What is salvation? Whether you believe Messiah had already arrived or whether you are still waiting, it’s clear God saves us from the eternal consequence of our sins by means of His Anointed One, Mashiach/The Messiah. When you accept God’s Messiah as your Saviour and King, then you are “saved”. And,when you are saved, you spend Eternity in a really, really nice place. If you aren’t saved, you spend Eternity in a really, really lousy place. Saved= Eternity in a nice place; not saved= Eternity in a lousy place. That’s Salvation, in a nutshell.
But that’s not the good news, bad news.
From my childhood I wanted a relationship with God and felt unfilled and unfulfilled, yet what kept me from even thinking about being saved for over forty years was the thought that being saved meant I had to be a different person. I couldn’t make dirty jokes, I had to be nice to everyone, I couldn’t get mad, I always had to be holy; no jokes, always serious, no fun…not me at all.
Truth be told, I wasn’t all too happy about who I was, anyway, but I certainly preferred who I was to what I thought I would have to become.
Here’s the Good News about Salvation: you don’t have to become a different person to be saved.
Here’s the Bad News about Salvation: you don’t become a different person just because you’re saved.
Huh? What is this guy talking about?
I am saved, and I am still me. Being saved by Messiah, I am a Saint (according to the Bible, not because I did 3 miracles and was voted in), but I am still me. I still like dirty jokes (but I tell less of them because I am more aware of other’s feelings), I still like to drink alcohol (but I do so moderately), I still curse (but less- a lot less), and I still act like a dope. I am Steve, but Steve is saved. All those years of being afraid of losing myself were for naught. So, why is this bad news?
Because now that I am saved, and have the indwelling Ruach (Spirit) of God that leads me (when I allow it), I think differently. What’s has changed is that my heart of stone is being replaced with one of flesh. I am not becoming a different person, I am becoming a better me. And because of this, I now wish, sorta, that I would be changed. I often pray God will take away certain thoughts and desires, and replace them with compassion and patience. Now that I understand what God wants, and now that I want to please Him, I want to be different.
I prayed and prayed for God to excise parts of my personality, to make me a different person, and one day He answered my prayer. He said, “That’s not how it works.” He gave me the insight to know why: we need to learn to rely on God’s Spirit and God’s strength because if He miraculously ‘cured” me I would never learn how to depend on Him. You see, the Tribulation is already here. Just living in the world, but no longer being part of it, is a Tribulation all those who are saved must endure. We need to discipline ourselves and steel ourselves against the sin that is all around us, and (more so) the sin that is always inside us. If God just made it go away, we would be like the seed that falls on poor soil, and when the first wind blows we will lose it all. We need to exercise our spiritual muscles and work them to control ourselves, we need to be good soil and in that way when we call on the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) we will have the strength to listen and obey it.
If anyone is reading this and is a little scared about accepting Messiah Yeshua because (like me) you were afraid of being changed, don’t be. You don’t really change that much; at least, not at first and when changes do happen, you are happy about them.
I used to be a sinner that rationalized my sins, and now I am a sinner who regrets my sins. That’s the big change, and that’s the change that makes me want to do better and be better.
Like I said, I am not becoming a different person, I am becoming a better me. If you want to be a better you, accept God’s grace and accept Messiah Yeshua right now. Make a change for the better.