…because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:24-25 (NIV)
This is the thought that went through my mind as I turned the page of my Bible and peered down at the next book in my reading: Hebrews.
I will be the first to admit, there are books of the Bible I am not fond of. Leviticus sits at the top of that list, closely followed by Numbers. The books of the Chronicles are where I practice my speed reading, but nothing makes me go “bleh”as much as Hebrews. There’s so much ethereal talk of covenants and priests and roundabout sentences and run-on paragraphs that I get lost trying to find the main point. No matter how much I pray over the text, it still feels like a dreaded trip to the dentist when I sit down to read it.
Pouring over chapter 7 (mostly hearing “wah, wha-wha, wha-wha” in my head) I asked the Holy Spirit for some enlightenment. As I read through the end of the chapter, the phrase “save completely” seemed to call out to me.
Jesus is able to save completely.
Sit with that for a minute. What does the idea of being saved completely mean to you?
On the one hand, it means that we are saved from our sins through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and are promised an eternal home in heaven. But, I think it’s more than that.
As I thought about the notion of complete salvation, I recalled this verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. (CEV)
The NIV uses the term new creation to describe those living in Christ. When we are completely saved, we are made into a new creation. Jesus didn’t just save us from our sins, he saved us from ourselves.
For me, complete salvation isn’t just about eternity, it’s also about the here and now. Complete salvation means that God has transformed (and is transforming and will continue to transform) the very essence of who I am.
You see, because of Jesus’ sacrifice–because he is the high priest seated at the right hand of God Almighty–God’s Spirit is able to dwell within us. When we accept Christ’s invitation to enter into our lives, we allow God’s goodness, mercy, grace, love, hope, peace and forgiveness to enter into our being. God’s presence completely saves us from our human selfishness, pride, egotism, greed, lust, divisiveness and hate.
More importantly, as we take in the essence of God, we (ideally) pour God’s goodness, mercy, grace, love, hope, peace and forgiveness out into the world. In that way, being completely saved takes on a whole new dimension. We see that salvation isn’t for us alone, but for all of God’s creation. We are not just beneficiaries of God’s salvation, we are also participants in the salvation process.
Because God dwells within us, we can show others God’s great love. And that love opens the door for others to accept the great invitation that was sent when Jesus died on the cross.
Let me be clear, we cannot save others on our own. But, we can show people who God is by how we live.
In a world that seems consumed by hate, bigotry, fear, violence, poverty and oppression, it is good to remember that there is another force at work.
Look at me, Jesus says in the midst of the world’s chaos. You are completely saved. Spread the word.
Blessings and Peace,