When someone says, “I’m Saved!” There is always the contextual question, “Saved from what?” Except if it’s said at Church. Within Christianity Salvation has become synonymous with Eternal Life. Salvation means that if I believe, one day I will go to Heaven. Yet, should Salvation always equate to being rescued to Heaven?
There are many places in the Scriptures that Salvation is past, present, and future to the author or reader. One tricky example is Romans 13:11 the Apostle Paul writes, “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed?” Was Paul saying that he was not “saved” yet?
Or take for instance Luke 19:9. Jesus said Salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ house that day. Does this mean Zacchaeus died and entered Heaven that day?
“In the Old Testament, God’s acts delivering the people from hunger, bondage, and other difficulties are usually called ‘saving’ acts, and Yahweh is repeatedly praised as the Savior of Israel. In the New Testament, ‘salvation’ may mean either healing or deliverance from sin-and sometimes both. Thus, salvation has to do, not only with one’s eternal destiny, but with everything that stands in the way of God’s purposes of communion with creation-and specifically with the human creature. Thus salvation includes both justification and sanctification.
In the Greco-Roman world in which Christianity was born, there were many religions offering ‘salvation.’ Most of these understood salvation mainly or exclusively as life after death, and often combined these notions of salvation with the ideal of escaping from the material world. Given that context, it is not surprising that quite often Christians lost the fuller notion of salvation that appeared in their Scriptures, and came to think of salvation merely as admission into heaven-sometimes even seeing such admission as an escape from this physical world. Perhaps the most notable development in soteriology [the Study of the Doctrine of Salvation] in recent decades has been the recovery of the wider notion of salvation as including, not only salvation from death and eternal damnation, but also freedom from all sorts of oppression and injustice. Salvation, in its fuller sense, certainly includes eternal life in the presence of God; but it also includes the process of sanctification, whereby we are brought greater communion with God; and it includes also the destruction of all the powers of evil that stand between God’s purposes and present order of creation.”
-Justo L. Gonzalez, Essential Theological Terms. pg 162-163
Salvation cannot be understood in reference to one particular saving act of God. Jesus has rescued us from many things, and will one day rescue, redeem, and renew us and creation. The one unifying aspect of Salvation throughout the Scriptures is that God does the saving apart from the help or interference of man.
1. Propitiation: Jesus died and took God’s wrath stored up for us because of our sin.
2. Expiation: Jesus died to cleanse us.
3. Sacrifice: Jesus died as our sacrifice for sin before God.
4. Victor: Jesus died to crush our enemies.
5. Redemption: Jesus died for our freedom.
6. Justification: Jesus died to forgive us.
7. Ransom: Jesus died to pay our debt and free us the enslavement of sin.
8. Example: Jesus died as the example of God’s wondrous love.
9. Reconciliation: Jesus died to restore the relationship between God and man becoming our mediator.
10. Revelation: Jesus died to reveal God.
* This was all adapted from Mark Driscoll’s Sermon series,Christ and the Cross, and Doctrine: What Christians should believe.
Christ blood is not some divine act of camouflage so that we can continue to sin unpunished.
Christ blood does not only cover our sin, but it cleanses us. We are WASHED in the blood of our crucified lord. Our sins are not just masked with a big red ink splat. It is by his blood we are welcomed as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit comes to live and reside with us, teaching us to walk with him and be like him.
We cannot continue to treat the spilt blood of Christ as if it were something that little red light flasher in the movie Men in Black that makes people forget what just happened. Christ blood does not make God forget our sins, his blood cleanses us from them, it allows us to enter a new life were we are to live righteously.
We often sing of the wonderful beautiful cross. And because our mind cannot handle the intensity or cruelty of the cross we grow numb to the brutality of the cross. Yet, we have to remember the cross was torture leading to death. Jesus experienced pain at the highest levels of the human experience.
The cross was not just some uncomfortable experience, like the awkwardness of telling a stranger on the plain you’re a Christian, or the embarrassment of getting to front of the line at the grocery store with a cart full of items and realizing you forgot your wallet.
