Such a Great Salvation (9)
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13.17
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1.6-9
The end of faith
The word salvation (Greek: σωτηρία) conveys the idea of restoring something or someone to a previous condition, a condition of wholeness, divine purpose, and glorious potential.
That being the case, the salvation Jesus has achieved for us looks back to God’s original purpose for creating people in the first place, that they might know, love, delight in, obey, honor, and glorify Him in all aspects of their lives – all their relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
God made Adam and Eve good, and the environment in which He placed them, together with them, He declared to be verygood. In that environment, Adam and Eve were assigned two works: to fill the earth with other humans like themselves, and to develop and guard the garden so that the very-goodness of God would continue, expand, and increase, thus refracting His glory into ever greater sectors of His creation.
To be saved in Jesus Christ is to be restored to that original wholeness with God, with our fellow human beings, and with the creation and everything in it. Salvation is a world-focused condition, and not merely a soul-focused or eternity-focused condition. The salvation of God, which is unto good works (Eph. 2.8-10), intends to restore wholeness to the world through restored and whole people in the world who are increasing in knowledge, wisdom, love, and obedience in Jesus Christ.
Salvation is thus not limitedto the soul; the great salvation which is ours in Jesus Christ begins there, in the mind, heart, and conscience of every human being who surrenders to Jesus and is born again into the Kingdom of God. And it is not limited to eternity; instead, it issues in a life of restored wholeness here and now, for all aspects of life in the world.
We have been saved from a condition of separation from God and His good purposes and plan, so that now our souls are being renewed in Christ Jesus unto full and whole restoration, precisely as God originally intended. The end of faith in Jesus Christ is that the great salvation He has achieved should flourish throughout the world, beginning in the souls of those who believe.
Thus, understanding and possessing our great salvation begins by understanding the effects of Christ’s salvation on our souls.
Salvation and the soul
I suspect that for many, if not most Christians, the salvation of their souls reduces to being forgiven of their sins, relieved of their guilt and shame, and assured of an eternal home in heaven with the Lord. That is all very true, and where such a condition is realized, believers may say, “It is well with my soul.”
However, this is merely the foyer of the house of our great salvation. No one should be content to live in the foyer of a great house. What Christ has accomplished for our souls goes far beyond this beginning of faith, bringing wholeness and restoration and transforming power to bear in all aspects of our minds, hearts, and consciences, and for all of life in the world.
Mind, heart, and conscience are the three components of that spiritual entity, the soul, which is the driving force of all human existence. Mind refers to that aspect of the soul which manages thinking; heart is that part of the soul where affections are nurtured and deployed; and conscience identifies those default values and priorities which blend thinking and feeling together for good works of obedient love.
This is not the place to try even to sketch out the enormous implications of salvation for all aspects of the soul. Instead, let me mention three functions – one for each of the components of the soul – which our great salvation invites us to engage far more than we are at present.
With respect to the mind, let us consider the intellectual work of imagination. For the believer, imagination is that function of the mind which, informed by divine revelation, projects an image or vision or scenario into the future, describing the possibilities of what might be achieved, given the presence, promises, and power of God in our lives. Jesus and the apostles invite – rather, challenge – believers to cultivate a large imagination, an exceedingly-abundantly-God-at-work-within-us-beyond vision of what God can do in and through us as servants, witnesses, disciple-makers, and world-transformers, beginning right where we are.
An imagination filled to overflowing with possibilities not presently realized but greatly and earnestly desired will affect the heart by engendering courage to believe and endeavor toward that compelling vision. I believe that courage is the great missing affection in the hearts of most believers today. We have become mired in the fear of men, of failure, of inexperience, or of upsetting our comfortable status quo, and that fear has discouraged a lively imagination and consigned us to a merely self-serving view of faith. We have settled for a good-enough salvation rather than our great salvation, simply because we fear things other than God.
A compelling and Biblical vision of what our lives can be, provoking us to courage in daily living, will soon become a settled conviction of firmness in our souls. Having once stepped out of the boat and begun to walk on water, our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, we will not be content merely to endure the buffeting waves of this world ever again. We will set our faces like flint toward that glorious vision of what Christ can do in and through us, and, drawing on the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God, we will summon the courage to press ever more deeply into our great salvation day by day.
If all you can say about your salvation is that “It is well with my soul,” well, that’s at least a start. Jesus calls you to a large soul: You have the mind of Christ! The very Courage of God dwells in your heart! And with your conscience rooted in the deep soil of God’s Word, nothing can keep you from obtaining more and more of your great salvation every day of your life.
A great salvation awaits unpacking in your soul. Will you neglect it? Or will you take hold of it with all the force and vigor you can muster?
1. Why is it important to understand that realizing more of our great salvation begins in the soul?
2. What do you think is involved in nurturing the kind of large soul Jesus and the apostles call us to pursue?
3. If our imagination is not rooted in Christ and His Word and promises, where will it be rooted?
Next steps – Preparation: How can you enlarge your imagination so that it takes into its scope more of our great salvation? Talk with a Christian friend about this.
T. M. Moore
Our course, Introduction to Spiritual Theology, can help you gain a larger experience of salvation. Watch this brief video (click here), then register with The Ailbe Seminary, enroll in this free course, and take up the journey toward a much greater experience of salvation.
Our salvation is as great as Jesus is great. But do you know how great He really is? Our book, To Know Him, can help you to see Jesus more clearly. Order a copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Great Salvation for Your Soul
- T.M. Moore
- February 6, 2019
Realizing the greatness of our salvation begins here.
Such a Great Salvation (9)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.