Salvation in This Life
by Ray DeGraw
Those who crucified Jesus did so because they could not accept Him as the one who had paid (Jehovah) and would pay (Jesus) for their sins. They said, in essence:
“We don’t need you. We are children of Abraham. We are fine. We’ll do it on our own.“
We decry deathbed repentance for those who consciously choose to procrastinate repentance until the end, because that approach allows them do what they want to do until they are facing death and the possibility of judgment. That is not repentance, as it does nothing to change our nature to become like God. At the same time, too many members view grace, faith, and works as follows:
“I must do everything I possibly can do; I must give my all; I must wear out myself trying to do what He has asked me to do – THEN, and only then, He will accept my effort and help me do more.”
That might not be the exact same mentality as deathbed repentance, but it is at least hospital bed repentance. In very real terms, it is saying, “I will let you know when I need you” – which is the same mentality as the one who procrastinates the request for help until his deathbed.
It also means that we will not receive the help He can give AS we struggle – which means we will not experience His freedom and joy until our frustration nearly (or completely) breaks us. Yes, we will then be blessed, but we will have missed so much in the meantime.
Hillary Weeks has a song entitled “Unwritten”. The central message is, in my own words:
As I review the pages of the book of my life, I am grateful for what I read (what I have experienced), but I am most grateful for what has remained unwritten – those things from which the grace of God has shielded me – those things I have not had to experience – those things from which I have been saved in this life.
Jesus, as the Christ, saved us from the effects of our actions in the next life, but Jesus, as the exemplary man, showed us a way to be saved from much of the effect of our fallen existence in this life. Understanding that he died for us is a wonderful thing, but understanding how he lived for us is just as amazing – and it is much more empowering here in mortality. In a very real way, not accepting the example He paid so dearly to provide throughout his life until we have exhausted ourselves in our own lives is no different than not accepting that His offer was ever made in the first place, since they both tell Him to get lost until we get a handle on it on our own.
That is worth pondering all by itself.