Thoughts on Salvation... The Theological Kind


Earth

The Particulars . . . Additional Thoughts

Imagery can be used to explain and understand the idea of salvation that scripture communicates. In the NT birth is used more explicitly as a salvation image. For example, John wrote in the prologue to his Gospel, “Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” [1]

I do believe that salvation should be God centered and not man centered. How we arrive describing the process of salvation, differs from the traditional TULIP point of view. I believe man is totally depraved, and that his heart apart from God is incurable.

The belief statement of some:

the total, absolute, meticulous sovereignty of God in providence by which God governs the entire course of human history down to the minutest details and renders everything certain so that no Event is fortuitous or accidental but fits into God’s overall plan and purpose. Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 40). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Seems to be misleading. As it would indicate God as the author of evil and sin, then judging some of those who sin eternally for their sin and rejection of salvation, which he also ordained. I agree with the statement that God is sovereign, and that impacts salvation, but not the way the above statement interprets sovereignty. God may and no doubt sometimes does bring about some Event by placing people in circumstances where he knows what they will freely do because he needs them to do that for his plan to be fulfilled. [2]

How radically the gospel is pervaded by a sense that the brokenness of the fallen world is the work of rebellious rational free will, which God permits to reign, and pervaded also by a sense that Christ comes genuinely to save creation, to conquer, to rescue, to defeat the power of evil in all things. This great narrative of fall and redemption is not a charade, not simply a dramaturgical lesson regarding God’s absolute prerogatives prepared for us from eternity, but a real consequence of the mystery of created freedom and the fullness of grace.[3]

Additionally double predestination seems to be woven with in unconditional election. “Romans 9–11 does not form a biblical commentary on the truth of individual election. Rather, it is a commentary on the fact of the inviolability of God’s election of Israel as a nation.”96 Election to what? To service in blessing the nations with producing Jesus Christ—the real subject and object of God’s electing grace. Ephesians 1, which speaks much about election, seems to not about individuals and their eternal destinies but about the people of God. [4]It seems that election is simply God’s foreknowledge of who will freely receive this grace unto salvation (Rom. 8:29).118 Reprobation is simply man’s rejection of this grace and God’s foreknowledge of that. My ultimate view of election culminates at God’s election of Jesus Christ: “Christ is God’s Chosen One, and the church is chosen in him.”[5]

As it relates to the atoning work of Christ, I do not hold to the claim that it is limited. I do not see the atonement as limited in value or design. Christ death on the cross was sufficient for the sins of the world. It is God who saves, and never man who saves themselves. His atonement was purposed to make redemption available for all.[6] Forgiveness is conditional, necessitating faith that carries through to repentance. Forgiveness available in the secured salvation provided by Christ.

Looking at a familiar passage John 6:44 and 12:32, the author of Kittel’s article (Albrecht Oepke) writes: There is no thought here of force or magic. The term figuratively expresses the supernatural power of the love of God or Christ, which goes out to all … but without which no one can come…. The apparent contradiction shows that both the election and the universality of grace must be taken seriously; the compulsion is not automatic.[7] This does not reject or contradict that nobody can come to Jesus Christ unless God draws him or her. God Calls and enables, but also provides room for man’s response[8]in the process of salvation.

With this in mind, it seems that God’s desire and call is for all to be saved (Matt. 18:14; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2). [9] Brümmer argues further that in our relationship with God, God can be the initiator and must be because of our lack of “freedom of ability” due to our sinfulness. However, “a personal relationship with God assumes that the human partner also remains a person in the relationship and that his or her free choice is equally a necessary condition for the relationship to be brought about.”[10]

I do not see the initiative in salvation being man’s, but God’s. God’s grace is the effectual cause of salvation, but the human person’s faith as response to His grace is the instrument used in salvation. What is that faith? Simply trusting God; it is not a “good work” or anything meritorious of which the saved sinner could boast. [11] Accepting the gift of salvation, by a response of faith is a factor, but not the deciding factor. God’s grace leads up to salvation empowers with the ability to believe, and will based once a faith response is given, assist the believer throughout his Christian journey in life.

God is the master weaver, with foreknowledge of choices, and decision in times past, present and future. Who weaves His will in and through those free choices, bringing about His eternal plan, and sovereignly maintaining His control. God is not the author of sin and evil. His judgment is righteous, judging the freely chosen sins of those who reject his gift of salvation apart from any divine determinism. God is in control, without controlling everything, such as to be the cause of evil choices and decisions including rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by some. We see this in our instruction to pray for the Lord’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Much of this is an imperfect attempt to comprehend God’s work of salvation within the details of our human experience.

[1]Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, s.v. “BIRTH,” 95.

[2] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 99). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[3] 111 Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 101). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 101). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[4] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 125). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[5] 122 Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 130). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[6] John 1:29; Roman 5:17–21; 11:32; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 2:9; and 1 John 2:2 (in addition, of course, to 2 Peter 3:9).

[7] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 163). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[8] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 164). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[9] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 165). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[10] 38 Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (pp. 167-168). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[11] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 170). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.


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