“There was something you said to me at one point that I tried to pass on to a friend at church. He didn’t quite understand what I was saying and I wasn’t real good at explaining it. Maybe we can talk about it again.”
“What’s that?” Stan asked.
“As I remember it,” I replied, “you once described too many Christians as just ‘clutching their ticket’ to glory, rather than doing anything with it.”
“Oh, yeah,” Stan said, “I also describe them as being ‘stuck on conversion.’ As you will remember, when you first got your ticket, the first thing you did was to go to the station to catch the train, but you were told that’s not how the ticket works.”
“Right,” I replied. “It’s like the ticket is the end of one part of the story, the end of being separated from God for all of eternity, but it’s just the beginning of the story of working out on this side of eternity what has been worked in for eternity.”
If that’s what you told your friend at church,” Stan said, “didn’t he get it?”
“He didn’t seem to get it,” I replied. “His attitude was that the ticket to glory is all that matters.”
“Well,” Stan said, “it certainly is all that matters for eternal purposes, but the story that is to be told for this side of eternity is only to begin with the ticket is received and the person has by faith the assurance of salvation.”
“If there’s another story to begin when the ticket is received and accepted,” I replied, “what’s that story to be?”
“In a single word,” Stan said, “discipleship. In two words, Christian maturity. In a bunch of words, working out the salvation that has been worked in.”
“And,” he continued, ‘I think all of that revolves around what John in his gospel records about how Jesus described ‘eternal life’ as knowing Him and God the Father. As we have talked about before, I prefer to think about the ticket to glory being the assurance of life eternally with God, versus the eternal life of knowing Him on this side of eternity.”
“Life eternal versus eternal life,” I commented.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And I firmly believe that living out that difference is what the Christian life on this side is to be all about. Additionally, I believe that if more of the church was committed to working out the salvation that has been worked in, this world would be a whole lot closer to having God’s will done here as it is in heaven!”
Bible verses to consider:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious gift of redemption and salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that can be accepted by faith. Thank you for those who brought the truth to me and helped bring me to the truth. Thank you, too, for the gift of being able to know you and Jesus Christ in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the exact relationship you intend for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the assurance of salvation by having accepted by faith God’s free and gracious provision? If no, why? What is keeping you from having that assurance? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with working out that salvation in your Christian life on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense that you may be just “clutching your ticket” and are being called to be more intentional about your Christian faith, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?