What Jesus Saves Us From

I recently saw what I assume is an atheist/agnostic cartoon. In it Jesus is knocking on the door of an ancient-looking home and saying, “Open the door so I can save you.”

The voice behind the door says, “Save me from what?”

Jesus answers, “From what I am going to do to you if you don’t open the door.”

The meme would be more accurate if Jesus had given a list:

  • … from what my Father is going to do to you if you don’t change your ways;
  • … from the sin that creates devastation in far too many lives;
  • … and from your careless, self-indulgent lifestyle that does nothing to rectify the devastation in so many lives.

I understand. A lot of people don’t believe that God created people or that people are accountable to him. The devastation is overwhelming. They feel hopeless to make a difference, or they feel no sense of accountability for the problems.

Those people will perish in the everlasting fire (Matt. 25:31-46) if we do not warn them or if they do not believe our warning. Jesus tells a story about the fate of a rich man who ignored the beggar at his gate. He became a highly motivated evangelist, but only after it was too late to be one (Luke 16:19-31).

For those of us who do believe that God created us and will hold us accountable for our lives, it is wise to open the door at which Jesus is knocking, and let him save us from our comfortable and careless lives. If we do so, we will have eternity to be comfortable, with no sorrow, no crying, and no pain.

You cannot be comfortable in both places. You can be comfortable here, or you can be comfortable there, but not both. If you are a Christian, you are familiar with the beatitudes, but are you familiar with the woes?

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.
Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! (Luke 6:24-26, NKJV)

Anyone who has read the Bible knows the importance God attaches to helping the down and out (if they are willing to be helped). Jesus ties our judgment at the end of the age to our treatment of the down and out (Matt. 25:31-46). Though we should give priority to our brothers and sisters in the household of God, we are required to extend our purposeful goodness to all (Gal. 6:10; Tobit 2:2).

Some of the ministry I have done recently has opened my eyes to the role of hopelessness in drug addiction and broken marriages. Of course, both these things lead to children raised by one damaged, hopeless parent, extending the pattern of hopelessness and ruined lives.

You’re probably like me. You haven’t a clue how to do anything about the “dregs of society.” There are people who do, and they are looking for your help.

You may, like me, think a lot of megachurches are missing the point. Most, however, have a ministry that benefits the down and out, and that is pretty central to the point. Join them. If you have to sign a statement of faith you don’t agree with to do so, then there are other ministries and other churches that just want godly workers. You don’t have to be a ministry director. Peons (“low ranking workers,” real word, not a pun) change the world too. Brilliant ideas become reality with the labor and sweat of those who did not have the idea.

Yes, we must be born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven. If Jesus knew anything about the judgment, though, you should keep a sharp eye for the needy around you or volunteer to help someone else who is keeping a sharp eye out.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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11 Responses to What Jesus Saves Us From

  1. KatieAnn says:

    I do think there is Tradition (which came through the apostles and faithful fathers) as well as tradition (which comes from men). It can be tricky sifting through these, I think. Some are obvious, such as Christmas (which I joyfully celebrate) and some are not, such as iconography (which I greatly appreciate for its beauty). As a protestant, I have, and still am, struggling with some of these. I still have questions. I think there will be certain things I am never able completely to embrace, but, overall, the church I have been attending has been spiritually satisfying. The people, for the most part, are warm and loving and there is a sense of humility in worship that I have yet to find anywhere else. I also enjoy the diversity of the congregation (local folks, along with people from Syria, Palestine and some Slavic language speaking countries). A good number of them care very much about holiness. There is no perfect church, perhaps. However, I’m thankful for the one I have found. I am also thankful for intelligent and sincere believers, like yourself, that share their knowledge of the Faith on-line. The internet is full of so much filth. It’s nice to be able to ask questions and share thoughts about the faith with people I respect. God bless you, Paul!

    • Paul Pavao says:

      Thank you for the kind comment. I am always glad to hear of churches pursuing holiness. I don’t mean some special brand of holiness; I just mean loving Jesus every day. That attitude is too often missing from churches of any brand (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox). I am very happy you are finding people who love the Lord.

  2. Christy says:

    Greatly appreciate the truthful reminders. I did get stopped by “dredges of society” as the word, I believe is dregs.

  3. KatieAnn says:

    “For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ “comes in glory, and all angels with Him,” so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15–28). Those who have God as their “all” within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose “all” is themselves and this world, the “all” of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8.21, et al.).” ~ quoted on the OCA website (https://www.oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/the-kingdom-of-heaven/heaven-and-hell)

    God bless you, Paul!

  4. KatieAnn says:

    This is a fantastic post. I was re-reading the Parable of the Talents the other day and it put some very real fear into my heart (healthy fear). Your statements about comfort are so spot on. I love the statement, “let him save us from our comfortable and careless lives.”
    In regards to hell, I don’t believe the Orthodox see it as a separate place. Heaven is living in the presence of God and His eternal, glorious light. That very same light, to the non-repentant and unbelieving will be experienced as eternal torment and hell. I hope I have worded this fairly and properly.

    • Paul Pavao says:

      Thank you, KatieAnn. I’ll have to take a look at that Orthodox idea. They can be an unexpectedly unusual bunch.

      • Katie Clark says:

        (smiling) I’d be curious to hear your thoughts if you ever decide to write something about it. I have been attending an Antiochian Orthodox church for the past year and a half or so. I was raised in the Church of Christ. Interestingly, I find that a lot of your theology seems to line up with what the Orthodox church teaches.

      • Paul Pavao says:

        That is because the Orthodox Churches have done a much better job of preserving the ancient faith than Rome has done. Rome has the problem that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and they have been under the delusion that the Roman bishop (when they can figure out who the Roman bishop is) has absolute power. I think, however, that even the Orthodox have added a lot of man’s tradition to that original faith. I find I have to look at them because–of course–they have preserved some things I was unable to find on my own. I also have to weed through what I get from them because some of it is clearly added to the original faith (like icons, a new priesthood of the clergy, and congregations that don’t care much about holiness).

  5. JD says:

    Hmm, I would have believed it fit better by saying, “My Father brought y’all into this earth/world and He is can certainly take y’all out!”. Of course, no one wants to see that side of G-d 😉

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