Today is part one of a two part series called “Fragmented Faith” which is a look at the totality of the Gospel in our lives and what it means for discipleship.
Awhile back, my wife and I had a conversation about what it means to be saved. Here in the West, we have developed this (bogus) notion that what Jesus came to do was ‘save our souls’. Now, don’t get me wrong, salvation is important, vitally important. It’s the heart of the Gospel, our acceptance into the family of God comes through the work of Jesus. But what we have done with that, is made it only a section of who we are. That is, we treat ourselves like, “I’m a man, a husband, father, uncle, brother, friend, and someone that Jesus has happened to save.”
What this has done is led us into skewed pictures of redemption, and it has largely left the majority of our lives unchanged and untransformed by the power of the Gospel.
We are glad that God has saved our ‘souls’ while we continue to ignore the fact that God wants to save the way we parent, have friendships, treat our spouse, or act as a disgruntled customer that has to wait in a line that is too long for our taste. We have become more concerned about where we go when we die that we have forgotten matters of discipleship – apprenticing to become like our Master.
In essence, we have treated our lives in a dualistic manner. We have separated our body from our spirituality.
And I think those around us have caught on. They’ve seen the way we focus on ourselves and our own desires while ignoring God’s call to justice and mercy. They’ve caught onto our gimmicks in getting them to say a prayer while we continue to exploit others for personal gain. They’ve noticed that we both curse others and praise God with the same tongue (James 3).
It’s one key reason why the institutional church has largely failed. It’s created a generation of consumers that like to come to church to hear how good they are, how nice they look, and how they are going to heaven when they die.
And then we leave church with our pressed shirts, slicked back hair, and go complain that this ungodly waitress would work on Sunday.
In the missional frontier, salvation becomes holistic. For people to do something as audacious and grandiose as join God in his mission to restore and redeem all things, we need to ourselves have been restored and redeemed in all areas. Instead of having our souls saved, we let Jesus save all of us. We parent like Jesus would. We allow him to enter into that relationship and shape us as we shape children.
We befriend others in the same way that Christ did, with love, acceptance, and blessing.
We treat our spouse with an attitude of submission, thinking of their own needs before our own.
And as we engage and live our lives in view of those around us, they will begin to see the many ways in which we have changed. They will see how we have allowed Christ to not only give us an admission ticket to heaven, but to work through us in inaugurating a new Kingdom way life. They will see that the Good News spreads to all areas of life, offering them hope where they once thought there was none.
It’s more than getting into heaven when you die, it’s being a sent agent of God’s shalom, giving others the peace and hope that comes from living a life with God.