“…Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…”
– Acts 16:31
[This is Me at My Best]
I was sitting in an auditorium during my Security Forces Academy graduation. I couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived. A dream I had when I was just a young child had come true; I was a cop. Today, all of the hard work and training I had endured over the past twelve weeks were met with the most beautiful thing in the world, a police badge.
Prior to our entire class, 120 of us, being called up, one by one, to receive our SF Badges, we had to give out “Distinguished Graduate” awards. These awards were given to the Top Five students in the class who excelled at their studies and their QC’s (the practical side of what we were doing.)
For your consideration, Security Forces was a difficult training school with each class averaging a 10-20 person drop- out rate. Our class was no exception either. We had about 10 students who dropped out. So, truth be told, we began with around 130 students. Our drop-out rate isn’t as significant as say, Navy Seal Training, but we’re not Navy Seals either; we’re Law Enforcement and Security personnel.
As I sat there, I had one desire-to get this “Distinguished Graduate” segment over with. I really didn’t care for it; all I wanted was to get up, get my badge and cry with tears of joy. I wasn’t expecting nor anticipating any award because I don’t think of myself as someone who would receive such an award. Besides that, there were many students in my class who excelled at being the “Top Dog” if you will.
You see, I struggle a lot; that’s what I do! I struggle in my studies and I struggle when I take exams. I struggle to get out of bed, shower, shave, brush my teeth and get dressed in the 7 to 8 minute time limit we are given. I struggle with running 2 miles in under 15 minutes. I struggle doing push-ups for two minutes non-stop. I struggle with weight issues and I even struggle against authority sometimes.
Then, out of the blue, my name was called. I was shocked to hear my name called because there were only two names left. That meant me, somehow, graduated 2nd in my class. I sat there frozen to my seat. The guy next to me had to break me out of my trance and say, “Dude, your name was called.” I got up, walked up to the front and received my award.
The funny thing is, just a few days prior to graduation, the class was performing an exercise in how to clear out a single room with a known armed intruder. As I completed my exercise, a number of my instructors looked at me and said, “Who are you?” We didn’t even know you were part of the class! You never said anything.
Do I need to give you a lesson on being an introvert?
I kept to myself and I was very quiet and very shy. I did my work and that was it. When we had classes, I never raised my hand to answer a question, regardless of whether or not I knew the answer. In many ways, I am the same person today. I am often the definition of being an introvert. Whatever, I’m kind of over it. Moving on…
I’ve been out of the military for a little over 10 years now. I look back and I am amazed that I accomplished something like that. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, now that I am older, I cannot possibly bring myself to do as much. My body simply doesn’t work the way it used to.
But I did something!
[Reflections I Don’t Want to See]
When I think over the highlights of my life, I should be proud! I mean, I graduated High School; I went on to serve my country in the US Air Force. While serving in the armed forces, I captured a child hood dream (being a police officer), I graduated with honors. I moved on to becoming a Chaplain Assistant and I was a Top Graduate nominee.
Following military service, I went to college and received my Masters degree. That’s all really cool stuff. That’s me at my best! But something is missing from the picture. Something is wrong. It might look like the perfect picture but it isn’t it. I am deeply flawed. I am stained with imperfection. I did something else-I fell short of the Glory of God.
I made a mistake. I repeated the same mistakes more often that I care to admit. I sinned against my creator. Now I am faced reflections I don’t want to see. Now I am faced with the imperfection that resides within me. I am lost, broken and empty.
How can I escape who I have become?
Jesus came to rescue me from the deep; he came to destroy the works of the enemy and to bring salvation to all who would believe. Jesus came to adopt me as an abandoned child. In salvation, Jesus delivers us, not simply from the power of sin but also from condemnation brought forth from the Law and to empower us to live life with God at the center. Deliverance is provided through the work of the Spirit.
1] Salvation is a Secured Work|
“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
We can sit around a campfire and debate the idea of who killed Jesus. I’ve heard all the stories before. The Romans were ultimately responsible. The New Testament actually points to the Jewish people since they tried him in their courts; they arrested him and sentenced him to death. We can argue that all of humanity made a contribution to the death of Jesus when we sinned. The lips of the Savior speak of something very different though. He said that no one-no Roman solider and no Jewish religious leader is going to take my life. No, I am going to give up my life for the world.
The work of salvation is secured by the only one who can secure such a work-Jesus. He alone has the authority to give his life away. He had and maintained authority to give his life away because he was without sin and therefore, he was not subject to death. On the contrary, death was subject to Jesus! He showed this, time and time again, when he called forth those who were dead and he raised them to life!
2] Salvation is a Complete Work|
“When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”
Earlier during the crucifixion event, the Roman soldiers had offered Jesus vinegar and wine but he refused to drink it. The purpose in providing this to the condemned was to ease the suffering and pain they were enduring and would about to endure. Jesus refused to ease the suffering he endured because he embraced the full weight of sin, our sin.
When Jesus knew his time had come to leave the world behind, he accepted the wine and vinegar, knowing full well he would no longer endure any more. Upon tasting it, he used his final breath to utter, “It is finished!” The work of God in Christ had come to fulfillment.
When God enters into the picture, the work is always complete. It is never half done or almost done, it is always complete. Philippians 1:6 reads, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
3] Salvation is an Eternal Work|
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. [a] No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”
Notice Jesus says this, “I have given them eternal life…” When does eternal life begin and end? The simple answer to this is that it doesn’t. Believers are called out, even before the foundation of the world, set apart and given eternal life.
Salvation is of God, it is his work and his work is secured and complete. As such, his children are secured. Eternal security is the Biblical response to the human condition of sin.
We are chosen by God, adopted by God, saved by his grace through faith and we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is our salvation| written by mike monica