Discussions Relating to Universal Reconciliation > Christian Life

the cross and the resurrection - how salvation is already finished

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anti_nietzsche:
Today I had been thinking about protestant christianity for a while, as I am a member of a german lutheran church and it was reformation day and so I remembered some of the teachings of my church.

Basically, most non-catholic or non-orthodox christians go by the slogan "salvation is by grace through faith".

This slogan sounds good and it is very catchy, but if you think it through it contains several problems. And we can solve these in a way that makes a UR theology very probable.

I think to tackle this issue right we must go back at what salvation is in the christian faith ... and it is that which Christ provides on the Cross. Salvation is not the outcome of a judgment from God, instead it has been finished already. Why was this finished? This is how we find grace, God was so gracious (so loved the world), that He gave us His Son, that we might (should) be saved through Him. The clearest expression of who Jesus is we find in His sacrifice - this is the attitude of Jesus and of God in general, to sacrifice His rights and His demands and all of His hate and anger to love us as unconditionally as we find it expressed and symbolized in the Cross.

So how does this salvation pan out in my life? That is, I think, where we need faith in the sense of the book of Romans, ie a faith that believes that God raised Jesus from the dead, and a faith that confesses that Jesus is Lord. The salvation is there, it is finished, but we don't understand it right if we don't believe in the resurrection. If that were not present, how could our faith be positive? We would only have the cross. That's why we need to believe in the resurrection.

When salvation is already finished, there cannot be any damnation. Why would God damn someone who had been saved by Christ's Cross? Apostle John writes it plainly - Jesus died for this whole world!

So what is the use of faith now? Faith is not what we give to God that He would save us, as in a barter or in a legal settling. Faith is what we employ to hold that something is true. So basically, faith allows us hold salvation for true, and that is how salvation works through faith, it works by getting us to believe that salvation is true - has been finished on the Cross.

The error is in putting the church between man and his salvation. Jesus installed the church as a group of friends who would live together with the purpose of spreading the truth about the salvation. The church is not the container of the saved. It is however necessary in order for faith to be real - we christians are together in order to encourage and strengthen our faith and our love, and to keep our doctrines pure, so that, for example, there can't come some dictator who tells us that murdering infidels is ok, and we believe that and think this dictator is good! (At least this is the theory, in practice this has occured already a few times in history.)

The danger is in seeing faith as a LEGAL requirment to get saved AT ALL - when in fact it is a psychological requirement to a healthy life with God and a life lived in the truth. Furthermore, we can speak about salvation in two ways ... the salvation from God's anger about sin (which is about eternal life), and the salvation from our current miserable and godless lives into a better and more godly life, the whole package with rescue from sinful habits, letting go of hatred against others, getting to know God personally and living out Christ's example communally in the church. The first kind of salvation needs no faith from us, it is the product of the Cross which God takes care of and attributes to us. And second salvation, that is where we do have to believe because without faith we cannot please God and so we couldn't come to Him, and it's a cognitive impossibility to live with someone for real if you don't believe in Him. Furthermore Paul says we must believe God raised Jesus from the dead, to enjoy this salvation. It's not about the crucifixion then - which ended the old things. It's about how Jesus makes everything new, which leads us to the resurrection and God leading us into a resurrection life.

So that was what I wanted to speak about. Basically salvation is by God, and grace and faith just describe things that help us understand salvation. We should not see faith as a legal requirement for God saving us. Faith is just that we hold it for true that we are saved by God, both in the eternal sense and in the everyday life sense. That is how salvation must logically lead to Universal Reconciliation, because it depends wholly on Christ the cornerstone. Everything else would make salvation depend on men, and that's impossible to work out nor to include really everyone of us, and we are all God's creations and so everyone must get saved to satisfy God's love.

jabcat:
I agree with most of this, and really like a lot of your thoughts on it.   :thumbsup:  However, I start to see things a bit different at the following point.

I'll try to sort through it with my personal understanding;

The danger is in seeing faith as a LEGAL requirment to get saved AT ALL - when in fact it is a psychological requirement to a healthy life with God and a life lived in the truth.

