I came that they may have life in all its fullness. [to the full, till it overflows]
What is full salvation? It’s a term we’ve heard in Wesleyan holiness contexts, but not always understood. To answer the question two other questions are helpful. What is the difference between a saved person, one who by faith received Christ’s salvation from sin, and a person who is being saved (Acts 2:47)? Another way to ask is this, “What does fulfillment of salvation look like?” The 1st person is saved from the penalty and gilt of past sin (justification by faith). They become members of a local church and get busy in the life of the faith community. The 2nd person does the same, but also goes on to being continually saved through the ongoing formation of sanctification by the Spirit. The former (1st) is like being given the whole loaf of bread, but only consuming half. The later (2nd) responds to the grace offered in the fullness of the bread of life, the whole loaf. The former risks a kind of arrested spiritual development falling short of what God fully intends for us. The later leads to a fullness of the spirit (Ephesians 3:19b) characterized by an undivided heart of perfect love in obedience to Christ’s great commandment to love both God and others profoundly (Matthew 22:36-40). The former is the experience of a Christian whose life is one of contentment wading around in the shallow tide pools of initial salvation, while the latter experiences the joys of fully plunging into the deep waters of holiness and sanctified service to the glory of God. The former wrestles with the tensions between diversified self-interest and God’s call to other-oriented, self-giving love, while the later embraces God’s call along with what sacrifices it may cost.
The former expresses gratitude to God for personal salvation and daily blessings. The later expresses joy, thanks, and praise out of a hunger and a thirst satisfied by more of God’s perfect love and passes it back to God and on to others. The former in weakness still struggles with temptations and a discomfort of conscience due to remaining sin and a remaining carnal nature. The later rejoices in a power over temptation and sin in a strength that comes with obedient faith on the high road of holiness. For the former there still is bondage to sin tied to old habits, old, temptations, and old desires. The later rejoices in freedom, for “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) For the
former, what counts is being saved from sin. For the later, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing it self in love.” (Galatians 5:6). Fulfillment comes from taking in the whole loaf of a full salvation.
Bread for the Journey. Glory to God!