Around fourteen years ago, Aileen and I bought our first home. We had been searching all over our town and all over the other towns nearby, looking for just the right place. We couldn’t find it. They were all too big or too expensive or too far from where we wanted to be. Where we wanted to be, we realized, was right where we were. So when a neighbouring home went on the market, we were quick to check it out.
As happens, we made an offer on that house. After a little back and forth, the offer was accepted, at which point we had to put down a deposit. Even though we had not yet taken possession of the home, we made a payment. That payment, that deposit, was meant to show that we would go all the way. It was the sign that we would not just stop at an offer, but would actually close on the deal. If we were to later decide to not go forward with the transaction, we would lose our deposit and would have wasted that rather substantial sum of money. And, sure enough, we did go forward, we did complete the sale, and we have been living there happily ever since.
In James 1:18, we are told that Christians are essentially God’s deposit on this world. James says of God that “of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” According to the pleasure of his will, God “brought us forth”—he saved us—by “the word of truth,” the gospel. This is the experience of every Christian—being drawn powerfully and effectually to God.
And why does he do this? Why does God draw us to himself? There are many valid ways we could answer that question. He does it out of love. That’s true. He does it for his own glory. That’s true, too. But here James points to yet another reason. God saves us so we can serve as a kind of deposit.
When Aileen and I made an offer on our house, we put down that deposit to show that we intended to go all the way and complete the transaction. In a similar way, you and I are like God’s deposit on this world. Our salvation is a sure sign that God will eventually redeem all of this creation. Just as God brought new life to our souls, he will bring new life to this planet. Just as he accomplished redemption in us, he will accomplish redemption in all of this universe. He will complete in all the cosmos what he has begun in us. If he does not, the suffering and death of Jesus Christ will have been a waste. He will have accomplished only a partial, not a complete, salvation.
We all have those moments of weariness, those moments when we long to see the last of sin, the last of death, the last of decay, the last of destruction. We long for Christ to return, to destroy all evil, to purify all creation. And in the waiting we can sometimes lose confidence that he actually will. But our salvation is proof. If the person from whom we bought our house ever doubted we would go through with it, she would just need to look at our deposit. That would remind her, “They will complete the transaction.” And we, when we long for the end of all evil and the fulfillment of all good, just need to look at our salvation. That should remind us, “God will complete what he has begun.”
In this way our salvation is proof that God is powerful, that he is effective, that he has a plan, that his plan is progressing, and that he will carry it all to completion. Because God has accomplished so great a salvation in us, we can have every confidence he will complete his full and final deliverance of this world.