When most of us in church talk about salvation, our discussion begins with a test…a test of morality. We ask certain questions of ourselves and sooner or later, even the most upright citizen answers incorrectly. Miss just one question and we fail. The penalty for failure is, of course, hell. Our ticket has been punched.
Then along comes Jesus! Because he was perfect, he was the only one ever to pass the test! That allowed him, because he loved us, to take our punishment for us…so we never really pass the test – Jesus got a 100 and the Teacher (God) kinda curved our grade.
But, the idea of escaping hell to get to heaven isn’t really the picture the Bible paints – at least not the FULL picture. Not that heaven and hell aren’t real (they are), but the goal isn’t just to go to heaven when we die. And the scenario I described of failing the test, that’s also true…but it’s just not the full story.
Our primary sin isn’t immorality. Our primary sin is idolatry – putting other things before God. Humans were created to worship him alone. But because we put other things first, that shows up as we break moral codes. Take Adam and Eve for example. Their sin of disobedience (eating the “apple”) was really a symptom of their real sin…putting their own wishes first. Idolatry.
The biblical picture is that of heaven coming down. Even in Revelation it is a new heaven and new earth God creates that God will bring to us. What Jesus did for us at salvation was not just build an escalator to heaven, but to bring heaven to us.
Jesus came to set things right…and he starts by setting things right in us. When we give our lives to him and place him on the throne of our lives, we’re living as we were created to live. We’re worshiping him, not idols any longer.
So, the next question is for what purpose does he bless us with “every blessing in the heavens.” That’s one of the questions we’ll be discussing Sunday. I hope you’ll join us!