You are on page 1of 42


© Derrick Harrison, 31 October, 2012



“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn.12:31-2). (Tom Smail entitles this verse “The Attraction of the Crucified God”). We will include several chapters from Grudem, including: Ch.27 - “The Atonement” (pp568-603); Ch.33 – “The Gospel Call” (pp692-695); Ch.34 - “Regeneration” (pp699-706); Ch.35 “Conversion: Faith and Repentance” (pp709-717; Ch.36 – “Justification” (pp722-732); Ch.40 – “Perseverance” (pp788-806); Ch.42 – “Glorification” (pp828-836). The order of sequence may raise questions. This is due to Grudem’s Calvinism. The order is consistent with this position: salvation originates in God’s election of the individual, resulting in grace operating in the life, resulting in regeneration, followed by conversion, which is the fruit of faith and repentance.2 Normally evangelical procedure is as follows – the individual hears the gospel, responds by faith and repentance, resulting in regeneration/new birth. This is followed by adult baptism (pp966-987). The older Calvinist denominations practiced Infant Baptism, as represented by the Lutherans, Reformed, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Church. There is an integral link between Christology and Soteriology: Who is Jesus Christ? What did Jesus Christ achieve? The distinction between the two is only maintained for presentational purposes. Theologically, the two cannot be separated.

1. The Kantian distinction between “the thing in itself “and its perception Kant’s argument is that we cannot know things directly, but only insofar as we can perceive them or apprehend their impact on us. The theological implications of this philosophy are clear: the identity of Jesus is known through his impact on us. The person of Christ becomes known through his work, thus there is an organic link between Christology and soteriology.
The growing realization between functional and ontological Christologies – that is, between Christologies which make affirmations about the function or work of Christ, and those which make affirmations concerning his identity or being. Athanasius is one of the first writers to make this connection explicit. Only God can save, he asserts. Yet, Christ is saviour. What does this statement concerning the function of Christ tell us about his identity? If Jesus Christ is able to function as saviour, who must he be? Christology and soteriology are therefore the two sides of one coin.
1 2

Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology (pp568-603) For Calvinism check TULIP on the internet.


Wolfhart Pannenberg stresses this link between Christology and soteriology in Christian thinking. “The divinity of Jesus and his freeing and redeeming significance for us are related in the closest possible way. To this extent, Melanchthon’s famous sentence is appropriate: “Who Jesus Christ is becomes known in his saving action” …since Schleiermacher the close tie between Christology and soteriology has won general acceptance in theology. One no longer separates the divinehuman person and the redemptive work of Christ, as was done in medieval Scholastic theology and, in its wake, in the dogmatics of the sixteenth – and seventeenth - century Protestant orthodoxy, but rather, with Schleiermacher, both are conceived as two sides of the same thing. Links: There is also link between the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology) and the “End Times” (Eschatology). The Christian will experience the completion of salvation when “glorification” takes place at the second Coming of Christ. Salvation is linked with Jesus Christ3 Salvation is linked wit the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This has been true down through the ages. A significant debate in more recent times concerned whether the cross can be said to be constitutive or illustrative. In his “Doctrine of Reconciliation” (1898), the German theologian Martin Kähler posed the question: “Did Christ just make known some insights concerning an unchangeable situation – or did he establish a new situation?” With this question we come to a central aspect of soteriology: does the cross of Christ illustrate the saving will of God, giving shape to a hitherto vague notion? Or does it make such a salvation possible in the first place? Is it illustrative or constitutive? The second such approach has been characteristic of much traditional Christianity. Christ is seen as having achieved something which makes possible a new situation. Redemption is the direct result of Christ’s death, and resurrection. Of course, there has been much debate as to how Christ made such a new situation possible. Irenaeus developed the idea of “recapitulation” – “the going over again” of all the events in history at which humanity lost its way. Thus, Christ “recapitulates” the history of Adam, succeeding where he failed, and thereby undoing the fall of humanity. “When (Christ) was incarnate and became a human being, he recapitulated in himself the long history of the human race, obtaining salvation for us, so that we might regain in Jesus Christ what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God.” The former approach has been characteristic of much writing inspired by the Enlightenment, which treats the cross as a historical symbol of a timeless truth.. Christ does not establish a new situation, but discloses what is in reality true, even if humanity has not been aware of it. The contemporary theologian John Macquarrie defends this position in his Principles of Christian Theology (1966). “It is not that, at a given moment, God adds the activity of reconciliation to his previous activities, or that we can set a time when his reconciling activity began. Rather, it is the case that at a given time there was a new and decisive interpretation of an activity that has always been going on, an activity that is equiprimordial with creation itself.” It is a similar approach is associated with the Oxford theologian Maurice F Wiles in his Remaking of Christian Doctrine (1974) that the Christ – event is “in some way a demonstration of what is true of God’s eternal nature.” Christ is here understood to reveal the saving will of God, not to establish that saving will in the first place. The coming of Christ is an expression and public demonstration of God’s saving will. This approach has been opposed by Colin Gunton in his Actuality of Atonement (1988) - who suggests that non-constitutive approaches to the atonement run the risk of falling back into

Alister E. McGrath “Christian Theology” pp406-438


exemplarist and subjective doctrines of salvation. Christ does not just reveal something of importance to us; he achieves something for us – something without which salvation would not be possible. Gunton argues that there must be a sense in which Christ is a “substitute” for us; he does something that we ourselves cannot do. Gunton’s approach may be regarded as characteristic of much of the pre-Enlightenment Christian discussion of the foundation of salvation, which reflects the fundamental conviction that something new happened in Christ which makes possible a new life.4 Two key books on this subject are James Denney’s “The Death of Christ” and R. W. Dale’s “The Atonement” An earlier work is John Calvin’s “Institutes” (1536), and a century later, John Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” (1647) and J. McLeod Campbell “The Nature of the Atonement” (1856). Later writers are: Colin Gunton: “The Actuality of the Atonement” (1988) and Thomas Smail “Once and for All” (1998). The German theologian Jűrgen Moltmann’s most important book “The Crucified God” is on the crucifixion and its significance. Salvation is shaped by Jesus Christ Jesus Christ provides a model or paradigm for the redeemed life. This life is made possible through Christ, but Christians recognize two distinct manners in which the resulting life is “shaped” by him. 1. The Christian life takes the form of the believer’s sustained attempt to imitate Christ. The believer treats Christ as an example of the ideal relationship to God and other people, and attempts to mimic this relationship. This approach is represented by the works of later medieval writers, especially within a monastic situation, such as Thomas á Kempis’ famous Imitation of Christ. It places emphasis on the human responsibility to bring one’s life into line with the example set by Christ. It could be argued that the following material relates more to Biblical Theology than to Systematic Theology. However, we will use it for our own purposes.

1) SALVATION IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE O.T. 5 There are several key Hebrew words used to express salvation. a) Hayah means “to be alive,” “to preserve,” “to keep alive,” or “to give full and prosperous life” to someone. Seven times it is used is the formula “God save the king” (e.g. 1Sam.10:24). Here we meet an emphasis that is constant throughout Scripture that it is God who saves. The word can be

Other key books on Salvation and the Cross: John Calvin “Institutes” (1536) see Robert A. Peterson “Calvin and the Atonement” (1999) Mentor G.B. John Owen “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” (1647) The Banner of Truth (1959).Edinburgh. James Denney “The Death of Christ” Hodder and Stoughton (1911) London R. W. Dale “The Atonement” (1875) J. Mcleod Campbell “The Nature of the Atonement” (1856) Wm. B. Eerdmaans (1996), Michigan Internet: (see also Wikipedia on Dale, Denney, John Owen). Leon Morris “The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross (1955) Tyndale Press: London “The Cross in the New Testament” Paternoster Press: Exeter Colin Gunton “The Actuality of the Atonement (1988) T. & T. Clarke London Tom Smail “Once and for All” (1998) Darton Longman Todd(1988) London 5 Much of this material has been taken from E. M. B. Green “The meaning of salvation” Hodder and Stoughton (1965) London


