A Picture of Salvation
By Stephanie Ismer
Think back to a time when you made one crucial decision that changed the trajectory of your life. Something that made everything else in your life from that point on different. Something that made you different.
In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, Harry Kim makes one tiny technical error that winds up killing the entire crew (except for himself and one other man). Many years in the future, he returns to the scene of the accident, aged and bitter, to try to rectify his mistake by accessing the past with Borg technology. The moment of his resulting victory is arguably one of the most exciting TV moments ever.
In fiction, especially science fiction, temporal paradoxes are a common plot device. People love the idea that by changing just one detail we could experience an entirely different reality. We love the idea that we could escape time. Time is so final. Once an action has been taken, or a word has been said, or a decision has been made, it is indelibly inked on the timeline of life. Things cannot be undone.
If we believe what God says in the Bible, we must accept our inheritance from Adam and Eve (sin and the fallen nature) and the subsequent result (eternal death) (Romans 5:12). There is no way to go back and fix the past. The apple has been eaten, the fig leaves sewn together, the animals sacrificed and perfection lost. The ship has crashed, and the crew is dead.
But what if there was a way to go back and change it? What if someone had the power to make everything new — to change the reality of our existence? What if, by one act, that person could alter our reality so that the bitter consequences of our mistakes went away?
That is exactly what God did. He altered the timeline. For those who have faith in His power, the story changes. The ship is no longer on a collision course with the ice planet of death. The crew will live (Romans 8:1).
Jesus' death on the cross literally provided an alternate timeline for those who believe: one where the law and its consequences don't apply. When a person has faith in what Jesus did, he or she becomes a partaker of God's divine and timeless nature. They are lifted out of the timeline that ends in destruction and put onto a new path that ends in life.
So, which do you want? Are you content to accept the eternal consequences of the fall? Are you willing to accept the timeline that began with Adam's mistake and is being lived out by every unbeliever in history? Or are you interested in choosing a different timeline? Do you want to be part of the story where Jesus erases the consequences of Adam's mistake and gives you a new nature and a new future?
Justifcation is the moment at which that new timeline takes effect. Sanctification is the life-long struggle to accept the new timeline and live in its wake. And glorification is the day we wake up and realize that life now, and for eternity, is to be lived as if the ship never crashed. On that day we will finally see that every problem is solved, every pain dissolved, every broken relationship mended, and every mistake and sin and tear we've shed are gone forever, swallowed up in light and love and perfection.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Family-Life | Personal-Relationships
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Published 21-6-12; Revised on 3-30-15