Don’t doubt or worry because your rescue is coming

Published 9:33 am Friday, July 12, 2013

By David Hernes
retired pastor from East Freeborn Lutheran Church

Two men were talking. One asked the other, “Are you saved?” The second one answered with a simple “Yes.” The first pursued, “Would you tell me when and where you got saved?”

The second, a bit at a loss, and uncomfortable, regained his composure and said, “Yes, I can tell you when and where I got saved. It was on a Friday afternoon, about 3 p.m.. It was halfway around the earth. Three men were being executed on a hill outside the walls of Jerusalem. Nearing death, one of them said simply, ‘It is finished,’ and moments later added, ‘Father, into your hands I release my spirit.’ And then he died. That is when and where I got saved.”

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Some Christians like an answer something like this: “I was saved on March 22, 1885, when I went forward at an evangelistic service and accepted Christ.”

Other Christians like to say, “I was saved when my parents brought me to Christ in baptism, when I was about a month old.”

What does saved mean anyway? Another word could be used: rescued. The question then would be, “When and where did you get rescued?” The implication is that people are in jeopardy, in danger and need to get pulled out.

And that is exactly what Christians are getting at. Christians understand that people need to be rescued from evil. Not only the evil that runs rampant in the world, but also the evil that resides within each one of us.

This spiritual rescue comes from the rescuing action of our creator. It is a personal rescue. Jesus taught us that we can think of our creator as Father. Our creator loves good and hates evil. And he wants nothing more than to rescue us from the peril of evil.

The first answer above points simply and clearly to the foundational event of rescue. It makes clear that I do not contribute a single thing to my rescue. Acceptance doesn’t save me. God does. Church rites do not save me. God does. Theology and doctrines and creeds do not save me. God does. Sometimes we even think of faith as some kind of bargaining chip that we give to God, in return for which he saves. Even “faith” doesn’t save me. God does. Even the story doesn’t save. The story is the story of the rescue event.

So what is there to do? The story points to our rescuers. We are invited to look at them and put our trust in them. Depend on them. Count on them. No one else. And nothing else. For there our rescue is certain, and our weary and doubting hearts can find rest and security.