Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Of Cheetos and Salvation


He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24 MSG

I accepted the gift of salvation at age 27. I was raised in a Christian home and in Christian schools, where salvation by faith was taught, but we were simultaneously told in 16th-century English to “be perfect as God is perfect.” (We didn’t understand that the definition of perfection is completeness and maturity, not “without fault.”) Perfection for humans is unattainable, so salvation must also be unattainable: what was the point in trying, shrugged much of my generation.


I can perfectly observe my prescribed diet and exercise for 50 minutes daily, but not lose a pound in three weeks. After all the hard work and no visible reward, there is severe temptation to binge on high-carb, high-fat, high-sodium Cheetos! (Eating Cheetos isn’t sinful, but play along…)


Righteousness might be explained in this way: God declares us to be in right relationship to Himself. He just speaks it, as at creation, when He spoke everything into existence. He sees only His beloved and perfect (in behavior and attitude, as well as full and complete) Son Jesus, whose greatest desire is to save me. Me! Caught orange-handed with Cheetos dust, with the evidence of sin all over me! God sees my Substitute, who stands protectively between me and the glory and perfection that could vaporize me. And, as at creation, God speaks the word, “Good.” And because Creator God says it is so—it can only be so!


Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners…and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23, 24 MSG.


The concept of salvation is profound and complex. And it’s so simple that a little child gets it. Let’s just ask God to say the Word: “Jesus.” He wants to! He loves you and is yearning to walk with you. Let Him dust off the crumbs and look past your outward appearance, to see only the perfect creation that He intends you to be.

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