Monday, June 22, 2009
Two kinds of salvation
Two blogs ago I talked about how we are not so much "saved" from a place called Hell, but rather our separation from God. This is going to be sort of the follow up to that blog, so if you havent read it yet, read that first. This week I will be taking about salvation in its two different forms, and hopefully, I will do it without confusing you or myself, haha:
Salvation in Christianity is most popularly viewed as the act of accepting Jesus into ones heart and asking His forgiveness. That by saying the sinners prayer, Jesus comes to "live" in your heart and you get saved from the devil poking you with his red pitchfork.
This view treats salvation (or reconciliation to God) like a freely given coupon, in that if you fail to cash it in by an unknown expiration date...the blood shed for you is no longer any good to redeem you and thus you get to go to Hell for all time. In this view Gods attitude is,
I did my part, now do yours, or I will cease to help you
Salvation (in this view) is thus not entirely dependent on God's love and Calvary, but is equally co-dependent on mans will to repent and live the correct lifestyle. Our works and attitudes ultimately affect Gods so called "unchanging" ways and attitude towards us, and makes him out to be no different than any other temporary, selfish human being. Even so, we talk a lot about how Christ came to free us from doing works to get Gods favor and forgiveness...yet this view clearly states that Christ really only gave us new works in order to merit Gods affection.
But is this really how God set up salvation to be? Lets look at Romans 5:18-19
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
There are many things we can say about this passage. But I think the most notable, is the fact that it relates the human condemnation through Adam(which none of us chose to be born into), in direct proportion to justification through Christ. Therefore, if the condemnation Adam brought on human kind didn't take our acceptance to take effect, then why would the justification of Christ need our acceptance to take effect? According to this passage, Adams curse on the human race is in effect from the day one is born, so by the same logic, Christs justification takes effect from the day we are born, to counteract that curse. All this to say, it doesn't take ones accepting Jesus, in order for one to be justified by Jesus. We are all justified by the blood, whether we "accept" it or not. Beyond that, because of Christ, it is impossible for a human to offend God by sinning.
The Greek word for sin is "hamartia" (to offend) or sometimes the Bible uses "hamartano" (to miss the mark). knowing that, the following passage reads thusly:
1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not [miss the mark]. But if anyone does [miss the mark], we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our [offense], and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
We all miss the mark in life, for even the most devout Christian will still sin. But God cannot be offended by our wicked deeds any longer...Christ paid and saved us from the offense. This dismisses the popular notion that God somehow has "no choice", but to cast unrepentant sinners into an eternal abyss, because his holy purity is somehow offended by the stench of our sins. It is literally impossible to offend God, because of Christ. I call this Type A salvation, or automatic salvation, because everyone is justified and clean of offense automatically via the Cross.
Now you might say, what about Romans 10:9?
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Using this verse, you might argue that surely one has to confess and believe to be saved, right? Well, I think its important to note here that when the bible talks about being saved or salvation, it doesnt necessarily have anything to do with the common churched idea of eternal deliverance. In Romans 10:9 the word used for saved is "Sozo", which literally means to heal or preserve (think back to the other blog where I said Christ came more to save us from earthly things than eternal ones). So this passage is not talking about justification, so much as its talking about sanctification. Everyone is already justified, or made right with God. But not everyone is sanctified, or made holy in relationship with God. Sanctification requires Gods revelation to us of His truth in order to progressively release us from earthly woes, and thus unite with God in fellowship
In other words, to be justified by God through type A salvation, no you dont have to confess or believe anything. But to benefit from type B salvation, yes, you must confess and believe in order for THAT to take effect in your life.
(sounds like Im talking about diseases, doesnt it? Type A and Type B and all lol). Think of it this way,
Suppose you have a rich uncle who dies and leaves a 100,000 dollars JUST for you in a bank account, and the only one who knows about it is your dad. Now in order to benefit from this large stack of moola, you would first have to know that it exist. But you would not have to know about it, for the money to merely exist in your name or for it to gain interest. It is yours and legally, nothing can change that. However, your father might not tell you that it is there until you are old enough to spend it wisely and fully appreciate the gift for what it is.
I realize theres a few flaws with my analogy, but I think it illustrates my point adequately. Type A salvation is a done deal, it was completed and put into effect the moment Jesus said on the cross,
It is finished.
However, type B is not persay done, because it is not an event. It is a process that may never actually cease to progress the human soul. Type B salvation starts when one is awakened in their conscious to the fullness of Christ (when GOD chooses to reveal), leading that person to take up their own cross and follow Him. When a person accepts Christ, they are re-birthed in their mind and heart to what God has done for them and will continue to do in their life. This is what I think Jesus truly meant by one being "born again"(John 3:6-8)
Ive brought up the following verses before,1 Timothy 4:9-10 it says,
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
When one confesses and believes in Christ, they can truly live in the peace and knowledge of ones reconciliation to God and thus fully experience a relationship with God. This is what I think is meant here by saying especially those who believe. God is the savior of all men, whether they acknowledge it or not. But He has a special relationship and "salvation" from self, for those that do believe. We are all justified, but not all sanctified.
We are all bought by the blood, but we are not all yet washed by it.
Salvation is not like a coupon that expires, or milk that goes sour. It is imperishable. It is in one way, already complete. Yet in another way, requires Gods unveiling of our hearts and mind to the truth in order to obtain the life that He has waiting for us.
I realize I got pretty heavy in this blog, I even had to double check some passages and words to make sure I knew what I was talking about (lol). But if nothing else hopefully you understand this idea of salvation a little more clearly.