We absolutely expected to owe on taxes this year, but much to our surpise we got a refund! Or, we're getting a refund, rather. It's not here it. It's been promised, but yet to be fully realized by being placed into our account. So until then, we wait. Well...our savlation works much the same way. Are we saved? Well, yes and no. We have been cleansed from sin, but we anxiously await the promise of our hope in heaven that has not yet been realized. We know it's coming, but until then, we just have to wait.
What if I told you that God could be seen in the most ordinary things every day?
What if I told you that every day, ordinary events could teach us extraordinary eternal truths?
Would you believe me?
Hi, I’m BJ Sipe – and you’re listening to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast.
I am a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father.
Thanks for tuning in!
They say that there are two things that are certain in life – death & taxes. Given the time of year that it is, I’m sure that you have figured out which of those two today’s podcast is going to zero in on. Tuesday the 18th was tax day this year, given that the 15th ended up falling on a Saturday. While normally Kylie and I are usually done with our taxes by late February or early March, this year we were kind of sneaking in at the last minute. We finished them up Monday of last week, actually, so I suppose technically we were still a week early, but that was still cutting it a bit too close for my taste. This year was a little different because in each of the subsequent years of our “married filing-jointly” we have had someone else help to prepare both our state and federal taxes. This year, I took it upon myself to do our very own taxes – and I am confident that is why it took me so long to get around to doing them. In my mind, I had built it up into this extraordinarily complicated thing and allowed it to stress me out to no end. However, in actuality it wasn’t that bad! Honestly it was kind of a breeze (despite one major hiccup where the program I was using tried to wipe all my information after completing my taxes and I had to call tech support, lol). The best part about it all? I was totally expecting for us to owe this year, best case scenario was that we would possibly break even. But after plugging everything in and triple checking it all, we were going to get a refund! I couldn’t believe it – thank you Finley for that third child tax credit, it made a huge difference! We filed our taxes, and within a few days received emails informing us that both our state and federal tax returns had been accepted! Naturally, the next question would be: when should we expect our federal tax return? Using the IRS page you can fill in the proper information and get a status update on your federal return, so I went ahead and did that. They have the following loading bar that is produced with three segments that will illuminate when they have been completed: return received, refund approved, and refund sent. The very first segment “return received” was illuminated clearly. However, “refund approved” and “refund sent” were still not lit up and pending. So, we do what everyone does when they are expecting something to happen for them from the government: we wait. Which puts us in kind of a funky situation when you think about it. If someone were to bring up taxes and ask me, “So, did you get a refund this year?” what would I say? I could say yes because we have filed our taxes, had our returns accepted, and now expect a refund in the next three weeks. But that’s just it, I could also say no from the technical standpoint that while I am anxiously awaiting our return, it’s not actually in our hands yet. I have no doubts that we have been approved and expect our refund soon, but I couldn’t tell you exactly when.
All of this got me thinking about the nature of our salvation that we have in Christ. If I were to ask you the question, “Are you saved?” – how would you answer that question? On one hand, you could respond by saying yes because if we have obeyed the gospel then we are approved by God and now have the hope & expectation of heaven by his grace. But on the other hand, from the technical standpoint you could also say no because while you are anxiously awaiting the salvation of your soul & your heavenly inheritance, it has not yet been realized while you remain here in the flesh. So that begs the question – are we saved or not? And the answer to that question is a little bit of both. Let’s consider the following passages of Scripture together. We read in Romans 8:1 the following joyful declaration from the apostle Paul – “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” What an incredible thought! If you are in Christ, you no longer have an expectation of judgment from Christ. While previously what awaited us was condemnation while we lived apart from God according to the flesh, to those who have become the children of God now we anticipate something very different: eternal life. We read in 1 John 5:13, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Go back and read that again – we can know that we have eternal life! There is no question about the security of our salvation if we are in Christ – we can know and have confidence that we have eternal life! But is John actually saying that you have it yet? Or is he emphasizing that it has been promised to you? Consider just a few more passages of Scripture with me if you will. First, consider the language that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15 regarding our salvation. He writes in vv. 1-2, “Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” Did you catch what Paul said there, by which we are being saved. Am I saved? In the sense of my cleansing from sin, absolutely. In the sense of that I have been redeemed from this sinful world and brought into my eternal home – well, that’s pending. It’s been promised to me. I have confidence in my salvation from Christ, but in the meantime, we can only do one thing: we wait. Let’s conclude by examining one more passage of Scripture together from Hebrews 9:26-28, “But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment—so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” The gospel, the good news of Jesus, is vastly greater than any tax return you could get in this life when you expected to owe. The gospel is our hope in the face of certain death that we can instead be given eternal life. You can have confidence in your salvation, knowing it has been promised by your creator and paid for by the blood of Jesus. Until then, just hold fast and wait until Jesus returns to make that which is faith sight. I don’t know when that day will be exactly, but I do know that it will be the most glorious day, far beyond the limits of our imagination when our salvation is finally realized and we stand before Jesus face to face in our heavenly home.
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Thursday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for future announcements or even some special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from it also. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.