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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Saved’ as in… we experience salvation through love.

I wish I had a buck and a half for every time someone asked me if I was saved. There always seemed to be some agenda lurking behind this question. A few times, I had my own agenda. I said I wasn’t sure just to see where the conversation would go. But, unfortunately, it usually led to a narrative that included images of fire, smoke, and an angry God, making demands that I get it right, or else.

Instead of conversations about what we have to do, what we can’t do, how we should behave, think, or speak, to avoid death and destruction, a better conversation would include narratives about how God’s generative love is creating life and more life.

Frederick Buechner is always helpful. Salvation, he writes, “is an experience first and a doctrine second. Doing the work you’re best at doing and like to do best, hearing great music, having great fun, seeing something very beautiful, weeping at somebody else’s tragedy—all these experiences are related to the experience of salvation because, in all of them, two things happen: (1) you lose yourself, and (2) you find that you are more fully yourself than usual.”

It’s like the experience of love. When we love God and others, we remove ourselves from the center of our own universe. The well-being of others becomes central. When others move into the center, we are removed from the equation. It’s an odd kind of math: less of us means more of others. Buechner writes, “Only by a curious paradox there is more. You feel that at last you really are yourself.”

Salvation is paradoxical in much the same way. Jesus told his followers: “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

Love isn’t transactional. We don’t love God to be saved by God. Instead, experiencing God’s love in our lives and loving others creates salvation.

The question really isn’t, “Are you saved?” The question is, “Have you experienced love?”


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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