Sin takes us away from God, from intimacy with Him, and if it ultimately takes us away from partaking of salvation – the ultimate and lasting intertwining with our Creator’s nature and redemptive purpose – then it’s results can be as destructive and final as the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. Notice I’m not putting this intertwining with God off until after death. In fact, salvation begins with choosing God, right here and now. It involves the journey in Him that we call Christianity, and of course beyond death. Salvation was never meant to be just a ticket to heaven. We have a simple choice: believe in this redemption which occurred with the coming of Jesus (the incarnation) and culminated at the cross and resurrection, and move towards intimacy with God. Or, choose to move towards the stuff that draws us away – sometimes by inches, sometimes by miles – until we discover we’ve gone too far… But no, never too far!
We have great power on earth. We alone may choose between life and death. Not just symbolically, but a true death. One direction leads to relationship, communion with the eternal creator, redeemer, and loving Father, and source of all life. The one who brought our world into existence out of chaos, out of a formless and void condition.¹ The other direction takes us towards chaos, degradation, suffering, limitation to the time-space continuum, and eventual permanent death. We may choose.
I have dear friends and loved ones who believe that we were accidentally formed from ooze, dust, or what have you and that we’re destined to return to the earth as dust or humus. Are they wrong? It dawns on me that perhaps they are right. They have chosen to remain in the lower four dimensions, where death is final. Or perhaps, to be more in keeping with modern Christian orthodoxy, a transition to a condition of permanent judgment, where one is continually receiving exactly what one deserves. Perhaps this can be a reality, let me explain. Let’s say that you’re in the desert. There are only two possible outcomes: life or death. As you journey, you’re using up your supply of water. In the distance, someone points out an oasis. But you are convinced that it is a mirage, a figment of their imagination, too good to be true, and you walk right by it. What fate can await someone who refuses to drink from the life-saving water? I don’t know. But there is a spring at the foot of the cross from which we can drink deeply of eternally quenching salvation!
Jesus came to a village well at midday, it was hot. He began speaking with a Samaritan woman, which made this conversation doubly unthinkable. She offered him a ladle of water. He offered her “living water”, saying that anyone drinking this eternal water would never thirst again. “For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life.” ³
¹ Genesis 1:2
² Some spiritual persuasions would have us believe that we are powerful. Yes, we are powerful. We hold ultimate power in our hands. But from a Christian perspective, it’s not exactly the power they think. The great power we have is to choose. Choose “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” [Phil 4:8-9] We may choose God and the one who restored our face-to-face relationship to Him, Jesus, or we may choose to go our own way, away from Him.
³ John 4:14