Gravity and Colossians 1:15-23

Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, just set a box office record for a fall-opening film. I left the theater unbelievably captivated and wanting to explode at the same time. *If you are going to see the movie, go see it and then read this, because this will contain spoilers. Also, in this review I am not saying I know the message the director of Gravity wanted to communicate. I am simply explaining what I picked up and what seemed painfully obvious, which still could be different from what was intended.

I was captivated by the cinematography and visuals of Gravity. Watching it is a bit like repeatedly holding your breath for a minute, then breathing for 30 seconds; holding your breath for a minute, breathing for 30 seconds; again and again. But while you are breathing, you are pulled into the the sights and sounds captured in a beautiful way. I found myself smiling at times at the views of the beauty of earth. I’d imagine this movie more than any other makes you feel like you are with the characters in space, feeling no gravity, overwhelmed by the hugeness of the earth. We need more movies of this quality and caliber. I think they shot the film in space.

The setting of the movie begins in space with 3 characters working on, I think, the Hubble. The reason I don’t know is because it is not a big deal, which you will see, seems to be the point of a number of things. We don’t know where they are from (obviously earth), or why they are there. They are communicating back and forth with Houston before they are told a large amount of debris is headed their way, unexpected and fast. Before you know it they are are hit. Matt (George Clooney) and Ryan (Sandra Bullock) are flung into space.

Matt finds Ryan and the rest of the movie consists of them trying to make it back home safely. We know very little of where they come from, what their lives consist of, or what their dreams are for the future. We just know they exist, and right now their existence hangs in the balance.

The movie reaches a climax when Ryan gives up. In a sobering moment she expresses out loud that we are all going to die but she is going to die today. She is coming to grips with the end of her existence. Not much hope, if any. Just a reality she must accept, however she accepts it. She has come to the end of her ability to save her existence, and she shuts down the oxygen flow in her satellite pod to go to sleep peacefully. She has no more reason to fight for her life.

She is interrupted by a dream, or hallucination, of Matt, telling her that she may not know what her future holds, but it may be a “hell of a ride.” That proves to be motivation for her to hold on, and she does. She makes it back to earth and the movie ends with her crawling on shore, overjoyed at the feeling of the earth. She stands up after not having used her legs in a while, and it is like walking for the first time; a new beginning. She is no place recognizable and the sky seems to be the limit. There are no known relationships waiting for her somewhere. Actually, she expressed out loud, at the point of almost committing suicide that no one will pray for her or mourn for her. What does the future hold for Ryan? She doesn’t know. And we don’t know. But she at least seems to have a future. She exists.

That is the hope Gravity holds out for us. In life we will suffer; life will beat us down. But we are here. We may not know where we come from, what we are doing, or where we are going, but we are here. We exist. And whatever lies before us may just be a great ride. We will eat, drink, seek to be merry, and we will all die. The hope Gravity offers is no hope at all. Gravity seems to say, “You and I exist. Knowing how we exist or why we exist is not so important. Just knowing that we exist and that we shouldn’t give up on our existence is what is important. Hold on to what you have, and what you have may be simply your existence.”

Of course, anyone who believes that all they have is their existence should at least hold on to it; but Gravity doesn’t seem to offer any more hope than that. But as a Christian, in this moment, Gravity makes me feel such joy that I have lasting, unshakable hope. I have hope personally and hope to offer others. What a joy to have more to say to people than simply, “I know you are real and alive; that is about all you got going for you.” Christians, gospel-believing people, are the answer to Ryan’s grief in the film when she mourns that no one will pray for her; that no one ever taught her to pray.

That brief moment in the film is the hinge point of the whole story. If someone teaches her who to pray to, it changes everything, absolutely everything. If someone teaches her about the Person who made her, who is the cause of her existence; the Person who sustains her, who holds her together; the Person who is the end of her existence, the true purpose she should live for, then she would have hope.

If only she knew that by Jesus “all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” If only she knew that Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” And if only she knew that Jesus can reconcile her to God, “making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Gravity makes me want to tell her.