used in a non-religious sense, “to spare the life of” - Joshua “saved” Rahab the harlot alive” (Josh.6:25). Ezekiel can use it for ordinary physical life (13:18; Ch.19); he also used it in a spiritual sense, for if the wicked man turns from his wickedness, he will save His soul alive (3:18; 18:27). This promise is spoken in the context of righteousness and iniquity, of warning and response, and had far reaching consequences for the doctrine of salvation in the N.T. (Acts 20:24-27). In Genesis the word may have a natural meaning in (5:3) “Adam lived one hundred and thirty years.” In Gen.19:19 Lot’s prayer for rescue is prefaced by: “Behold now, your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have magnified your mercy, which you have shown to me by saving my life.” Two elements that feature here alongside Lot’s supernatural deliverance are- judgment and mercy. It is God who judges and it is God who saves (Rom.1:17, 18), see (Gen.13:10-14; 19), and references to mercy (19:16,19); it is emphasised that his deliverance depended entirely on God’s unmerited goodness, his hesed, his faithful love which he shows to men, not because of what they are but because of who he is. In Gen. 45:7; 47:25; 50:20; at first sight appears a natural phenomenon. The lives of Jacob and his tribe are saved from death by famine by Joseph’s position as governor of Egypt. But Joseph points out that “God sent me before you to preserve you…and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (45:7). God acts as the saviour of his people, through the hand of his chosen delegate. It is God who is in control of all the circumstances and has taken initiative: You thought to do evil against me,” says Joseph, “but God meant it for good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen 50:20). b) Yasha’, Yeshu’a, Yesha’ The sovereign rescue of men and nations is the main burden of the most common and important O.T. word for salvation, having the basic meaning of “bringing into a spacious environment,” “being at one’s ease, free to develop without hindrance.” This word determines the meaning of salvation in the O.T., and because it forms part of several of the bestknown names in the Bible- Isaiah, Hosea, Joshua, and Jesus (Mat:1:21), “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins,”- to understand the meaning requires a grasp of the Hebrew meaning of yasha’. i) Salvation is the work of God. In the vast number of references to salvation God was seen as its author. It is God who saves his flock (Ezek.34:22), who rescues his people (Hos.13:10-14), for there is none else (Isa.43:11). It is the Lord who hears from heaven and saves his anointed with the saving strength of his right hand (Ps.20:6). It is the Lord who saves his people from Egypt (Ps.106:7-10), and he who saves them from Babylon (Jer.30:10). He is always true to his saving character (Deut.20:4). He is the high tower, the refuge, the Saviour of his people (2Sam.22:3). He is their God and saviour (Isa.43:3), the Hope of Israel and his Saviour in time of trouble (Jer.14:8). The whole of the O.T. revelation portrays a God who intervenes in history on behalf of his people. To know God at all is to know him as Saviour (Hos.13:4). God and Saviour are synonymous terms. In what sense did Israel think of God as Saviour? ii). Salvation is in history. The first reference to this word yasha’ is Ex. 14:30 in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians.” The deliverance from Egypt determined the future understanding of salvation by the people of Israel. The Exodus was an epic drama in which God was the central figure. It was played out against a background of divine judgment on Egypt, carried out in the plagues. God demonstrated his faithful mercy and love to Israel displayed in their rescue from judgment through the death of a lamb, sealed in the deliverance of the Red Sea, and issuing in the covenant at Sinai in which God undertook to be their God, and they undertook to be his people (Ex.19:1-6). As in the case of Lot, so here God comes to the rescue of his people who cannot help themselves. Again his salvation is accompanied by judgment on the unrepentant and unbelieving. Once more, despite the continued rebellion of Israel throughout the wilderness years, the hesed of God is lavished on a people who rejected and disobeyed him. Through this deliverance at God’s hand marked by the death of a lamb and the application of its blood to each household of its blood, they were rescued from Egypt, and set apart as God’s own possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation (Ex.19:6). These themes


are taken up later in the N.T. The memory of that epochal event was remembered and kept alive by the annual Passover feast. The essence of Israel’s uniqueness lay in her relationship with God who saves, and this relationship was grounded in the historic event of the Exodus, where God stepped in on their behalf to save them from Egypt unto Himself- two more elements in salvation that run through the Bible. This deliverance from Egypt is seen as the pattern for all God’s future acts of salvation. iii). When Isaiah describes the new act of deliverance from bondage which God was going to effect for the captives, he refers back to the exodus (Isa.51:9-11). As God made a way in the sea for his people he is now to save them by making “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isa.43:16, 19). When the individual worshipper records God’s deliverance and gives him thanks, he begins with a recital of God’s salvation of his people in the Exodus (Ps.66:5-7; 13-20) and sees Israel’s deliverance and his own as belonging together. When Habakkuk speaks of God’s deliverance from foreign enemies and from drought and pestilence, he refers back to the Exodus (Hab.3:8ff; 18). When the king celebrates deliverance which God has wrought for him he views it in the context of the exodus. His is the God who saves (Ps.18 see also Isa.27:1; Ps.68:7; 12-24); thus we see how the Exodus profoundly influenced the concept of salvation to be found in liturgy and prophecy; it made an equally great impression on the creeds and religious festivals of Israel. The earliest confessions of faith in Israel are recitals of the saving acts of God – (Deut.26:5-9; 6:20-24; Josh.24:2-13). The deliverance from Egypt is put in the context of the shema’ (Deut.6:4, 5, 12) and the Decalogue (Deut. 5.6ff.) as the grounds on which an ethical God demands an ethical response from the objects of his saving power. What is distinctive in Israel’s faith is that God revealed his character in his saving activity. What God is, his people must reflect. The influence of the Exodus on Israel’s religious festivals is astonishing. Three times in the year all male adults were expected to “appear before the Lord”, at some local shrine. 1) The Feast of unleavened bread marked the beginning of the barley harvest (Ex.23:15; Lev.23:9ff). Originally it had nothing to do with the Passover but because unleavened bread was used at both feasts, and both took place at the same time the two were linked together (Ex. 34:18; 23:15). 2) The Feast of Weeks, later known as Pentecost, because it took place “seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn” (Deut.16:9). It was a harvest festival, and two loaves baked from the new corn were offered to the Lord (Lev.23:17). This simple harvest thanksgiving became associated with the Exodus: “You will rejoice before the Lord your God” and “You will remember that you were a bondman in Egypt; and you shall serve and do these statutes (Deut.16:12). 3) The Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Ingathering” which from the time of David onwards became the Enthronement Festival of the king (2Sam.Ch.6 in connection with 1Kings Ch.8 and Ps.132) and was doubly linked with salvation through the motif of victory prominent in the enthronement liturgy. But the Exodus had already stamped this happy vintage festival with the imprint of salvation. “You shall dwell in booths seven days…that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I am the Lord your God” (Lev.23:43). Thus at each great festival Israel was reminded of the saving events which brought into being a nation. It is impossible to overestimate the influence of the Exodus as the historical emblem of salvation. It pointed to the continuing saving activity of God in history for his people and was the promise and warrant of the great salvation of the end time (Rev.12:9-11). When Jesus makes his final assault and achieves his final victory over satanic forces in his passion Luke describes it in terms of the Exodus (Gk. Lk.9:31). The two aspects of salvation prominent in the Exodus: deliverance from foes and consecration as the people of Yahweh work themselves out in the rest of the O.T.


