Tagged: saved from sins
June 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm #15932
Why I will not say, âI have been saved by Jesus . . . â
Too often, when someone asks me, âHave you been saved?â, I will facetiously answer, âFrom what?âÂ That usually rattles them and they say, through their sputtering, âFrom your sins, of course!Â âÂ Well, I see it from a totally different perspective.
There has always been a creative tension in the way Christians relate to Jesus Christ.Â Jesus is the firstborn, and as Paul says, âGod calls people to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large familyâ (Rom 8:29).Â Another image is from the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is seen as a âpioneerâ (Heb 12:2)Â He has blazed a trail for us to follow.Â Jesus can be called the âfirst awakenedâ as his baptism has awakened him to his ultimate identity as the beloved one (Eph 5:14 & Col 1:18).
There are many astute observations, if we look for them, in the Gospel stories.Â Â Zacchaeus came to see and love in himself what Jesus saw and loved in him.Â Peter came to see and love in himself what Jesus saw and loved in him.Â Magdalene came to see and love what Jesus saw and loved in her.Â Jesus sees the âchild of Godâ (John 1:12 & John 3:1) in people with such clarity and persistence that they begin to see it in themselves.Â Jesusâ baptism by water and Spirit (Matt 3:13-17) is the precondition for the baptism by water and Spirit of all Christians.Â The one who would awaken others to love must first himself be awakened.
Thus, the awakened Jesus awakens others, and then those awaken still others.Â In this way, communities are built up traditions developed, and the revelation of Jesus is passed from generation to generation.Â This is the meaning of âevangelisationâÂ Evangelism occurs when awakened people awaken others to their âchild of Godâ identity.Â I believe this has very little to do with âbeing savedâ.
But this âawakeningâ to love is neither a quick nor romantic process.Â It is a long haulÂ journey that demands rigorous self-examination, persistence, and not a little courage.Â First, the coming into âa child of Godâ identity is not chasing an ideal.Â It is not trying to become something that at the moment people are not.Â People are beloved children of God.Â There is no need to make them children of God.Â It is for them to realize this truth of their identity.Â Jesus awakens people to what they already are; he facilitates awareness; he does not bring to them something that was previously absent.Â This perception is captured in the saying, âJesus stands by the river selling river water.â
We must never forget that we are more than the children of God.Â We are also the children of Roger and Barbara, Marybelle and Douglas, Patricia and John, Sally and Georgette, Lionel and Ralph.Â We are bodies with inherited tendencies toward sickness and health, conditioned personalities built up out of experiences and internalizations, roles and responsibilities that go so deep they often define who we are.Â The âson and daughter of Godâ identity is not another identity, existing alongside or above this complex human structure.Â The âchild of Godâ identity exists within the flux and flow of the total reality of who we are.Â Awakening to the âchild of Godâ identity requires us to discern this amidst the other elements and noticing how it is expressed and repressed in the dynamics of body, mind, and social relationships.Â Put another way, the âchild of Godâ identity entails dealing with both finitude and sin.
In the Gospels Jesus has walked the path and helps other walk it.Â He is not a blind guide leading the blind.Â He is a seeing guide leading the blurred.Â He is persistent in his efforts to awaken us to love.Â All that he says and does â his exchanges with people, his stories, his teachings, his deeds of power, and his instructions to his disciples â are in the service of this awakening.Â They are theÂ methods of a spiritual teacher more than they are the dictates of a theologian.
The way people come to their âchild of Godâ identity is theÂ basic reason why John must baptizeÂ Jesus.Â Johnâs desert and his cleansing baptism of Jesus was all about the whole process of the embodiment of Divine love and that realizing our âchild of Godâ identify is not only welcoming the Spirit and hearing the voice, but it means âdis-identifyingâ with all that is not love.Â Jesus himself continues Johnâs baptism in his preaching and teaching about the forgiveness of sins.Â What he learned at the Jordan was:Â only if you ascend out of the waters of repentance can you see the dove descend and hear the voice speak.
In Matthewâs story, the dove makes a direct descent, and the âbeloved child of Godâ identify is bestowed in the revelatory moment of the accompanying heavenly voice.Â I like better, however,Â the three-stage foray of Noahâs dove.Â First it goes out and can find no land, so it returns to the ark, its only refuge from the destructive waters.Â This is very much like our first attempts to understand and make our own a âchild of Godâ identity often futile and we scurry back to safety.Â Next, Noahâs dove returns with an olive branch and we begin to see signs of a new possibility, but we are not there yet!Â Finally, we do not return for we have found a place to stand.Â Once again, as in the act of creation, God has created land out of the chaotic waters, and we have a place to stand against the destructive sea.Â The place we are standing is called, âthe beloved child of God.â
(Based on Matthew 3:13-17)
June 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm #15943
Love the article and good food for thought and what makes one a real Christian.
