A Grammar Lesson
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
As part of his work, Martin sometimes leads seminars on English grammar. The day is spent working through nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. (though he tries to make it all very interesting!). Take verbs, for example. Verbs have different tenses, such as past, present and future. We can see these at work in how the Bible talks about salvation.
The Bible tells us that we have been saved (past tense). “It is by grace you have been saved,” Paul wrote (Ephesians 2:5). He was thinking of the time when we turned to Christ and trusted Him, when we were sorry for our sin and asked Him to cleanse us, committing our lives to Him.
But the Bible also speaks of our being saved (present tense). “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” Paul said (1 Corinthians 1:18). And surely that is something that we need to know each day: Christ’s ongoing, daily forgiveness and cleansing.
And the future? “He who stands firm to the end will be saved,” Jesus assures us (Matthew 10:22). We are to keep going, not depending on ourselves but on His inexhaustible riches. We hold on to Him in the reality that He is holding on to us, for He will complete the work that He has begun in us.
But note something else about all these verbs: they are all “passive”: that is, they are all things “done” to us or for us. As Paul put it, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We cannot save ourselves (past, present or future); we can only ask Christ to save us. He alone forgives us, cleanses us, and keeps us. Today, rest in Him. Live by faith in Him, trusting Him and in His limitless promises and resources. Allow all that He is to permeate your dreams, your hopes, your fears. Let Him in on your “to-do” list throughout the day!
Our God is a God who saves. (Psalm 68:20)
© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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