iii) Salvation from enemies. After the Exodus God does not cease to save His people, He is presented, particularly in the Psalms as saving his people from several ills. God saves man from death (Ps.6:4, 5), and the fear of it (Ps.107:13, 14). He saves men from the lion’s mouth and from the battle-field (Ps.22:21; Deut.20:4). God saves from wicked men (Ps.59:2); from anguish (Ps.69:1, 2); from sickness (Isa.38:20), and sometimes from trouble (Jer.30:7). Occasionally in the prophets salvation is linked with sins, but rarely in the Psalms (Ps.51:14; 130:8; Ezek.36:29). The most common use is salvation from enemies (1 Sam.14:23; 2 Sam.3:18; Ps.3:7; 7:1; 44:7; 59:2 etc.). Usually God effects this through raising up a human agent as saviour, such as Gideon (Judg.6:14), or Saul (1Sam.9:16), or Jonathon (1Sam.14:45). But it is always plain the God is the real Saviour of his people, although he uses men to accomplish his work (Judg.6:14, 16; 1Sam.9:16). In the case of Saul, Israel is rebuked fro wanting a king, a visible saviour, rather than relying on God who brought them up out of Egypt. They had rejected the God who saved them out of all their adversities (1Sam.10:18, 19). God is not dependant on human agents that he has chosen to use. He is often called “the Lord our salvation” (Ps.68:19; 88:1; cf. 118:14). God put aside Saul and ceased to use him (1Sam.15:23). Sometimes God makes plain that salvation is his sovereign work by dispensing with human agents. He saved Jerusalem from Sennacherib (2Kings 19:34, 35 and Isa.37:14-38). In response to the prayer of Hezekiah, he promised: “I will defend this city, to save it, for my own name sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” It was the same story at the exodus (Ps.106.8, 10, 11; 2Chron.20:6, 17). In the Royal Psalms (Ps.2, 21, 45, 72, and 110) where the king is greeted with highest adulation, he is the son of Yahweh, exercising dominion over the nations, the saviour of his people. This demonstrates Israel’s faith in God’s historical involvement with his people; the saviour God working through his anointed representative. The royal psalms proclaim the salvation which Yahweh is going to send through his chosen king. And this is how the hope of salvation continued to be applied to successive kings despite disappointments; this is how it was able to survive destruction of the monarchy altogether. For it was God’s salvation for which men looked until he should bring in the goal of history (Amos 5:18), people were looking for the “day of the Lord”, the eschatological intervention of God in history. Even in the days of Jeroboam the Second, when things had never been so good they still looked for God’s salvation which even the king could not bring to them. This is a graphic illustration of the truth that God was conceived as the Saviour from all foes, spiritual as well as physical. iv) Salvation “unto the Lord”. This saving work is not merely rescue from a desperate situation but deliverance for a special purpose. This is made clear in 1Chron.16:35. Here God is addressed as “the God of our salvation” by the people. There experience of his deliverance in the past (16:727), leads them to trust that he will be the same in the future (16:35ff.). The salvation for which David prays is seen to have a definite purpose - they may, as a people, worship and praise their Saviour God. A similar emphasis on the purpose of salvation is expressed frequently in the prophets. (Isa.43:11, 12); is similar to (1Chron.16:23), exactly the same purpose is attributed to the saving work of God. Men and nations are saved by him, in order that they may bring glory to God by their worship and praise; and by their lives dedication and allegiance. Zechariah brings the same message (Zech.8:13). They are saved to be a blessing, by speaking truth to his neighbour, and by executing truth, judgment and peace (8:16). Perhaps the most famous passage in the O.T. regarding salvation is (Isa.49:6, 7) the obedient Remnant (49:3) will be the Servant of the lord their Redeemer that they can actually be called his “salvation”; a people so dedicated to God that he can use them not only to summons the exiles, but to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and bring even kings to worship the Lord. Before the end of the O.T. salvation is coming to be seen as the prerequisite rather than merely the goal of obedience. It was a case of “Save me, and I will keep your testimonies” (Ps.119:146), and in that order. Salvation increasingly took on more of an ethical content. The very grace of salvation demands the response of dedication in those who are rescued. The Decalogue is framed on this


basis: it is because God has delivered them from Egypt, that he calls them to obey his law (Ex.20:2). v) Conditions of Salvation. The prime condition is simple trusting reliance on God alone. This was true personally as well as nationally. Israel is not to look for alliances with Assyria or Egypt as a solution to their military problems, but God alone (Hos.5:13-6:3; Isa.31:1; Ps.33:16-20; Ps.44:3). In the same way the individual is to rely exclusively on God for his salvation (Ps.55:16; 86:2; 138:7 etc.). God will not share the glory of his salvation with another, and certainly not man, who is quick to forget what God has done for him, and to boast of his own abilities and strength (cf. Ps.106:21). It is when men are at the end of themselves that God can rescue them. It is the poor and the humble that God saves (Job 5:15; 22:29; 26:2). It is those who trust in God according to the Psalms, (Ps.17:7; 37:40; 86:2), those whose hearts are right before him (Ps.7:10), the heartbroken and the contrite (Ps.34:6), the afflicted (Ps.18:27), those who call upon him (Ps.107:13) and fear him (Ps.85:9), those who know themselves to be poor in need of his succour (Ps.34:6). These are his people (Ps.119:94). Such faith is the proper attitude in a man towards a God who saves. Salvation depends on a living, trusting obedience to God, and it can be forfeited by apostasy from him (Ps.78:21ff; cf. 1 Cor.9:27; 10:1-12). Such faith can degenerate into superstition. In 1Sam.Ch.4 the Israelites realize their defeat was a chastening from the Lord. They suffer further defeat and the ark is captured. In contrast, when men come in genuine repentance to God and are willing to obey him, then he does save (1Sam.7:3-13). Salvation involves deliverance from a variety of evil situations and commitment to God who has saved. We have seen that the basic requirements are a humble recognition of our total inadequacy to save ourselves, a firm trust in God, prayer to him, and a willingness to obey his will. vi) The Content of Salvation. 1) Victory: one of the important elements in the deliverance God gives to men is victory (e.g. 1Sam.14:45). David gained strength when he reduced the surrounding peoples to obedience (2Sam.8:14 see also Judg.2:18; 6:14). It was God who had raised up saviours (Ex.14:30; 1Sam.10:19), and therefore he was their Saviour by communicating his strength to them (Job 26:2). Only God is so strong that his own arm obtains salvation (victory, security, freedom) for himself (Ps.98:1; Job 40:14). The link between victory and salvation is prominent in the Enthronement Psalms. The enthronement of the king is the emblem of the sovereignty of God. Yahweh’s universal dominion nowhere stands out so clearly as in the enthronement psalms (Ps.98:1, 2). This theme is throughout the O.T. (Ps.86:16; 44:7; 1Chron.11:14). Almost every reference to salvation has in it this note of victory. 2) Vindication: When God saves a man or people no one must speak against him. When God makes a man’s cause his own, he vindicates that man, and he gives judgment for him (Ps.76:9; Ps.54:1; Ps.72:4; Ps.109:31). The imagery is derived from the administration of Law among the Hebrews. The elders would meet in the gate of the town, and decide on the cases brought before them. They would give judgment on behalf of the poor, the “fatherless and the widow” who were being exploited. God also intervenes to make judgment on behalf of his people. He remembers his covenant with his people; he will make their cause his own. It is because of the covenant that God’s salvation and righteousness are so closely linked as to be almost interchangeable in Isaiah (Isa.56:1; 45:8, 19-25; 46:13; 51:3-6 and Ps. 98:1-3). Israel as a nation stands out from other nations as a people in whose history his will to save is continually manifested. God vindicates his own name among the heathen captors of Israel by espousing the cause of the feeble oppressed nation that trusts him. His salvation is an expression of his righteousness in the sense of faithfulness to his covenant promise (Isa.45:21). This background is seen in the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. The refrain of Isa.45:21, “a just God and a Saviour” is taken up in the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9) which he fulfilled on that occasion. The coming king is seen by Zechariah as “just and having salvation”.


