Striving to become like Jesus every day
Erik Fish, executive director, Midwest Student Ministries:
To understand what it means to be saved, you must understand what you need to be saved from. People sometimes ask me, "Why is there so much evil in the world?" I answer, "Because there are people in it. We need to be saved from the evil inside us."
It's hard to admit we're the problem. It's much easier to blame God for the evil than it is to admit we've screwed up. God gave us the planet, and we've done a poor job managing it. It's easy to blame others, too. Yet, in my opinion, a wise response is to accept there is something broken in each one of us.
Something inside me didn't work right. I wanted to love people, but I found myself being selfish. I wanted to tell the truth, but I found myself becoming deceptive. I wanted to love God, but I found myself bent toward hedonism. Did I evolve this way? Did God make me this way? Am I the product of failed social institutions? Or somewhere in history did human nature get "bent" toward evil?
When Jesus came to earth, he didn't have this "bent." He loved people perfectly. He always told the truth. He said, "No one comes to the Father [God] except through me." When I discovered why Jesus came to earth, why he died on a Roman cross, and why he rose again, I found the solution for my own "bent."
God's plan is to make Jesus followers increasingly like Jesus. Admittedly, not all who name the name of Christ have followed his example. Still, can you imagine a world full of people becoming more like Jesus?
Being saved means receiving Jesus and letting him do in you what you cannot do for yourself.
- Send e-mail to Erik Fish at email@example.com.
Having faith that Christ rescued us
Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:
"Being saved" is simply one way of describing what happens when someone becomes a Christian. Perhaps a better way to describe it today is that it is like being "rescued," but both words imply that there is something from which a rescue (or salvation) is necessary.
According to the Bible, the situation is this: I have not lived my life according to the standard of biblical law that God has laid out for humankind, and this disqualifies me for a relationship with God and any hope of heaven. It also ensures that I will die and be eternally separated from God.
Although he loves me, his death penalty for sin is just. I am helpless in this situation, and my only hope is to be rescued by another.
Through no merit of my own, but strictly because of his love, God made a way for my rescue - he sent his son, Jesus Christ, into our world to live a fully human, but sinless life, and to be put to death in my place.
God also brought him back to life. Jesus' death made a way for both the love of God and the justice of God to be satisfied, and it made a way for God to forgive my sins and accept me into relationship with him. Jesus' resurrection also paves the way for my own one day.
My only part in this process was to accept, by faith, that Jesus really did live and die for me, and that God indeed raised him from the dead. When I did that, I was rescued - thank God.
- Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at firstname.lastname@example.org.