as seen on TV

I am aware that you want more of the rationale behind bad art and rap, and we will get to it eventually. I have about 20 minutes today, and something came up on twitter of all places, and I wanted to share.

The tweet stream looks like this:

Actually, it all started when maBoo johnMark tweeted: “Commented on Is salvation available for all men? / Reason To Stand”

To which I replied: “@hereiblog -'available'? Where does the Bible say salvation is 'available'? That's a bad category.”

And the exchange with kai5263499 ensued.

Here’s where I have been trying to go with that, and Kai can respond or not, here or someplace else, and I’ll be essentially done with this:

[1] The act of “saving” in the Bible is not something that is somehow procured by the one being saved. This is a critical foundational point which most people don’t get – and it’s not just a reformed systematic thing. This is about how the Bible spells out what Salvation is, and it is something God does.

[2] That means that “salvation” is not merely “available”. Consider, for example, Acts 4 (exp. Acts 4:12), or Phil 1 (esp 1:28). Salvation there is not a commodity which you go get. Salvation has at its source a savior who is bringing it and who makes it happen. Salvation is brought; salvation is delivered; salvation is made; salvation is announced. It is not in some way procured.

[3] Now consider this carefully: a Savior is available. That is, the place from which salvation comes is made known to all men through the Gospel. Consider Acts 17 in that regard – Paul says that because Jesus is raised from the dead, the time of ignorance about God is over.

[4] In that, it might be right to say that Jesus is available -- although again: I think this soft-soaks the entire force and hope of the Gospel. To say that Jesus is only “available” makes it seem as if Jesus is passive in His role – but Jesus Himself says that He came to seek and to save and to serve. Jesus is not merely “available” to men.

So what this question of whether “salvation is available” or not drives me to is “why ask the question in these plainly-casual terms?” That is: what is achieved by asking about salvation in the category of “availability” rather than in some other biblical category – such as the necessity of salvation, or the motive of salvation, or the source of salvation, or the consequences of salvation (and there are more categories, but you get the idea)?

Why frame “salvation” in terms of its “availability”? I suspect the goal is to cause the person who is listening to consider the convenience of salvation, therefore encouraging him to do what they call in retail, which is to make an “impulse buy”. That is: it looks good right now, and it’s easy to get one, so I’ll just put it in my cart.

It’s available: I’ll take one.

Let me say: that’s a horrible reason to choose Christ. It undermines His greatness and our lack which only he can fill up; it minimizes our offenses and His great mercy. It minimizes the cost of discipleship and the cost of the sacrifice made. Framing the Gospel in terms of “availability” is a minimization of all the necessary attributes of salvation, and makes opportunistic buyer out of people who are dying in their sins.

You can’t explain something like that in twitter. But that’s why I have a blog.