Saved from God

The mailer started out well: “One death and one resurrection brought us one Savior to rescue us from…” You’ve seen them before. Churches send out oversized postcards to those in their zip code inviting them to a special service or a special seminar. The one I’m quoting from was an invitation to Easter Sunday. But what got my attention (and dander up) was the second half of the sentence: “One death and one resurrection brought us one Savior to rescue us from our fears to a life of peace and meaning.”

Why go side-ways over a statement that is technically true? Because getting married, having children, or even getting a job promotion can calm our fears and provide direction. In other words, Jesus as Savior becomes smaller when a new girlfriend or a college degree can deliver the same result. And not wanting to rumble too far down a different road, in many parts of the world coming to Jesus can actually bring more fears and less peace—ask a Muslim or Hindu convert.

But back to the mailer, the wonder of Jesus as Savior is minimized when we don’t understand what we have been saved from. This statement will sound theologically odd but it is orthodox: Jesus saved us from God. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; and because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner (Psalm 7:11). Yet Jesus rescued us from His coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10). No one else or nothing else can do that. We must communicate this. Jesus did: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

And not only did Jesus save us from God; He also saved us from sin, Satan, death, and damnation. Those are some pretty big conquests—much bigger than any fear we might have about the economy, the deficit, or where we choose to send our kids to school.

The point is that when we try and make Jesus more appealing to a lost world by using words we think will connect (the goal of the mailer) we actually may be driving people away: “Fears? I’m good. I’ve got me a lady, a job, and 401K. Purpose? I’ve got plenty of that, too. Living life to satisfy me is a full time gig—and I’m actually pretty good at it.” You see, the Gospel becomes ho-hum when it is presented as a means to happiness, success, and even purpose. There are plenty of radio talk shows and self-help books about all that. But satisfying a God who is angry at me every day? Now you’ve got my attention!

Jesus said, “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him” (Luke 12:5). What if we put that on a mailer instead? I doubt not too many of those have ever gone out. Maybe I should call our printer and get them working on a mailer?

Pastor Rich Hamlin

April 12, 2012  

1 comment

“Amending the Soil” Christian Education Conference

Register or volunteer for Bible Day Camp now