Well, greetings once again friends. I’m Loren Fenton, and this is Episode 46 of the GoodlifeNews! Podcast and Blog.
Since this is the very last episode for 2022, I also must tell you that this episode will be the last one for the foreseeable future. Some other matters have come along that will require me to focus creative energies for writing/publishing in a slightly different direction. I am at a point in life where I find it necessary to limit my commitments–even self-imposed ones! God is good, and I am greatly blessed with the opportunities I’ve had to share my thoughts with you over the last 20 months. It has been a wonderful time meeting each of you from episode to episode, either on the podcast or on the blog page. I have grown through the process. I trust you may have been blessed as well. I have several projects in process right now which will share in due time, but now it is time to turn our attention to the subject for our study today.
Why Do We Need “Saving”?
In the Christian world, countless conversations, sermons, books, and pamphlets have attempted to share the Good News—the Gospel of salvation for sinners.
But, just what is it we are being saved from? And, just why do we need to be saved?
Here is the simple gospel message from Scripture:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge (i.e. “condemn”) the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).
The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for that; it is a gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But, here again, why do we need “saving”? Let’s take a quick look back at the story of Creation in Genesis.
Even before God created the heavens and the earth, as the story is recorded in Genesis 1, God had a purpose and a plan.
The purpose—and the plan—were developed in the heart of God long before that first declaration, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3).
While our feeble human minds are totally inadequate to comprehend the full nature of God, we can glimpse a few beams of light revealed in Scripture. What we know for certain is that God is “love” (1 John 4:8). The love of God is agápe love—eternal, unconditional, unbroken. It is the same love Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 13.
A fascinating fact about agápe love is that it requires a minimum of three persons to exist. Agápe love was—and is—the very substance each relationship between the three members of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each had a part in bringing “the heavens and the earth” into material existence. The Creation was both conceived and birthed in the heart of God to share the joys of this true, pure agápe love with beings other than themselves. For that purpose, they—the three members of the Trinity—covenanted together to create a new planet as a beautiful, perfect home for a new race.
“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Wonderful purpose. Perfect plan. Perfect world. Perfect people.
But then it all went bad.
Adam and Eve, our first parents, chose to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their one act opened the floodgates of evil to pour into God’s beautiful creation. The devil’s promise proved tragically true—the knowledge of evil now mixed with good. There was no retreat. Now, in addition to the beauty God gave, the world began to fill with sorrow, heartache, disappointment, pain, and death.
The one thing Satan didn’t anticipate, however, was God’s agápe love. Sin didn’t catch God by surprise. Disappointment, yes, but not surprise. God’s good gift of life and beauty did not include evil experiences like anger, alienation, hatred, or utter absence of compassion and caring for others.
God’s original plan gave human beings complete freedom of moral choices. There was risk, of course. The choice to depart from the standards of moral law could—and would—cause untold disruption in both the physical world and the hearts of all mankind. God knew this possibility. And, because it was a very real possibility, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit devised a plan long before it happened. It was a plan of salvation. A plan of redemption. A plan of restoration.
Adam’s race could be saved—and restored—by agápe love, but only at great cost to God himself.
God’s Plan “B”
One thing we can know is that God’s purpose never changes!
The Bible is filled with stories of God changing his plans, due to human freewill choices, but his purpose it eternal!
The plan of salvation was God’s “Plan B”—put in place for “just in case” Adam and Eve might choose to disobey their Creator’s counsel. When they did, the course was already in place, and the Word, the Second Person of the Godhead, was on track for Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary, and the Cross.
In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven.The Desire of Ages, p. 20
With the inauguration of “Plan B,” a new purpose was added for every individual choosing to accept God’s offer of redemption and eternal life. The choice brings with it a calling: to be an ambassador for God’s eternal kingdom of agápe love and grace.
God’s Kingdom of Agápe Love and Grace
Jesus taught his disciples to pray
There is so much in that prayer we cannot begin to cover it all today. (In fact, I once developed a series of six entire sermons from this prayer Jesus taught his disciples.)
However, as we think about God’s calling for us to be ambassadors for his kingdom, the expression “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” points directly to us as his agents “on the ground.”
There it is: the new purpose for the saved—Ambassadors for God’s Eternal Kingdom beginning right now in this present world.
Agents of God’s grace.
Carriers of Compassion.
Ministers of Peace.
Living Examples of Godliness.
This purpose—God’s calling on our lives—is to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us as co-restorers of Creation’s original beauty. That begins with our own salvation/restoration to God’s design for our lives. It continues for all eternity.
Think about it!
There is no purpose, privilege, calling, or opportunity greater than this! Because of God’s grace, by his indwelling presence and power we can live his grace in all our relationships. His desire is that we can become channels of agápe love to our world.
None of us are worthy. We are all sinners—saved by grace. But, not just saved, we are restored by grace, called into service, and empowered by the Spirit to represent the Kingdom that is not of this world.
I have found I need to renew my choice every day. God still gives total moral freewill to the children of men. The devil still roams the earth as a roaring lion seeking souls to terrorize, paralyze, and devour. But, he and all the other fallen angels of hell’s army are no match for truth, love, grace, and forgiveness given in the name of Jesus, motivated by compassion and care for the needs of others.
I choose Jesus again today.
Will you join me?
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I need to pause the podcast/blog posts for now. I may be able to resume a regular schedule at some yet undetermined future date, but not now. Other responsibilities have come up needing my attention and focus. If you might have specific questions or observations about any of the 46 episodes, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to let me know you are a listener/subscriber to GoodlifeNews! I would love to hear from you.
If you enjoy these Podcasts and Blogposts, you can still share the links with your friends, family, or whomever! The online presence of this ministry will still be available—at least for several more months.
My many sincere thanks for each of you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you over the last 20 months! May God richly bless you each day.
And, may you continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ each day.