AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
Do you need to feel like a horrible, sinful wretch before God will save you? If you don’t have tears welling in your eyes, and if there isn’t a burning lump in your throat that makes it hard for you to choke out the sinner’s prayer, does that mean you aren’t sincere enough? Does getting saved have to be an emotionally draining experience? No, it doesn’t.
Our Gods love variety. Because of this, They have created a wide variety of temperaments and personalities. We all have emotions, but we express them differently. Some of us cry over every little thing. Others of us never cry. Some of us feel deeply. Others of us are very out of touch with our own emotions. Some of us are theatrical and passionate with dramatic swings in mood. Others of us are calm and steady and we rarely get excited. Which style is the best? Which style do our Gods prefer? They don’t have one favorite—They like all the flavors of human which They have created.
Salvation is a matter of submission, plain and simple. To get saved, you need to sincerely accept certain essential truths about your Creators. Accepting these truths is a form of submission. When you accept how your Makers define reality, you are treating Them as a higher Authority than you are.
One of the biggest issues that trips up those with even temperaments is remorse over sins. Our Gods say we’re all a bunch of depraved sinners who deserve to be eternally tortured in Hell for failing to treat Them with the respect They deserve. That’s not the whole story—They then go on to say how much They love us in spite of our wretchedness and then They generously extend grace to us. But for many of us, Their assessment of our depravity sounds rather unreasonable. In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stood around saying one lusty thought was the same as adultery in Yahweh’s eyes. He said one hateful comment was the same as murder. To us, that kind of judgment system is absurdly extreme and it doesn’t sound fair at all. And then there’s the whole Hell thing—talk about overdoing it. Do our Gods really find it necessary to torture people forever over a few years of attitude? Our earthly lives are a mere blip from Their Divine perspectives. So They’re really going to hold some eternal grudge forever and ever? Well, yes, They are. They’re Gods and They get to.
Here’s a key point about submission: it’s a matter of acceptance, not approval. Say a police officer pulls you over for speeding. You were only going five miles over the speed limit, yet he still writes you out a ticket. You think he’s being an unfair nitpicker. You don’t agree that what you’ve done deserves such a hefty fine, but he says it does. Submitting to the policeman’s authority would mean taking the ticket without a bunch of attitude and dutifully paying your fine. You don’t like it, but you recognize that you are outranked by a higher legal authority. Rebellion would look like speeding off or cussing the policeman out or throwing the ticket back in his face and then telling all of your friends what an unreasonable tyrant this one cop was.
Surf the internet and you’ll find a whole lot of people who are flaunting their rebellion towards God. They complain that the Christian God is a sadistic ogre who is unreasonably harsh. They use examples of Yahweh trashing people in the Old Testament to make the point that He’s a heartless creep. What these people are really saying is that they don’t agree with how God operates. Fine. No human alive totally agrees with everything about the way God operates. If Christians were honest, they would admit that the idea of Hell really disturbs them. Oh, sure, you can get a lot more comfortable with Hell’s existence once you believe that you personally will never end up there. But when we really stop to ponder that the same Gods who will be hanging out with us in Heaven will be simultaneously getting high on torturing Their own fragile creatures in Hell—well, that’s upsetting.
There are a lot of facts about your Creators that you are going to find very disturbing. There are lot of things about Them that you are going to strongly disapprove of and disagree with. Fine. They never said you have to approve of Them or understand Them in order to be accepted by Them. They only demand submission, and submission is well within your grasp.
Suppose you have a boss at work who you don’t like. He’s abrasive, rude, and unreasonable. He’s always finding fault with people and He never expresses any appreciation for your work. When this guy comes into view, do you feel all warm and fuzzy? No, you tense up and feel anxious about him coming in your direction. Some of us have been taught from childhood that God is a brooding volcano who is up in Heaven making tick marks on a blackboard whenever we screw up. If this is your background, are you going to be able to resonate with Yahweh’s claims to be good? Are you going to be able to emotionally connect with the idea of Him deeply loving you? No. Those words are going to bounce right off your brain. Does that mean you can’t get saved? Not at all. Salvation is a matter of submission, you can sufficiently submit to God from any starting point.
Let’s go back to that nasty human boss you have. When the man comes over and orders you to do something, you might think that what he’s asking you to do is a bad idea and an inefficient way to get things done. But because he’s the boss, you do what he’s telling you to do. This is submission. You don’t have to like someone to submit to them. You don’t have to like Jesus before you can properly submit to Him. You don’t have to think Yahweh’s New Covenant is fabulous before you can properly submit to Him. You don’t have to be able to visualize what the Holy Spirit looks like before you can submit to Him. Submission is about recognizing that you are outranked by your Makers and accepting Their assessment of things. If They say you’re some depraved sinner, then that’s how it is. You accept Their view of reality even though you might not approve of it or be able to honestly agree with it. No human who is really thinking can sincerely agree that eternal torment in Hell is a reasonable response to our defying God for some nanosecond of time.
