[The following essay represents a personal conviction which i reserve the right to express publicly].
There are four knotty issues I contended with when I accepted Jesus Christ as a “Lord and Saviour” (a.k.a getting “Born Again”:)).
1. That I was separated from God and he considered me a sinner because of something some guy and his wife did almost 2,000 years ago in a garden of indeterminate location
2. The existence of a “Trinity” – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
3. The concept of Jesus Christ as the “Son of God”
4. The process of “Salvation” which seemed to require so little
I spent considerable time musing on these issues, trying to resolve them or at least come to a place of quiet conviction. I eventually “accepted” them as fundamentally true even before I began to “understand” them. Perhaps this is what people call “Faith”. The heart does recognise infallible truth when it comes in contact with it.
The first concept becomes easy when you relate it to “authority”. For example, an evil President can condemn a population of 140m people to multi-generational poverty, hopelessness, terror and international scorn by his actions or inactions. Conversely, a good President can figuratively save an entire nation.
In the same vein, one man, Adam was placed in a position of authority over mankind. He disobeyed God and screwed the whole of mankind over. And so another ‘man’ needed to step in (one without sin), in a representative capacity to redeem man. Hence, the need for God the Son to be born into the world as a man. It never ceases to amaze me how we believe in fantastical tales of science fiction and mythology but stumble at the concept of God the Son being born into the world as a man in the person of Jesus Christ. When he shed his blood, he paid the price for our sins and created a way for us to be reconnected to God our Father. When God raised him from the dead, he did so, so he could defeat eternal death once and for all. It doesn’t mean we no longer sin. But now we can appeal to the redemptive work of Jesus and gain forgiveness when we do.
The second concept – The Trinity – requires a better mind than mine to explain. But I do know that God tries to explain incredibly difficult concepts to us using human typologies. Hence, the closest I’ve come to understanding the Trinity is to consider that man is a Spirit who has a Soul and lives in a Body.
God is our eternal Father. His Son, Jesus Christ is his Word, his ultimate representative and the only one we can look upon. The Holy Spirit is a quickening regenerative Spirit. The Three are One.
The third concept – the Sonship of Jesus Christ – is where a number of people sometimes get stumped. Again, it goes back to the principle of designated authority. God does not procreate and does not have a wife. Sonship is a title not a biological designation. It describes perfect manifestation; someone who has authority to act. Sonship on earth tries to mirror this but I submit that God is the First Father while Jesus is the First Son.
The fourth concept – the process of salvation – requires simple belief and incredible humility. It requires an acknowledgement that our own works can never save us and that we require the grace and mercy of God.
A man/woman comes to a place where he recognises his limitations and the fact that he’s a sinner. Sometimes, he doesn’t even know what his heart is searching for. He just knows he needs something/someone. In the words of the song, I’m With You by Avril Lavigne, he recognises “It’s a damn cold night. Trying to figure out this life. Take me by the hand, take me somewhere new. I don’t know who you are but I’m with you”.
The process of salvation may be “simple” but it is profound. A man arrives at the point of submission, acknowledges God’s Lordship, Jesus’ Sonship and ability to save and accepts it. It’s not necessarily about speech or the words we say out loud, or else the vocally challenged can’t be saved. But confession is prescribed because words are significant. Saying it out loud is a declaration of a decision.
A simple prayer of salvation would go thus: God, I need you. I messed up. I can’t save myself. I believe Jesus your Son can, cause he gave his life for mine. You also raised him from the dead so I can defeat eternal death too. Please save me. Amen.
I believe salvation is not an end in itslef. It has very little to do with going to a heaven of indeterminate location, though that’s a plus. Rather, it’s much more about building a relationship with God, knowing him and unlocking a lifetime of fulfilling purpose and having a positive impact on the world.
I’ve tried to summarise the little I personally know of salvation. It would be my pleasure to continue this conversation. Feedback is always welcome.
(Buzz me @subomiplumptre, firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation at #MakingGodFamous,#ShoSpeaks)