Today we ponder The Salvation Army’s quote of “Saved to Save” and why I don’t necessarily agree with it.
Clarification: I am not discounting the fact that God can save us, in fact that is the crux of this statement in my opinion.
Dear Salvation Army, I don’t believe we are saved to save.
There I’ve said it.
I believe the Holy Spirit has saved us, I am not disagreeing with that by any means.
I know what it means to kneel at the altar of repentance and receive forgiveness and salvation.
I also believe in the second blessing – the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our lives.
When He takes up residence in our lives we begin, with His direction and prodding, the intentional shift of reflecting more and more of Christ and less and less of our old lives (Holiness).
Thus when we are saved we do not go out and save others.
I believe that the saving is NOT the work that we have been called to do.
Instead, we are called to be holy.
In this response we begin to see others the way Christ sees them.
We begin to love the way Christ loves.
It isn’t perfect…and perhaps it may never be, but the initial transformation must begin internally before it can be transformative in the lives of others.
In fact we, through this internal transformation, begin to see the necessity to usher others to Christ.
We begin to understand how vital the new life is for others.
Here is where I draw the line.
Here is where I wage and struggle with the Salvation Army’s understanding of this quote.
Whose work is it to save?
Who does the prodding of the heart and the pleading of the soul?
Who takes aim at the conviction of sin and implores the search of forgiveness?
For me the answer has always been the Holy Spirit.
What is our responsibility then?
What are we as Soldiers of the cross to do?
We sing songs like “The world for God” and “Marching on“, and I wonder if we sometimes turn the warfare of sin and the spiritual realms into something narcissistic, and it then becomes all about us? It then becomes all about what WE can do instead of what the Holy Spirit IS doing.
There is always the temptation to say look how wonderful The Salvation Army is, look at the amazing things that we have done and the amazing things that we are doing. Slowly, the focus is taken off of the Holy Spirit and more on our shiny uniforms, our programs and our feats and accomplishments. I am not saying that we always do this, but I am saying that it does become a temptation, that it does enter into our thoughts and motivations.
Our responsibility was never to “saved to save”.
Our responsibility was never to be the salvation of man.
We are merely the conduit of this amazing grace.
We are merely called to be faithful.
Our responsibility is first a call to faithfulness to The Holy Spirit.
We can do nothing without this first response.
We are powerless to save anyone let alone ourselves.
How can we then say that we are saved to save?
I am more inclined to say we are saved to serve.
We are saved first, and then most importantly, we serve and respond to the Holy Spirit.
Then, and only then, we are saved to serve suffering humanity.
This response can be simultaneous and should compel us to respond as Christ would to the suffering of others. We must respond to His call on our lives to serve Him as HE saves!
Without Him we cannot save.
Without Him we can only do good works and be another social service agency.
That isn’t all bad, good things are done here…BUT we are called to be more.
We are called to BE holy…and from this calling, we serve Him and in turn we serve others.
You may differ from my opinion…that’s fine.
We are called, and from this calling we go.
Regardless of if we are “Saved to Serve” or “Saved to Save”, may our immediate response to the Holy Spirit be one of obedience.
Something more for This Army of Salvation to ponder today.
To God be the glory!