growing up and having spent most of my life in christian circles, i was introduced to bible concepts of being born again…getting saved…accepting christ as my savior…at a young age and was consistently taught that the most important question a person would ever have to answer was “are you confident that you will go to heaven when you die?”
consequently, trying to turn discussions to matters of death and heaven and hell was something i was pressed into believing was my ultimate goal in every relationship.
i get it. we only have one chance at life and when death calls, there are no do-overs. i still believe it is important that we all come face-to-face with the question of our eternal destiny…before we are actually laying somewhere on a death bed. i really do.
but here’s the problem. salvation is not about a destination. it is about a life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3 Eternal life is not going to heaven. It is knowing Jesus.
“…whoever believes in Him gets to go to heaven when he dies.” John 3:16 No. He gets everlasting LIFE.
with all due respect to the mysterious greatness of what life after death may bring, salvation is mostly about life as we know it right now.
eternal life is not about heaven. it’s about a relationship.
salvation is not about where i’m going. it’s about what i’m becoming.
being saved is not primarily about the distant future. it’s about today…and maybe tomorrow.
i understand we need to have a sense of urgency. i understand that people need to make decisions for christ before it’s too late. like i said, i get it.
so let’s make sure we are communicating the right stuff with our sense of urgency. sure, eventually that eternal life inside of us will secure us a sweet place in the afterlife one day (or heaven as we like to say). but that’s not the focus of salvation. what happens when we die is just not the emphasis placed on salvation in scripture.
rather, the emphasis on salvation in scripture is about LIFE. the question isn’t, “where are you going when you die?” the question is, “are you experiencing life with god or not? because that’s what salvation is all about. and when we are saved, we are rescued from the life we are living and delivered to a new and completely different kind of life.
the goal is not to simply get rescued from hell. the goal is to get reunited with god. right now.
how awesome is that?