I don't see faith as a LEGAL requirement, but still a requirement, to be saved at all.  Over and over the scriptures teach this, that it's "by grace THROUGH FAITH are you saved"  Eph 2:8.  I agree, the LEGAL requirement was paid on the cross.  The Lamb slain, the Perfect Sacrifice.  But IMO, until the Holy Spirit draws each one individually, and God provides His faith into us by which we believe, then we're still lost - and will still need to bow and confess in faith at some point.  Now or later.

Furthermore, we can speak about salvation in two ways ... the salvation from God's anger about sin (which is about eternal life), and the salvation from our current miserable and godless lives into a better and more godly life, the whole package with rescue from sinful habits, letting go of hatred against others, getting to know God personally and living out Christ's example communally in the church. The first kind of salvation needs no faith from us, it is the product of the Cross which God takes care of and attributes to us. And second salvation, that is where we do have to believe because without faith we cannot please God and so we couldn't come to Him, and it's a cognitive impossibility to live with someone for real if you don't believe in Him.

I see this as "very close" [IMO] but with the following line being one on which we differ.   "The first kind of salvation needs no faith from us, it is the product of the Cross which God takes care of and attributes to us."  Actually, though God does give us the faith (He provides us with all good things), still there is again, a faith requirement to place trust in the finished work of the cross.  "by grace we are saved through faith that not of yourselves it is the gift of God", "call on the name of the Lord shall be saved", "believe in your heart, confess with your mouth", etc.  So IMO, salvation isn't just a passive thing we acquire by osmosis.  Jesus paid the legal price on the cross, and according as God decides, everyone comes to Him/is drawn to Him at their appointed time, "each in his own turn/order".  ]

Furthermore Paul says we must believe God raised Jesus from the dead, to enjoy this salvation.

Paul didn't quite say that.  He didn't say enjoy, he said "TO be" saved.  WE ENJOY our salvation through obedience and trust AFTER the new birth and infilling of the Holy Spirit, as we walk in the Spirit and experience the fruit of the Spirit.  I believe it's also called "living in the kingdom, or inheriting the kingdom".  Close, unencumbered relationship - righteousness, peace, joy..

It's not about the crucifixion then - which ended the old things. It's about how Jesus makes everything new, which leads us to the resurrection and God leading us into a resurrection life.     :thumbsup:

 Basically salvation is by God, and grace and faith just describe things that help us understand salvation.

Yes, salvation is by God, but grace and faith make the salvation an individual, personal experience - not just a universal ideology.

 
That is how salvation must logically lead to Universal Reconciliation, because it depends wholly on Christ the cornerstone. Everything else would make salvation depend on men, and that's impossible to work out nor to include really everyone of us, and we are all God's creations and so everyone must get saved to satisfy God's love.

Again, I believe it does depend on God, by His grace He gives us the faith to believe and trust in Him as the Savior - rather than continuing to trust in ourselves.  So IMO, what leads to Universal Reconciliation is still by God and about God and His Son.  It's just that some are spiritually reborn (given faith to believe and trust in His work on the cross) in this age, the rest later - the elect/predestined in this age, and those destined to eventually be brought into the faith in the next age.  Paul said things like "not all are of the faith", "each in his own order", and "every knee WILL bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord".


Romans 10:14   But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." .. bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

   How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c]   17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

goodreport:
I was thinking about replying with Phil 3:9-11...then read Jabcat's reply... and realized Jabcat already did in his own words...  but decided to share the verses anyway...

Phil 3:9-10 KJV
9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteouseness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

v 11 (AMP)
that if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].



jabcat:

--- Quote from: goodreport on November 04, 2012, 10:54:51 PM ---I was thinking about replying with Phil 3:9-11...then read Jabcat's reply... and realized Jabcat already did in his own words...  but decided to share the verses anyway...

Phil 3:9-10 KJV
9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteouseness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

v 11 (AMP)
that if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].

--- End quote ---

Amen..that we may know Him more

anti_nietzsche:
I'm not sure if I can explain it right, but I will try to do so.

