“And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1
I think about Christianity quite a bit, the way it thinks and works. I grew up in it and my thinking was greatly influenced by it. Over the past several years, I’ve been re-learning and coming to fresh understandings by being taught by the Spirit of God Himself. 1 John 2:27, quoted above, is therefore a verse that means a lot to me. It’s been a delicate and amazing process.
My observation is that Christianity has stopped pursuing truth and therefore been unable to change, grow, and follow God. Change is often uneasy and costly. For example, in many cases, if a pastor of a typical church were to make a significant or fundamental change, even if this change were toward the truth, it could very well result in the loss of the only livelihood he has ever known. For others, turning toward the truth could mean being ostracized or persecuted by their own family. These things are too costly for many to accept. As a result, the average Christian who is content to follow his/her pastor is rarely exposed to new, deep or uncompromised truth, and if they are, it seems foreign and strange. Thus, many christians live their entire lives in a largely stagnant state.
As I’ve said before, probably the primary doctrine of focus in all of Christianity, one that is incessantly proclaimed, is “salvation.” At it’s core, the common teaching of salvation is that through Jesus, we can be rescued from eternity in hell, promised eternity in heaven, and enter into “relationship” with God. Salvation is said to be what all the “lost” people in the world need. In the interest of brevity, I want to look at only one scripture that gives a better understanding of what salvation truly is.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” 2
There are two main concepts here: reconciliation and salvation. Tragically, concepts like these are all too easily glossed over as vague “christianese” terms, and their sharp distinctions are lost in the gloss. In reality, these concepts are incredibly important, being purposes and results that intertwine with both the death and life of the Son of God!
Allow me to point out a few things from this verse. What the “lost world” needs is reconciliation, not salvation. The enemies of God were reconciled to him by the death of Jesus Christ. The word reconciliation has to do with an exchange; in this case an exchange from being an estranged enemy to being part of the “household of God” and at peace. 3 Reconciliation, at least in potential, is what was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ at the cross.
It’s believers, who have already been reconciled, that need to be saved! The agent of our salvation is the life of Jesus Christ. How so? We are progressively saved as the life of Jesus Christ, his spiritual nature, grows and matures within us, and our natural life diminishes. That is salvation. Multitudes of scriptures allude to this, and once you understand more of what salvation is, they make more sense. 4 Salvation is not an entirely future event or something you have right now, it’s a present unfolding process wherein the life of Christ grows within you and the influence of self, your natural life, diminishes.5 Isn’t that something you need? No matter how good your behavior, it’s something we all need. God doesn’t desire well-behaved believers, He desires wise sons who are filled with the same life that His only begotten son was filled with. Without that life, the best-behaved among us are simply “whitewashed tombs;” nice on the outside, but spiritually dead inside.5
- 1: 1 John 2:27
- 2: Romans 5:10
- 3. Ephesians 2:19
- 4. Colossians 3:3-4, 2 Timothy 1:1, 1 John 5:11, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Timothy 1:10…
- 5. 1 Corinthians 1:18, Philippians 2:12, Matthew 24:13…
- 6. Matthew 23:27