For example, the word salvation, as described in today's Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, is "1
a: deliverance from the power and effects of sin, b: the agent or means that effects salvation." And then it gives an example of "salvation" from . . . The Christian Science Church "c: Christian Science: the realization of the supremacy of infinite Mind over all bringing with it the destruction of the illusion of sin, sickness, and death."
The "illusion" of sin, sickness, and death? Seriously? Okay. Well, here's the definition of "salvation" from the The American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster (1828).
SALVA'TION, n. [L. salvo, to save.] 1.) The act of saving; preservation from destruction, danger or great calamity. 2.) Appropriately in theology, the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness. This is the great salvation.
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor 7. 3.) Deliverance from enemies; victory. Exo 14. 4.) Remission of sins, or saving graces. Luke 19. 5.) The author of man's salvation. Psa 27. 6.) A term of praise or benediction. Rev 19.
See why I like the 1828 dictionary so much? It uses the Bible to give meaning to our words. Nice.
So, anyway, our topic for discussion today is "salvation." We've already read the definition. Let's put it into terms we can understand it a little better. Here's a story for you - a parable if you will . . . The Parable of The Cookie.
Let's say that when you were younger your mom made a batch of cookies one day. She gave you and your brother each a cookie and a glass of milk. She put the rest of the cookies in a jar and said, "The rest of those cookies are for church. Hands off." Then she left the room.
Those cookies sure were good. Surely there were more than enough cookies in that jar for church. Surely mom wouldn't notice if you took just one more. So you took one and ate it.
The next day your mom calls you and your brother into the kitchen and says, "Yesterday I put 24 cookies in that jar and today there are only 23. Anyone want to explain where the other cookie went?"
You look at your brother and he looks at you. Both of you knew who took that cookie.
Suddenly, your brother stands up and says, "I take the blame."
"Fine," your mother says. "Just wait until your dad gets home. You deliberately disobeyed me. You KNOW that I love you, but you know what disobeying your parents means."
It meant a spanking. Your brother was going to get a spanking for something that YOU did.
That, my friends, is salvation. Your brother saved your butt, literally, at the expense of his own.
How would that make you feel?? Would you feel guilty? How would you feel when you heard your brother being spanked? Would that bother you at all? Of course it would. So what would you do?
Would you go to your parents and tell them that YOU were the one who stole the cookie? Would that take away your guilt? Maybe. But I'm guessing you would still feel that you owed your brother something for doing what he did - for taking your punishment.
When Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment for each of us. He took the consequences of our sin on himself. Once, and for all. How does that make you feel? Do we feel like we owe Jesus for what he did? I sure do. So how can we repay Him? I offered my life back to Him - a sacrifice, and a pale one at that, but I gave Him MY life to show Him my gratitude for taking my punishment on his shoulders.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." - Isaiah 53:5
Thank you Jesus.
And just to drive the point home about what Jesus did for us, here's a little bonus lesson . . . about Grace.
Going back to my cookie parable for a moment, suppose that after your brother received that spanking - the spanking that really should have been yours - suppose he came into your room, rubbing his sore rear end and, with tears in his eyes he said to you, "Here, I saved this for you." And he handed you a cookie. His cookie.
"I saved it for you yesterday cuz I knew you always like to eat two cookies and mom only gave you one."
That, my friends, is grace.