Absolute #7: The Salvation Gift is About More Than a Ticket to Heaven
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jim Stovall’s powerful novel, The Ultimate Gift, describes the journey of the young, self-centered, irresponsible Jason Stevens, nephew of oil and gas tycoon, Red Stevens. Expecting to inherit some of Red’s wealth after his death, Jason was disappointed to discover that he would first be required to complete twelve assignments his uncle had planned before his death and would be overseen by his old friend and attorney, Theodore Hamilton. Red knew that simply giving Jason wealth would not help him understand the real purpose of the “ultimate gift” he would receive later – a gift the author describes as “life lived to its fullest”.
The gift of salvation offered to us through Christ is even more appropriately representative of the true ultimate gift. Red Stevens wanted his nephew to discover the ultimate gift of character and caring about others above oneself. That is admirable and a good thing for any of us to desire and work to build in one another generation to generation.
The Real Thing
The real ultimate gift, however, is the reward of eternal life which God has guaranteed to those who are in Christ. Yet, that gift He gives to those who place their faith in Him as Lord and Savior is more than an inheritance that has been prepared for us when this life is passed. It is also the gift of an abundant life beginning now as “new creations” in Christ, which ought to lead to the kind of righteous, selfless life Red Stevens desired for his nephew.
In Christ we have been made alive when once we were dead, in order that we might truly live now, not just in eternity. That is the ultimate absolute truth about the Gospel. It means that as “new creations” something is fundamentally changed in us now. Conversion used to be the common terminology employed to describe that process of the old being replaced by the new. That understanding of conversion is often diluted in favor of a more appealing terminology that only speaks of a salvation that talks about being forgiven for our sins. Not often is the Gospel presented in terms of real ‘conversion’ where a transformation of heart, soul and mind occurs that shapes what we do, how we think and what we say.
Perhaps conversion is a word we need to revive as a description of a true follower of Christ. Salvation is not merely a ticket that get us into heaven without any evidence of change in this life. Salvation is a new birth in which we are awakened (made alive) to the realities of both life in the already and life in the not yet. It is life lived in the reality of a hope that is certain for all eternity so that others notice the change. Only then can we be salt and life in the world.
Because this is such amazing good news, it is something we, as grandparents, want to share with our grandchildren. In fact, all of the 7 Absolutes in this series need to be talked about and examined with your grandchildren.
A Must for Grandparents
I recently had an older man ask me why grandparents should see this as their responsibility to teach their grandchildren. My response was simple: Why wouldn’t we if we love our grandchildren? I followed with two more reasons we must:
- Because God commands it. The command to teach our children and our children’s children is pretty clear throughout Scripture. It is something both parents and grandparents must take seriously. Yes, parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children, but it does not end with them. It is a generation to generation responsibility up to at least four generations according to Psalm 78.
- Because the world will teach them a lie if we don’t. If we think someone else will take care of teaching our grandchildren, you’re right about that. But who will be teaching them and what will they be taught? We dare not neglect our responsibility to teach the truth and encourage them to examine why it is true? Not only is it important for this life, but for all eternity.
I like what my dear friends, Jim and Gwen Colfer, co-authors with me of the GrandCamp Do It Yourself Field Guide, wrote me this week…
“When grandparents have properly fulfilled their role as intentional grandparents by intentionally planning and sharing the Faith to their grandchildren, they can rest assured that no matter what their grandchildren do in the future, they can never say they did not know—they can only say they did not choose.”
Let us fervently pray they will choose well because we were faithful to tell them.
GRANDPAUSE: Truth is discovered, not invented. It is transcultural, true for everyone, everywhere, and all the time. Truth is unchanging; it’s immune from shifting human opinions. Truth is absolute, for it comes from an absolutely supreme Creator-God.– Norm Geisler & Frank Turek; I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist