I spent the better part of my morning playing The Game of Life with my three year old. I use the term “playing” loosely, as we mostly took turns spinning the wheel, crashing molded plastic cars and attempting to get little peg people into said plastic cars. Obviously, there is so much more to the game; however, from his perspective, we were fully playing.
As we played, I smiled to myself realizing that this is how the Lord views me as we play the real game of the Christian life.
I probably looked much like Phin when I was first swept up into God’s bigger story at a YoungLife camp in the middle of nowhere Georgia. About all I understood of the life I had entered (or rather, the life that had entered me) was that through Christ I was loved, forgiven and restored to God. That was all I needed to know, as I was eager to play alongside my Father; however, I had no idea what we were doing or how deep, far and wide was the grace that I had been walked into. I was perfectly content driving my plastic cars around the board.
In college, God greatly stretched my understanding of salvation and subsequently, the Christian life. I began to see and experience new depths to the brokenness within and around me, which stretched salvation, making Christ even more great and glorious. I was beginning to understand the scope of the game of Life, to follow the concepts, to play the game.
Post college, the stretching has continued through grace fleshed out in the form of a husband and children. In each subsequent season of life, I am sure that I have seen salvation stretch to the furthermost point. Yet, year after year, He does the impossible, showing me that salvation stretches deeper, wider and farther still.
It’s not that salvation itself has changed, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). However, as we grow and mature in Christ, God invites us more deeply into the full breadth of the game of the Christian life.
I imagine that as Phin matures, playing The Game of Life with him will become a more involved activity, entailing much more than crashing cars. He will begin to understand the complexities of careers and families and mortgages which will expand his enjoyment of the game. His experience of the game will change even though the game itself has not.
In his comprehensive letter to the Hebrews, after making a thorough argument that Christ is the Great High Priest that all other priests were pointing to, Paul writes a verse that makes my heart soar.
Therefore, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25.
Consequently or in light of Christ being the perfect High Priest for humanity, Paul says, He has the ability, the power to save His people. The word translated forever means so much more than it implies. It has implications not only of time but also of quality. He is able to save His people wholly, completely, to the uttermost so that nothing is wanting or lacking in their salvation.
The picture Paul paints is that of a salvation stretched to reach out furthermost points of sin and need from infinity to infinity. This is the full salvation of Christ. It is has depths and heights and layers and complexities that we have yet to discover, comprehend or experience.
Like Phin playing the Game of Life, completely unaware of the scope of the game, we, as believers are just beginning to comprehend the scope of the salvation we have received in Christ.
Oh, that He would continue to stretch our understanding of the salvation He has purchased us to the uttermost.