-Salvation: FOR ETERNITY AND FOR NOW
People who are spiritually lost are lost now as well as for eternity. Taking care of our being saved for eternity is urged by gospel preachers, and this is most important. But salvation is also for our blessing here and now, not just for that pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by-when-we-die time, as some jokingly refer to heaven. Still Feeling Lost Consider the attractive, well-dressed young man described by writer Lori Gottlieb, who says: “I love my parents! I had a great childhood! I have a good job! So why do I feel so lost?”* He is not unique. Mental health workers keep encountering people who seemingly have everything, but still say that they feel as though “there’s this hole inside,” or that they are “adrift,” or that “something is missing.” The Lord Jesus addresses such situations saying, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Lk. 9:25).
Happiness Not A Cure
As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project said, “Happiness doesn’t make you feel happy.”* And psychologist and Swarthmore College professor Barry Schwartz said, “Happiness is a goal for disaster.”* These are not new discoveries! Thousands of years ago, King Solomon, the richest, most powerful man on earth, sought happiness in everything available to him. But after searching far and wide he concluded, “Meaningless! Meaningless! … everything is meaningless.” Wisely he suggested in his Book of Ecclesiastes that we should turn to God (Eccl. 12:8).
Turning To Jesus
People who get to the sad point of emptiness in their pursuit of happiness are often counseled to turn to a “Higher Power” for help. Unfortunately, they are not told who that is and they look in all the wrong places and go to all the wrong people. We advise looking in the Bible and turning to Jesus Christ, for there we are told that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus is the real Higher Power whom people should turn to!
Salvation For Then
Jesus described those who feel empty, adrift or lost as “weary and burdened.” He said to them, “Come to me … and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). This condition of “rest” is the blessed state spoken of in His Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1-7:28). The blessings of this sermon cannot be fully obtained by simply reading it. First, the spiritual poverty, referred to as being “poor in spirit” (Mt. 5:3), must be dealt with. This poverty is produced by the destructive actions of our sinful nature, and we will only find help from Christ to deal with it. He provides salvation not only for eternity, but also for now. While we are still on earth, He provides us with that blessed state called “rest.”
Salvation For Now
Having been saved, we are ready for the next step: “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me … and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt. 11:29). Taking the Lord’s yoke upon us tells us that we are to be hooked-up with Him and involved with Him. We can never be truly happy unless we are connected with Him. Solomon discovered that the things of this world all proved meaningless. But a person who “loses his life … (by hooking up with Christ) will find it” (Mt. 16:25). Once we take His yoke upon us, we continue to work out our salvation happily as we “act according to His good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).
*Gottlieb, Lori, “How To Land Your Kid In Therapy,” The Atlantic, (J/A ’11), pp. 64-78. All quotations from Gottlieb’s article are used to lend their support to this article, but her main purpose is quite different: “How obsession with our kid’s happiness may be dooming them to an unhappy adulthood.”
By Alan H. Crosby
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org
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