Are you glad to be saved? I certainly am. Actually, if you asked every Christian if he or she is glad to be saved, the answer would likely be “yes.” However, if you asked every Christian what salvation is, you would surely hear a wide range of answers: “Salvation means I will go to heaven when I die”, “Salvation is freedom from sin”, “Salvation is deliverance… healing… freedom… restoration… wholeness… preservation.” Yes, those are all good answers. But they are only partial at best.
Salvation Is a Person
What is salvation? JESUS. Without Him, none of the good things we previously mentioned are available to us. But with Him, all of those good things belong to us now, along with every other blessing from God. Jesus is not merely the giver of salvation. He is the very substance of salvation. Say this out loud with me: “Jesus is my salvation.”
Centuries before the incarnation of Christ, the prophet Isaiah had much to say about Him. Consider these words from Isa. 49:6 in which God is speaking to the Messiah:
“…It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Did you see that? God sent Jesus to BE salvation. God did not say Jesus would just give salvation. He did not say Jesus would set the standard for those who hope to be saved. Nor did He say Jesus would teach people the right way to live in order to be saved. God said Jesus would BE salvation. That is good news for us, my friend. Salvation is not in need of completion, as though God did some but it is up to us to finish. No, for the Jew and the Gentile salvation is here. His Name is Jesus!
I love what God said in the verse quoted above. Yes, Jesus came for the nation of Israel. Thank God for His love for the Jewish people. But He did not stop there. To use modern day English, God said, “That’s not enough. I love Israel and I will restore them. But that’s not enough. Jesus, You will be My salvation to every person!”
From eternity before time, God’s plan was in place (Rev. 13:8). Jesus was to be salvation for all people.
“Don’t Forget about Simeon”
I know this is the September newsletter, but we need to see the testimony of a character in what we often call the Christmas story. Ever since I began to see that Jesus is our salvation, my thought about this story is “don’t forget about Simeon.”
Luke 2 records that the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Well, the day finally came on which Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple in accordance with Jewish custom. Simeon also, by the leading of the Spirit, was in the temple that day, and having met Mary and Joseph he was able to hold Jesus in his arms. Here is what Simeon said as he held the Christ child: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation…” (Luke 2:29-30)
Was Simeon “seeing something in the Spirit?” No. He was seeing a baby boy. Yet he declared that the child in his arms was God’s salvation for all people. It is interesting to note that Simeon was said to be “just and devout” (Luke 2:25). But by reading his words, we can see that Simeon’s confidence was not in his devotion. His confidence was in the One who is salvation. I am glad to follow Simeon’s example, and I trust that you are, too. It is good to be devoted to God out of a desire to please Him. But never put your confidence in what you think you can or should do. Our confidence belongs solely in Jesus.
Rediscover Joy and Rest in Jesus
Maybe you have been striving to please God, or striving to receive something from God. Perhaps you have felt uncertain about your relationship with God, or you have somehow concluded that some of God’s provisions are for other people but not for you. Maybe you are even a full-time minister but you have not been seeing the results you hoped to and you are feeling like a failure.
Allow me to share a couple of illustrations that I trust will help you rediscover joy and rest in Jesus, your salvation. Truth be told, when our focus is on ourselves we will be overwhelmed by circumstances more often than not. But when our focus is on Jesus we are comforted, energized and filled with His faith.
Open the Gift of Salvation
Have you ever received a gift in a nicely wrapped box? I hope you have because receiving a gift is a lot of fun. Now, when you receive a gift, what do you do? Do you carry the nicely wrapped gift box around and show it to everyone you meet? No. Do you put the unopened gift up on a shelf so you can look at the nice package in the days to come? No. What do you do? Well, if you are like me, you tear into the package as quickly as you can! You want to discover everything that was put inside by the kind giver. Oh, that is a lot of fun!
My friend, salvation is a gift from God, and it has been delivered to you in its entirety in the person of Jesus Christ. You need not beg God for anything, nor should you be trapped in thinking that you have been excluded from some of God’s provisions. The only thing we need is to recognize more and more of what we have received in Jesus. Actually, as I write this paragraph, I am reminded of Jesus’ words about the work of the Holy Spirit: “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). Thank God for His Holy Spirit who helps us open the gift of salvation!
As we study God’s Word and hear His Word being taught, the Holy Spirit shows us that righteousness and holiness have come to us in Jesus (Eph. 4:20-24); healing and wholeness belong to us in Him (Isa. 53:4-5, 1 Pet. 2:24); provision for our needs come to us by Him (Phil. 4:19); grace and peace are multiplied to us in the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:2). This list could go on for several pages, but for now suffice to say that discovering the greatness of Jesus inspires us to agree with the writer of Hebrews who summarizes his description of Christ with the simple phrase, “…so great a salvation” (Hebr. 2:3).
The Well of Salvation Is in You
In closing, where is Jesus today? He is IN YOU (Col. 1:27). In fact He described His life in you, the believer, as “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). Now, remembering that Christ is in you, consider this passage from Isaiah 12 in which we find a key to receiving from God and being a vessel of His life:
“’For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Christ in you is your well of salvation. But what does it mean to “draw water from the well?” At first glance, that seems like a lot of work. If you need a lot of water, that can be a lot of weight to carry. Is Isaiah saying it is up to us to make things happen? No, he isn’t. I believe Isaiah is actually saying we enjoy the benefits of salvation in the same way we access our water. In Isaiah’s day, people got their water by lowering a container into a well, then lifting the full container out. What about you today? Do you go out to the backyard and lower a bucket into a well? No. Instead, you go to the sink and open the tap. Here is a wonderful picture for you and me: Jesus, your salvation, is a fountain of God’s life within you. He is your righteousness, holiness, wisdom, healing and strength. He is the anointing within you enabling you to live and minister. And all you need to do is keep the tap open to Him.
Apart from Jesus, we have no access to the goodness of God. But with Jesus alive in us, we can recognize and make use of everything God has given us in Him. Jesus, your salvation, is a fountain of God’s life within you. Jesus IS your salvation.
You do not have to pay for the well. You do not have to dig the well. You do not have to install the pipes. Just recognize Jesus alive in you, and keep the tap open to Him.