The Ease of Being Saved

 

Kristen Wisen - Women’s Bible Study Teacher and Soul Care Counselor

It’s easy to be saved. Think about it. If you are the one in danger and someone swoops down and puts themselves in harm’s way to save you, out of the two of you, you have the easy job.  Just stand there and let your hero do the hard work.  

For those who know me, I am a superhero movie fan. Big time. Not like addicted to every storyline and know all the comic book nuances, but I do like to go to the theater to see the superhero blockbusters. I have my favorite heroes and I even have favorite villains, some who are not as low key as others (wink wink).

But if you think about it, year after year, superheroes save the world but life never changes.  Whether New York City is being decimated by other-worldly armies of flying mechanical dragons or is simply being terrorized by a painted-faced thug with a gang of trigger happy accomplices, by the time of the next movie, life has simply gone on. Nothing really ever changes in New York City.  

That’s because —  it’s easy to be saved. The event gives you your life back and you just go on living. Sometimes if we’re saved from a life-threatening illness, we gain a renewed sense of purpose in life and go on to be a better person, but in most cases, eating healthy or adding exercise to our daily routine may or may not last. We’re thankful for another day and we hope to have gained some wisdom in the process.

If you think I’m being too cynical because Hollywood is my proof text, let’s look at a few stories from scripture…

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From Movies to Reality

In Exodus, we find the story where Israel was suffering in slavery. They cried out to the Lord about how hard their life was and God swooped down and miraculously saved them. Soon after that, they cried out to the Lord that they were thirsty and God gave them water. Then they cried about their food and God gave them meat. Then they cried out for more water again and, well, you know the story. They were saved over and over and over again, and time and again returned to their complaining which was their default position.

Jump to the book of Judges. God had given them the law and miraculously wiped out their enemies in the land. All they had to do was live under His rule and things would go well for them. But they turned their hearts back to the idol worship they knew in Egypt. Over and over again the people were oppressed by various wicked enemies, God would deliver them and they would return to their normal life - pursuing false gods. Why? Because it’s easy to be saved. Once the crisis is over, we tend to return to our normal life.

Savior vs. Lord

Is this the crux of Christianity? Are we saved so that we can just continue on in our lives, as if nothing really big happened? Are we saved so that we can just live longer? Is Jesus a divine superhero that we think fondly of but there’s no long-term consequence of His actions? And what exactly are we saved from again?

Unfortunately, I fear that salvation is just that: a superhero moment that makes us feel better but has no long-term consequences. We all want to be saved. We don’t want to be in danger, we don’t want to try to explain our life choices to a holy God and we certainly don’t want to pay for our sin in eternal suffering, so we’re happy to have Jesus step in and “save” us, but we’re not looking for a Lord. 

We just want a Savior.

But having Jesus as your Savior without being your Lord is not an option in Scripture.  He’s either your Lord and Savior or He’s nothing at all. To understand the difference, let’s define both words:

  • Savior: A person who rescues someone from harm or danger

  • Lord: Someone who has power, authority and influence; a master or ruler

On the night that Jesus was born, angels gave a spectacular birth announcement to a group of shepherds, telling them that “…for today in the city of David there has been born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Jesus came to save, but that offer was never without the assumption of His Lordship.

Crucified with Christ

What does it look like to have Jesus as your Savior and your Lord at the same time? For that answer, we turn to Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; 

and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me 

and gave Himself up for me.”

What are we saved from?  We’re saved from our own self!  We’re saved from our sinful flesh.  We’re saved from our “normal life.” Jesus died to give us His life and in accepting His sacrifice, we are trading places with Him. He took our filth and it was nailed to the cross with Him (“I have been crucified with Christ.”) Now that we are saved from the eternal punishment of our sin, we are also saved from the chains of daily sin so that we can live a different life (“…no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”

If Christ is living in you, then He’s the boss. We are no longer ruling over ourselves - we have died to that. Jesus is now sitting on the throne of our hearts, in His rightful position, and He is now living through us. It’s really an awesome truth… a life-changing truth.

I can’t remember one superhero movie where the hero becomes the Lord over the people and actually lives inside his subjects. It just doesn’t happen. So while superhero movies remind us that all humanity needs a savior, they stop short in their redemptive narratives. We have to take it one step further and see that Jesus is not only Savior, but He is Lord of all. While Jesus does the hard work of salvation on our behalf, we have the faith response of bending our knee to His Lordship if we want to accept Him as Savior. It’s a package deal. Faith without works is dead.  We are not earning our salvation - but we are responding to it when we acknowledge Jesus as Lord over our lives.

Time for a challenge

Here’s where it gets uncomfortable. In light of this truth we have to ask ourselves a few questions:

ïHow has your life changed since you’ve been saved?

  • Is there evidence that Jesus is your Lord? 

  • Is it possible that you’ve considered Jesus to be your Savior but not your Lord?

  • What does a life lived by faith mean?

If you’re struggling to answer these questions today, then you need to do something about it!  Talk to your spouse or a friend. Call your small group leader or come forward and speak with one of the Prayer Team members after church on the weekend. This is not something that casually defines your life if you are like one of those New York City inhabitants who know they were saved from a tragedy but continue on in their life as if nothing is different. 

It’s easy to be saved… but it’s life-changing to be transformed.