I’ve seen and even used tracts like this one over the years. It’s basically a two-question quiz: (1) do you believe you’ll go to heaven when you die? (2) Why do you believe this? I suppose these evangelistic tools are effective in their own way, even though evangelistic tracts in general have fallen out of favor in recent years.
To commemorate the age of the tracts, I thought I would be clever and come up with an imaginary one of my own. Not to be used on the lost but, rather, to be used to “save” Christians. I know it’s admittedly a bit tongue-in-check, but I do have a point if you’ll bear with me.
My imaginary tract only has one question, and this one is at least as important as the “are you going to heaven” question. I will set my question up with a multiple choice answers for you to ponder.
Here’s the question:
Do you know why were you saved?
a.) so I can go to heaven when I die.
b.) to escape hell.
c.) so I can get raptured before the Great Tribulation hits the fan.
d.) to save sinners so they can go to heaven and not end up to hell.
e.) all of the above.
f.) none of the above.
Okay, I purposely left out some possible answers you might’ve come up with. But these seem to be the main motivators.
You might even be shaking your head about now and saying, “What could be more important than going to heaven and escaping hell!” Well, yes, that’s critically important. The only problem is, something seems to be missing.
To help you see what I mean, let’s put our premise into a simple conversation:
Are you saved?
To escape hell and go to heaven when I die…
Why are you here now then?
So I can help other people escape hell and go to heaven when they die…
Hopefully, you can see that this endless loop has almost no relevance to our life on earth, other than escaping from it. You might object by adding other reasons, like that you will have a blessed life in Christ now.
Is salvation, then, just about heaven when we die and having a comfortable middle-class life in the suburbs while we wait?
So what we’re really talking about is self-preservation and security. Of course, there is the more noble reason–helping others go to heaven. But, again, why?
I think we need to think this through because understanding the ultimate purpose of our salvation while living and breathing on the earth also gives meaning and purpose to the afterlife. Not knowing this creates a big question mark for both.
For what purpose, then, were we saved? Here’s what Paul said (bold type added):
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Eph.1:3-10 NKJV)
Paul also says here that God “made known to us the mystery of His will.”
But do we know it?
First, we see that God’s ultimate purpose for our redemption preceded man’s need for forgiveness. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”
Second, clearly the main point here is about adoption and inclusion (by using the word “inclusion” I’m not advocating universal salvation; we are saved by exercising faith in Christ).
Our redemption has always been about our adoption as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, “having predestined us to adoption as sons….”
Our inclusion is for the purpose that “He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—IN Him.”
Jesus said we would know this, too. “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20).
Paul also explicitly tells us what God did to us on the cross. He placed us inside of His Son who is seated at His right hand (Eph.2:6). Our life is now Christ’s life (Gal.2:20; Col.3:3), lived from heaven while on the earth (Phil.3:20).
God became man so He could put man inside of God!
This is precisely what sets Christianity apart from religion.
In Jesus’ human body dwells the fullness of the Godhead. Most Christians who’ve studied the Bible understands this.
But do we also understand that God took on human flesh in order to fuse our human nature to the Divine nature forever? What this means is that this same fullness now lives in us! (bold type added, brackets in translation):
9 For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. (Col.2:9-10 AMP)
Do we see that the purpose of our salvation was so that we could be “partakers in the divine nature” (2 Pet.1:4)? The fullness of the Godhead continues to dwell in Christ, and we continue to dwell in Him.
Can we also see why we weren’t just saved so we could escape a place, in order to go to a place when we die? We’ve been placed in a person–Jesus Christ.
And if all there is, is a blessed life here and heaven in the afterlife, we still haven’t found our life, for this fellowship with the Father in Christ is eternal life (John 17:3).
This is how I would end my imaginary tract. It would end with John’s invitation for us to participate in the Divine Fellowship as beloved sons and daughters. A Fellowship that’s going on in heaven right now; the very same Love Fest that’s been going on from eternity between the Father and the Son. Yes, right now and forever. And from this Place, we will find one another.
3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:3-5 NKJV)
That’s why we were saved.
Oh, and by the way…the fruit of this Fellowship is fullness of joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.