“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation …”
In Ephesians 6, Paul makes it clear that Christians are engaged in a battle against the forces of evil. This is not an occasional skirmish. It is spiritual warfare against the devil and his army of fallen angels. C.S. Lewis had it right when he said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.”
In our battle against the evil one it is imperative that we think rightly about salvation. That means knowing the what and how of salvation. It also means knowing the why.
At the heart of it is God’s love. He saved us because he loves us (see John 3.16). But there is more. The Lord saved us so that he could fulfill his purpose in us and through us. His purpose is that we: 1) reflect his image, and 2) live and work as agents of his kingdom on earth.
At the Fall the image of God in man was broken, and man ceased to operate as an agent of God’s kingdom. When we trust in Christ, the image of God is restored in us, and we are once again able to live and work as his ambassadors.
Far too many Christians think that the primary purpose of salvation is that they get to go to heaven when they die. Going to heaven is an incredible and wonderful outcome of salvation, but it is not the entire purpose. It is not the fullness of the Why.
God didn’t save you for you. He saved you for himself.
The Lord gives us a look into the Why of salvation in 1 Peter 2.9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
There it is. “You are … that you may.” You are chosen by God and saved by his grace so that you may proclaim who he is to a world living in darkness.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5.14-16)
You are saved for the purpose of living and working in a way that displays who God is to a watching world. You are saved so that God gets glory because of how you conduct your life.
Your understanding of the Why of salvation matters. If you are saved, the Enemy cannot take that away from you. He can, however, take away your effectiveness and fruitfulness. If your view of salvation is self-centered, then you will be a weak Christian who is vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. If your view of salvation is God-centered, then you will be a strong Christian who stands firm in the face of the attacks of the enemy.
Let us fully embrace the powerful truth that the Why of salvation is God and his purposes. While it is true that we receive incredible blessings by being saved, ultimately it is not about you or me.
“This grace was given … to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3.9-11)