Last night in Bible Study at St. Matthew’s, I asked a question.
What is the point of salvation? Why are we saved? What is the reason? Lots of good (and right) reasons where given – to go to heaven, to make disciples, etc. This is what I shared with the class last night, and I wanted to share with you.
Perhaps the most theologically influential book I’ve ever read is by Theodore Runyon, The New Creation. This is the point of his book, and what I believe is the point of John Wesley’s theology.
How were we created? Genesis 1:26-27 tells us:
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
We were made in the image of God. That means that our character reflects the character of God (here’s a great website that lays it this out a little more in-depth). Well, we hit fast forward to Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve fall into sin, and we find that the image of God is corrupted within each of us. Not destroyed, we still bear that image, but it is not as it should be.
All the Bible from that point forward, coming to completion in Revelation, is about God, through His grace, restoring that image that has been corrupted.
So, then, what is the point of salvation? To have restored that which sin has taken. To have that image of God completely restored within us. That is what grace does in our lives. That is what it means to grow and to be sanctified.
Ok, so then, what does God look like? And this circles back to where our conversation started. We were talking about Stewardship in the life of the church. Why do we give?
We should not give to pay the bills or out of obligation. Our giving is an act of grace, an act of worship, an act of sanctification. We give because our salvation calls us to be recovered in God’s image. And who is God? He is a giver.
Look at John 3:16:
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Who does the Bible tell us God is? He is a giver. He so loved the world that He GAVE.
That’s why we give. That’s we God commands us to give as Christians. Our salvation calls us to be restored to that which sin has taken. We are called to restored and remade into that image of God. To have that given back to us. That is the point of salvation.
We are called to let God’s character shine out in us through God’s grace.
And who is God?
God is a giver.
So must we be.