Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Alienation from God

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11).

Hebrews 2 mentions the “great salvation” that has come in Jesus Christ to mankind and to the cosmos. Today we begin a short study of the doctrine of salvation. To understand salvation, we need to know from what we are saved. Because of Adam’s rebellion against God, all human beings are conceived in a state of estrangement from God. Alienation from God means alienation from life, joy, glory, power, and happiness; it means judgment and death. Salvation delivers us from the graveyard of death and restores us to the garden of God.

Alienation can be a partial thing: If we feel somewhat alienated from another human being, we can also be somewhat at ease or friendly toward him or her. What is true in our relations with other people is true also in our relationship with the total personality of God. All of us as Christians are fundamentally reconciled with God, but we still feel partially estranged from Him because of our continuing sin.

What about the person who has not been converted? The Bible clearly tells us that he is wholly estranged from God. His thoughts are evil continually (Romans 3). He is dead in sin (Ephesians 2). It is true that the unbeliever does some good deeds, measured by the external standard of God’s law, but he never does those deeds because they are good. In other words, he never does them because God wants him to do them; he does them to please himself because they make him feel good, because he wants to earn the approval of other people, because he was brought up to do them and they are a habit, etc. Jesus spoke of our depravity when He said, “If you, being evil, do good things.…” (Matthew 7:11).

Salvation means deliverance. The Hebrew word for salvation, yasha’, comes from a root word meaning “to put into a large, open place.” It may imply restoration to the Garden from which mankind fell. The name Joshua means “savior,” and Joshua put the people into the land of promise. The name Jesus (Yeshua) is the same, and He has delivered us into heaven itself.

Salvation is not first of all a matter of moral renovation; it is first of all a matter of reconciliation between God and man. The truest mark of a Christian is not an outwardly wonderful life but a life of prayer and communication with God. How does your life manifest salvation as reconciliation?