The Salvation Teeter-Totter - Salvation Army Canada

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  • Mar10Tue

    The Salvation Teeter-Totter

    Exploring the relationship between God's grace and our response to it March 10, 2009 by Cadet Michelle Elsasser
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    teeter-totterGod's teeter-totter of salvation is suspended by both grace and response. On one end is the grace of God; on the other is human response or effort. The first edition of the teeter-totter was a wooden board tossed evenly over a fixed object. Two opponents embrace the ends and up and down they go. The board between them is under constant tension, which is vital to the experience.

    Working out our salvation also depends on this tension. On one end you have God giving grace, while on the other, humans responding in faith to that grace. This is the art of working out the fullness of our salvation. The analogy goes farther. The scene is like a parent who brings her child to the park to play on the teeter-totter. The parent gets on first and invites her child to play. She holds it steady as the child gets on and waits for the right moment to begin. When it is appropriate, the parent starts to move up and down. In love and excitement, she slowly tries to stretch her child's experience. She offers more and more to the child as he yells, “Higher, mommy, higher!”

    There is a similar sense in which God has brought us to his park. He beckons us to come and participate on the teeter-totter where he is waiting for us. He holds the seat steady as we climb on, holding on tightly, anticipating what comes next. Then, he starts to move. He continues to move in our lives and we decide what to do with it. Salvation is being worked out. Do we see it? Do we feel his presence in the ups and the downs? What is our response?

    God says to work out our “salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). This is our part, our end of the teeter-totter. Our salvation is not finished by getting on the seat. It requires a life of commitment to what the ride is offering. God is interested in a salvation that affects the person's entire journey in this life. God remains on the teeter-totter, continually contributing to the relationship, continually bringing forth the fullness of salvation.

    michelle_elsasserCadet Michelle Elsasser is married to Kevin, and they have two children, Janna (6) and Caleb (5). In August 2008, the Elsassers left Calgary, Alberta, to enter The Salvation Army's College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. Cadet Elsasser enjoys reading, hiking, creative arts and watching Heartland, her favourite T.V. show.

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