SALVATION BY LOSS OF LIFE

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Jesus is in the business of saving men from their lives. 

A Good Samaritan rushed a friend suffering from acute appendicitis to the hospital where his appendix was removed.  However, there was drama when he revived.  He wanted his appendix back.  “I cannot live without it,” he insisted. 

But would he rather die with it? 

This is a parody of the anomalies of Christian life.  How can we be redeemed without losing our lives?   Jesus says: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

This makes Jesus the Saviour we certainly do not want.  Jesus only redeems the life we agree to lose.  We have to lose the counterfeit in exchange for God’s original.

 

Life of death

The children of Israel were saved from Egypt.  However, after some time in the wilderness, they wanted to go back to Egypt.  What kind of idiocy was that?  Was Egypt heavenly or was it hellish?  If it was heavenly, why were they saved from it?  If it was hellish, why would they want to return to it? 

The redeemed must surrender his life and relinquish every right to his life.  

Remember Lot’s wife.  She was rescued from Sodom; a place of wickedness and moral depravity.  Nevertheless, her heart remained there.  And so, against the Lord’s injunction, she looked back at the smouldering city and became a pillar of salt. 

The redeemed is rescued from the world.  Therefore, Christians must not insist on returning to world.

However, without realising it, we are determined to save our lives.  Remarkably, we do not want to safeguard it from the captivity of the devil.  As a matter of fact, the devil is the giver of the life we desire; although we would never admit it.  No!  We are determined to save our lives from Jesus, who wants us to relinquish it in exchange for a completely different kind of life. 

Jesus is in the business of saving men from their lives.  The reason is simple.  The life we know is ungodly.  The life we know is a life of sin.  The life we know is without inner peace.  The life we know is a life of sickness.  The life we know ends in death.  Therefore, Jesus asks a sick man an enigmatic question: “Do you want to be made whole?” (John 5:6).

 

The ransomed life

Armed-robbers attacked me on airport road in Lagos.  They ran my car off the road and my whole life flashed before my eyes.  It never occurred to me that my life was supposed to end like that.  What about all my plans?  What about all my hopes? 

Then Jesus spoke to me right there and then.  He required me to seek refuge in his name (Proverbs 18:10), even though I did not know him.

After he gave me assurances of divine protection, I looked up to see a man pointing a gun at me.  Grimacing with malicious intent, he pulled the trigger.  I saw a flash of light and the glass-window of my car shattered.  The bullet hit me and “killed” me.  It is necessary to put it in graphic terms: “I bled to death” right there by the roadside.

Nothing gives a man a whole new perspective on life than to come face to face with death.  There is nothing like death to make a man yearn for salvation.  What does a dead man need?  He desperately needs Jesus; the resurrection and the life.  Jesus says: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12).

Jesus came to save us from death.  But this death is our very life.  Moreover, this death is in us.  It is in our bodies; it is in our thoughts and it is in our ways.
 

A relentless assassin

When I first met Jesus, I started having a recurring nightmare that nearly scared me to death.  There was a mean-looking man in a hood who was out to get me.  Every so often, I found myself on the run for my life from him. 

After running non-stop from street to street all through the night, I would wake up exhausted and out of breath; drenched in sweat.  Since I always managed to elude my would-be assassin, I would wake up gasping: “Thank you Jesus; thank you Jesus.” 

Until one day, I discovered the true identity of my “stubborn-pursuer.”  The Lord himself showed me his face.  I could not believe my eyes. 

The killer after my life was Jesus Christ, my Saviour.

“Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned?  For they would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His law” (Isaiah 42:24).