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I believe we need to go to the roots of biblical meaning of the root word: Â salvation. Â Marcus Borg, in his book “Speaking Christian”, says . . .
Within the framework of the exodus, note how comprehensive the meanings of salvation, saved, and savior are. Salvation involves liberation from economic bondage: the slaves in Egypt were exploited and impoverished, condemned to unremitting hard labor, and given only meager rations. Liberation from political bondage: in Egypt, they had no power, no voice, no say in how the system was put together. Liberation from religious bondage: Pharaoh would not give them permission to worship their God, whose passion was for a different kind of world. Salvation as liberation from these forms of bondage shaped the life of ancient Israel.
Borg, Marcus J.. Speaking Christian: Why Christian ). HarperCollins.Words Have Lost Their Meaning and PowerâAnd How They Can Be Restored (pp. 40-41)
Borg continues to say:
meanings of salvation in the Old Testamentâ as liberation from bondage, return from exile, and rescue from perilâ continue in the New Testament, especially in the gospels and the letters of Paul. What they all have in common is salvation as âdeliverance,â ârescue.â To be saved is to be delivered/ rescued from that which ails us. Salvation is also about more than deliverance and rescue: to be saved is to enter into a new kind of lifeâ a life covenanted with God, the central theme of both the OldÂ and New Testaments. Salvation is about deliverance and transformation.
Borg, Marcus J.. Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and PowerâAnd How They Can Be Restored (p. 45). HarperCollins.
Borg tells a wonderful story . . .
As one of my professors was lecturing on chapter 5 of Paulâs letter to the Romans, he told a story about an Anglican priest confronted by an evangelical Christian. âAre you saved?â the evangelical asked.
The priest responded, âIt depends on what you mean by âsaved.â Do you mean âAm I saved?â in the past, present, or future tense? If you mean âAm I saved?â in the sense, âHas God already done all that is necessary to save me?â then yes, certainly. If you mean âAm I saved?â in the sense, âDo I presently live in a saving relationship with God?â then my answer is yes, I trust. If you mean âAm I saved?â in the sense, âHave I already become all that I might become?â then certainly not.â
Borg, Marcus J.. Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and PowerâAnd How They Can Be Restored (p. 53). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Borg concludes his dissertation by stating:
” . . .Â our product is salvation as the twofold transformation of ourselves and the world. Moreover, I think most people yearn for this. We yearn for the transformation of our livesâ for a fuller connection to what is, from liberation to all that keeps us in bondage, for sight, for wholeness, for the healing of the wounds of existence. And most of us yearn for a world that is a better place. We may have disagreements about how that is to be brought about. But most of us yearn for thatâ for ourselves and our contemporaries, for our children and grandchildren, and for the people and world of the future. Salvation concerns these two transformations. It responds to our two deepest yearnings. Who does not want this? This is what Christianity at its best is about. And this is what the religions of the world at their best are about.
Borg, Marcus J.. Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and PowerâAnd How They Can Be Restored (p. 54). HarperCollins.
If we understand the biblical definition of salvation, and its derivatives, I don’t think we can “I have been saved by Jesus“.