Salvation of the sinner is only the first blessing.
It is a vital ingredient, but it should not be considered the end product.
Let me illustrate this for you with a story:
I once baked a chocolate cake for my family.
I followed the recipe very carefully, and soon the aroma of that perfect cake baking in the oven began wafting throughout our home. We were all salivating at the wonderful smells coming for the oven. Soon, the chocolate cake was ready, and so I took it out of the oven to cool. When it had cooled sufficiently, I cut the first piece and tasted it only to discover, with great disappointment, that I had forgotten a crucial ingredient – sugar. It was sour to the taste and because of that one missing ingredient, the whole cake was ruined.
Salvation is a vital ingredient to the Christian life, but the second blessing, His indwelling is equally important. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are incomplete and we will never be whole. Holiness does not mean human perfection, but it does mean that we intentionally long to reflect Christ in all that we do and say. In other words, the very fiber of our being longs to become like Christ in every way, shape and form.
Without the desire to grow and mature in our faith we will be missing a crucial ingredient in this Christian faith. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…” 1 Peter 2:2 Once we are saved and have accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we are then urged by the Holy Spirit to develop and grow into this new life. We cannot simply remain at the altar of Salvation feasting upon spiritual milk; we must grow up and mature! Unfortunately, many Christians live without experiencing this missing ingredient of holiness. Many believers simply stop growing in the faith, they stop learning about Christ and the application that it has on their lives. Holiness is about taking that next step of faith. It is a vital ingredient in our pursuit of Christ-likeness, our personal holiness journey. Without feet to our faith, we are stunting that potential reflection of Christ in our lives.
We, as The Salvation Army, must never forget its importance in the recipe of personal and corporate faith! We, as an organization and mission, were born into the holiness movement of the Church! May we never lose our way! May we never forget its vital importance! May we never stop preaching about holiness in our corps. Sometimes it is easy to forget how vital Holiness is to our everyday lives. Perhaps there have been days that we have all stumbled along the pathway of duty. Perhaps we have not preached it from the pulpits enough. Perhaps we have forgotten to include this crucial ingredient in our corps and in our other ministries…in our own lives. May we never lose this important message of holiness in our Army! We are called to more than just salvation! We must grow up in our faith and get off of the infant formula and start feeding upon deeper, more substantive things! We are called to live and reflect Christ to the world…may we as soldiers of salvation do just that today…not because we belong to The Salvation Army, but because we first belong to Christ himself.
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
To God be the glory!