Salvation: It’s probably not what you thought it was.

You’re looking at it all wrong

Thoughts on someone else’s blog

I have for some time thought that people’s ideas about salvation are just too small. The achievements on the cross by Jesus Christ goes way beyond personal salvation. I have also have been thinking about social holiness (which is not the same as the social gospel), but that will have to wait for another blog.

Whilst thinking about this, I came upon blogs by an Australian pastor, Les Henson, two of his blogs from earlier this year, on what he calls a cockeyed view of salvation have got me putting my own thoughts together. I have summarised Les Henson’s blogs as lists, to help separate it from my thinking. The title “You are getting it all wrong” does not relate to Les Henson’s blogs, I think they are getting it right.

First of all though a definition from Wikipedia:

In religion, salvation is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. It may also be called “deliverance” or “redemption” from sin and its effects. … Religions often emphasize the necessity of both personal effort—for example, repentance and asceticism—and divine action (e.g. grace).

Les Henson’s blogs, a summary:

  • Seeing salvation as an escape route is wrong
  • That leads to a limited engagement with the world in which we dwell
  • That also leads to environmental vandalism. If we are longing to escape from this world there is no requirement to care for God’s creation
  • This view ends up in a kind of Platonism that sees the physical world as evil and the spiritual world as good
  • This is an unbiblical dualism that makes a false distinction between the physical and spiritual
  • It should motivate us to open up our lives to the reality of the kingdom on a daily basis
  • salvation is ultimately becoming fully human as we are recreated into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ
  • Jesus came to undo everything that was lost in the fall and restore the whole of creation including ourselves to our full humanity

That is the sort of thing I have been thinking. That personal salvation is only part of ye plan to restore the whole of the world to God. This is redemption, which means exactly the same as a theological word as it does when redeeming alone. It is setting everything, yes everything, back to how it should be. In the end it is not about you, not about me getting those cozy feelings, but about us under the power of  God through the Holy Spirit helping to bring about the redemption of the universe.

Les Henson goes on:

  • Salvation is much more expansive than forgiveness of sin and personal salvation.
  • It includes: the renewal and restoration of the whole of creation
  • It includes: the tearing down of all structures and powers that hold people and creation itself in bondage
  • It includes: the re-conforming of our thinking, worldview and identity to mind of Christ in all areas of life
  • It includes: the re-conforming of our thinking, worldview and identity to mind of Christ in all areas of life
  • It includes: the overturning of all injustices and the alleviation of poverty
  • It includes: the reconciling of all things and all relationships;
  • It includes: the reconciling and restoration of everything that has been defaced and distorted in the fall
  • All this takes place in this world and ultimately in the next.
  • We must overcome the idea that salvation is all about us

Food for thought.

My thoughts go further than this, into the idea of what John Wesley called Social Holiness. That is the idea derived from such Bible passages that speak of us, the church, as a holy nation, the Bride of Christ etc. we are not just saved alone, we are being saved together as part of the Church. This is something from the early Evangelical preaching that I would like to see restored in the preaching of the Evangelical churches.



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