3) Satisfaction: There is a sense of release, freedom and complete well-being, not only in the root meaning of yasha’ but also the context in which it appears. The word itself involves the idea of being wide or spacious. The Israelites confined to their narrow hills and valleys always felt vulnerable to sudden attack. David had been hounded by Saul’s men who pursued his life until in utter despair of his life he defected to enemy territory. The Hebrew felt it would be good to live on a flat open plain where he could see the approach of an enemy. This wish is reflected in the Psalms: “He brought me forth into a large place; he delivered me” (Ps.18:19; 31:8; 1118:5). This deliverance meant peace from the spiritual foes that assault the heart (Ps.116:13; Mic.4:10). Salvation means wholeness of body and mind. The context will give the slant on yasha’. Consider: (Ps.28:9; 69:35f. 91:16; 106:47). This is the main emphasis in Zechariah (8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7). And it is often to be found in Isaiah and Jeremiah. God brings a man or a nation into a richer, fuller experience of life when God intervenes to save. In the graphic metaphor of Isa.12:3, he makes men to draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4) Costliness: It is made plain the God’s salvation costs man nothing, being offered to him by sheer grace, it costs God dear. Sometimes the title “Redeemer” is linked with “Saviour” (e.g. “I am your Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob”, (Isa.49:26; 60:16 see also 49:7, 8 and 63:8, 9). God is their Saviour and redeemer, he suffers with his people, his presence is in their midst; their salvation issues from his love and pity which constitutes them as his people, the children whom he protects and safeguards- but it is not possible to miss the hint of costliness of their redemption to God. c) Go’el means to act the part of kinsman. It is a family word. The kinsman vindicates his relative; often he has the duty of avenging his blood (Nu.35:19, 21, 24; Josh.20:3, 5, 9) Sometimes he buys a member of his family out of slavery (Lev.25:48f.), or reclaims his field at the payment of a price (Ruth 4:4, 6; Lev.25:26, 32). Whenever this word is used it carries with it the idea of effort on the part of the redeemer in the cause of the relative- and often the payment of a ransom. Frequently God is spoken of as the go’el, the great kinsman of his people, particularly when reference is made to his deliverance from Egypt. “You are the God that does wonders. You have made known your strength among the peoples. You have with your arm redeemed your people” (Ps.77:14, 15); “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm” (Ex.6:6 see also Jer.50:34). This word is applied to God in the latter part of Isaiah. He is seen as the Redeemer from Egypt, the Redeemer form Babylon (Isa.41:14; 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4 etc.) and the Redeemer from sin (Isa.44:21-23; cf. 63:90). Isa.52:3 is a key verse in regard to the meaning of go’el, “You shall be redeemed without money and without price.” The concept of a costly ransom price is present in this verse. After describing the joyful return of the exiles the prophet exclaims (52:10), “The Lord has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the world shall see the salvation of our God.” Also in the priestly book of Leviticus the element of costliness to the human kinsman is strongly emphasized therefore the word must carry an even more powerful meaning in Isaiah (43:3). The carrying out of the part of the kinsman by the Lord cost him as dear as it did the human kinsman who had to pay a ransom. d) Padah The padah root is similar in meaning. Basically it means “to acquire by giving something in exchange.” It is mainly applied to the giving of a life by the surrender of another life to die in its place. Thus “every firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among the children you shall redeem” (Ex.13:13). It was a permanent reminder of the deliverance from Egypt, when the firstborn was killed by the angel of destruction, except those Hebrews who obeyed the divine instruction to sacrifice a lamb in the place of the firstborn (Ex.13:14, 15). The essential word is “substitutionary”. It is used freely of men and animals in Exodus and Numbers. But God is made the subject of this verb. When we talk of God ransoming his people, there is no exchange conceivable; God acts purely from grace and requires nothing in return. Deut.7:8 “the Lord has brought you out with a


mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage.” When this word is applied to God the sense of costliness is predominant. God intervened and rescued his people from Egypt (Dt.9:26), from trouble (Ps.25:22), from sin (Ps.130:8), and from the power of the grave (Ps.49:15; Hos.13:14). It was costly to redeem Abraham (Isa.29:22), and to bring the nation back from exile (Isa.35:10; 51:11). All this required effort and cost to God: (2 Sam.7:23; Neh.1:10; Ps.78:42f.). The LXX translators translated it by lutroo, “to ransom.” As with go’el, the biblical writers deliberately chose a word which expressed the costliness of deliverance. e) Kopher means a “ransom” price. Normally it is paid by a man for his life which has become forfeit, in order that he may go free (Ex.21:28ff; 30:12; Prov.21:18; Job 36:18). In one important passage this word is used of God’s deliverance of his people, “For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you. Since you were precious in my sight you have been honourable and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life” (Isa.43:1-4). Presumably this means that God in his counsel has already assigned to the Persians, as compensation for letting Israel go free, the countries of Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba. This was remarkably fulfilled a few years later when Babylon was overthrown by the Persian Cyrus, and Israel was allowed to return to her own land. Shortly after this Cambyses invaded Egypt and made it into a Persian province, while Ethiopia was reduced to a tributary nation. These three words go’el, and padah, and kopher, which can only be called a ransom, or substitutionary idea, should be applied to God in his redeeming activity, demonstrating that God’s salvation is a costly matter to him. 2. SALVATION IN THE IMAGES OF SCRIPTURE 1) The first hint of salvation follows the account of the Fall, when God says to the serpent: “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” (Gen.3:15). This is the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible and points to the cost of our salvation, and is an allusion to the work of Christ on the cross. The final culmination of our salvation will be the “wedding celebration of the Lamb of God and his bride, the church (Rev.19:6-9). The story unfolds in the history of Israel and comes to a climax in the death of Jesus when salvation is accomplished finally and completely and in the life of the church where Christians enjoy, celebrate and proclaim salvation. The Bible ends with the Edenic imagery of the “tree of life, ” and the promise of Jesus to return quickly and thus complete his saving work (Rev.22:20). 2) The second image of salvation belongs to the patriarch Abraham and his son Isaac (Gen.Ch.12). The entire chapter is full of “typology” revealing the inner meaning of Scripture but firmly rooted in historical events. Suggestive, is the intimate relationship between Abraham and Isaac- father and son (Gen.22:2, 7, 8). Most significant are the words of Abraham in response to Isaac’s question regarding the absence of an animal for sacrifice: “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a sacrifice.” (22:8). The notion of sacrifice runs through the O.T. and is linked with the doctrine of salvation. Associated with sacrifice is “blood” another theme that runs through Scripture coming to its climax in the Passover that Jesus celebrated with his disciples before he went to the cross (Mat.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; Jn.6: 53-56; 1Cor.10:16; 11:23-25).6 3) The third image is that of the Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea (Gen.12-14; 1Cor.10:1, 2). We have noted already that the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt is the great defining experience for Israel that defines and demonstrates the meaning of salvation for Israel through the O.T. We have the imagery of deliverance from slavery and bondage, judgment, the protection of

Blood: “Dictionary of Biblical Imagery” pp99-101. Salvation: “Dictionary of Biblical Imagery” pp752-756.


the blood, the substitute provision of a lamb and the supernatural deliverance at the Red Sea. The deliverance from the Egyptians led them to Sinai and the covenant commitment to Yahweh and to the Promised Land. Salvation always includes salvation from Egypt, leading to salvation and life in Canaan (Deut.26:5-9). Redemption requires from us engagement and commitment. From henceforth God’s people were to live according to God’s righteous requirements. All through the years of Wilderness travel they were sustained by God’s provision of manna (Ex.16:16), and water (Nu.20:8). The giving of the law at Sinai included the entire sacrificial system which is rich in salvation typology (Lev.17:11). The book of Hebrews uses these images to contrast the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice to those animal sacrifices in the O.T. and to contrast the High-Priest of the tabernacle with Jesus Christ, God’s superior High-Priest (Heb.7:24-27; 9: 11-15; etc.). Hebrews also points to Christ’s blood in contrast to the sacrificial blood of animals (Heb. 10:19-28 see also 9:7, 12-14, 18-22, 25; 10: 19, 29; 11:28; 12:24; `13:11, 12, 20). The theme of the blood runs through the key N.T. writers and is associated with salvation in Paul: (Rom.3:15, 25; 5:9; Eph.1:7; 2:13; Col.1:14, 20). The apostle Peter also refers to the sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:2; see also 1:19) and likewise the apostle John (1 John 1:7; 5:6, 8; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11). During the time of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness the incident of the brass serpent (Num.21:9) also provides a picture of salvation. This is confirmed in that both Jesus and Paul refer to this incident (Jn.3:14; see also 1Cor.10:9). 4) The fourth image has been taken from the time of Joshua and the conquest of Canaan. Before he entered the Promised Land he sent out two men to spy out the land. They were hidden by “Rahab the harlot” who saved their lives, and as a reward the spies promised her salvation (Josh.6:17, 23; Heb.11:31; James 2:25), but she had to place from her window on the city wall a scarlet (red) thread. Thus she and her house were spared from judgment. It is easy to pick out from this story some of our key words and themes relating to salvation. 5) The fifth image is the love story of Ruth and Boaz, who fulfils the role of the go’el redeemer. This is more than an image as it is a historical real-life drama, and it is founded on the spiritual significance of the Hebrew word go-el. 6) The sixth image is that of the “Suffering Servant” in Isa.Ch.53 (Acts 8:32-35). We know from the N.T. scripture that Isaiah was speaking of the sufferings and death of Jesus. The sufferings of the Messiah are directly linked with our transgressions and iniquities (vv5, 6, 11, 12). He is judged by God (vv4, 6, 10). Messiah is made “an offering” for sin (v10). Through his death many shall be “justified” (v11). The implications in regard to salvation make this prophecy one of the most profound and significant chapters in the whole of the O.T. 3. SALVATION THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST John was very much concerned with salvation (Lk.3:6), and grew up in a home impregnated with the hope of salvation as understood by the end of the O.T. Godly priests like Zacharias were quietly waiting and trusting that God would remember his mercy, and deliver his people Israel. He was waiting for “the consolation of Israel” (Lk.2:25 see also Isa.40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 61:2; 66:13); so also was the prophetess Anna (Lk.2:36). When she saw the child Jesus she gave thanks to God and told all those who were waiting for salvation in Jerusalem (2:38) of her conviction that the promised redeemer had come. “Redemption” was the regular translation of padah which played such an important part in the O.T. doctrine of salvation. Simeon also interpreted the person and future achievements of the baby Jesus in O.T. categories. He identified him with the Servant of the Lord (Lk.2:32; cf. Isa.42:6 and 49:6); he described his work as the messianic salvation (Lk.2:30f.) promised in (Isa.52:10; 40:5). The short hymn we call the Nunc Dimittis is full of the ideas of the


