2 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:2
“Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation.” I am curious what is coming to your mind as you read this verse; especially what comes to mind when you read the word “salvation”. The original language of the New Testament was greek and the word used was “sozo”. The definition of sozo is to; rescue, deliver, heal, protect, preserve, to make whole, to do well. When you profess to others that you have been saved, is this what you intended to convey? Or, like most of us, did you mostly mean, my sins have been forgiven and I have been saved “from” eternal punishment?
Wow! If that is what salvation includes, the gospel is not just good news. It’s great news! One pastor I track drills into his listeners that salvation is the forgiveness of sins; the deliverance from oppression and the healing of disease. Do you think he has gone too far? When (and if) we we wrestle with this tough question are we reasoning from experience or from scripture? If we are committed to reasoning from scripture, Jesus’ words help us;
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year (time) of the Lord.”
I believe that as God’s government increases (as He promises it will) and His kingdom comes (as we are instructed to pray), the Church will progressively discover that we have not just been saved from a gruesome ending but saved into a glorious now. I believe we will discover as our minds are more and more renewed that our status in Christ is a considerably bigger deal than we have understood.
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.”
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry (task) of reconciliation…we are ambassadors, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
I do not know completely what Paul meant when he used the phrase,, “all these things” but given our fuller understanding of “salvation” (sozo), it would probably not be outside the spirit of Paul’s intent to include; healing, deliverance and blessing as apart of what will be involved in reconciling the world to Himself. Those things seem perfectly compatible to Jesus’ inaugural words as well as to the heart of a loving God.
Father, may we lay hold of that for which you have laid hold of us. May we not discount Your intentions or our callings. May we fulfill Your desire for us as agents of the tremendous news of Your abundant life. May Your blood not be wasted upon us nor Your Word return to You without accomplishing that for which it was sent. Help us to reconcile our thoughts with Yours. Save and deliver us from any limiting notions we have embraced of your kingdom. Upgrade our understanding and expereience from good to great. Upgrade our expectations from then to now. Amen.