“The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes people look to themselves for salvation.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
If you were to measure the distance between sin and salvation on a scale of 0-100, sin representing 0 and salvation 100, how would you rate yourself?
How would you define salvation?
Oxford Dictionary defines salvation this way:¹
- preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss: “they try to sell it to us as economic salvation.”
- deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Christ: “the Christian gospel of salvation for all humankind.”
Oxford Dictionary defines sin this way:²
- an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law: “a sin in the eyes of God.”
If you don’t believe in God, there is no such thing as sin, and the distance between sin and salvation is irrelevant. But, if you claim that there is no God, then why is there a moral law amongst humankind? If there is no God, then who determines what is right and what is wrong? Why do we have a judicial system if we are all equal and created by chance? Wouldn’t natural law prevail if we came from nothing and evolved from apes? Survival for the fittest would be the natural order, yet moral law is prevalent worldwide; how is that possible without God?
I would argue that intelligent design is behind the creation of the universe, and this Higher Power has created a moral code for humanity. Scripture tells us that God created humans with free will, and we get to choose to accept God’s design for living or not. We have say-so for how we live our lives. The choices we are free to make concerning God’s will for our life will determine the distance between sin and salvation.
Our free will paired with extreme self-centeredness is the nature of the beast inside every human being. In essence, we desire to be the God of our own lives and attempt to save ourselves by our own efforts. We avoid the notion of intelligent design and look to the world for escape, happiness, and freedom, only to find ourselves trapped, miserable, and imprisoned by our extreme selfishness. Choosing to live a life driven by selfishness leaves us separated from God and missing out on all the promises God has in store for us, especially salvation.
We can close the gap between sin and salvation by rightly relating ourselves to God. Instead of living an extremely self-centered life, we can learn to live a God-centered life. Jesus modeled this life for us, which scripture rightly demonstrates. Committing to living a God-centered life will lead to salvation and freedom from the power of sin and the bondage of self. By way of God’s salvation, we finally discover what it means to be happy, joyous, and free.
Dying to self is not easy, and we need others to help us succeed, but salvation is real, and it’s not just something that happens to us when we die. Salvation is a work in progress and occurs on earth as in heaven. We can change our destiny and place in history by seeking out God and turning our will and life over to God. There is no better way to live than to live a God-centered life.
My Creator, I struggle to experience a sweet surrender. My self-righteousness is a powerful force to reckon. Today I turn from my sin and turn toward You. Would You please relieve me of the bondage of SELF, forgive me my sins, especially my extreme selfishness. I want to experience salvation in this and for eternity, and I now know it’s only possible when You are the center of my life. Today God, I want you to be the center of my life, and I turn my will and life over to You; please take me as I am. In Your Spirit and Name, I pray these things. May Your will not mine always materialize, now and forever. Amen.