It gets asked lots of different ways: What is the meaning of life? Am I all alone? Is this all there is?
And it gets answered lots of different ways, though we can’t cover them all here.
What we can do is share with you how we answer the question—and it takes more than words and ideas.
It takes a relationship with God, and a relationship with each other.
In some Christian traditions, the question is, “Are you saved?”
We think a better question is, “Are you in a saving relationship?”
We are encouraged to come up with our own answer –
after all, it is our relationship with God that we need to figure out.
Below is one way the question has been organized and answered (it comes from the Irish Methodists!)
All People Need To Be Saved
None of us has a special claim before God of being worthy of living eternally in heaven.
All of us have relationships with others that are challenging and less than holy.
That’s what we mean when we say that all people need to be saved.
We believe it is through the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved.
In this grace, we are convicted of our sins and our need for God.
In this grace, we receive the example of how to be fully human in Jesus Christ.
In this grace, we receive the strength and direction of the Holy Spirit
so that what God has begun in us, God can complete in us.
All People Can Be Saved
The world wants us to believe that some people can’t be saved, or are not worthy of being saved.
Even some theologians proclaim that God is not interested in loving all of us.
Yet over and over again, Jesus reached out to those the world said were beyond saving.
We believe that God is still at work, tugging at our hearts and nudging us to recognize our need for God.
We believe that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God” (Augustine, in his Confessions).
We call this “prevenient” grace – the grace that comes to us even before we know we need it.
It is this grace that helps us become aware of our sin, as well as our need for God.
All People Can Know That They Are Saved
Salvation is not a heavenly book-keeping exercise keeping track of who gets in and who doesn’t.
When we recognize our need for God, God gives us an assurance that we are loved.
John Wesley called that assurance “a strangely warmed heart.”
You might call it a sense of confidence and peace.
It might come quickly and dramatically, or it may come as a growing awareness,
but we can know that God loves us!
All People Can Be Saved To The Uttermost
Jesus died for our sins, and he was raised for our new life.
The life of salvation, the eternal life, begins when we follow Jesus and live as disciples.
We have been called to love each other as Christ has loved us.
We are not saints because we believe—we become saints as we live out our belief.
John Wesley called the life of discipleship “going on to perfection” in love (Matthew 5:48).
What God has begun in us (the new birth) God can complete in us (the new life).
By practicing “the means of grace,” we prepare a place in our lives that only God can fill,
and where God can work through us to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Let’s Walk Together!
You have already made a good start by visiting this website!
When you are ready to take the next step, try coming to worship Sunday,
or try a class, or volunteer for a mission, or stop by to talk with the pastor.
We don’t expect any one to be perfect when they come to Nelson Memorial
(we certainly were not, and we are not yet)
but we have a vision that Jesus called “the kingdom of God”
that includes all of us living together in God’s love and grace!
Send an email if you are interested in continuing this exploration of Christian discipleship
or if you are interested in becoming a member of Nelson Memorial UMC!