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Not Just What We've Been Saved "Out of" but What We've Been Saved "Into"

Salvation isn’t just about what God saves us out of; it’s also about what he saves us into.

So often, we only talk about salvation in terms of what God saves us out of: sin, misery, hell, brokenness, and the like. And those benefits are very real, but salvation is also about what God saves us into.

God saves us into a full and abundant life in relationship with himself. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” So Jesus offers us life—real, true, abundant life. A kind of life that’s not available anywhere else in this world.

We enjoy this life as we live day-by-day in an intimate relationship with God. That’s why, in John 17:3, Jesus prays to his Father, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” That’s what we’ve been saved into: an all-satisfying relationship with God.

Think about marriage. Why do so many people want to get married? Is it because they sit down with a calculator, crunch some numbers, and determine that it would be cheaper to live a married life than it would be to live a single life? I don’t think so. Is it merely because they want someone who will take care of them when they get older? I’m not sure that’s totally accurate either. Oh, I know: maybe it’s because they want children. But nowadays, it’s much more socially acceptable and perhaps even normal to have children outside of marriage.

So why do so many people want to get married? The answer, of course, is fairly simple: they love another person, and they want to spend the rest of their life with that person by their side. For the vast majority of couples, that’s the main “draw” of marriage. They’re not thinking in terms of any economic benefit. The main desire that’s driving them is a desire for relationship—specifically a close and intimate relationship. Quite simply, they’re “in love.”

In the same way, the greatest gift God offers us is the gift of himself.

If you’re just coming to Jesus because you want him to meet a material or physical need, you’re missing the point. You’re missing the main thing he offers. However, you also need to know that if you’re just coming to Jesus to have your sins forgiven and escape from hell, I would say that you’re still missing the point—at least partially.

God doesn’t just want to save us out of our sin; he wants to save us into an all-satisfying relationship with himself—a relationship where we commune with him in prayer, a relationship where we get to know him more through his words in the Bible, and a relationship where he means more to us than anything else in this world.

That’s the ultimate purpose for which we were created, so it makes sense for that to be the only thing that ultimately satisfies.

Think about the purpose of a car. When engineers are designing a car, what do they design that car to do? They design that car to be driven on the road, right? That’s where a car does best. If you try to drive a car through the woods or any kind of rugged terrain, things aren’t going to go very well. Something underneath is going to get broken.

And really, we could say the same for pothole season, which is now upon us here in Pittsburgh. Cars don’t like potholes. Every time I accidentally drive over a bad pothole, I cringe because my car wasn’t made for that.

The best way to use a car if you want it to have any kind of longevity is to use it the way it was designed to be used and drive it on a smooth road. And if that’s true for a car, it’s even more true for a person.

We were created for a relationship with God. As the early church father Augustine famously stated, “You have formed us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” If you settle for anything less than God himself, you’re missing the very thing you were created for and the only thing that can satisfy the deepest desires of your heart.

However, if you dedicate your life to pursing him, you’ll discover how true the psalmist’s words are when he says to God in Psalm 16:11, “In your presence there is fullness of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forever more.