Are You Saved? Saved From What?

You have desires. Your desires determine your choices. If more than one desire is active in you at one time, the strongest desire will win. You have a desire to lose weight and therefore have decided to do daily morning exercise. You wake up at five o’clock in the morning and discover there are two desires working against each other in your mind: Stay in your comfy bed for another hour, or get up and exercise. If your desire to lose weight is stronger than your desire to stay in bed, you will get up. If the opposite is true, you will go back to sleep.

Your desires determine your choices, and you can’t choose your desires, at least not in the moment. You can shape your desires over time by your choices. You can create a lifestyle with systems and habits which develops certain desires in your life which then determine your choices. This is difficult and you’ll probably need outside help.

What about moral desires? If you are evil, and your desires are evil, your choices will be evil. How can you change this? How can you know what is good? How can you desire what is good?

You need to be transformed by the only one who can transform you: Your Creator.

The Christian gospel is not primarily about being saved from hell. It is about being saved from being evil. Being evil will send you to hell, but if you were somehow able to avoid hell, that wouldn’t mean that you were then good. The avoidance of hell doesn’t make you good. Christ’s salvation makes you good.

Free will is not the ability to choose A instead of B. Even a person whose will is enslaved to evil is able to choose A vs B. Free will is the ability to always choose the good. To choose the good is to know the good and to desire the good. Free will = good desires. Enslaved will = evil desires.

Christ offers to all salvation from enslavement to evil. You already know the good enough to know that Christ’s offer is true. You already have the desire within you to be saved, no matter how evil you might be. Therefore, Christ’s salvation is available to you right now. To choose that salvation is as simple as asking for it, which you can do right now.

But be warned, Christ’s salvation is no small thing. Your life as you’ve known it will be torn apart, you will die, and there’s no turning back.

Work Out Your Salvation

obedience

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
~Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV

“Sin is what bubbles up unbidden from the depths of the human heart, so that all one has to do is go with the flow. That has the appearance of freedom, but is in fact slavery, as Jesus himself declared. True freedom is the gift of the spirit, the result of grace; but… it isn’t simply a matter of being forced now to be good, against our wills and without our co-operation, but a matter of being released from slavery precisely into responsibility, into being at last to choose, to exercise moral muscle, knowing both that one is doing it oneself and that the spirit is at work within, that God is doing himself that which I too am doing. If we don’t believe that, we don’t believe in the spirit, and we don’t believe in Paul’s teaching.”
~ N.T. Wright, “Justification~God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision”, pg. 164