latter part of Isaiah. The child would bring in God’s end time salvation; he would be the glory of Israel and the light of the Gentiles; and he would come as the Servant of the Lord. John’s father, Zacharias in his short hymn called the Benedictus mentions “salvation” three times (Lk.1:69, 71, 77). He also speaks of God visiting and redeeming his people, but this redemption will be accomplished by the “horn of salvation” raised up by God in the house of David. The content he gives to this salvation combines the main themes of the O.T. expectation- deliverance form enemies (Lk.1:71; cf. Ps.106:10, 47); faithfulness to the covenant (Lk.1:72), and life-long service of God in holiness and righteousness (Lk.1:75). All this is due to the gracious deliverance of God himself (1:68). Zacharias goes on to speak of John as the messenger of the Lord, and by reference to Mal.3:1 (Lk.1:76), as the one who would prepare the way of the Lord (Lk.1:76 cf. Isa.40:3), and tell men of the coming salvation (Lk.1:77). That salvation would include forgiveness of sins (Lk.1:77 cf. Jer.31:34), and would also embrace the Gentiles (Lk.1:79 refers to Isa.60:1f. and 42:6, 7). John insists that the Scripture from Isaiah applies to himself: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, - make straight the way of the Lord.” He began by addressing the whole nation (Lk.3:6) as within the scope of God’s salvation if they would repent. God is about to set his axe to the roots of the trees; and to make the final separation between the wheat and the chaff (Lk.3:9, 17). They must prove the genuineness of their repentance by a changed life- “fruit worthy of repentance” (3:8). John’s baptism in running water was administered in anticipation of a future coming one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire (Mat.3:11; Lk.3:16). The fire refers to the eschatological fire of judgment (Lk.3:17). John’s gospel makes it quite clear that Jesus is the one for whom he has been looking (Jn.1:30, 32f.), and speaks of him in messianic terms (Isa.9:6). The reference to the “Lamb of God” links with the O.T. notes, beginning with Abraham/Isaac (Gen.Ch.22) and the Passover Lamb (Ex.Ch.12) and concluding with the apostle’s favourite title for Jesus in the Revelation. This Mighty One will come as a reaper, to destroy the wicked, while gathering the wheat of the truly repentant into his eternal barn. He will come as the Servant of the Lord to carry away the sins of the world. He will give men the gift of the Holy Spirit, the long-expected mark of the age to come. The empowerment of the Spirit as the mark of the Messiah (Isa.11:2; 42:1 etc.), at the same time seeing and grasping the fact that Jesus’ own baptism was a commissioning both as Son (Ps.2:7) and as Servant of God (Isa.42:1). John’s doctrine of baptism is therefore in succession to that of the O.T. like the prophets he knows salvation is the work of God, yet he sees it accomplished through an intermediary. He sees that salvation for the repentant and obedient goes hand in hand with the judgment of the wicked. Like them he knows salvation belongs to the last day, the Day of the Lord. To him salvation is eschatological, moral, and fully individual. What is distinctive to John is that for him the eschatological crisis was imminent, hence the urgency of call for repentance. 3) SALVATION IN THE TEACHING OF JESUS John the Baptist belonged to the old order which he recognized when he said: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn.3:28-30). John was not able to make the transition from the old order to the new; truly he was the last and the greatest of the Old Testament prophets (Mat.11:10, 11). Jesus was careful to state his solidarity with John. He was baptized by him and began where John began preaching by calling men to repentance (Mat.3:3; 4:17 see also Mk.11:27-33). As Jesus proceeds in his ministry, instead of judgment, John hears that Jesus offers men mercy and forgiveness, and is meek and gentle. He begins to doubt whether Jesus is the one to whom he had pointed (Lk.7:18-23). Jesus takes John back to (Isa.35:4, 5 and 61:1). Jesus points out that he is fulfilling the prophetic picture of the Coming One. But in citing (Isa.61:2) he stops short with the phrase before, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” He is reported as having broken off at the identical place, midway through the verse, in (Lk.4:18, 19); when he uses the same passage of Scripture in the synagogue at Nazareth at the outset of his ministry. This stopping point is highly significant. Jesus splits the eschatological crisis into two. The last days truly were inaugurated with the coming of Jesus, but they will not be consummated then. The end is not yet; the “day of vengeance” belongs to the future. For the present he takes up the role of the Servant (Mk.10:45), the task assigned to him at his baptism. John could not understand this split in the eschatological


crisis. He could not understand the mystery of a suffering Messiah, although Isaiah had made this very plain (Isa.Ch.53). For John the central mystery of the gospel remained a stumbling block. 1) Salvation is equated with Kingdom of God. The eschatological salvation promised by the prophets and the kingdom of God preached by Jesus are one and the same thing (e.g. Lk.8:10, 12). In one passage recorded in all three Synoptic gospels: the kingdom of God, salvation, and eternal life are all equated with each other, and related to following Jesus (Mk.10:17, 21, 24, 26). Both the Semitic and the Greek words translated “kingdom” refer to the “kingly rule” of God, not to a specific kingdom. In the teaching of Jesus the kingdom has a present manifestation in the lives of those who receive the kingdom of God, and a future consummation, when God’s kingly rule will be undisputed (Lk.2:30; Mat.13:41, 43). There is a progressive unfolding of the kingdom as the company of those who accept his rule and live by it. The kingdom drew near in the preaching of John the Baptist (Mat.3:2), and dawned in the person of Jesus, and it was proclaimed as a present reality in his preaching (Mk.12:34; Lk.16:16; 17:21). The coming of Jesus marked a new era in God’s kingly rule. The human conditions for entry depended on the response to the moral demands he made; but ultimately depended on the response they made to Jesus himself. In the Acts, the proclamation of the Jesus by the apostles can be summarized as preaching the kingdom of God. (Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). It is plain therefore that the synoptics association of salvation with entering the kingdom and commitment to Jesus enables Jesus to integrate the diverse approaches of the O.T. prophets and apocalyptists to salvation. The prophets had seen God as immanent and looked for salvation in this world; the apocalyptists had seen God as transcendent and tended to view him as remote and more concerned with the age to come and looked for salvation from this world. In the teaching of Jesus salvation is both present and future. It means submitting to the kingly rule of God who is both immanent and transcendent, and it is entered here and now. The kingdom is characterized by humility (Lk.6:20), answered prayer (Mat.7:7), forgiveness (Mat.6:10-12), God’s power (Lk.11:20), understanding God’s plan (Lk.8:10), obedience (Mat.6:23, 24) and trust in his protection (Mat.6:3134). It is a foretaste of the life of heaven. By splitting the eschatological event, he shifted the ultimate crisis in man’s destiny from concern over the future life to commitment her and now to God’s messenger of the kingdom. Salvation has become a present reality in the light of Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom of God. 2) Salvation is achieved by the Son of Man. This was Jesus favourite name for himself. No one used the title to address Jesus and it was not used in the early church. The Son of Man is linked with salvation in the teaching of Jesus (Lk.19:10). The origins of the Son of Man teaching go back to the original man, man as he was intended to be, subordinate to God, but in authority over God’s world. This is how it is used in (Ps.8:3-8), where Son of Man is a synonym for man and clearly refers to Adam. Was Jesus suggesting by that title that he was a second Adam come to fulfil the proper destiny of man? In (Ps.80:17-19) God’s salvation is expressly associated with the man of God’s right hand. The title is found frequently in Ezekiel where the prophet is called Son of Man and is called to judge both Israel and the nations (Mat.25:31-46); (Ezekiel 34:1) underlies Jesus’ words in (Lk.19:10; Ezek.34:16). (Dan.Ch.7) is a most significant passage, where the Son of man is seen as a corporate figure, the embodiment of “the people of the saints of the Most High” (cf. 7:13 and 18). In Dan.7 he is an eschatological figure, sent to exercise God’s kingly rule with power and glory and judgment in the last days (7:14). This finds an echo in the words of Jesus about his future coming in glory to judge mankind (Mat.13:26, 27; 14:62). At the Last Supper Jesus equated this figure with himself (Mk.14:18, 21). Jesus links the Son of Man with suffering (Mk.8:31; 9:31; 10:33, 45; 14:21, 41), and that he will come again in glory (Mk.8:38; 13:26; 14:62). Jesus united the functions of the Suffering Servant and the Son of Man which is crucial in the doctrine of salvation. This identification takes place only after Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus is the Messiah does the figure of the suffering Son of Man appear. Jesus corrects Peter’s “Messiah” to “Son of Man”, and then tells him that the Son of


