Pastor Billy Foster Bethel Family Church
April 11, 2014
For some the Easter season either is full of meaning or it is just another day. Early on Easter was when we went to visit family, get a new suit, an Easter basket, and huge meal to end the day on Sunday. A big word for believers in this season is “salvation.” To some salvation is just a word artistically displayed on T-shirt, to others it is something you have to earn, but to many it is the foundation of their walk with God.
I see Easter as the culmination of God’s great rescue mission. Something like the rescue mission portrayed in the movie “Captain Phillips” featuring Tom Hanks. As Hanks and crew headed out to sea everything was pretty straight forward, though they knew there could be some difficulty along the way, it was something they did all the time. But things went south very quickly. They find themselves being hijacked and taken over by pirates. Evil, violence, and fear took over. They tried everything they could think of to save themselves, but none of it worked. These guys desperately needed salvation.
Similarly, mankind started off without a hitch, there was the potential for some challenges, but if we would have simply followed directions things would have been fine. However, the plan was hijacked and everything quickly changed. Instead of following directions, Adam and Eve sinned and chose to go their own way. They found themselves fearful and hiding in shame. They started a clothing line to cover their sin and shame so that they could attempt to approach God again, but it was futile.
Sin, which is “choosing your own way instead of God’s way,” ushered in evil, sickness, pain, and eternal separation from God. This was not the original plan, they/we likewise needed salvation. Part of the definition of salvation is to be “delivered from the results of sin” and this was one of the goals of God’s rescue mission.
For Captain Phillips and crew, salvation was coming via the Navy and a seal crew. It didn’t seem like our military spared any expense. Huge war ships, manpower, planes were sent to rescue the men. However, it took time and planning to get everything in place to save them. On God’s end, it was many decades from Genesis 3:15 to the Gospels before His plan of salvation could to take place.
Consequently, the second part of the definition for salvation is, “to be rescued, delivered, cured, and restored to peace and safety.” Christ came to deliver everyone from our hijacker, and from the effects of sin, in order to put us at peace with God. He wanted to take away our shame, fear, and deliver us from the dominion of darkness and be made right with Him. Something we could never do by being good or moral enough on our own.
Christ’s coming is sort of like when Captain Phillips decides to get off the ship and into the lifeboat with the hijackers, in order to save the ship and his men from death. He was willing to suffer and die for them. It was a sacrificial and selfless act. It was a worthy mission. Similarly, even though we rejected and were hostile towards God, were full of sin, and bent on doing what we wanted. Christ, who was the agent of creation, sacrificially jumped in the proverbial lifeboat to give his life to save us. God spared no expense in order to get us back
We see in the Gospels that Jesus brought salvation to all who believed in Him, and ultimately gave up His life for all of us. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates Hisown love towards us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Christ was physically beaten almost beyond recognition, but spiritually he was made sin for us. He was separated from God and died in our place. But that is not the end of the story. Like the rescue mission in Captain Phillips, the plan had to be completely executed for it to do any good. Death had to be overcome, and everything else restored.
So God finishes off His mission by raising Christ from the dead and it is by our faith in Christ we come into new life. We are born again, saved, new creations, sons and daughters of God, not by what we did, but by what He did. Through Christ we are “saved (delivered, rescued) by grace (unearned favor) thorough our faith (trust) in Christ and His rescue mission. Not because we were so great, or did anything special. God simply loves us that much!” Let this Easter be the time when you experience Gods salvation for yourself. It’s your choice, let the change begin!