saved for… what?
Lately I have been thinking about what we are saved for. What is the purpose of salvation? What is God trying to do by offering us salvation? I think too often we see salvation as the goal, but maybe it is just a first step to a much much bigger goal.
When salvation is the goal, we see the purpose of salvation as creating more people who can go out and save more people. Come to Christ, then turn around and go save some other people! The end goal is probably hoping that we can reach enough people through multiplying those who are saved until the whole world is saved and the great commission is completely fulfilled.
Others see the purpose of salvation as making disciples. We want to save people so they can become full followers of Christ. Maybe we hope for “personal transformation” or “personal healing” for those who come to Christ and then pursue Him through discipleship. We want to make disciples all over the globe, so we save people so they can become full followers of Jesus.
Others may have some sort of “community” emphasis on why they save people. Salvation is seen as the entrance into genuine community with fellow Christians and with God. People need to be saved so they can join into the Church (universal) and be in a community of Christians. We need to save people to expand the Church, or to create more churches.
These all seem to fall flat to me. We can’t just be saved to save others or we will just have a bunch of “converted” people all over who can say they believe in Jesus and are headed to heaven, but maybe not much else. Nor can we say we save people to make disciples, or we may have a whole lot of Jesus following people all across the world, but in (probably) individualistic ways. Nor can we say that creating Christian communities are they goal of saving people, because what is the purpose of a Church that simply creates more saved people?
I don’t know if you are following me up to this point, but my question is…
Saved for… what? Discipled for… what? Creating churches for… what?
What is the purpose of expanding the number of saved and discipled people now involved in Christian communities?
I think the answer has to lie in the Kingdom of God. That we are saved, discipled, and formed into communities to become little outposts of the Kingdom of God all over the world. We are to be places where God reigns, where lives are lived according to God’s wondrous ways, where love, justice, and compassions radiates out unstoppably. Where the poor can come and receive unbelievable hospitality and care. Where the sick can be healed. Where the outcast can find a home. Where the oppressed can find an advocate. Where the sorrowful can find hope. We are to become a force in the local society, just like Jesus was a force in his, seeing the worth of those around him and the beauty of creation, while at the same time casting out the evil, righting wrongs, and redeeming all things. We are to be mysterious points of light that draw people in, and places of repentance and grace, where we can be made new. We are to shine like cities on a hill, to be salt and light, to be miraculously different. We are to be places of radical selflessness, generosity, and love. We are to be places where people can come and experience Jesus in the flesh through us. We are to be outposts of the bright Kingdom in a dark world.
So we need to be evangelistic, so we can then create more disciples that join into Christian communities that are places where God reigns… the outposts of the Kingdom of God.