February 14, 2023 — It’s not just for later

“Salvation is supposed to make a difference in how we live our lives,” Stan said rather matter-of-factly one morning while we waited for breakfast.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“I was reading in the letter to the Hebrews the other day,” he replied, “and I was drawn to how the writer described Jesus as the source of eternal salvation.”

“The source of eternal salvation,” I repeated. “What’s that have to do with how we live our lives after salvation?”

“Everything!” Stan replied emphatically. “It has everything to do with how we live our lives here. Eternal salvation is not just for later, when our time here is finished. For me, eternal salvation  began the instant I came to faith. Seems to me, that’s the way it’s supposed to be for everyone.”

“The instant of coming to faith?” I questioned.

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “It began then and will continue as I step into eternity to be in God’s presence forever when my time here is done.”

“Okay,” I said, “if that’s true, then how is eternal salvation supposed to make a difference in a person’s life here and now.”

“That’s the really big subject we talk about all of the time,” Stan replied. “And we will continue to talk about. It’s all about discipleship and being transformed into the likeness of Christ. It’s a process.”

“A process?”

“Yeah,” Stan said. “It’s a process that begins at the moment of salvation and is to continue for as long as we’re here. The apostle Paul described it as ‘working out our salvation.’ It’s based on knowing God,” he added, “and that won’t be completed here.”

“Based on knowing God,” I repeated. “Maybe that has something to do with why Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and God the Father.”

“I think it’s more than a ‘maybe’ that ‘might’ have ‘something’ to do with it, my friend,” Stan said with a smile.


Bible verses to consider:

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:9-10.

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.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus as the way into your eternal presence when my time here is completed, along with your eternal presence on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I don’t pursue your eternal presence while you keep me here because I choose to focus on something or someone else, usually me. Please forgive the foolishness of not pursuing an ever-deepening relationship based on knowing you and Jesus. Help me to follow every step of your lead into the deepest possible relationship with you for as long as you keep me here, before I get on the train into your presence for the rest of eternity. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally in His presence? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being in God’s eternal presence on this side of eternity? How are you doing with living a life that’s different because you have salvation and redemption? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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