by Rev. Samuel Son
Every time we call on the name of Jesus we are saying, "YahWeh saves" for that is what that name means. But we have limited God's area of saving to forgiveness, which makes even the act of forgiving a moot point.
For sure, forgiveness is the greatest act of rescuing. It came by spilling the blood of one truly righteous man who lived in full trust of God. But forgiveness isolated becomes a spiritual event alone. Anything only spiritual is ethereal, and anything only ethereal becomes unreal.
What we are forgiven from? Sins.
And where are those sins committed? In the physical world. God's forgiveness rescues us from the ways we hurt and destroy each other in this physical life. That God forgives means God rescues us, not only later for our spiritual state, but now in all of our physical needs.
When I read the Psalms, David is always seeking rescue from some political intrigue or enemies at the gates, and it is always tied to his need to be rescued from his sin. God's rescue encompasses all areas of our life.
Jesus' healing was central to his ministry because it was evidence of the rescuing work of God. God rescues us from death which is the punishment for sin, and so God will also rescue us in this life from brokenness of body and mind.
But the rescuing requires our response, for the response itself is part of the rescuing.
When Peter is rescued from the maximum security of Herod Agrippa's Alcatraz, the chains come off and the doors are opened on their own, but the angel commands Peter to "put on his cloth" as if the worst thing that could happen is Peter being rescued then dying of catching a cold from the draft. It is such a mundane command. But mundane as it is, it is what is required of Peter. The angel will break the chains but the angel will not put on the coat for him and carry him on his back. Peter must walk out of the prison on his own two feet. Peter does it thinking it is all his sweet dream before his end, but it is enough of a walk of faith to start him dashing to John Mark's home as a free man.
God rescues us from our poverty and then he will say, "now do your budget." That is simple as adding numbers. If we don't do that part, then we will end up squatting in the jail though no chains cut our wrists.
God rescues us from a painful hurt and then says, "call that person and meet for coffee." If we don't make that call, then we won't be walking out to the sunlight though the bars are wide open.
It is because God rescues, we can take the many little mundane but essential steps of faith, things simple as putting on our jacket because we are leaving the old world behind.