Jesus died on the cross. He bled, and breathed his last breath on the cross.
When we sing of the cross it should be in the sober reality of what happened, why it happened, who it was that died for us.
The cross is the anchor point of our faith, not some pithy poppy featurette of the Sunday lineup. Our God died at the hands of his creation; the creation he loved and formed. Our God suffered and was humiliated by the very people he gave life to.
The cross is not wonderful, it the shame of humanity, and the glory of God. The cross does not represent the best in man, but the worst. The cross is the premiere exhibit in our museum of disgrace.
I understand why people wish to forget the cross, and down play its reality. As a humanitarian why would I want to highlight the cross any more than I would want to highlight the holocaust as an act of human civility and love?
All one should do at the cross is fall down before it and cry out, “I will never deny you again. With my heart and with my actions I too crucified you, but never again. I will serve the King whom I killed. He will be my God.”
Did Jesus really say we are all Gods? Without understanding the context you could falsely interpret the text this way. So lets examine the context…
Jesus defends his claim [against blasphemy] using language they [the Pharisees] should be able to understand, through an appeal to the law. He cites a text that uses the word god of those who are not God: Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are gods”? (v. 34). It is unclear who is being referred to in Psalm 82:6. Of the several proposals made by scholars (cf. Beasley-Murray 1987:176-77), the most likely takes this as a reference either to Israel’s judges or to the people of Israel as they receive the law. The latter is a common understanding among the rabbis (for example, b. ‘Aboda Zara 5a; Exodus Rabbah 32:7), but the former is also represented in Jewish interpretation (Midrash Psalms; b. Sanhedrin 6b; 7a; b. Sota 47b). Jesus’ explanation that these gods are those to whom the word of God came (v. 35) might point to the Israelites receiving the law. In this case the contrast between these gods and Jesus would be that Jesus is the one who both fulfills the law and is greater than the law. But this expression to whom the word of God came could also refer to the judges (as suggested by the rest of Ps 82) who have received a commission from God to exercise the divine prerogative of judgment on his behalf. The psalm is actually a condemnation of the judges for not exercising their responsibility faithfully, thus corresponding both to the condemnation of these Jewish leaders in John and to Jesus as the true judge.
IVP New Testament Commentaries
The entire article can be viewed at Bible Gateway
Summarizing the above commentary Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6 in which the Judges of the Nation of Israel are called “gods.” There are called gods because they received the word of God and are accountable to be God’s judges here on Earth according to that information. They are to be the Gods/rulers according to Gods word given to them. At that time they were in a sense God’s gods/rulers on earth. They were God’s agents of authority here on this Earth because they had the Scripture. And in this way it is not referring to “Gods” as figure of divinity or Godhood, but as a ruler or an authority. The interesting part is that Jesus almost uses this in a mocking fashion because those who were called “gods” as the commentators writes were being condemned for “not exercising their responsibility faithfully.” So Jesus, who is being accused of blasphemy because of his “good” or “god-like” works, turns the table on the Pharisees who were the keepers of the Law, and asks, “Are you not Gods?” Meaning, are you not also supposed to be keeping and ruling according to the Law? Are you not also not also supposed to be faithful to the Law you who received it from God?
Then Jesus in his following words defends that he is indeed different than those who had merely received the Law. He says that he has been set apart by God and sent into the World by God. He is the fulfillment of the Law, he is God, and that his works display this.
So to use this passage to support this idea that we are all “gods,” is perversion of Scripture. Furthermore, it is an ironic perversion of Scripture because this passage is a condemnation against all who have received the word yet are not living faithfully to its standards. The law of God which they were to be Judging with was condemning them. So Jesus is saying to the Pharisees that we are the “gods” or rulers of the Scripture God has given man, and yet you fail to live it out. This is why God has set me apart and sent me into the World.
The conclusion is that it points to man’s great need for a savior, because even though we have the law, man is unable to obtain righteousness.