Submission only comes up when there is some element of disagreement. As long as you and your boss agree about everything, there is no submission happening. You’re doing what you want to do. It’s when your boss makes a call that you don’t agree with that an opportunity to submit is created. That’s when you have the choice to either submit to your boss simply because he outranks you, or to defy him by acting like his equal or superior.
There is no salvation without submission, but for submission to be possible, there must be some element of disagreement. This is why it is so critical that souls be told the entire Gospel message. The first part of that message is some seriously bad news. It’s pride grinding to be told you’re some depraved wretch who deserves to eternally writhe in pain. That is not a message that anyone wants to hear, and this is why many Christian leaders often drop that first part of the message, or very quickly gloss over it, so that they can rush on to the good part. Many souls are taught that if they simply agree that Jesus love, love, loves them, they’ll get to go to Heaven. Well whose ego isn’t going to embrace the message that some God thinks we humans are such amazing creatures that He came to die on a cross in front of us just to prove how desperate He was to bless us forever? When we write God’s wrath out of the equation, we find no context in which to submit. Simply agreeing that God thinks we’re awesome is not submission. If the Jesus that we accept into our hearts is all sweetness and light, we’re still in serious trouble because we haven’t submitted to the real God—we’re just basking in an ego pleasing fantasy.
Ever been told that God’s love is unconditional? It’s not. It’s extremely conditional. Ever been told that Jesus weeps over souls who go to Hell? He doesn’t. He celebrates. Ever been told that Satan is the ruler of Hell? He’s not. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the Ones who designed all of Hell’s tortures and They’re the Ones currently sticking it to all the souls who are already there. You see, when you are lied to about who your Gods really are, you end up with a false sense of security about your standing with Them. Our Gods are love and wrath. They are mercy and revenge. They are gentle and violent. They don’t need us. They aren’t desperate to save us. While both Jesus and Yahweh complain in the Bible about how few humans ever sincerely seek Them, They are both perfectly fine with the fact that the vast majority of us will end up in Hell. You see, it’s not just three loving Gods gushing over us in Heaven. It’s three Multitaskers who are blessing one group and torturing another, and taking equal delight in both tasks.
If you can’t think of anything about your Creators that bothers you, there’s a big problem with your theology. Look around at all of the joy, friendship, and pleasure in this world: our Gods are the Sources of all these things. But then look around at all of the abuse, suffering and violence—these things come from our Gods as well. In the Bible, Yahweh says:
The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am Yahweh who does all these. (Isa. 45:11)
He also says:
I kill, and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. (Deut. 32:39)
So who did you ask to save you? A God who made total sense to you or One who said some things that you found hard to get your mind around? If there wasn’t any bad news included in that Good News you were told, you weren’t told the whole story. There is no salvation without submission, and submission is a matter of you choosing to bow to God’s superior rank even when you disagree with how He’s calling the shots.
So do you need to get all weepy about your sinful state before you can get saved? No. This early on in your journey, you might honestly think that you’re not all that bad. You don’t have to emotionally resonate with God’s justice system in order to submit to it. He says you’re a vile sinner who has spat in His face, therefore you deserve eternal damnation. You might think He’s being unreasonable, but He’s God, and you’re not. In this kind of situation, you need to pray:
“Jesus, I won’t pretend to understand or agree with everything You say. But I recognize that You are the King, and I am just a creature. I really want Your approval. I don’t want to end up on the wrong side of You in eternity. You get to call the shots. I understand what You’ve said about who You are and I am submitting to Your Authority as God Almighty. I’m accepting Your assessment of me, and I want to satisfy all of Your requirements for salvation. Please accept me and make me what You want me to be.”
Do you need to be all emotional and blubbery when you pray this prayer? No, you can be as somber as a stone statue. Our Gods have no use for lies and phony hype. They know when you’re not feeling the horror of your own sin. They don’t expect spiritual infants to have the maturity of adults. Grasping the rationality behind Hell is something that requires time and a lot of illumination from the Holy Spirit. When we first come to our Gods for salvation, we don’t understand so many things, yet we can still submit to Them as the Supreme Authorities and choose to align with Their claims. Jesus says He’s God. How does that work when He was walking around in a body of flesh and getting crucified by His own creatures? You don’t need to understand it to accept it. Jesus says He’s God, and He demands that you align with His view of things.
Submission doesn’t require a bunch of intense feelings, it doesn’t require logical understanding, and it doesn’t mean you have to approve of what your Creators say. Submission is about you acknowledging that They are the Supreme Authorities, and accepting that whatever They say goes. You don’t have to cry or spend a certain amount of time drowning in guilt before you can get saved. You just need to submit, and submission is a soul choice, not an emotion.
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