Sozo salvation

Paul wrote “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power (Greek word dunamis, from which we get dynamite) of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 KJV.)

The gospel — the good news — of Christ — is the power of God.

Christ, the anointed one, the designated one, the sin-free one who was qualified to accept my sin so I could get clear of it, clean of it, free of it myself. And to those who hear this good news and believe it, that good news is power. Not just ordinary human power, like a get-out-of-jail-free card, though.

The power of God. Dunamis, dynamite power, miracle power. God’s ability, strength, capability, resources, tools, knowledge and determination.

What does God use his power for?

For one thing, to create the creation. All the planets, all the universes, all the galaxies, all the matter and all the people that ever have existed or will exist, everything.

Then, to maintain the creation. Keep things running, existing, cohering, living. Forever.

But in this verse, this specific instance, it is the ability to produce or result in salvation to everyone that believes. Salvation, that’s the key point in this verse.

Many Christians think of salvation as a combination get-out-of-hell-free card and deed to a mansion in heaven after we die. We don’t think about it much more than that. But we should.

The Greek word for salvation in this verse is sozo. It is an inclusive word, and it includes rescue, deliverance, safety, preservation, sustenance, healing and health, for the body, spirit and soul. Every provision for life. (II Peter 1:3 contains this same concept.)

Need rescue from sickness, disease, poverty, fire, earthquake, volcano, flood, tornado, tsunami, drought? Need rescue from a terrorist, abuser, thief, or con man? Need freedom from addictions, phobias or fear? Or demon harassment? Sozo to the rescue.

What about provision for body, soul and spirit? Food. Water. Exercise. Rest. Refreshment. Wisdom. Knowledge. Community. Network. First Aid. Medicine. Healing. Health. Employment. Strength. Training. Mentoring. Counseling. Guidance. Encouragement. Correction. Direction. Companionship.

All those concepts are contained in this one four-letter word, sozo. That aspect of God’s power is like a laser beam, a conduit or a conveyor belt from God to me when I need something. I’d say that qualifies as good news indeed.

The problem of my suffering lack isn’t on God’s end. His end, the supply end is always there. But sometimes when the conveyor belt is running, the laser beam is blasting or the conduit is flowing, I don’t see it. I’m busy trying to fix things by myself all the time wondering why God doesn’t do something to help me.

“God helps those who help themselves,” doesn’t He? Well sure. He helps them by telling them PLAINLY HOW TO RECEIVE HIS HELP. It’s not his fault if they just don’t listen.

So how do we receive this supply? Well, the God-power container, the gospel, is there for those that believe it. Believe all of the gospel, all of the manifold aspects of the gospel. If all you believe is that God will take your soul to heaven when you die, that’s not the whole gospel. You’ll get as much gospel as you believe, and sometimes you just don’t believe enough of it.

Mark 16:20 says, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” They believed the Lord, they preached the gospel (word) and the Lord confirmed what they preached, with “the attesting miracles that accompanied them,” the Wuest translation says.

Today as I watch the television’s bad news, I have a feeling we’re going to need more of God’s good news in the days ahead. I’m going to do my utmost to believe more of it.

(Reprinted from July, 2006.)

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