TWO enjoined things are salvation and the call to follow.
The call to follow and salvation are intrinsically linked. This is because the one that seeks the answer to the question of salvation is answered by the Presence of the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus stands there, looking directly at the person who should enquire of salvation.
He needs not utter a word. As he turns to walk away, our answer is in our response. Will we follow? Will we imitate the Master’s moves? Will we become lathered in the Lord’s dust? Will we remain close enough to our Teacher to hear what he will say?
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,” says the Lord.
The presumption is that the person who asks Jesus about salvation actually pursues righteousness. Perhaps they don’t. Maybe the person asks because they fear their eternal destiny — as they should.
But the connection point for salvation is the polar opposite. Only when we have come to an end in ourselves are we ready to begin with God — to follow.
Salvation is manacled to the call. Grace is pinioned to discipleship.
This does not detract one iota from the ‘free gift’ the grace of salvation is.
We can only accept salvation if we also accept the way of the cross.
We only understand the imperative of life if we abide in Christ.
Discipleship engorges the disciple’s understanding of the immensity of grace in salvation.
The more the disciple follows with diligent surrender, all the more their experience of salvation in this life; it remains also to be seen whether that equates to a divinity of reward in the next life — but we hold this as a belief!
The central quality of the person who rightly asks Jesus, “Salvation?” is their sense of lack — a reprehensible and mournful moral lack.
They acknowledge the eternal shackles necessary enjoining salvation to repentance.
To turn back on the old life, because it would not work, and because it never did work, and because it gave us no hope for the future; that is the presupposition of asking for salvation in the first place. But if we ask only about salvation we have come at the wrong time.
To ask Jesus, “What should I do to be saved?” is also to be prepared to be his disciple.
Salvation is the call to follow him who our own hearts have compelled us to answer.
Salvation is about following Jesus who has called us. To follow Jesus is to be saved.
When salvation is the question, discipleship is the answer.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Bible references: Isaiah 51:1a.