Monday, March 31, 2014

Saved Before the Beginning

Being saved is a common theme in the New Testament.  "What must I do to be saved?" is followed by "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."  Scripture talks about salvation in past, present and future tenses.  We talk today about being saved, and about our salvation experience.  And at times the question is raised about whether or not one could lose their salvation.  And I admit to having been on both sides of this debate over the years.

But recently I have come to have an entirely different perspective on salvation, when it occurs, and if it can be lost.  And the verse below has been instrumental in this shift in perspective.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:4 NIV
I am a creature who is limited by time.  I view things as having happened in the past, happening now, or something that may happen in the future.  Time is a linear progression that impacts everything I do.

But that is not the case with God.  He is outside of time.  My yesterday, today and tomorrow are his now.  Before he created this universe, before time even began, he already knew me and had chosen me.  While I believe he chose me because he knew what I would become, it really matters little for this discussion.  God chose me before creation; I was already his before he began to put this universe together.  While in my time limited perspective, that was long before I began to exist; in God's timeless perspective he has always known me.

While I have a difficult time fathoming God and his timeless existence,  there are some things that would seem to be true.  Change only occurs in time, requiring both a before and after state.  If God in outside of time, then he does not change, something that the scripture affirms.  And if he does not change, then if I am in Christ now, then it would seem that I have always been in Christ, otherwise a change has occurred.

If the preceding is true, then the question of when I was saved is only applicable to me as a time bound creature, and has no meaning to God.  While it seems funny, I'm not sure it is incorrect to claim that I was saved before the creation of the universe.  That is admittedly confusing, but it is what you get when you try to visualize timelessness as a time bound creature.

And if I was known by God before creation, if I have always been in Christ, then does it even make sense to talk about losing my salvation?  Would that not imply that God chose me, and then didn't choose me?  And wouldn't that imply a change in the unchanging and timeless God?  I think it is safe to say that the God who knew me before creation, also knew if I would endure with him, and chose accordingly.

The eternal, unchanging, transcendent God knew me, and chose me, before creating this universe.  I still have a long way to go before being able to claim I understand that.  But I do like it.

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