Man must suffer (Mk.8:27-33). The climax of Jesus teaching on this is (Mk.10:45), a verse which goes back to (Isa.53:5, 6, 11, and 12). There is a substitutionary element in the anti. Alongside the importance of vicarious suffering in the role of the Son of Man must be placed the teaching of Jesus on the glorious future awaiting him. In Mark, each time Jesus refers to suffering, the glorious outcome of those sufferings is mentioned: (8:31; 9:31; 10:34). In this case the resurrection is the glorious future referred to (see Isa.52:1; 53:10, 11). There are passages that refer to the return of the Son of Man in the glory traditionally associated with his coming (Mk.8:38; 13:26; 14:62; Lk.17:24; Mat.19:28). Only then will his saving work be completed, for he will gather his elect and they will be saved forever (Mk.13:20, 27). Jesus already has the authority to exercise all judgment; and to raise the dead, because he is the Son of Man (Jn.5:21, 22, 26, 27). 3) Salvation centres on Forgiveness of Sins. Forgiveness is a primary part of salvation in the N.T. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mk.2:17).Jesus directed his appeal to the outcasts: to the sick (Mk.2:17), the tax-gatherers and sinners (Mk.2:16) with whom he ate (Lk.7:34). The three parables of Lk.15: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, are placed in the context of (15:1, 2) which make their thrust inescapable. They describe Jesus’ attitude in contrast to the Pharisees; it is simply this, to save the lost (15:7, 10, 32). And so we se Jesus meeting a host of sinners and conversing with them (Jn.Ch.3; Ch.4; Lk.19:7; Jn.8:1-11; Mk.2:5). The attitude of Jesus in the eyes of the Pharisees was not only seen as indecent but blasphemous. It was only in virtue of what he would do in bearing the sins of the world that Jesus could remit sin with such authority. The poor people thronged to him (Lk.15:1), recognizing the voice of God and he works of God that he was doing among them, while the Pharisees stood apart and murmured (Mat.21:31). The messianic banquet would be filled with the lame, the blind and the needy (Mat.22: 1-14). The parable of the Pharisee and the publican sums up the whole matter (Lk.18:10-14). We see the interest of Jesus in the individual sinner, the sense of sin on the part of the publican and the recognition of his need to repent. His acceptance of unmerited mercy, standing out in contrast to the self-righteousness of the Pharisee, who has no sense of need; rather the reverse! The story ends with God justifying the ungodly (Rom.4:5 and Rom.10:3). Salvation is a gift from God. 4) Salvation is concerned with the whole man. God’s salvation concerns the whole man (Mk.3:4). The word is used most frequently in the gospels with reference to the healing of disease: “As many as touched him were saved” (Mk.6:56; Mat.14:36). Blind Bartimaeus was saved (Mk.10:52), so was the Samaritan leper (Lk.17:19), the man with a withered hand (Mk.3:4, 5), and many more. Jesus showed concern for the whole man. The cause of Jesus’ great compassion was the sight of human need; the effect of this compassion was the removal of that need. The same compassion is seen in his exorcisms (Lk.8:36); a man who is delivered of demons is “saved”. The disciples are saved in the storm (Mat.8:25), and Peter is also “saved” by Jesus from sinking in the storm (Mat.14:30). The miracles of Jesus are tangible evidence of the presence of the kingdom of God in the person of the Son of Man (Mat.12:28). The word sozein means both to “heal” and to “save” (see Mk.5:28, 34; Mat.9:21; Mk.10:52; Jn.11:12; Lk.7:50; 17:19). The most striking example of all is the example in (Mk.2:1-12), where the declaration that the sufferer’s sins are forgiven is proved by Jesus’ ability to heal. The healings are messianic. They are designed to illustrate that the supreme gift of the age has come, forgiveness of sins, and to show that it is a present reality in the person of Jesus. These healings are made in response to faith, and they are bound up in the person of Jesus. It is Jesus who heals, just as it is Jesus who forgives sin. This is demonstrated in the story of Zacchaeus in (Lk.19:5, 6) where it is said that Jesus came to his house. In (19:9) it says that salvation had come to his house. He who had been lost has now been saved through his relationship with Jesus. Like the healings, the exorcisms must be seen as having a dual function. He taught that his exorcisms showed that the kingdom of God had come (Mat.12:28), and the kingdom of Satan doomed. The religious authorities tried to attribute these exorcisms to Satan, but Jesus’ authority


showed that “stronger than the strong” had come to bind the strong man (Mk.3:27; see also Jn.12:31). While healings related to the forgiveness of sins, exorcisms spoke of power over evil which Christ can exercise in those who have tasted of salvation. This power relates to the O.T. doctrine of salvation regarding victory. Since the coming of Jesus man is no longer under the dominion of sin (Jn.8:34, 36), Satan (Lk.13:16), and his evil powers. The salvation of the Gadarene demoniac was not only a matter of healing but the healing of a distraught mind and the integrating of a split personality. He was not only healed but saved (Lk.8:36). Salvation includes much more, in that salvation has a future dimension (1Cor.2:9). The difference between Jesus and the prophets was that the future age of salvation had dawned, but its full enjoyment lay in the future. It is the man who endures to the end who shall be saved (Mk.13:13 also Mat.10:22). It is the man who loses his life who shall be saved (Mk.8:35). There are many metaphors for this final salvation. It is likened to the safety of a heavenly barn (Mat.13:30). It is likened for glory to the shining sun (Mat.13:43). It is likened for spirituality to the angels of God (Mk.12:25); it is likened for beauty to the garden of God (Lk.23:43), for responsibility to thrones of judgment (Lk.22:30), for joy to a wedding feast (Mat.22:3ff.). For the future, salvation involves fellowship with the Saviour and fellowship with the saved: “that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn.14:3). Salvation then according to Jesus, concerns the whole man. It is concerned with his past, his present and his future. It is the work of rescue achieved by God through his Messiah. It belongs to the kingly rule of God brought into history by Jesus, the Son of Man. The conditions of its acceptance are repentance and faith; the very idea of merit is excluded by grace. But it demands a radical change of life in those who accept it. This salvation is intended for all men, “that the world through him might be saved.” (Jn.3:17). Jesus recognised the limitations of his earthly mission: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the children of Israel” (Mat.15:24). The corn of wheat had to fall into the ground and die before there could be a harvest (Jn.12:24). Nevertheless he offered forgiveness to all (Lk.23:34). He came as the culmination of God’s redemptive work in Israel, but he proved equally to be the Saviour of the world (Jn.3:16; 4:42). 5) Salvation in the early Preaching. The salvation brought in by Jesus is the theme of the entire apostolic age. There is a confidence in the consciousness of salvation which is a glorious fact, dominating and transforming their lives, so that they want the entire world to know that Jesus saves men. The Speeches of Peter. The speeches are clearly Aramaic and there is no clearly thought out doctrine of the atonement, or of the church, or baptism to be found in these sermons. There are quotations from the O.T. that are not found later on in the book. There is a pattern of preaching that is the same as the gospel of Mark. At the outset of the sermon Peter quotes from (Joel 2:28-32), concluding with “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Peter tells the crowd that the last days of which Joel prophesied have come, and they have been brought about by the man of David’s house, “God the Saviour,” Jesus. His mission was from God, and this was proved by the signs and wonders God did in their midst, and these they could not deny. Peter proceeds to His death and the cross. Now Peter glories in the cross. He does not hold back from charging the religious leaders with his death this was a constant pattern (3:13-15; 4:10, 11; 5:30 etc.), but he claims the death of Jesus was all part of God’s eternal plan. God has proved it by raising him from the dead. This is attested by eye-witnesses (2:32; 3:15; 4:20, 33; 5:32; cf. 1 Cor.15:6), but by their own Scriptures as well: (Ps.110.1; 16:6-11), where David confesses that his descendent who will sit on his throne will be greater than himself (his “Lord”) but will, instead of “seeing corruption,” find life and joy in unclouded communion with God (2:28). Jesus has been raised to glory, and has been raised to the right hand of the Father who has exalted him and given to him the Holy Spirit for his followers who has already transformed them by filling them each one with the Spirit.


