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« Your Cosmic Relationship: Jesus as Everything | Main | Jesus: Best Friend Forever »

So, Just How Personal Is Your Savior?

We’ve heard it all our lives.  It rolls glibly off the tongue of the nominal Christian.  “Accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior.”  Of course, Apostolics understand that there is more to the new birth than a verbal assent to accept Christ.  Jesus told Nicodemus to be born of the water and the Spirit.  Peter preached the first sermon at the inauguration of the church in which he called for repentance, baptism in Jesus’ Name, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)

But, let’s go back to the personal part.  This is the pill that gets stuck in the throat.  We can talk all day long and into the night about the idea of sin, the love of God for the sinner, the pain of Calvary and the efficacy of the blood of Jesus.  We can argue over soteriology, redemption, atonement, propitiation and the like, ad nauseam, yet, never feel the impact of opining on these very subjects.  My contention is that anything that is not personal is not real. 

Take the Kate Steinle case.   Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant and repeat felon from Mexico who’d been deported five times, is accused of shooting Steinle, a 32-year-old medical device sales rep, as she walked on a San Francisco pier. The shooting set off a heated, national debate over sanctuary cities, immigration policies, legislative proposals, illegal alien statistics, gun control laws, and endless rancorous arguments over ideas and concepts.  On and on it has gone, and nothing has been resolved as of this writing.  On January 17, 2017, a judge did deny a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, saying it was not liable for Steinle’s death.  The magistrate did say that the parents could sue the federal government because the gun belong to a ranger in the employ of the United States.

But all this back-and-forth conversation does nothing to assuage the pain of Kate’s family.  For them, it is not a matter of statistics, or social policy or immigration laws.  People can engage in these discussions as much as they want, but at the end of the day, they can go home and forget about it.  It’s just talk.  There is no impact on their personal lives.  Things like this don’t become real until your personal life is blown to smithereens by a senseless act that everybody else yawns and dismisses as a matter for the daily log.

So it is with sin and salvation.  As long as sin is generic, as long as evil is theoretical, as long as guilt is hypothetical, then it’s not real.  If sin and salvation are not personal, they will never be fully appreciated.  If we can relegate salvation to far-away tragedy, at a distant time and place, by someone who is legendary but unknown, then it will never be real.  As long as the cross can be confined to the stale words of a memorized prayer, or the lyrics of a song, or the text of a sermon, or the seed thought of an article, then it will never be real.

How can it be real?  When you make it personal.  When you see that it was your sin that hammered the spikes into His hands and feet.  When you recognize that it was your transgressions—literally—that drove the spear into His side.  When you fully admit that it was your lying, cheating, stealing, fornication, abusive actions, pride, rebellion, greed, violence, slander, and so much more that crushed the life out of the Savior.  That’s when it becomes personal.  When it becomes personal, you will experience an epiphany, a revelatory moment, a soul awakening that will propel you into a dimension you never thought existed.

Isn’t it strange?  We want healing to be personal.  We want deliverance to be personal.  We want our daily interaction with Jesus to be personal.  We want Jesus to know what’s going on in our marriage, our family, our job, our church, our ministry, our friendships, our situations in life.  When we pray, we just want to say, “Lord, you know what I’m going through right now,” which means we want—we expect—Him to be personal with us.  Why, then, do we not really personalize our salvation?

If He is your Savior, make it personal.  See your sin there, on the cross.  Own it.  Claim it.  Confess it.  Spell it out.  See His blood covering your sin.  Hear your Savior speak your name.  See His eyes fully engage your gaze.  He’s more than a generic Savior.  He’s more than a theologian’s lesson on soteriology.  He’s your Savior.  He bore your sin. 


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