The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Nowadays ‘salvation’ is what a financier brings to a troubled business or a football manager brings to a struggling team; but salvation in a religious sense, well, that’s just old hat, isn’t it? But if we think like that, we’ve been robbed! For ‘salvation’ needs reclaiming and putting where it belongs: in the realm of people’s relationship with God.
Perhaps the reason we don’t use the word ‘salvation’ very much is that we don’t really understand how rich a concept it is. In the Bible, salvation is never an ‘airy-fairy’ thing; it was always very specific: people are saved from something and for something. God’s salvation includes, among many others, things like -
salvation from sin. ‘Trust the Lord! He is always merciful, and he has the power to save you. Israel, the Lord will save you from all of your sins’ (Psalm 130:7-8, CEV).
salvation from circumstances. ‘Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave’ (Psalm 107:19-20).
salvation from despair. ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’ (Psalm 34:18).
salvation from sickness. ‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5).
salvation from enemies. ‘In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved’ (Psalm 22:4-5).
Do I really believe that God can save me from everything? Do I look to him to save me in situations at work, with my family, with my health? Or is my faith for salvation restricted solely to ‘spiritual’ things? Do I look to myself and my own resources and abilities before looking to God, leaving him as little more than a ‘last resort’? Or is God the first one that I turn to in every circumstance to be my saviour?
Don’t try to be your own saviour today – let him be!
Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45: 22)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont