22 September 2012Isaiah 45:15-25
"Turn to me and be saved." (v. 22)
Salvation is a word that is thrown around fairly loosely these days. Chris Moyles is the saviour of Radio One, Robin van Persie might be the saviour of Manchester United, Jessica Ennis was the saviour of British Olympic hopes, and so on! The Salvation Army (SA) have done remarkable work in the UK for nearly 150 years, but the popularity and common usage of the name has perhaps stopped some people thinking about what true salvation is. Not because the SA do not save, quite the opposite, they do amazing work, saving people on a daily basis. But rather because they have done such a good job, that salvation has become a household word, instead of something that people think about, and realise that it is completely life-changing!
In this passage, Isaiah is voicing God's appeal to the Israelites to get alongside God once again, and offers salvation in return. This salvation is "everlasting" (v. 17) and it means that "shame" and 'disgrace' will be things of the past! Isaiah states that God did not hide, or make God's own truth cryptic or complex, but made it plain for all to see. As such, salvation has been made achievable and accessible! I once heard of a church conversation about times of the morning service. The congregation hoped to make the service later in the morning, but some were said to say that 'getting to church should be difficult', as a test of endurance and sticking power. I don't believe that God works like this, and for me this passage reinforces my feelings.
However, God wants our salvation to be complete and life changing so that the past can be left behind. It's a difficult thing to verbalise, but in Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina', after Anna leaves her husband, Karenin is entreated by another to believe fully in God, and he gives the appearance of doing so, because this makes his life easier, and everyone assumes that he is now ok, rather than having to answer difficult questions. Whether this is a regular occurrence is debatable, but the notion is simple - salvation is either complete, or is actually worth significantly less. We are given the opportunity for complete salvation; "turn to me and be saved", and this chance is as huge as it sounds. What Karenin doesn't know is that the relief that he gets from living a lie could be hugely multiplied if he found true salvation. This is a reminder to all of us, that our salvation is complete and unending, so we should live remembering that this is the case. Thanks be to God for saving each and every one of us.
- In what ways have you been saved by God?
- How is this different from, or the same as worldly salvation?