the following are some ideas and thoughts that came to me in the last few weeks and I wanted to know what you think of them. I apologize if I am not completely coherent and if this looks sketchy; I am no academic and I am trying to wrap my thoughts about difficult subjects and so this is more something like a dialogue - I hope you can improve what I am saying.
Ok, the first thing I want to talk about is that we need to get away from a legal idea of salvation. The problem is in thinking that christianity leads us into a courtroom and God sits there as our judge. Then, we would have faith in Jesus and make a deal - we give God this faith in Jesus and in turn he grants us freedom.
Instead I believe the whole matter is not about a legality, punishment, reward, etc, instead the whole thing describes something ontological, something that pertains to our whole life and being.
What I mean is this, basically we go by thinking that without faith we cannot get saved. OK. But there is a problem, what about the handicapped, the aborted babies, children who die as sucklings, those who had a stroke and cannot get ministered to anymore, the really mad, those who grieve too much and hence can't trust God, those who lived before Christ, those who lived after Christ but were living far away so no missionaries reached them, those whom the church didn't teach fairly and who couldn't trust the church and its message, etc... what about all these people? They obviously can't trade their faith into salvation.
So it can't be meant this way. Salvation cannot be a legal matter because it could not save everyone, and all of us believe that God wants to save everyone, right? Evidently the vast majority of christians believes that aborted babies and other destitute people are loved by God and so they need grounds of getting saved yet the bible says nothing about it.
I would suggest that the more sensible approach to salvation is not to see it as a legal matter but as an ontological matter. That means, salvation is something that comes to our human existence. Now when a man lies dying in the woods because he ate a poisoned mushroom or something needs salvation. Then another human must come who takes this man and carries him out of the woods and brings him to a hospital in a car or something. The dying man can't do anything in this, it's all up to the kind human who saves this man. It is the same with Christ. We all went into the woods and ate the poisoned mushroom of sin. We all get sick by it and die - and death here doesn't just mean the physical death (though that death is ultimately a result of sin too), it means the COMPLETE phenomenon of death. The death of relationships because of the lack of love, the death of the truth by our disinterest and by our lies, the death of honest property by our thefts, the death of the poor by our lack of charity, and so on. Christ sees us die and comes to us (we find faith), carries us to the hospital (we get baptized), pays for our treatment and supplication (has already happened on the cross) and then ... we live with Christ (we get the salvation of eternal life with God, including salvation from physical life and the promise of a positive afterlife, a life through which we draw closer and closer to Christ).
The whole thing is not a legal affair (the criminal esapes punishment), the whole thing is a medical affair and an affair of charity and mercy. Now when the dying man is still conscious he could do things which makes it hard or "impossible" for Christ to save him. For example, he could throw a fit of rage and say I want to die, I hate everyone. But who would do this if his life were in danger and he would realize that he was in TRUE peril? And then, can't Christ influence the man so he would lay still? Anyway, it makes sense for a God who bases his law on love that we would treat Christ in love because after all Jesus Christ is God's own Son. So that is how we get those parts of NT scripture where God chastizes us and sometimes threatens us. We are supposed to honor God, we are supposed to give thanks, we shall not forget the other people who need help, we shall become better people, etc.
But there is no legal affair. Everyone of us is loved by God and it would only be logical to expect the God who is love to save everyone he loves, and if God is love then he certainly loves everyone. The legal affair is something that some inclusive churches have resurrected and they teach it again, but in fact the legal affair has been carried away by Jesus, it is of no concern anymore.
That view in fact isn't so new. The eastern orthodox church has held a similar view for the centuries - they call it the hospital view of salvation, as opposed to the western courtroom view. We are sick with sin, we are not thought of as criminals. Again, if we're all sick (and everyone can see that everyone of us has the sickness of sin) and if the legal view were true, then God would withhold salvation and medical help from everyone who cannot believe in Christ or who could not believe in Christ because of other reasons (like the cases I cited at the beginning of this text). God Himself would be selective, and the whole affair of salvation would be arbitrary. God would save some, without explaining why and what for, and would damn others, without saying why and what for. But instead the orthodox think the bible describes the human sickness of sin (living outside of God's will and love) and Jesus came to heal us of sin and its spiritual consequences of death (like I described above, the death of relationships, etc).
So really salvation is an ontological thing. We shall live differently than before, and it doesn't primarily mean behaviors but instead it means that we have wholly different premises. The world as we see it in the sciences cannot exist like it does now, forever. Our suns will burn out, there is entropy everywhere. But when we have Christ we have the salvation not just of humans but of the whole universe! This vast universe, a thing of extreme beauty, it will exist forever. This is an example of the ontology of salvation and the ontology of living in faith. Our whole existence is different, we suddenly have many things to hope for now. Our afterlife is secure. We have the Highest Being as our own Father. The son of the LORD died for our salvation. The bible even says that Jesus was raised FOR US - God is not selfish. We can be loving and God notes it and rewards us or helps us, love is not a desperate affair anymore. God gives us the Holy Spirit into our hearts - God makes Himself part of our being.
This reality describes God's real pleasure, being our Father and expressing Himself in all of what He has created. He could not possibly withhold this salvation from anyone - legal affairs don't concern God. We have no right to claim salvation because we're not righteous - God is the King of Salvation. We have no means to escape salvation because God is love - God is Sovereign Love (He has the will to save everyone). There is nothing that anything could do to prevent salvation because God is almighty - He can overcome all obstacles to his salvation, including the devil who loves the legal game. (Which is a joke really, if you think about it, would you allow Hitler to be God's prosecutor in the cases of life and eternal suffering?)
Ok this was it. Please tell me what you think about my thoughts. Thank you for reading.