“If you’re saved, and you know it, clap your hands!” We used to sing that song at camp when I was a child (and after most of the dinosaurs on planet earth had become extinct). What in the world does it mean to be saved?
We’ve been looking at the first few verses of Galatians 1 where Paul writes: “3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
There are five truths that help explain salvation from this text. We’ve seen the first truth which is we are at peace with God! (v. 3). The second truth in this text about being saved is we have been paid for (v. 4)! Jesus “gave himself for our sins”! Our sins separated us from a holy God. Jesus paid that debt for us.
The third truth in this text about being saved is — we have been rescued! Jesus gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age. Do you feel “rescued”?
On this issue of being rescued, allow me a brief story. When I was in college, I took a life-saving course with about 25 other students. The Bible college I attended had a swimming pool in the basement and the young man who taught the course was not a student at the Bible college, was mean as a snake, and apparently didn’t want to teach us how to rescue drowning swimmers.
I remember his telling us one night to come wearing a pair of pants over our swim suit because he was going to teach us how to use our pants as a flotation device. He had us jump into the deep end of the pool, pull our pants off, blow them up, and then use them as a kind of buoy. My only problem was that that night I wore a pair of tight, bell-bottom jeans, and I couldn’t get mine past my ankles. I began to drown — in lifesaving class! No one noticed my predicament. I saved my own life by doggie-paddling to the side of the pool.
The instructor taught us how to rescue someone drowning when we had nothing to reach out to him with, or no rescue buoy to throw to him, but had to swim out to the drowning person and physically rescue them. He explained that a drowning person will climb on our heads and drown both of us. So he taught us to dive down when we got within 8 feet of the victim, grab them by their hips, spin them around, and come up holding them in a head lock. If they struggled or panicked and tried to climb on top of us, we should take them to the very place they did not want to go — under water — so they would give up and let us rescue them.
After the month’s worth of grouchy classes, our instructor said, “Your final exam will be next week and it will be simple. I will jump in the deep end, pretend to be a drowning victim, and your job will be to rescue me. One after another. AND I WILL TRY TO KILL YOU!”
Each of us, one after another, rescued the instructor. Each of us took the instructor to the bottom of the pool — whether he struggled or not. It was a glorious ending to a grueling course. (from my book Saved: Rescued from God, by God, and for God).
We’ve been rescued by the Lord Jesus giving Himself for us. Do you feel rescued? (to be continued)