Brother Lawrence Damien
June 29, 2016 at 7:31 am #15947
There’s an even more practical and intellectually honest reason why I won’t say, “I have been saved by Jesus…” Jesus has nothing to save me from.Â This statement keeps alive the old, long dead belief in “The Atonement”.Â That is, that God demanded a blood sacrifice from his “Son” in order to relieve us of the consequences of The Fall (i.e., Original Sin).Â This “theory” began to crumble in the mid 19th century with Charles Darwin, who today is generally accepted has having been correct: we are products of evolution.Â Therefore, there never was a time when human beings were perfect.Â “The Fall” in Genesis is a myth, albeit a very powerful myth, which demands deep mining for the gold it contains.Â Nonetheless, Darwin rendered the belief in “Atonement Theology” obsolete.Â There are many “last gaspers” who will defend atonement to the end, but as the new, 21st century, post-modern church gains momentum, it, too, will be discarded.Â It simply doesn’t resonate with intellectually honest “believers” and with good reason.Â It is of far greater consequence that Christians appropriate their status as “children of God” than it is to believe that God was a monster who demanded a blood sacrifice of his own Son to restore the fellowship we enjoyed with Him prior to The Fall.Â There was no Fall.Â Jesus’s “rescue mission” is simply untenable given the knowledge we have.Â You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free…Respectfully submitted.
July 3, 2016 at 1:31 am #16124
Frank thank you for posting. I smiledÂ at what is your pet peeve, so to speak, as mine is- “I am a sinner saved by Grace.”Â –Â I don’t understand that logic; butÂ my pet peeve Â is not my undertaking at the moment.
I think there is a huge, very huge Â platform on which people can stand when they say “ThankÂ God IÂ have been saved by Jesus/GraceÂ Â if they are using the statement as a real fact and notÂ just a clichĂ©. Â For me, one must go back to the Garden of Eden, there we find that the adversary, also known as Satan, influenced Eve to doubt God, by checking out to see if she would really die. Put another way Satan influenced Eve to check out her God- given identity as “child of God.” Those of us in Christendom know thatÂ Eve and Adam did die instantly-spiritually, they were cut off from God, and therefore fellowshipping with God was over.
FromÂ Â that point until Jesus breathe His last breath on the cross, man was under the cruse of sin etc. Except for the prophets, priest and perhaps a few others whom He had favoured, He did not speak directly to man, and so an innocent lamb had to be slainÂ to fill in the gap as it were. Man had become slavesÂ of Satan, we had become his property though we were not made by him, we then had his identity – “sinners.”
When John saw Jesus coming toward him and echoed “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world,” was a dynamic, and I think an inspirational saying by John. Yes I know they were first cousins, and perhaps they had joined each other at different festivals, but we have no record of any such meetings of the two. What John said that day was, and is the sum total of man’s redemption which wasÂ to be fulfilled shortly thereafter by his cousin Jesus on the cross. Formerly, a lamb without spot or any kind of markings was slain for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus who had no sin; by allowing himself to be killed on the cross, paidÂ the debt to retrieve us- from under the domain or Satan.
Under Satan’s lordship, this ‘fellowship’ we now have with God-where God, Godself speaks with us human and we with Him- did not exist after the Garden of EdenÂ up and till Pentecost. When I say I am saved I therefore mean that I am saved from the lordship of Satan; he is no more my slave master unless I relinquish the authority and power given to me byÂ Jesus, he cannotÂ get me to do his biddings. 1John 4:4-“Greater isÂ He who is in you than he who in the world.”Â Â It has to be borne in mind however, that unless one reach out and Believe and Accept Jesus as the risen Lord the Son of God,Â Â and start living as He would have us live,Â and give Him full right to “our right” of ourselves, then one need to think twice before saying “I am saved.”
It has become my firm conviction that people will go to hell, not for their sins, because that has been forgiven from the cross, but for failure to Believe and Accept JesusÂ as the Son of God. You see, to say “we believe” is not good enough, the Scripture says the “devil himself believe and tremble.”Â Â It is only when we accept a thing, can we say we have that thing. Being now saved by the blood of Jesus we have fellowship one with another and the bloodÂ if Jesus saves usÂ from all unrighteousness.
May His perfect peace abides with us as we continueÂ to believe that Jesus had, and still have the power to save us from the lordship of Satan.
July 1, 2016 at 11:42 am #16028
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“.
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