The Nature of Salvation

  1. Christians have been taught that Jesus Christ has saved them by dying on the cross for their sins.  The Gospel of John says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him will have everlasting life.”  Many passages from the Gospels and the Pauline letters suggest what we must hold certain beliefs to be saved.  How are disciples of Jesus to accept this understanding while still engaging in limiting and debilitating behaviors?  The verse in the hymn, Amazing Grace, “I once was lost by now I’m found, was blind but now I see” makes a powerful statement.  What is it that believers see so clearly?  Does this new vision help believers build community and heal others?  Or, is this understanding of salvation nothing more than another form of consciousness where believers surround themselves with traditional beliefs that have been handed down through the centuries? The question of Nicodemus persists: “What must I do to be “saved?”

  2. Many of us are need-driven, i.e., we tend to gravitate to a source of authority for living when we are needy, frustrated and wearying of life’s events.  Frequently those who are financially independent, who have countless stable relationships and an ease of social mobility may be less likely to experience the same level of neediness to “be saved.”  For them, it may be that their cause for coming to the earth was to discover new levels of generosity and a joy for serving others who are lower on the economic and social food chain.  The life of ease, control and pleasure can be highly seductive. Jesus taught that “for those who have, is more required.”  Everyone has their burden to carry and economic and social freedom is one of them.  The experience of wholeness (salvation) may differ widely among people.  Given this understanding, Bill Gates and Mother Teresa were brother and sister.

  3. The mind is very powerful.  It can hold countless noble, correct beliefs and can appreciate wisdom.  However, when there is a major disconnect between the mind (the realm of logic) and the heart (the seat of emotions) knowing the truth may be nothing more than an intellectual exercise.  Salvation is more than beliefs, memorized Scriptures and a litany of good deeds.  The mind has to direct the heart with a commanding ability to say, “See here, heart, I don’t care how you feel!  You must exercise your body every day, rid your emotions of negative responses, lose the language of blame, stop lingering around past hurts, stop speculating about the character of others, stop manipulating people with your personality and surrender your fears, etc.”  Such emotional patterns that imprison our energy assume the form of open wounds in the spirit.  Their sponsoring stimulus is unresolved past hurts and neediness.  How would your physical body respond to a wound that had remained open for 20 years?  When we translate this image into the language of spirit, we see why salvation is linked to how successful we are at doing our inner work. Knowing the language of “leaving your burdens at Jesus’ feet” is not enough unless we follow-through, do it and never look back.  This process is another way of describing the skill of creative detachment.

  4. Examine the mythologies (excuse making) that we frequently use to maintain our flaws of character.  They siphon power away from us enabling us to maintain a comfort level with our demons.  Examples: “I have a wounded child living in me.”  “My parents never set boundaries for me.  Ever since then I have remained angry and out of control when I cannot get my way.” “A rolling stone gathers no moss, so I’ve gone from one intimate relationship to another.”  “I enjoy new experiences; I change jobs about every three years.”  “I crave intimacy.  It gives me great excitement and pleasure to realize how many men want me.”  “I’m entitled to one addiction.  Mine does not hurt anyone and I’m an over-achiever in other areas of life where I fulfill my responsibilities with plenty of room to spare.”

  5. Claiming to be a spiritual person can be another form of self-absorption.  In fact, it is possible for many religious practices to radiate from this attitude.  The test is this: “What has my understanding and insights given me the skills to do?  What does my energy look like when I am in relationship with others who do not reflect my values, beliefs and life-style?  Am I able to accept others as God’s creations who may not be on my level of awareness?  Do I hold fast to the same character qualities and levels of consciousness in private as I do when I am on stage in the public arena?”  These will give each of us a benchmark for examining our varying degrees of understanding our wholeness.

  6. Remember, your positive behavior, your life-enhancing beliefs, your wisdom, and your creative, loving attitudes will not save you from anything.  Why?  You were never lost in spite of what moral and religious authorities have told you.  If any statement could describe those judging others as being “lost,” it would be that they lack a more informed orientation.  Absolutely no one can judge another, even the authors of our Scriptures.  When they do, they will find themselves judging God as well.  The assumption must be made that our Creator is working with all God’s creations.  Even those who “know” the high road and still falter with issues of character have only manifested a disconnect between their mind and heart.  Jesus knew this when he said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”  God will always be successful in piercing all barriers we construct out of ignorance, even when we have been building them for most of our lives.  As the Apostle Paul once said, “If for this life only we have hoped, we are among all people most to be pitied.”  God has planned many future opportunities for each soul.  If we feel the need to judge others, we are only revealing our need to do so.

  7. We are infinite beings whose purpose for incarnating in the material world is to transcend physical realties and radiate our nature – loving energy.  To accomplish our task we may be born into poverty or riches, health or ill health, a land of opportunity or a land with none.  We can experience long lives or we may leave our bodies while young.  Our judgments about our world do not make God a flawed creator.  Nor do our challenging circumstances communicate that we have some karmatic debt to pay.  The physical world is what it is.  The judgments we make reflect our understanding and nothing more.  The Chamber of Horrors in a theme park would frighten us beyond belief if we thought it was real.  It is the knowledge that it is not that allows us to enjoy it.  The same is true with existence in our solid forms.  This is not who we are.  The physical world is here to be enjoyed.  It is an environment filled with opportunities for refinement and for sharpening our self-definitions.  All that appears required of us is to trust God for providing an environment in which our spiritual safety is 100% guaranteed.  Our responsibility is to realize that we can either grow or engage in delay.  Our salvation has always been God’s will.  Nothing can stop God’s will from being accomplished even though religionists have always taught that our “our personal salvation” has been left up to our uninformed decision-making.  One day such well-intentioned religious leaders will awaken to a God who has been far more creative then they.