“What Have You Been Saved For?”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
There is division in the body. Whether we want to talk about the body of Christ, the church, or whether we want to talk about the body politic, or the human community. There is division in the body.
We as Christians need to address that division. But not by calling names or pointing fingers, but instead by claiming the gift that Christ came to give, salvation. Through him we are saved from sin, from condemnation, from an eternity of frustration and suffering. However, when we do talk about what we’re saved for, we talk about the someday of heaven, of the coming kingdom, of all that is to come.
In chapter 13 of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, he provides us with a different answer to the question, “What are we saved for?” We are saved to love; we are set free to love; we are empowered, equipped, enabled to love. That’s what it means to be saved. We are saved for love.
This love is described in these verses from the Bible 1 Corinthians (NRSV): “13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
Paul says, “If I speak without love, I am nothing.” If I approach the “enemy” on the other side of the aisle without love, then I am nothing. If I look at the one who is different from me, different race, different orientation, different ethnicity, with anything other than love, then I am just a noisy gong.
Do we simply accept everything going on in our messed-up world with a smile and nod? Of course not; evil exists. But we aren’t always the best at identifying where the real evil resides. There is a new way of being alive in the world, a new way of seeing the world and everyone in it.
This will take some major work in each of us and all of us just to begin. And it will take time, but the good news is the seed found in verse 8 of this amazing, incredible letter: “Love never ends.”
Thanks be to God