“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15. As young Adventists, many are enamored with groups who are or have been saved. Consider groups like the eight who were saved in the ark, the family of Jacob saved from famine, the multitude who left Egypt after 400 years of slavery, the 11 disciples who followed Jesus, or the 120 who received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Many are enthralled about whole conferences and whole groups being saved or lost because of the view that God only saves in groups. It is a misnomer to believe that group salvation was the plan of the Most High. It was the divine master plan to demand the life of the very Son of God who would remove His kingly robe and place on His glorious body the lowly garb of humanity. Our God removed from Himself the power of divinity to save just one. Jesus would become sin for us so that we who deserve death would receive eternal life from He who is the author of life. In exchange, He would suffer the death that we deserve so that we can grasp hold of life that is His possession alone to give.
It is from this exchange that sinners are transformed into being saints and that the lost are found. The very thought that Jesus takes my place and gives me His place removes forever the thought that salvation comes as a result of a group plan.
The reality of a personal Jesus who not only understands my pain and accepts my imperfections, who intercedes on my behalf to assist me into a oneness with His Father, is comforting. Jesus identifies with all of my insufficiencies and makes up the difference in my quest to acquire eternal life, and gives me a joy that is unparalleled.
Joshua’s words should not be thought of as God saving his family in a group but rather a commitment from a leader to not only follow God, but to make a personal covenant with God. Joshua used his personal influence and guarantee to God that with every fiber of his being, he would continue to motivate, encourage and persuade the members of his family until his covenant with God becomes theirs.
Rather than group salvation, Joshua was committed to persuade his family to accept God’s way over any other path or lifestyle. We are living in the final days of earth’s history just as Joshua was of the final generation before entering Canaan. It should be incumbent upon us to use our influence to empower our families to accept the love of a God who is willing to change places with sinners to make them saints.
By Jonathan E. McCottry, Sr., Pastor, Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church and New Start Seventh-day Adventist Church