What I Believe About “Calvinism” (6/6)

Here is my best shot at capturing your attention for this blog: If you are saved and on your way to Heaven today, how do you know you will be tomorrow, or a month from now, or a year from now? How can you be sure that you will not turn away from Jesus tomorrow for some unknown reason?

I could ask those questions like this: Is it true that “once saved, always saved”? If you are saved today, will you be saved tomorrow? Or will you walk away from the salvation you have?

Those are big questions aren’t they? Is there anything more important than knowing today whether or not you will be believing in Jesus tomorrow? Interestingly, the way to answer the question of whether or not you will be believing in Jesus tomorrow is by answering whether or not you are believing in Jesus today. That means no future guess-work for you.

The Bible answers these questions head on. God has not left us in the dark, not even close. These are not questions He is ‘OK’ leaving unanswered in your mind. I would liken God’s desire to comfort you about your future to a loving dad’s desire to assure his adopted child that he isn’t going to send him back to the orphanage…ever.

If you remember, I have tried to argue from the Scriptures that Jesus got you into your Christianity. You didn’t save yourself. If you are a Christian, the Father chose you, the Son died for you, and the Spirit awakened you to repent and believe in Jesus. Your salvation is entirely God’s work. You didn’t do it and you didn’t help God do it.

Now, what I want to argue is that just as Jesus initially saved you, he is going to finally save you. What I mean by that is “once saved, always saved.” If you are in Jesus now, you are safe and sound, forever.

Enter the Scriptures.

John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Jesus says that those who come to him presently have eternal life. He promises that they will never perish. Those who are saved can rest assured they will never be un-saved, or perish. Why is that? Because “no one will snatch them out of [Jesus’] hand.” And no one can “snatch them out of the Father’s hand” who is “greater than all”.

Safe and sound, forever.

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:24 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,”

Philippians 1:6 says that the One who began the good work of salvation will bring it to completion. This is key in understanding this whole idea of “once saved, always saved.” When we believe in Jesus we are justified, or made righteous before God, forgiven of sin, and given eternal life. But we have yet to enter into the finality of our salvation, in glorified bodies, free from the presence of all sin in eternal bliss with Jesus. So, the Bible explains that we are saved, being saved, and will be saved. Phil. 1:6, therefore, is a promise that if we are saved now, we will be tomorrow and will be in eternity.
Safe and sound, forever.
1 Thessalonians and Jude both proclaim the truth of the keeping power of God. He keeps us blameless and keeps us from stumbling in order to present us blameless before him. These Scriptures tell us God is able to keep us safe, and they promise that God will keep us safe in Christ.
Safe and sound, forever.
Do you see the trend that in order to be assured of your future, you just need to be assured of your present. Do you know that you are in Christ today? Do you know that God has begun the good work of salvation in you, that you are repenting to and believing in Jesus for forgiveness today? If so, rest assured that He who began that good work will carry it to completion by keeping you safe and sound in his hands, forever. 
A few more Scriptures?
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
According to Ephesians, when we believe in Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians then comments on what this means. Paul says the Holy Spirit is a “guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it”. While we already have the Spirit and are justified, we do not yet possess the finality of our salvation mentioned above. However, having the Spirit today is a guarantee that we will absolutely one day enter into eternal glory with Jesus.
Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
We are justified through faith in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus, you have been justified. And here in Rom. 8:30 Paul says that all those that are justified are glorified. Glorification is about the finality of our salvation. Thus it seems what Paul is saying is that from “…God’s standpoint the work is as good as done. He will complete it as planned.” (Reformation Study Bible, see “Show resources”).
Safe and sound, forever.
So go ahead. Celebrate with hope that Jesus is keeping you and will keep you! When you wander, He will keep you. When you stumble, He will pick you up. I’ve heard it said there is more grace in him than sin in you. Go take a nap. Rest easy. If you are in Christ today, you are safe and sound, forever.