered:


If all we had was our salvation would that be enough?


What if the job goes south (perhaps literally) and leaves you behind? What if you lose your prized home? What if suddenly and unexpectedly your healthy life is turned upside down by cancer, Alzheimer’s, or some other chronic condition? What if you lost your family and fortune? Job experienced all this and he remained faithful to His God. Would we? Or would we be like His friends saying, “Curse God and die.”


It won’t always be prosperous times for us. The bible is clear that times are coming when it will be very hard to even survive. It’s likely that in a single day, money will lose all its value. Your lifetime savings will be worthless. Standing firm in the faith will come only at a very high cost, even your life. And then there are the bowl judgments that will pour over the earth with unimaginable destruction.


Maybe real believers will have been raptured to heaven by then. But maybe we’ll have to endure a much stronger testing of our faith than we’d like to think. It doesn’t have to be the end times to test our faith. All sorts of trials come into our lives with no invitation. And the question is:


What if salvation was all I had?
Will God be enough if I have nothing else?


What if your rights were curtailed and you couldn’t go to a public church that worshipped Jesus? What if your means of earning an income or even enjoying basic comforts were taken away by a wretched disease? What if inconsolable sorrow came upon you at the loss of a child? What if your friends abandoned you? Would dwelling in the presence of God be enough for your soul? Would His grace be sufficient and His strength manifest in your weakness? Could you praise Him in the storm? Could you find His goodness and beauty in the smallest places around and within you? Could you see His spark of goodness in others you meet, even those you don’t particularly like?


The tragic slaughter of Christian students in Kenya might make us wonder, “Would I take a bullet for Christ?” But the real question isn’t, “Am I willing to die for Christ?” Perhaps the most important and relevant question is, “Am I willing to LIVE for Christ?” If salvation was all I had (and that is so very much!) would that be enough for me? And if so, should I not be completely satisfied in God today since he has blessed me with so much more?!



The gates of life


Dan Stone uses the analogy of passing through various ‘gates’ as we walk the path of a Christian life. First, is the gate of salvation. We don’t even make it that far until we admit that we have a sin problem that we can’t solve. We try to pass through by our own strength, our good deeds, our ‘religious’ behavior, our generosity, or by being a ‘good’ person. But none of this works. We only pass through the gate of salvation by surrendering all that we are and trusting in Jesus.


As we continue our journey through life, we begin to explore the meaning of life. Beyond the forgiveness of our sins (which we might forget is such a very huge deal!), we try to live a ‘good’ Christian life still in our power. We read the bible, we pray, we attend church and give money for good causes. We exhaust ourselves trying to ‘be good.’ And then we come across a second gate where we really experience “God with us.” We pass through this gate, realizing that Jesus really does want to help us through the battles of life. It’s a weight off our shoulders to know that we’re not alone in our struggles. So we continue our journey of trying to live the Christian life…with God.


Now there is a third gate that remains undiscovered by many. It only appears when we realize that we can’t live the Christian life. We pass through this gate when we acknowledge that Jesus doesn’t merely help us live our life, Jesus IS our life. “Christ is in you and HE will live the life.” Instead of viewing life from our perspective, we are able to experience life and its purpose through the viewpoint of Jesus living in us. As we pass through this third gate we realize what the inscription means:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)


Many of us understand why we have to pass through the first gate. We realize there is no other way to escape our sin problem, no forgiveness of sin at all, without the saving grace of Jesus. And as we devote ourselves to knowing our Heavenly Father we eagerly pass through the second gate, inviting God to help us on our journey. But we hesitate at the third gate, if in fact we think about it at all. Because this part of the journey requires total surrender into God’s hands of all we hold dear: our belongings, our career, our family, in fact our very identity. It requires dying to self, letting self be “crucified with Christ”. We think maybe we could just try harder to live the Christian life in our own power. But it’s both futile and exhausting to attempt it.


We don’t walk the Christian life. Jesus-in-us IS the life. Living with Him is not enough. The abundant life is only found by letting HIM live our life – in us. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)


“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6