In the light of these eschatological events men need to make up their minds, and decide whether they would commit themselves to the crucified Jesus, the risen Lord, or not. It would involve repentance, belief, and it would involve baptism in the name of Jesus, if men were to receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. Just as we have a strong continuity with the O.T. we also have a strong link with the Baptist. What Peter had in advance of John was the availability of the Holy Spirit. The promise of forgiveness was for all; all could be saved if they would break with “the untoward generation” of those who had rebelled against God’s purpose. These words are applied to all Israel. Of course their decision must be a personal choice, but salvation also meant integration into a community of those “who were being saved,” a community committed without reserve to Jesus as Messiah, a community bound together in common belief, worship and fellowship (2:42-47). Here in the book of Acts we have the essence of the basic kerygma. The same pattern appears in other speeches (3:12-26; 4:8-12; 5:29-32; 10:34-43; 13:16-41; etc.). And “salvation” was one of the most comprehensive words they used to describe, and to sum up all the blessings of the gospel (Eph.1:13; 1 Cor.15:1, 2; Acts 13:26; Jude 3; Titus 2:11). The uniqueness of Jesus’ salvation is emphasized in Acts 4:12. It is a salvation that concerns the whole man. It is made possible through Jesus of Nazareth, crucified, risen and active in his disciples. He was “the stone set at nought by you builders,” but through God’s action he “is become the head of the corner.” “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (cf. Ps.118:21, 23, 25; with Acts 3:12, 16; 4:9, 12). Just as the salvation teaching of Ch.2 is based on Joel, so the teaching in Ch.3 and 4 is based on Ps. 118. Peter goes further than in his first speech. He stresses that salvation is something given, and that it is something available and necessary for all mankind. There is salvation to be found in no other Saviour. There is no alternative way of salvation (4:12). It is to be found in him. Here we meet the scandal of particularity that was so hard for the Greek to accept. To the Jew the scandal was the preaching of a crucified Messiah as the way of salvation (1 Cor.1:21). This concentration of salvation in the person of Jesus prepares us for ch.5 where he is given the title “Saviour” (5:31; see also 13:23). It is applied to Jesus once in (Lk.2:11) and the epistle of John, and again in the Pastorals (Titus 2:13), and (2 Peter 5:31). The link between Jesus’ work and his name is obvious (Mt.1:21; Lk.2:11), and it is used in the O.T. as a common title for God. It is important to see how Peter uses the title here- it is as one who was hanged upon a tree by men, and raised by God to give repentance and remission of sins (see Deut. 21:22f. also 10:39; 13:29; Gal.3:13; 1 Pet.2:24; Rev.22:2, 14, 19). Further references in Acts: (10:39; 13:29). In Jewish eyes Jesus hung in the place of cursing; hence the scandal of the cross- “Anathema Jesus” (1Cor.12:3). They see the curse reversed by God raising him from the dead and vindicated him. In these sermons of Peter the work of salvation has been related to specific O.T. Scriptures (Joel 2; Ps.118; Deut. 21) which had been reinterpreted in the light of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It is not a salvation of the soul alone, but a total salvation, a historic deliverance, bringing the age to come into the present, together with forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It opens up new vistas of sharing God’s life after death (3:15; 5:31; 3:19-21). The future is not explored because so much was happening in the present for them. The remainder of Peter’s sermons has little to add to what has been said. In (11:14) the word sothenai is a synonym for entering the realm of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, faith and baptism. In (15:1 and 11) there is a contrast between Jewish Christians who had not emerged from legalism and the anthropocentric hopes of salvation current in Judaism. They saw salvation as the fruit of ritualism and ethic. Peter however had come to see that salvation was by grace, not by works; achieved by Christ and not by human attainment. This verse also shows Peter actually using the word “be saved” of the future state of the Christian. 6) SALVATION IN PAUL Paul has more to say about salvation than any other N.T. writer. Salvation is at the heart of Paul’s theology. From the time of the Reformation the doctrine of “justification by faith” has been seen as


the key to Paul’s theology, but this doctrine is not broad enough to express Paul’s teaching. The inadequacy of this view is that it focuses on one metaphor of salvation, justification, to the exclusion of others. It has been suggested that the phrase “in Christ” as the key thought of Paul, this view shifted the focus from Christ’s historical work to the believer’s ongoing experience of Christ. The basic core of Paul’s theology, the content of which he shared with the other apostles, is too wide to be contained within one simple phrase. It is impossible to understand Paul without recognizing eschatology as the essential framework of al his theological thinking; on the other hand, salvation in Christ is the central concern within that framework. Salvation is eschatological in the sense that final salvation, which still awaits the believer, is already a present reality through Christ and the Spirit. This salvation was historically effected “in Christ” by the death and resurrection of Christ, and is received and experienced by God’s people through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit stands somewhere near the centre for Paul, as part of the fundamental core of his understanding of the gospel. The experience of the Spirit is the key to his already/ not yet eschatological framework; the Spirit is the essential player in the believer’s experiencing and living out the salvation God has brought about in Christ; the Spirit both forms the church into God’s new people and conforms them into Christ’s image through his fruit in their lives; and the Spirit gifts them in worship to edify and encourage one another in their ongoing life in the world. Paul’s theology cannot be understood apart from his doctrine of the Spirit.

At this point we have a direct link with our module on the Holy Spirit.

Accepting that salvation comes near to the heart of Paul’s theology; for him salvation covers past, present, and future. It is the total work of God in Christ for man. A. Salvation as a past Experience. For Paul salvation was eschatological, something that belonged to the future, and as a result most of his references are to the future. For Paul the age to come has already begun by the coming of the Spirit. He it is who is described by Paul as the aparche, the first-fruits of the age to come (Rom. 8:9), whose coming was promised in the last days has come (Joel 2:28) into the lives of believers, so that, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). The early believers were confidant that the last days had broken in on them.(Acts 2:17; Heb.1:2; 1Jn.2:18), and that they had tasted the powers of the age to come (Heb.6:5).Their justification; their acquittal before the ultimate Judge, which belonged to the last day, the Christian was assured now (Rom.5:1; 8:1); of that final salvation, involving safety and deliverance, which belonged to the age to come, they were no less confidant. There are 4 places where Paul speaks of salvation in the past tense, once in Romans (8:24), twice in Ephesians (2:5, 8), and twice in the Pastorals (2.Tim.1:9; Titus 3:5).To these we add Titus (2:11), where the adjective soterios is applied to the incarnation, (1 Tim.2:6) where Christ’s death is interpreted in terms of the ransom metaphor, derived from (Isa.53, via Mk. 10:45) where the language of redemption is used of a past deliverance (Rom.3:24; Eph.1:7; Col.1:4; Titus 2:14). These verses maintain the tension between the present and the future. The significance of each of these references could be summed up in the reference in (Rom.8:24), “we were saved”, but only “in hope”. We enjoy here and now a first installment of salvation, but the best is yet in the future. Nevertheless we have been saved from several enemies. We can ask ourselves: 1. What have we been saved from? Salvation for Paul is nothing less than deliverance from all his spiritual foes, from all that keeps him in alienation from God and in the hold of evil powers. There are 4 main contexts where he claims we have been saved. a) Salvation from the old aeon. Rom. 8:24 comes at the end of Paul’s doctrinal teaching in Romans. In chapter 5-8 he says we have been delivered from the four great foes that held the


