Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Diamond of Salvation

I am currently reading (and almost finished with) Alister McGrath's Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought. I am reading about modern developments (since the 1700's) in theology as they relate to salvation. McGrath mentions that salvation has been conceived of many different ways in theological thought since 1700 and lists them. Here is his list:

  • Deification
  • Righteousness before God
  • Union with Christ
  • Moral perfection
  • Consciousness of God
  • Genuine Humanity
  • Political Liberation

What is fascinating about this list is that there is a great deal of confusion about salvation, the effects of salvation, and the future of salvation. Essentially, most of the items on this list either make salvation consist of the effects of salvation or make salvation based upon the future of salvation.

For example, moral perfection is something we look forward to eschatologically but not in the present. Consciousness of God is an excellent thing we possess when we are saved and, in my opinion, is one of the most prominent changes that takes place when someone is saved. However, being MORE conscious (or even predominately conscious of God) does not constitute salvation. Rather, it is an effect. Political liberation, while something we should be striving for now (since as believers we are called to work for the oppressed and needy) and is something we will be looking forward to in the future (the eschatological dimension), it absolutely does not constitute salvation.

It is so easy to neglect the beautiful simplicity of what salvation means. Salvation means we are rescued from death, sin and the wrath of God. This isn't popular to talk about among some people. However, I treasure the beauty of salvation and that my salvation is not dependent upon my external change or my inward shift toward God. If so, I would be in serious trouble. But praise be to God who set forth His Son to rescue someone like me.

Thank you Jesus!

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