Salvation: Not Just For the Life to Come
by Mary Lee Treat
One day as I was running down the steps to the laundry room, Isaiah 53:4 ran swiftly through my mind:
Surely he hath borne our sicknesses
and carried our pains,
Yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God and afflicted
I stopped instantly because I recognized the Lord was speaking to me. As a rule, I have difficulty quoting scripture verbatim, so whenever an exact scripture quotation runs through my mind, I know the Lord is using his word to communicate with me.
This day I also recognized that the key words in the scripture were the literal Hebrew translation found in the Book of Mormon (Alma 5:20-21) and not the usual King James translation. We had just published the article on Hebraisms by Angela Crowell in which she gives this example (see Recent Book of Mormon Developments, vol. 2,1992:9).
As the meaning of this scripture came to the front of my mind, I immediately thought the Lord was preparing me for a major illness or disaster in my family. But then these words came swiftly: "If you can trust me for your eternal salvation, why can't you trust me for your physical salvation in this lifetime?"
This concept presented by the Lord seemed so logical and simple. Even though I didn't fully comprehend it, I resolved immediately to trust him for everything: finances, health, family relationships, etc.
I knew that Isaiah was using the prophetic perfect tense, as explained in the Hebraism article (see Recent Book of Mormon Developments, vol. 2, 1992:7-8). This means that although the event was several hundred years in the future, he spoke of it as though it had already come to pass.
I also knew that there is no past or future tense in Hebrew. An action is either complete or incomplete. In other words, our physical and spiritual salvation was provided from the foundation of the world and completed by Christ on the cross. Our work is to believe and receive that gift.
Most of us have no problem receiving the gift of eternal life but draw a line between life in the flesh and life after death. By doing so we incorrectly relegate the gift of salvation to the life in the next world. I believe this is what the Lord was trying to tell me that day.
I received another confirmation that salvation is for the now as well as the next life when I read Our Father Abraham, by Marvin Wilson:
The Hebrew verb yasha means "to save" or "to deliver," and the noun yeshu'ah, "salvation," derives from it. In the Hebrew Bible, this verb is not used in the sense of "escape to heaven." Rather, a careful study of its many occurrences reveals that the main idea is "to liberate," "to deliver from evil," or "to free from oppression." . . . God is frequently pictured saving his people from external evils [in the Old Testament] ... The same Hebraic concept of salvation-one that embraces an earthly deliverance--is also found in the New Testament (Wilson 1989:179).
The author points out that the concept of salvation only for the next life came into existence in the middle or dark ages (Wilson 1989:178). Unfortunately this incorrect tradition is very much alive in the thinking of most of us today. It has been several years since the Lord spoke to me about trusting him for the here and now. As my understanding of the true meaning of salvation has grown, so has my ability to trust him for my total salvation now and in the life to come.
REFERENCE CITED Wilson, Marvin R. 1989 Our Father Abraham. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
This article taken from the Zarahemla Record Issue 61, May/June 1992