SAFE OR SAVED?
© 2003 Kelly Wilson
Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. (Psalms 3:8)
I've had to deal with several perplexing situations this week, and in the midst of them all, I found myself acting normal--I started questioning the Lord.
I looked into the face of my recently deceased friend's wife, and could see a look that seemed to ask, "What do I do when all this is over?" Then my mother-in-law called to let us know my wife's 100+ year old grandmother had died. After that, a Pastor friend called to talk about his feeling like it might be time for him to give up the ministry. This was followed by another preacher calling wanted to tell me that he was holding a revival away from home, and he was praying people through to the Holy Ghost, some of those even happening in his hotel room. Behind all these scenarios, regardless of how pleasant or unpleasant they may first seem, is a sovereign move of Jesus. The unceasing and unseen hand of the Lord is working in all instances; yet, there are different outcomes in every case. What we must do is thrust ourselves into God's will, and there we will find His salvation.
There is no way that anyone can speak with any kind of surety what will happen next on the Lord's agenda. I finally realized this and came to the understanding that behind all the differing situations on His agenda is a plan to lure us to a place I call the "saving ground." This is a place where only God can save us. All "saving grounds" don't look alike, but they all were created to draw us closer to Jesus and His will for our life.
There is a difference in being "SAFE" and in being "SAVED." To be SAFE means to be: Unharmed, unthreatened, impregnable, invulnerable, unmolested, taking no risks, and freedom from danger or harm. So many saints live right here in this "SAFE" area, and are not aware that this is not Salvation, because salvation starts where safety ends.
There are certain things that have to take place before Salvation can kick in. I realize what I am about to say may not sit to well with some, but you must understand that there were others before you who tried to find safety and lost their salvation doing so because they equated their safe living with their salvation from God. To say this plainly, they found safety in their religion, and lost their relationship with the Lord in doing so.
In Luke 15 we find the Lord talking to a group of publicans and sinners. This motley crew came to hear Jesus speak. Another group joined this group. They were the Pharisees and Sadducees, who came to complain about what Jesus was doing. Those in the later group had found a place of safety in their traditionalized religion. Because of this they were not about to go and make themselves vulnerable to these sinners. In His usual way, Jesus answered them by telling stories. He talked of lost sheep, lost coins, and lost sons. Without going into a lot of detail, let me just say that these stories showed that Jesus did not rejoice over those located in a safe place, but He did show that there was always rejoicing over those who were lost but now are found. Those examples showed that one had to have been lost, before they could experience the salvation of being found.
It grieves my heart when a person who has been "saved" for many years has no more testimony than to say they once were baptized in Jesus' Name and spoke in tongues when the received the Holy Ghost. They don't realize that this is the safe beginning point of a new Christian's walk with God; it was never meant to be the place where they stayed, even if what was before them might appear to be a rough road.
Remember, the Lord introduced Israel to their savior by leading them through the Red Sea, not the Red Stream. When they got thirsty, they didn't go to the Seven/Eleven for soda pop, but God led them to the Rock where they could get a drink. When they were hungry Moses didn't drive them through a McDonald's, but God, in the wilderness, served them manna that came down from heaven. This shows that God could boast of over three million served daily, long before McDonald's ever flipped their first burger.
It is not unusual for situations to be stacked against a believer. The problem is since people often view everything through their human understanding, during those times they will believe there is little to no chance of being victorious in the battle.
King Saul and his army were an example of this. They were all dressed up for the battle, but because their human understanding could not lose sight of an oversized Philistine, they stayed away from the battle. They felt so SAFE walking around the camp in their battle gear, but when it came to venturing off into the saving ground, they dared not cross the line to face the real enemy. The first thing that Saul wanted to do was to weigh down a Little Shepherd Boy named David with his safe armor. But David said he would not wear that which had not proven. David must have thought, "I did not have this armor on when I fought the bear or the lion; I just stepped out into the arena of salvation, covered only with the Lord. He delivered me there, and because He did then, I believe my faith and not my eyes that He will now do the same with this uncircumcised Philistine."
Remember the Bible does not say, "Better safe than sorry," or "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush," or "Think before you leap." It does, however, give many examples where men and women were called to step out on faith and believe that Jesus will be there. Examples of some of these are: Abram called by God to leave the safe environment of his home, and travel into an unknown territory where he would experience salvation; A widow woman asked to give a stranger her last little cake before she would start supernaturally receiving the food she needed for her survival; the touching of the hem of Jesus' robe by a desperate woman with an issue of blood, to bring her a miraculous healing; A fishermen named Peter bidden to step out of the safety of a boat and to walk on the "saving ground" found atop the waves of a stormy sea.
There are times when the Lord will break in upon our little safe world and cause all kinds of havoc. During those times men are called to step out into this saving ground to discover a relationship waiting for them with their heavenly Father. These are the times that those who have come through trying times will tell you best define what it means to be saved by God.
We see this in the story of Jesus' friend, Lazarus. He was doing fine until one day he fell sick. The Lord delayed His coming to Lazarus' rescue, so he died. It looked like a tragedy to all those at Lazarus' tomb, except Jesus. He had an agenda higher than saving Lazarus; He wanted him to enter into a hopelessly impossible situation whereby He could show him and those around him what being saved truly meant. In this lesson Jesus showed:
We must come to the place where we understand that SALVATION cannot be explained by quoting one scripture. It, like a diamond, has many facets. It must be observed from all its differing angles before one can properly define or appreciate it. Some of these angles are grace, mercy, justification, atonement, deliverance, prosperity, and forgiveness. Isaiah helps show what Jesus' salvation would bring and what those who would receive it would have to first go through before it came.
God calls us to experience His salvation. The most meaningful times we do this will be times we find ourselves away from our SAFE areas. God designed it that way so that we, like David in Psalms 3:8, can truly say that, "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD," and that His "blessing is upon (His) people."
Jesus came to "‘save' His people from their sins." This isn't just for eternity. It is also for our today's. We may experience ups and downs in this life, but that doesn't mean we do not have to go through them alone. The author and finisher of our faith—Jesus the Savior—can build a relationship with us through these times that, if we trust it, will safely lead us through our many "saving grounds." The good thing is, this same relationship will someday also lead us home.
This article used by permission of Pastor Kelly Wilson of the Christ Tabernacle Church, Decatur, Illinois.
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