And so we come to the end of the series on the gifts of salvation. It’s a long series, the longest yet on this blog. The experts discourage long series. Readers need variety, they say. Something fresh. Something that will catch their interest in a new way.
But I did this long series anyway, because the length, in some ways, is the whole point.
As I said in the opening post, salvation isn’t really “a gift”; it’s a whole pile of gifts, wrapped in bright paper and tied with oversized bows and piled under the tree, where there’s barely room to contain them all.
Salvation is the most extravagant thing in the universe.
It goes on forever. Even longer than this series did. 🙂
And yes, that’s the point.
God has designed the shape of the universe and the course of history around his extravagant plan to rescue you from the well-deserved disaster of your own sin and foolishness, and he has done so without your asking for or even wanting it. And he has done this not because of who you are, but because of who he is.
He has crushed your slavery to sin, not just breaking, but obliterating the shackles, and he has instituted an intimate personal relationship with you that will endure for all eternity. He has adorned that relationship with actions that become facets in the jewel of his love, with the result that this relationship is richer and deeper and more complex than any of the relationships that we know with our fellow creatures. It’s more than servanthood; it’s more than friendship; it’s more than brotherhood; it’s more than sonship; it’s even more than marriage. It’s all those things, and much, much more, in a single relationship.
It’s unparalleled. Unique.
And that means it’s worth everything.
Jesus said that it’s worth more than father or mother, son or daughter, even husband or wife. It’s worth more than admiration or fame before mere creatures. It’s worth more than barns full of luxuriant wealth. It’s worth more than the whole world—and all the other worlds together.
It makes the greatest evils in this life—and they are great evils—“light afflictions,” according to Paul (2Co 4.17), who knew a little something of what he was talking about (2Co 11). In one of his most frank moments, he compared all of his accomplishments in his earlier life to a giant, steaming pile of excrement (Php 3.8). That’s strong language, because it’s emphasizing the strong and central point of Paul’s entire existence—and ours as well.
What else matters? What else could possibly matter?
Shake off the shackles of life focused in this world. Delight in the extravagant gifts of God’s plan for your salvation. Abandon your dreams to him.
You won’t be sorry.
This will be my last blog post here for a few weeks, while I devote my effort to blogging elsewhere. You’re welcome to follow that story if you find it interesting.
Back soon, d.v.