Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 8: Lightning and Salvation

Photo Credit: Brennon Garner

Key Verse

"for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 WEB


Lightning can be both scary and beautiful. But have you ever wondered which direction lightning travels? Does it travel from the sky to the ground? Or does it travel from the ground to the sky? Most will likely answer from the sky to the ground. When watching lightning this is often how it appears.

Scientists tell us something slightly different. Those who answered lightning travels from the ground to the sky are not incorrect. In fact, lightning can travel either direction. The most common direction is from sky to ground. This is what we usually see. But when lightning strikes really tall things like trees or towers lightning actually travels from ground to sky.

Lightning is even more complicated than this. When lightning travels from the sky to the ground, it actually travels in both directions at the same time. One bolt of lightning travels from the sky towards the ground. As it does it attracts a small bolt up from the ground and they meet in mid air. In fact the part we see as the lightning bolt is the part traveling from the ground up to the sky.

This is an amazing example of salvation. The well-known text in Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we can never earn salvation on our own through works. It is God’s gift. But we must respond. 1 John 1:9 informs us that if we confess our sins, then God can forgive them. God reaches down like a lightning bolt to our hearts to offer us a hope and eternal life. And just as the lightning attracts a response from the ground, so God’s offer of salvation, when truly felt, attracts a response from us to confess our sins and accept his offer.

However, it does not end there. Philippians 2:12 says we must work to show the results of our salvation. This will never earn us the right to salvation. But when we have been forgiven and changed by God’s gift, we become a new creation. We long to do God’s will by following his example. Just like the lightning, the gift must go both ways. God must first offer salvation, then we must accept and offer our sins to be forgiven and change our ways. We can take comfort in knowing that God will continue to offer forgiveness even when we mess up.


How does seeing lightning make you feel?

Have you experienced God’s forgiveness and confessed your sins?

Do you think your salvation is sure even when you don't feel like your saved?