What Is Salvation?
I was recently in a class led by Pat Gaughan. He asked the question, “What is the purpose of salvation”? As you can imagine the wise and thoughtful answers begin to churn inside the thoughts of each one present. As the thoughts matured into speech, the answers you would expect were all present. “To be with God” . . . “To live forever” . . . “To walk streets of gold.” There was even the jovial “I want to live in a mansion.” However, the answer sought was not found in any of these. The answer suggested was that salvation is for transformation.
Since that time, I have been engrossed with the idea of salvation being for the purpose of transformation. I began to think and reason through all the scriptures I had in the fingertips of my mind and to look deeper at some of the passages with which (I thought) I had been very familiar.
I believe one of the significant tools of Satan, certainly in my life, is that he builds up the importance of the material this world has to offer. If you think carefully, you may discover that sin, in most if not all cases, is a perversion of something good that was created by God. The design of God in hunger was to provide a mechanism by which we repair our physical bodies. Sin turns hunger into gluttony. The process designed to repair our bodies becomes the force by which our bodies are damaged, sometimes irreparably. There is so much beauty in this world. When you stumble on someone/something that possesses much of it, your heart will skip, and your breath can literally be taken away. Sin changes beauty to lust; I must have as my own possession that object of my desire. Beauty becomes corrupted and no longer has the power to enrich my life. It becomes the object of paranoia and greed, by which I lose all appreciation. Even anger, as a device to arouse passion and drive an individual to act on something that is out of place, is designed by God. Sin corrupts anger into selfish ambition and harsh judgement on another’s motives. The righteous anger to correct wrong becomes destructive under sin and does more damage than good. In extreme cases it ONLY does damage.
God is described as light. Darkness does not abide in him. John makes this point in 1 John 1:5-6. He also says that if there is darkness in me, and if I walk in it, I cannot be associated with or in fellowship with God. I cannot walk with God while persisting in my darkness. There may be in me some hints at light, but no matter how noble my cause, no matter how loving my character, not matter how kind my actions, there is always that darkness that lurks within me. As I continue to hold onto this darkness, I hold on to the very thing that keeps me separated from God.
God realizes this and provides a solution to a problem that is seemingly impossible. How can dark and light have fellowship? ( 2 Cor. 6:14 )
By salvation I am transformed. The darkness that resides within me is exposed. It is so completely overcome, that there is no place for it to remain. So, it dies. As it dies, so does the part of me that held on to darkness, the part of me which interfered with my growing relationship to God. So, with all that said and done, how exactly do I take part in transformation?
For me that has been a question many years in the making. I believe the conversation does not even start, until I realize that the darkness will destroy me, because it is full of the perversion of the things God created perfectly. It possesses the lies and deceit that blinds me to God and grows within me an aversion if not a hatred of the light. I am totally and completely reliant on the plan that God has made to put to death my darkness. ( Rom. 8:13. ) God’s Love is the only thing that can transform me into the creature that can have fellowship with him. I merely follow the steps laid out by God on Earth (Jesus Christ, his son).
I will spend much more time thinking on transformation, as I approach the time when faith and hope perish in the glorious revelation of sight. Each day I am not being transformed is a day I spend in darkness, apart from God. It is a day that my fellowship with God remains . . . broken.
- Steve Turquette