Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
There is a very small difference in nuance in the Japanese translation of this verse: “God is to us the God of salvation.” To me, that says that God is God whether we acknowledge Him or not, while the English is being possessive of Him. In any case, David is stating the truth that is proclaimed by the great multitude in heaven: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10) Peter expressed it slightly differently before the Sanhedrin: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) David didn’t know about the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, but God had revealed it to his heart in some way, as Psalm 23 and many other of his Psalms indicate. The particular “escape from death” in this verse was likely just referring to physical death at the time, but God intended it for the eternal perspective. People seek salvation in various ways, but it stands to reason that only our Creator can actually provide it. Buddhism, being atheistic at its foundation, avoids the subject entirely, and speaks of “nothingness” as the ultimate good. I’ve talked to three different Buddhist priests of different denominations at different times in different places, and all three acknowledged without hesitation that there is no salvation in Buddhism. My question then is, “Then why are you a Buddhist priest?” None of them answered. Peter’s declaration is true, from now through eternity, which is why there is such antipathy to the name of Jesus among those who are yielded to the devil. I just read of an American TV program that is now censoring all references to Jesus. How pathetic! Hatred of Jesus is essentially self-hatred, because it is an utter rejection of salvation.
My life is dedicated to sharing the good news of salvation with others, which is quite challenging in a country that is so infused with the lies of Buddhism and Shinto. I am never to give up, but keep speaking the truth in love. There is great fear of, even obsession with, death in Japan. That’s hardly surprising, when 99% of the population has no hope of eternal life. I am to speak to that fear, using the hope that I have to draw them to repentance and faith. John 3:16 is true in every culture and in every age. I am to let the Holy Spirit use my words and life to get that truth across to as many people as will receive it, for their salvation and the glory of God.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all the many ways You save us, and not just from eternal death. Thank You for enabling us to be ready for the bazaar yesterday, and for each person who came. Thank You especially that one of my nursing school students came and brought her sister. I pray that many more would come today and discover that this church isn’t such a scary place, to have courage to come again for other events that are more actively evangelistic. Thank You for all the church members who are participating. May all that we do bring Your kingdom into the hearts and lives of those around us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!