Sometimes Christians speak in a language the world does not understand; a kind of Christianese if you please. Words like sin, salvation, redemption, baptism, born again, sanctification, and sealed with the Holy Spirit get tossed around lightly; and the assumption is made that everyone knows and understands these terms and their deep theological meaning. But the average person doesn’t have a clue about their “theological “ meaning and so when a Christian speaks in Christianese, well it just sounds like a bunch of religious gobbledygook and they want no part of it.
Jesus got this. He knew how to communicate the most profound truth in the simplest way and one which went straight to the heart…he told stories. So in the spirit of using the ordinary, common, everyday happenings to explain the beauty of salvation, please watch the story of Charlie.
Charlie the stray dog is found on the streets of Los Angeles he is homeless and ensnared with painful burrs. There couldn’t be a more powerful picture of what it means to be “lost” ……homeless and ensnared with something that brings pain. This is the human condition apart from God the Father; we are simply homeless and entangled in sin. You can see what this condition did to Charlie; fear and shame are in his eyes, his whole posture tells you he is unloved, uncared for, and without hope.
And then one day he is picked up off the streets, given a new name and an incredible transformation. Someone loves him enough to see there is something more to Charlie than the ugly coat and the painful burrs. It is a fast forward film project that shows the removal of the painful burrs and the old fur, the washing and cleansing of all filth, and the immergence of the brand new Charlie. The finishing touch is the scarf put on in slow-motion as if to signify his complete transformation. And Charlie feels it, you can see in the way he holds his head and the brightness of his eyes.
This is a salvation story and the reason it resonates with human beings and brings people to tears is because at some deep level they are seeing what salvation looks like…..the lost are found, cleansed, healed, restored, loved, sealed with a symbol of ownership and given a home. Sometimes, its that simple.