Salvation and the World

A new world is coming. Are you helping to bring it?

Such a Great Salvation (11)

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 
Hebrews 2.5

The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,

There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.Isaiah 35.7

The world to come
The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers that a new world is coming, a world in which people who know the Lord, their eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and their lives increasingly conformed to His image, will take up the ancient mandate of God to bring an order of beauty, truth, and goodness to light in the land of the living (Heb. 2.5-9; cf. Ps. 27.13, 14).

The coming of this new world features in various places in the book of Isaiah. Once “the King in His beauty” (Is. 33.17) has begun to advance His rule on earth, change will occur everywhere – in creation, culture, societies, and nations. Isaiah envisioned waste places, impoverished and stricken nations, enfeebled and impeded individuals, and all manner of flora and fauna being quickened, renewed, healed, and restored as the reign of the King spreads according to the promises of God’s Word (Is. 34.16, 17). When God reveals His glory to His people, and brings His salvation to them (v. 4), even the land they inhabit will be transformed. 

God’s salvation is for the world, that it might not be barren, wasted, and unfruitful, though populated with people who are sick with sin in various ways; but that His goodness and fruitfulness might abound everywhere. God’s chosen and redeemed people are the instruments for this transformation, as they work to bring the full scope, power, and promise of God’s great salvation and Kingdom into those sectors of the world they occupy.

As the writer of Hebrews observed in those early days of our great salvation, we don’t yet see this new world fully in place. But it is coming. Jesus embodies it, and we who believe are being transformed in our souls and lives to refract His image in the world. And as we do, the great salvation of God, promised by Isaiah and others, begins the amazing work of making all things new.

Seeing the World as God’s
We need to make sure the vision of salvation which we cherish is as large as the world God intends to save, beginning with our own world. The world in our day already reflects in many ways the remarkable progress of the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, realized through the words and deeds of centuries of faithful believers in Jesus Christ.

The day of salvation has dawned, and the darkness of unbelief cannot prevent its continuing to advance (1 Jn. 2.8). As believers seek the rule of King Jesus and His beauty, goodness, and truth, the reality of the Kingdom comes to expression in all their words and deeds, and affects the people and conditions around them for the glory of God.

Everything in the world – everything in your world – is groaning and travailing under the burden of sin and unbelief. Everything can be improved. Everything needs more of the King’s beauty, goodness, and truth so that it can realize the “very good” possibilities God has invested in it. Your world already shows much evidence of Christ’s rule, but still it groans. It groans in neglected spaces of creation’s natural environment. It groans to refract God’s goodness in everyday conversations, ways of working, neighborly relations, local culture and institutions, and creative acts of beauty and goodness of all kinds. Creation will continue to groan until those who know and follow Jesus bring to it the liberating and restoring power of the great salvation of our Lord (Rom. 8.18-22).

In His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus reconciled the world to God (2 Cor. 5.18-22). And He has brought us, by grace through faith, into His great salvation so that the world to come might come sooner rather than later.

Reconciling the world to God
What does this involve? 

Realizing the world to come is just another way of saying, “work out your own salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. 2.12). The Greek word κατεργάζομαι involves the idea of “working along” at something continuously, doing something successfully and thoroughly, accomplishing assigned work, performing a task, getting things done. It includes the word work and, in this context, aims that energy at “your own salvation,” that great salvation we have been considering in this series.

We have to work at realizing our great salvation, with a view to succeeding in every area over which the King in His beauty has rule and interest. All our relationships, roles, and responsibilities. In every area of your world, Jesus has newness, goodness, and beauty to bring, and He intends to bring it through you. But your progress in this great salvation will be impeded to the extent that you, like those first readers of the book of Hebrews, neglect and drift from your great salvation into the kind of “good-enough-for-me” complacency that Jesus condemns.

Here is a call to learning: How does the work of the King of beauty, goodness, and truth translate into every aspect of my life?

Here is a call to action: What can I do today to bring more of Jesus’ life and truth to my world?

Here is a call to worship: Keep Jesus always before your eyes. Give thanks for everyone and everything in your life, at all times, and call upon Him to make His glory known through you. Praise Him, at the end of the day and in everyday conversations, for all the ways He is reconciling and restoring the world, and bringing into being the world to come, through the work you do in living His great salvation into all your relationships, roles, and responsibilities.

Jesus has reconciled the world and everything in it to God. He is bringing a new world into being, and He has called us to take our places, eyes fixed squarely and constantly on Him, in working out our great salvation in every area of our lives.

For reflection
1.  Have you mapped out your world, your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, download the worksheet, and get started right away.

2.  In what ways can you see that your world contains a good bit of groaning and travailing? What can relieve this?

3.  Where do you think you need to learn more about working out your great salvation in fear and trembling?

Next steps – Preparation: Map out your Personal Mission Field. Make some notes about ways you would like to see more of the beauty, goodness, and truth of Christ in each of the places to which God sends you each day.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

T.M. Moore

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. 

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