You Are All Saved
** SPOILER ALERT ** – This is about the season finale of season one of the TV show “Preacher”.
“You are all saved!” So the God-imposter exclaims with exceeding joy in the season one finale of “Preacher.” The congregation erupts with joy as their existential angst is momentarily resolved with a truthful lie. The imposter thinks he is lying and telling the people what they want to hear. Yet, in reality, he is speaking the truth that the true God of all creation wants you to hear and believe so that the truth of it might take effect also in your life. That is the purpose of the office of “Preacher.” As Saint Paul says:
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher.” (1 Tim 2:3-7)
Season one of “Preacher” has proven to be quite the ride as Seth Rogen lays the foundation so that season two can begin where the comic books start, with the Jesse Custer and friends taking the great American road trip in an effort to find God, to find salvation. It’s the great American pastime, finding God. Almost everyone engages in the search one way or another: road trips, sex, drugs and rock and roll, trips through the Grand Canyon. The most successful seem to be those that look for Him with an extended stay at the Greybar Hotel. The odd thing is, few look for Him where He Himself promises to be found, in church where the disciples have gathered to devote themselves to the teaching of the apostles, prayer and the breaking of the bread. God is found, as with most things, in the last place a person would look.
So everyone is rather skeptical in the final episode, that God will visit the Congregational Church of Annville, to justify the ministry of Jesse Custer in the face of Odin Qincannon, who wants Jesse to denounce God. Yet, even when the man on the screen in the video conference with heaven is shown to be an imposter and declares God to be missing, Jesse, for all his own qualms, misgivings and animosity towards God, refuses to denounce Him. He walks out of the church to get French fries with Tulip and Cassidy before resolving to go on a road trip to find God.
The town is elated though, when the phone line reaches heaven and God declares that they are all saved. The exuberance is contagious before the fraud is revealed. It’s not the answer that is most often given in church, that you are all saved. Perhaps, this is why the church has become the last place people look for Him.
It was a rather startling revelation I had in my early twenties, some people go to church their whole lives without ever hearing Jesus Christ died to forgive them their sins. Most preachers themselves are afraid to declare something so definitive, so decisive to all in hearing. They might be accused of universalism. And though universalism falls short of truth and the glory of God, there is truth to the statement, “You are all saved.”
It was to declare this truth that Paul was appointed a preacher. “Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all.” God’s desire that all be saved led him to pay the price by which all are saved, all are justified. The old retort to the question of, “When were you saved?” is, “Some two thousand years ago, on a cross just outside the gates of Jerusalem.” And while faith is necessary for this to take effect in your life, one’s refusal to believe it does not negate the fact that his or her ransom was paid. It was paid with the blood of God, Who desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
Faith doesn’t make it true, the truth of it makes faith. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose from the dead as God-made-man in our midst that we could rejoice with contagious jubilation when we hear, “You are all saved!”