Salvation for Dummies

The “For Dummies” books have made a ton of money for writers and publishers. There are scores of titles, each one describing complex tasks in simple language. They’re the go-to books for those of us who get lost in the 12-page/five-language directions that come with our new purchases.

Plumbing. Learning Spanish verbs. Doing taxes. Beekeeping. List any subject, and Dummies.com probably has a book for it. There’s even a Revelation for Dummies!

However, when I did not find one covering salvation, that set me to writing.

Introduction: This book is for people who would rather look forward to eternity with a caring God in the happiness of heaven rather than living (and then dying) on Earth without hope of something better. It’s also for those who find “theology” unwieldy and bewildering.

Page 1: The Bible's most popular salvation words are found in the third chapter of a book written by one of Jesus’ best friends, Fisherman John. He heard Jesus say this to a temple spy:

“God loves you so much that He asked me to come to earth, find you, love you without limits, so that you fall in love with us, and then make sure to get you to your room in our heavenly home — rather than just staying down here and dying forever.” (See John 3.)

Page 17: “There is nothing you can do that will in any way add anything to what God has already done for you.” (Edward Heppenstahl, 1969)

Page 21: You will be tempted (by the devil/Lucifer/his minions) to try to do stuff so God will love you more or at least be awed with your holiness. Don’t fall for his scam. Instead, “Since you have given up on yourself and allowed God to take full control of your life [Christians call this being 'born again'], focus your mind on God’s heavenly home, rather than on the dusty trash of Earth. And, because salvation takes a 'whole life' commitment, focus your heart up there also. With your thoughts (mind) and emotions (heart) connected to God’s power, you’ll become like Him, changed from the inside out." (See Colossians 3.)

Page 35: One of the Bible writers, Paul, a man who knew what it was like to be changed from a murderer to a lover, dictated God’s “salvation formula” in a letter to some friends. The letter is still around: “God’s looking for folks who want to be with Him more than anything else. When He finds them, He lifts them up and shouts to everyone in the universe, ‘Hey, look at Fred and Mary. See the way they live, so kind and loving! They live like this because my Son, Jesus, has gracefully forgiven them and filled them with our love!’" (See Ephesians 2.)

Then Prisoner Paul adds, “Remember, salvation is only available to those who trust God to do the saving. If you could do anything to get yourself to heaven, you’d go around boasting about your ‘good works’ rather than remembering that He’s the only reason you can be saved” (emphasis added).

Last Page: There’s lots more, but it’s all the same. Salvation’s something God does, for free, for anyone (including you) if you ask.

From last month's column: What page of the Bible did Eduardo share with his friend? John 14 and 15.

May 23, 2017 / Just Like Jesus
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