Who is responsible for your salvation? For you and me the answer is obviously Jesus but many people will name a person. Others act as if they are responsible for their own salvation, working hard to win God's approval. Yet there is only one author of our faith, only one who died on the cross, only one who rose from the grave, only one who sits on the right hand of the Father, representing us, only one.
It was a big thing for a while for everyone to have a spiritual father, someone who was like a father figure, giving spiritual guidance. Even Paul referred to himself as a father to the Corinthians and this has been greatly misunderstood. As soon as we place someone in that position they are becoming our saviour and we are becoming dependant on them.
In Apostle Paul's case he felt like a father to many of the churches in the same way he felt like a father to Timothy. But not as a man who was responsible for the birth of a child but as in a father who cares for his child and feels responsible for them. Jesus said very plainly that we are not to call anyone "Father" because we have a Father. It is not the title but the attitude, of someone being responsible for our spiritual birth.
I am very thankful for all of the people who have contributed to my spiritual growth over the years but I know who has been orchestrating it and I know who convicted me of my sin and I know who opened the door to the Father for me. The only one responsible for my salvation is Jesus Christ. He may use people or he may speak directly to us in visions and dreams, and through the Spirit in us but make no mistake about it, it is only Jesus who saves. There is no man, woman or child who can save you, and no one else is responsible for your salvation:
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)
Therein lies my second point: Not even you are responsible for your salvation. It may sound like a silly thing to say but many people act as if what they do for God will win some favour with him. They fail to understand they already have favour with God. The cross should be sufficient for us to understand the lavish love our Father has poured out on us. By covering us with his grace he has taken away the need for us to earn anything from him, because he has freely given us everything: "not with a circumcision done by the hands of men".
I think this is the part that makes it hard for people to understand and accept Jesus. Most of us are too proud to accept anything for free. Only those who are truly desperate are willing to accept help but we don't realize just how desperate we are. Those who do accept Jesus often accept the idea of grace but live as if they still have to earn it. It can be a hard mindset to break.
We are obedient children of the Father, obedient servant's to the King, obedient students of the Spirit, but not because that obedience earns us anything. We are obedient because obedience is a natural response to love. We love because he first loved us. There is only one who is responsible for our salvation and we love him for it.
It may seem like minor points this morning but reflect on it a bit and see if you have someone you have put between you and God. Have you made someone your priest? Have you become dependent on someone other than Jesus? Maybe a minor point but it is a minor point with big consequences. Check your heart and see who you consider to be responsible for your salvation