Thursday, May 25, 2017

Are You 'Saved'? (uh ...) by Brad Jersak

The Trinity by Scott Erickson
A constellation of questions, common to some Christian traditions, increasingly makes me cringe.
  • Are you saved?
  • Is he/she saved?
  • When were you saved?
I know what is intended. They are identifying ‘saved’ with the moment I ‘invited Christ into my heart’ through the faith confession involved in ‘the Sinner’s Prayer.’ If that is how and when I was saved, I suppose you could say I was ‘saved’ when I was six-years-old. That’s when I personally and consciously responded to the grace of God. So why does that give me the heebie-jeebies? Was that when I was saved? It caused me to pause and explore how various Christians use the term "salvation" or "saved,” and how the New Testament does so, too. The issue arose afresh when Paul Young wrote in his new book, Lies We Believe About God:
Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? Do you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying.
Yet Paul also says he is not a Universalist. So then, what does he mean? He continues:
Every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension in Jesus. When Jesus was lifted up, God ‘dragged’ all human beings to Himself (John 12:32) and that Jesus is the Savior of all humankind, (I Tim 4:10). Further, every single human being is in Christ and Christ is in them, and Christ is in the Father (John 14:20). When Christ died—the Creator in whom the cosmos was created—we all died. When Christ rose, we rose (II Cor. 5). The context of salvation involves three dimensions. First, prior to the foundation of the world we were all included. Saved in eternity (II Tim 1:9). Second, in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus we were all included (II Cor 5:19). Third, within the context of our own experience a present tense on-going active participation to work out what God has worked in (Phil 2:12-13). Although we didn’t do anything in the accomplishment of our salvation (except to kill Jesus), our participation in the working out of this salvation is essential. Our ongoing choices matter.
So, is everyone saved? Depends what you mean. Does salvation include everyone? It would seem so. Is our willing response necessary? It’s essential. 

On this note, I had a fantastic discussion with Paul and some other scholars about his approach (I affirm). 

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