1) We are saved by God. (Jonah 2:9)
God does it all. He does not simply 'blaze a trail' or 'clear a path' or 'make it possible' to be saved. He saves. It's His work entirely.
2) We are saved from God. (Romans 3:25)
Our problem is not merely our disobedience, our problem is God's anger at our disobedience. We're not just saved from sin but from wrath. If our problem was "our sin" then "our righteousness" would be the (implied) solution. But no, the problem is out of our hands - just as the solution is.
3) We are saved for God. (Ephesians 2:18)
Who cares if we simply receive a "not guilty verdict"? The good news is not that we escape hell. It's that we are reconciled to the Father, in the Son and by the Spirit.
4) Salvation is about our being. (2 Peter 1:4)
Our problem is not simply our behaviour but our being in Adam. God's solution is not simply "a clean slate" but a whole new nature in Christ. Atonement is not simply about scapegoats and blood sacrifices (though they are crucial). It's about our High Priest carrying His people into God's presence.
5) Jesus is God's salvation and perfectly reveals His saving will. (John 3:14-17)
Jesus means "The LORD is salvation." If we want to know God's will for salvation there is nowhere else to look. God is the God of Jesus - the God of the gospel.
6) God's love for Christ is primary. (John 3:35-36)
It's easy to get lost in debates about "God's love for the church" versus "God's love for the world." We might ask ourselves whether / how these loves might differ from each other. But we ought to begin further upstream. God loves His Son and He gives His Son to the world. Where Christ is received, that is the church. But the point is not so much about the church or the world (or the church versus the world). It's about Jesus.
7) Every blessing is in Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
As we've just noted, God saves by committing everything into the hands of Jesus and then offering Jesus to the world (John 3:35-36). All of salvation happens in Christ (i.e. forgiveness, new life, adoption, election, justification, etc, etc). God doesn't do any of these things to us outside of Christ - He works them all in His Son and offers them only in Him.
8) Judgement and Salvation are not parallel tracks. (1 Peter 4:17)
It's not really a matter of either curses or blessings. The world goes through 'paradise lost' to a new Jerusalem. Israel goes through exile and then returns. Christ goes through the cross to the resurrection. We're baptised into His death and, through our co-crucifixion with Christ, we enter into salvation.
9) Saving faith is not a thing. (John 1:10-13)
Some think of faith as a thing and then argue about whether it belongs to man or to God. But faith is not a thing. Christ is the one saving thing, given to the world. Where He is received - that is called faith. But faith isn't the saving thing, Christ is.
10) The gospel is the power of salvation. (Romans 1:15-16)
The power of salvation - the Almighty Spirit of Christ - works in and through the word. We must not divorce word and Spirit. We must not imagine that the preaching of the gospel is one thing and saving power is something else - sometimes active, sometimes not. That would be to locate the power of salvation outside the gospel. But no, the gospel is God's power to save. Most discussions about salvation would be improved if we had a stronger theology of the word.
5 thoughts on “Ten Thoughts On Salvation”
So much for our "free-will".
Beautiful! 10 very helpful principles for all our Bible reading, theological thinking and daily living.
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