11/28/2010 11:27:00 pm

Me and my Salvation

Posted by Tom French |

Samuel and the fire.jpg

I was doing my Bible reading this morning, and I'm currently going through 1 Samuel because we're doing it in youth group. Today I read 1 Samuel 12 where Samuel gives his farewell speech. And it's not what you'd expect - "It's been so good leading you all, I love you lots, God bless" - Samuel lays into them and gives them a history their sin, right up until they choose a king and rejected God as their king. Samuel then says God is going to send a storm to prove they have done evil, and he does, which is a pretty awesome endorsement of your speech if you're Samuel.

Israel feels pretty convicted by the thunder and lightning and says: "Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king." (12:19)

And Samuel replies with, "Do not be afraid. You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own." (12:20-22)

That struck me. Firstly because I feel like I regularly get confronted with my sin. And I think "Oh goodness, now I've done this, on top of all my other sins." So I know how the Israelites feel.

But then Samuel gives this great reply. He doesn't say "Oh don't worry about it, it's nothing. God will forgive you." And he doesn't say "Sucks to be you, God is going smash you guys so hard!"

He says "You have done all this evil". He doesn't pull punches. But having done evil their response should be to try and escape his wrath, to get away from him. But Samuel counsels them by saying "Do not be afraid" and "Do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart." Just when they should be running away he says come closer. Serve God. Do not be afraid. Why?

"For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own."

God is going to forgive and not destroy the Israelites because God's name is made great when he forgives sinful people and when he looks after his family. It's not because Israel is amazing, or God is fond of their cuteness, or they'll make it up to God. Israel are safe from God and God will forgive them because it glorifies him. For God saving and forgiving is all about glorifying himself.

And that gives me great comfort. I know I have done evil. And I'm not sure why God would want to forgive me. But God doesn't forgive me because there is anything particularly special about me, he forgives me for the sake of his great name. And there is no point where God will give up on me, not because God can't live without me, but for the sake of his great name. I am saved for God's glory. And I am safe for God's glory. Which means, it's not about me.

In my self-centredness I can get all caught up on why would God save me? I'm not good enough, maybe God will stop loving me if I keep letting him down, how much longer will he put up with me? I should work harder to please God. And really it's not about me. But God's not saving me because of how good or bad I am. He's not getting me in his kingdom because I'm a great asset with all my Christian skills, or because he saw me and thought "That guy really needs help." God has saved me, and keeps me saved, because it's an expression of his character and a testament to his greatness. God's not going to stop loving me, or drop me from the team, because I'm here to glorify him. Saving me, and sanctifying me and making me his child, that glorifies which is the primary reason I am saved. My salvation is not about me, it not reliant on me at all, it's not predicated on how good or bad I am, it's about God, who is love, doing what God does best.

It's not about me.

I was an object of wrath, I am a trophy of grace, because I am the glory of God and the glory of God wins every time.

Hallelujah.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. - Ephesians 1:3-6

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