Too Much Talking

“I know that my Redeemer lives,” Job 19:25

In the nineteenth chapter of Job, we are given an answer to the historical Church’s most driving question: “How is a person saved?”

Christians minister the gospel skillfully in describing who saves– Jesus— and from what– human sinfulness and rebellion— and where– at the cross— and why– for mankind’s reconciliation to God for eternity.

Yet, we get rather clunky and divided trying to explain how a person is saved. What does a person do to enter into a salvation agreement with God? Who initiates? Where do I sign? How do you know the salvation stuck?

The primary schisms among Christian denominations are along the lines of soteriology, meaning “the doctrine of salvation” or “how is a person saved?”

Because salvation is on the premise of faith (“faith has saved you,” Luke 7:50), and because to say you have faith implies a belief in something that is contested, Christians can get really hung up on what beliefs a person should have orbiting about in their faith-sphere if we are going to call them saved.

Interestingly, Job doesn’t wonder about his salvation at all. He shows complete confidence in both the reality of his salvation and the efficacy of his salvation. But he doesn’t have all his beliefs straight:

How long will [Bildad] torture me? How long will you try to crush me with your words? You have already insulted me ten times. You should be ashamed of treating me so badly. Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. 

You think you’re better than I am, using my humiliation as evidence of my sin. But it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in His net…

But for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! Job 19:1-6; 25-27

3 Salvation Principles that Job has right:

  1. Job knows that his salvation is between him and God.
  2. Job knows that his salvation shields him from all accusation of sin.
  3. Job knows that the salvation he believes in without seeing will be rewarded with seeing (aka, faith).

6 of Job’s beliefs about God:

  1. His Redeemer is alive (Jesus is eternal and God).
  2. He will stand upon the earth (first and second coming).
  3. After his body decays, yet he will have a body (resurrection).
  4. He will see God with his own eyes (also resurrection).
  5. God has wronged him.
  6. God has captured him in His net.

Job believes some right things and some really wrong things about God.

So, if a saving faith is contingent on having the right beliefs, does Job become more saved the more right things he believes? Or is Job not really saved until after God corrects his misunderstandings?

I used to think it was really cheesy when people would say “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.” But it is kinda true at heart.

Sure, we have a religious set of doctrines that we argue over like any religion would. We have religious disciplines that cause us guilt when we don’t perform them. We cloister into communities of closely aligned beliefs, isolating ourselves even from others in our own religion that “aren’t quite right on such and such an interpretation.” We create platforms to do our good deeds and share our good ideas.

I like religion. It’s easy, satisfying, and intellectually stimulating for me. Christianity is a religion. However, Christian salvation is a relationship. It is an ongoing two-way street.

Salvation is like a call and response:

  1. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17
  2. Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13
  3. My sheep hear my voice, I know them, they follow me. John 10:27
  4. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Hebrews 4:7
  5. But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation, My God will hear me. Micah 7:7
  6. If you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. John 16:23
  7. No one can snatch them away from me, for the Father has given them to me. John 10:28

Here are the verses above organized as a “call and response” flow chart:

  • God speaks His word– We hear it– Faith is kindled.
    • We call on Jesus’ name– Jesus saves us.
      • Jesus knows and leads those who are saved– we hear and follow Him.
        • We hear His voice– we do not harden our hearts (repentance).
          • We wait for the Lord (perseverance) — He hears us.
            • We ask the Father in Jesus’ name– the Father gives to us.
              • Jesus holds us tight– The Father gave us to Jesus.

Really, this turns out to be more of a poem than a flow chart. It reminds me of Song of Songs. It’s like two people singing choruses of a duet back and forth to each other, the melodies echoing across a valley of opposing ridges. It’s like a young man and a young woman experiencing a touch and… then a response. It is like two people searching for each other.

How is one saved?

C.H. Spurgeon says that it “is joy unspeakable” to call Jesus, my Lord.

Spurgeon adds that we are saved, first, by claiming the Redeemer as “mine.” My Redeemer lives.

Then you call out and hear. You ask and see answers. Or, you ask and you wait. He speaks and you come close. He awakens your faith and you yield your heart softly. You tearfully ask Him hard questions about Himself. He confides in you more. You misunderstand Him and you get mopey. He sweeps you up in the whirlwind. You might believe the wrong things about Him, but He will gladly prove you wrong, and win you over again.

Salvation is a call and response.

My lover is mine, and I am his. Song of Songs 2:16

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s