Faith is a virtue that holds something to be true. It is not a sacrifice of mine, it is not even an action. Faith allows salvation to be real without my contribution to it.

It is like seeing. I see the sun rise and I believe it rises - faith is almost an unpresence of something in me, there is nothing that disturbs the sun rising and bathing me in light.

That is why I would liken faith to an absence of doubt and confusion and struggle and complaint, etc. Faith holds for true and that's it.

But then there is not only a need of faith but also a need for understanding. And in order to cognitively understand something I must also have doubted it, thought about it, questioned it, etc.

Now the object of our faith is Jesus. And our faith means that we hold for true that Jesus rose from the dead - that Jesus is more than we are and that His truth lifts us out of the material realm. Jesus' truth is radiant and explosive, and to believe in it means that it will change us. And in that faith and in that change we experience salvation - we're placed into God's realm where this truth exists, leaving the material and ungodly realm of the human world where this truth does "not" exist.

But, I must add a caveat. What I am speaking about here is how salvation looks to the sentient mind. To the mind that can think and understand. However, we do not always understand. There are those of us humans which cannot understand, for example some of the mentally disabled, or aborted babies, etc. There are those who do not have much intelligence and who can hardly count to ten. They can't comprehend these things either. Or suppose you're an alcoholic who cannot dive into such higher thoughts because he's too occupied with the bottle.

Now the real point I want to make is that these people are not outside of the love of God. And that their salvation has also already been finished. That is why I emphasize Jesus' last words so much: "IT IS FINISHED!". We are all saved already, but salvation looks differently from person to person. We don't contribute anything to the fact that we are saved at all, but if we are sentient we can live in salvation in a more wholesome way. That is where I think you and me coincide, jabcat, when we work out our salvation. An aborted baby cannot work out his salvation. But it is saved nonetheless.

To get people to get saved is not to save them but to get them to see that they are saved and to help them work out this salvation.

The thing is, if we take the faith route to its logical extreme, then a mentally disabled person cannot be saved until later in the afterlife when God has made the person sentient enough to work out their salvation.

That is why I think we must emphasize the salvation that was finished. The problem is, if I make salvation into something that we must "gain", then we invariably get to have unsaved people. But the fact is, since the Cross we're all in Christ's sack. He bought us, He owns us. And nothing can fall from God's hands. What is waiting for us is to live in the love of God, to get to know more and more about Jesus, to understand that the whole cosmos was saved by Christ and waits for His return like a woman in birthpains. Before Christ the world was out of sync with God, after Christ sin was carried out of the world and is not anymore the metaphysically destructive thing that it once was, Jesus blotted it out with His blood.

So really the bottom line has been made already, nobody has to be condemned or killed or destroyed because of sin anymore. Salvation has already begun, so to speak. But then there's this, we're not just all disabled, we are majorly sentient, and it is a need of this sentience to have faith in God because otherwise our sentience has nothing to do and much of our being would be pointless. So what I think is that having faith unlocks the salvation of our sentience, and our sentience is such an integral part of ourselves that one could say we are sentience. But to say this has to be so in all cases of humans means to invalidate the humanity of the insane, of the disabled, of the aborted babies and so on. And that is a point which I think is very important, and which in the end leads us to think of salvation not in terms of "by grace through faith" but instead in terms of "by God's love and our reception of this love". Paul specifically argued that faith without love is worthless. That is why faith must be subordinated to love and so we need to rely on God's love much more than on our own faith, and if we have faith, it must be a loving faith in order to be sensible at all. It is like a strength, an ability, a skill that we have acquired, and it's boundlessly useful and good to have, but it is not the very thing on which salvation hinges, because salvation hinges on God and unlike us, He is reliable. And in understanding this, I see the point of faith and how it should be like, a mechanical part of God's peace in us.

The blood of God fell on this world, and this changed everything. Faith just describes the part how we should relate to this salvation, while our successes in faith don't determine whether we get this salvation or not. We can go out on the balcony and have a cigarette :D.

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