If you’re anything like me, then you love ordering things on Amazon Prime. Books, gifts (I do all of my birthday and Christmas shopping on Amazon) and basically everything else except for my groceries are purchased with Amazon. It’s such a time and money saver!
I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the term salvation (or, deliverance), and I started to realize that in many ways the “components” of salvation can be broken down the same way as an Amazon Prime order. When we order things online we naturally just think of that purchase as a one step process. I click, it shows up two days later. Similarly, today we often minimize salvation to a one-step deal, and end up equating salvation to simply being the same thing as being forgiven (justified) without realizing that in our salvation we get ALL of Christ, not just one small piece of him.
But if you think about it, an Amazon Prime order isn’t as simple as just clicking on an item and then having it show up at your door a few days later. There are a few steps along the way, which I will outline below:
1) The Transaction: At some point, you add an item to your cart and click ‘buy’. When this happens, a transaction takes place. You paid for the item in order to get it from Amazon. The item could never be yours without a transaction where you pay for it in full.
2) A Change in Ownership: Immediately following the transaction, the item becomes mine and it is guaranteed to me. Because of Amazon’s guarantee to the customer, there is no scenario where I will end up without the item. It is now mine.
3) The Delivery Process: Unfortunately, Amazon has yet to invent space-time warp particle displacers, so the item cannot be instantly transferred to me. It must first be placed on a truck and sent out by Amazon and come via a delivery service. Even if the delivery process hits a snag or a delay, the process will still ultimately end up with me getting the product I ordered, because of the price I paid, the change in ownership and the guarantee to me.
4) The Arrival: Two days after your order, the product you paid for in the transaction that became yours ends up in your hands!
See, an Amazon Prime delivery isn’t as simple as one step – even though sometimes it may seem that way. In a similar way, we should see our deliverance – our salvation – as something much bigger than just one step.
Indeed a transaction took place to purchase us; we are a blood-bought people. But we are not only blood-bought people, because when the divine transaction of Christ dying in our place occurred to forgive us of our sin, we became children of our Heavenly Father. Our ownership was transferred out of this world and we became adopted as sons and daughters, acquiring the inheritance of Christ.
But, having been ransomed to the Father, we are not instantly taken to him. No, there is now a “delivery process” where we are being made more like his Son. I recently ordered some comics from Amazon (don’t judge me!), but rather than delivering them to me the UPS driver just took them to the local UPS center for pickup instead. The delivery hit a snag – yes it was a delay, but it didn’t erase the reality that those comics still belong to me, and are guaranteed to me. This is our sanctification; we are being prepared for the day when we will be presented to the Groom as the beautiful, spotless Bride. There may be hiccups on the way, snags that seem to slow or even reverse the process, but we are promised to Him. Nothing can now separate us from our guaranteed delivery.
Finally, in our glorification we will arrive in the Fathers presence. Never to leave his presence, we look forward to the final state of being delivered into his hands.
This comparison, of course, is not at all to belittle the magnitude and beauty of our salvation. However, I think this is a helpful picture for realizing that there is more than one piece to our salvation – and that is a good thing. So, to summarize in the paraphrased words of Herman Bavinck; in salvation, Christ first restores our relationship to God, then we are adopted into God, then he renews us after God’s image, and finally preserves for us our heavenly inheritance.