Your belief in Jesus does not save you. Jesus saves you. Not your belief.
Salvation is not a product of your mind. Your ability to believe or not believe (or struggle to believe) in the power or person of Jesus has no bearing on your salvation.
I can refuse to believe in the sun. But that doesn’t stop the sun from shining. Despite my disbelief in the sun, I am still alive because the sun exists.
If I am born blind, how can I possibly believe in light? I have no way to comprehend what light is. And yet sunlight is still responsible for my existence. There is no life on earth without the sun.
If we are born spiritually blind, how can we be expected to believe in what we cannot see? Does our inability to comprehend the light of God’s love separate us from God’s love? Hell no. Because nothing exists apart from God’s love.
Has it ever occurred to us that maybe Jesus didn’t come to literally redeem us, but through his life came to show us who we already are?
And just who are we?
Beloved children of God.
Maybe that’s why Jesus could hang out with prostitutes, shady tax collectors, crusty fishermen, and all manner of “sinful” folk that religious leaders believed God condemned. He saw them for who they were. Not who they could be if they just cleaned up their act, but who they truly were/are throughout all eternity: beloved children of God.
Jesus forgave sins before he had even died on the cross (and the Pharisees totally flipped out about it). Apparently he could do that because he was God. Which means that God never needed Jesus to die in our place in order to forgive our sins to therefore become children of God. We always have been and always will be forgiven children of God. That’s how Jesus viewed and treated people.
Hey everyone, here’s a totally wild idea: the all-powerful God of the universe has the ability to forgive mankind without need of barbaric blood rituals. He wasn’t waiting on us to crucify Jesus before letting us into his family (if blood needs to be shed in order to be accepted into the special club, run. That’s not the kind of family you want to join).
God is GOD. God doesn’t NEED any of this.
God doesn’t need animal sacrifice.
God doesn’t need the sacrifice of Jesus.
God doesn’t need your confession of sins and confession of faith.
God doesn’t need your praises and offerings and vows of commitment.
God doesn’t need any of it!
Do we really think that an almighty and all powerful God who desires reconciliation with his beloved creation has tied his own hands behind his back, just waiting on us limited finite beings to perform our little rituals in order to release him to love us and redeem us? Do we think we can prevent God from loving and saving us? Do we think that WE are more powerful than GOD?!
God acts of his own accord and nothing can stop him or hold him back. Nothing can shorten his arm, nothing can separate us from his love. Nothing we do or don’t do has the power to prevent God from loving us. He’s not limited to our rituals or confessions or fragile egos or finite brains. He loves us because we are his beloved children. No matter what.
We have always been and will always be beloved children of God.
Jesus was crucified because we refused to believe the gospel- we couldn’t comprehend the good news of God’s love. It was so offensive to our religious addictions and need to call things good or evil (thanks to that one tree in the garden of Eden). We thought we were carrying out God’s justice by killing Jesus. But we were simply denying ourselves God’s mercy.
As he hung dying on the cross, God as Jesus forgave the very people who put him up there. His love was so pure and deep that it covered the unrepentant and hard-hearted. God forgave his killers who weren’t sorry in the least (and if that doesn’t pursuade you against the concept of eternal damnation in hell, I don’t know what will).
Jesus dying on a cross, forgiving his killers in the midst of their cruel hatred, is the greatest demonstration of love I can imagine. Jesus could do that because he saw them for who they truly were/are:
Beloved children of God.
His love extends to each and every one of us whether we accept it or believe in it or deny it or run away from it. We are all beloved children of God and nothing will ever change that.
I take great comfort in the story of the prodigal son. The prodigal never ceased to be the beloved son of his father. The father’s love for him never dimmed, never wavered. The father ran out to meet him upon his return. He didn’t even scold him for all the stupid shit he did and the obvious trouble he got into. He simply rejoiced that his beloved son was home.
You and I have always been and always will be beloved children of God – if we turn away, if we question the Bible and the entire Christian worldview, if we doubt the person of Jesus, if we decide it’s all hogwash and metaphorically crucify Jesus upon the cross of our lives. Nothing we can do or believe or fail to believe will change the existential truth that each of us are deeply loved and accepted by God.
Your belief in God’s love is not what causes God to love you. God simply loves you whether you believe it or not…
because you are God’s love in human form- you are a beloved child of God.
I wrote this piece earlier in the year and held back on posting it because my own views regarding the nature of God/Jesus/salvation/etc. are far more complex and nuanced than these words would lead one to believe. This post is an ice-breaker, written from a Christian perspective for those of a Christian background. My goal is to cut through the insidious lies of separation and illuminate the timeless truth of unconditional LOVE.