Pickles and Cucumbers
By Jack Kinsella
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty.” (2nd Peter 1:16)
What sets a Christian apart from a Muslim, a Jew, or a Buddhist? Christians wake up each morning, confident in their salvation and unafraid to meet their God.
Their God isn’t an unknowable Allah, or a dead Chinese philosopher or a coming Messiah, but a Risen Savior Who has already paid the full penalty for their sin on the Cross.
To a born-again Christian, at the moment of rebirth, one becomes ‘positionally seated in the heavenlies’ — that is to say, as surely as if that person was there already.
In the beginning, God created man in His Image. God is eternal — existing outside of space and time, He always was and He always will be, in a kind of ever-present now, for want of a better analogy. God created the angels in the same way, although they had a created beginning, they were designed to last eternally.
So, we have the two eternal creations of God — the angels, and man. Everybody with me so far?
The angels rebelled and were cast out of heaven (Jude 1:6, Job 2:2 Isaiah 14:12). Then Adam and Eve fell, and were cast out of Eden. (Genesis 3:23)
After the Flood, God sought out Abraham, with whom He made a covenant. Through Moses, God established the Law, which in essence, subdivided spiritual mankind and created a new spiritual entity in the Jew.
All mankind was now subdivided into either Jew or Gentile. Are you still with me? To this point, there are three distinct eternal entities; angels and mankind, subdivided into Jews and Gentiles.
Spiritually, they are distinctly different with the only common characteristic being that they are created with an eternal spiritual existence. Don’t let me lose you now. Here’s the good part.
The Bible teaches that, at the Cross, a fourth spiritual creation came into existence. It is distinct from either Jew or Gentile, but is related to both.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You still with me now? Allow me to torture yet another analogy by way of explanation. Think of the caterpillar and the butterfly. Or, better yet, a pickle and a cucumber. Your choice.
You start life spiritually, as a caterpillar (or a cucumber). Unless you get squashed (or eaten) before the transformation takes place, then that is how you remain for eternity.
Stay with me…
On the other hand, once the caterpillar becomes a butterfly (or the cucumber becomes a pickle), that is what it is. It isn’t what it WILL be, it is what it IS.
And no matter what you do, you can’t turn a butterfly into a caterpillar (or a pickle into a cucumber). That is why it is called TRANSFORMATION. It is permanent and irrevocable.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)
Becoming a ‘new creature’ in Christ is not a future event — it cannot be, since it takes place at the moment of salvation.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) We already HAVE that power of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit as a birthright procured on our behalf by the Savior.
Let’s pull it all together now. Among the most divisive doctrines in the Body of Christ is the doctrine of eternal security.
At various times, we’ve examined it from the perspective of ‘this is what the context of this verse is’ and, ‘the original Greek says’ and so on, but the fact remains that when a Jew or a Gentile is saved by the Blood of Christ, he becomes a new creature, no longer a spiritual caterpillar, (or a pickle), but something else.
The transformation is complete at that moment. The rest is up to Jesus.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)
Whether ‘once saved, always saved’ is a slogan or a doctrine is debated endlessly. But the simple truth of God is that the truth of God is simple.
You can’t turn a butterfly into a caterpillar. And you can’t turn a pickle into a cucumber.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2nd Peter 1:19)
Don’t let doubt steal your confidence, and don’t let it be shaken by clever-sounding arguments that keep you bound by guilt and out of the battle. Know you are loved by God, and that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)
Remember Who ‘He which hath begun a good work in you’ is, and be confident. When you are saved, the power of God indwells you. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
The time is short until He returns and eternity is a long, long time. Each of us knows somebody who is either a caterpillar or a cucumber. How they will spend eternity may be up to you.
The enemy wants you to think that you aren’t good enough to be used by God, heck, you aren’t even really saved! Look at what a mess you are! How can God use you? How can you tell other people that they need to trust Jesus when He can’t even kick your cigarette habit for you?
The enemy wants to blind you to the fact you ARE new creature. If he can hold your salvation over your head, extending it, and then pulling it away, then that gives him power over you.
The real truth is, the only thing still up to you after salvation is whether you re going to be a beautiful butterfly or a moth; a Vlasic or a sour pickle.
But you don’t have to be a spiritual heavyweight to introduce people to Jesus. Or to be ready to answer the skeptic’s arguments, or to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
The only requirement for membership into the Body of Christ is that you must first be a sinner who trusts in Jesus alone for his salvation.
It bears repeating; the simple truth of God is that the truth of God is simple.
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” (1 Corinthians 1:27)