human race in bondage: b) the Christian is saved from wrath (Ch.5); saved from sin (Ch.6); saved from Law (Ch.7); and saved from death (Ch.8). The fundamental problem is sin. Sin entered the human race through Adam (Rom. 5:12ff.) and is endemic in our nature. Sin is a slave owner (Rom. 6:16); we are sold under sin (7:14), we are the slaves of sin (6:17), and we will pay the ultimate price of our sin (6:23), unless we find a deliverer. Sin is parabasis, the deliberate breaking of divine law (Rom.2:23, 25, 27). Adam sinned when he deliberately disobeyed God (5:14 see also 2:23). Sin is also hamartia, “missing the mark”- a metaphor drawn from archery. All have sinned and come short of the mark for human conduct (3:23, 2Cor.4:6). A third description of sin is found in the word anomia, “lawlessness”. “We have turned every one to his own way” (Isa.53:6 cf. Lk.19:14); we have rebelled against God’s loving rule. This is true of all humanity (3:19). b) Sin finds a friend in the Law. The Law is “holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12). The fact is nobody keeps it (Rom. 3:19, 22ff.). The Law is an agent of death (Rom.7:9, 10). God given though it is, it exposes sin (Rom.7:7, 13), it inflames sin and brings it into open disobedience (Rom. 7:7, 8).The law was powerless to pardon the sinner, as it was powerless to give him power to live a new life (Rom.3:20; 1 Cor.15:56). c) Man’s rebellion provokes the wrath of God, which is for Paul the third force of destruction that operates in humanity. The wrath of God is his reaction against sin- his holy will as opposed to evil (Rom. 1:18; 5:10). It is already at work in the world (Rom.1: 24, 26, 28); because there is a link between transgression, law, and wrath, as there is between faith, the promise, and grace (4:14f.). Wrath has a future consummation (2:5). Indeed, like salvation and justification, it is primarily a word which refers to the age to come, but like them is experienced in the present. d) Death is the last o f the four powers which hold men in subjection. It speaks of separation from God (Rom. 2:17; 3:4) and is penal, the consequence of disobedience. Paul speaks of man as being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1), and speaks of the “wage” paid by sin as “death” (Rom.6:23 see also Rom.5:12, 14). The human condition as shown to us by Paul in Romans provides the background for salvation. 2) Salvation from the old state. In (Eph.Ch.2) Paul’s main emphasis is that man is dead through sin. He is devoid of God’s life and cut off from him (2: 1, 3, 5).We meet the other evil powers: sin (2:1-5), and wrath (2:3), and the law, because there is a repeated denial that we can achieve or deserve our salvation (2: 5, 8, 9). But Paul gives a further description of the “walk” (“laws of conduct”) of a sinful man. 1) Firstly, they fashioned their behaviour according to the pattern of the age - “this present evil age” (Gal.1:4). They were dominated by the world’s standards, that had resulted in the departure of Demas, “having loved this present evil age” (2Tim. 4:10). 2) Secondly, their behaviour showed that they were dominated by the evil one. He is described as the spiritual being who now works in the “sons of disobedience”, the one who is “ruler of the power of the air.” Paul is using the Jewish language of the day, which saw the air as the realm of evil spirits. His point here is the same as that of Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11; 13:39; Lk.8:12; Jn.8:44; 13:2; 14:30; 12:31). There is an organized spiritual force of evil opposing the work of God. In (2 Cor.4:3, 4) he is called “the god of this age” (see also Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13 and Lk.4:5-7) where Jesus does not dispute Satan’s claim).Satan keeps men captive “he blinds the minds of those who do not believe.” 3) Thirdly, their way of life is determined by the desires of “flesh” and of “mind”. He is basically selfcentred. Paul’s use of the word “sarx” (flesh) is important. Man as “flesh” is part of the world that is estranged from God. He is subject to the rulers, the god, and the spirit of this age (Eph. 6:12; 2Cor.4:4; 1 Cor.2:12). Though this flesh is not to be equated with sin, it provides the bridgehead for sin (Rom. 7:8) and becomes a force for evil (Rom. 8:12, 13, 14). The sarx cannot please God


(Rom. 8:7); in it nothing good dwells (Rom.7:18 see also v25; and Gal. 5:17; 24). It is from the world, the devil, and the flesh that the Christian has been delivered. 3) Salvation from the old fears. This is the main emphasis of (2Tim. 1:9) which deals with salvation as a past event. In saving us God has replaced the old spirit of deilia, “cowardice and dread in the face of the unknown” by the Holy Spirit who brings love, and power, and self-control. There was much dread in the ancient world. There was a desire for salvation from war, famine, death, and disease that led people into the mystery cults that offered some kind of assurance to those who were racked by fear. In reminding Timothy of the glorious gospel of the saviour Jesus, whose advent had seen the end of death’s tyranny, and brought life and immortality to light, Paul uses terms used by the pagan world to enunciate their hopes and fears. The gospel that God offered to man was both immortality in the future; and his Spirit of love, and power, and self-control here and now, thus addressing their longings. 4) Salvation from old habits. This is the main theme of (Titus 2:11-3:6). Paul says in (2:11) that God’s grace which brings salvation has appeared (3:5) and tells us that God our Saviour in love and kindness has saved us. The old habits of the old life are in mind, and stand in contrast to the qualities outlined in (2:1-10). We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, in bondage to desires and pleasures of every kind, living our lives in malice, hateful creatures, and hating one another.” These are ways in which sin masters human lives; these Paul calls “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19). Man outside of Christ is in the old aeon, dominated by sin, law, wrath, and death. He is at the mercy of the flesh, the world, and the devil. He is subject to the fears and frustrations of the contemporary world, both Jew and pagan, and his life dominated by habits that were beyond his control These are the things from which man needs to be saved. ii) How have we been saved? Paul’s answer is no different to the rest of the N.T. 1) We have been saved by God. (1 Cor.1:30ff.). In the Pastoral Epistles Paul speaks of “God our Saviour” (1Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4). It is his will that all men should be saved (1Tim. 2:4). 2) We have been saved by Christ. Jesus is called Saviour by Paul (Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phil. 3:20) and in the Pastorals (Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2Tim. 1:10), and also (Titus 2:13). There is no difference between the attitude of the Father and Son in redemption. In Jesus Christ we meet God at work for our rescue. 3) We have been saved by grace. We have been saved by God’s gracious intervention and not by anything we can do, or have done is stressed in three of the passages we have considered where salvation is spoken of in the past (Eph. 2:5, 8, 9; Titus 3:5-7; 2Tim. 1:9), while the other, (Rom. 8:24) comes after a devastating attack against the efficacy of works to achieve salvation. Paul rejoices in a God who justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Justification is linked with salvation (Titus 3:5-7; Rom. 5: 8-10; 10:10; and Rom.1:16). The term “justification” has been debated since the Reformation. The reformers saw it as God’s declaration of acquittal on repentant believing sinners. His synonyms for “justify” are “reckon righteous” “remit sin” and “not reckon sin” (Rom. 4:38). The answer as to how God can justify the ungodly is to be found in the death of Christ. 4) We have been saved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is due to what Christ has done on the cross. The cross is interpreted by several metaphors. 1) He uses the language of the Law court, “justification” (Rom. 5:9, 18; Gal. 3:8-14; see also Rom.3:24ff; 2Cor.5:21, 19; Phil.2:8). It is because God has taken responsibility for the outcome of man’s sin that he can proclaim acquittal to the believer in Christ. Not only is man acquitted by God but he is brought into union with Christ, without which we could never be “accounted righteous. It is only as we are “in Him” that we are “made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor.5:21; Gal.2:17).


2) A second metaphor which Paul applies to the cross as a means of salvation comes from the language of redemption. In (Rom. 3:24; 1 Cor.1:30; Eph.1:7; Col.1:14) Christ’s death is interpreted as apolutrosis, “redemption”. Closely associated with this word is the noun antilutron in (1Tim. 2:6) Christ, the one mediator between God and man, gave himself as a “counter-ransomprice” on behalf of all. In (Titus 2:14) the verb lutroo is used, with the same meaning. Christ gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity (see also (1Pet.1:18; Mk.10:45). When Paul says “you were bought with a price” (1Cor.6:20; 7:23; Gal.5:1), he has in mind the price paid to redeem slaves in the market-place. When the ransom language is applied to God’s work for man through the crossthe theme of freedom by the payment of a costly price; of our belonging henceforth to him; of the cancellation of our debts to God; of our release from an unwilling slavery to hostile powers which held us in captivity; are all present. We can be as certain as the O.T. “goél” (Christ acting the part of our kinsman), of the kopher (where a life is given in exchange for a life) and the padah (the gracious counterpart to the release from Egypt’s slavery and death). This is all part of the salvation which Jesus achieved through his death and resurrection. As with Israel we can confidently say that we likewise have been saved by God’s intervention on our behalf. 3)The metaphor of reconciliation. In (Rom. 5:10) Paul says “If, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” It is by the cross that we have been reconciled (see also Rom. 5:11; 2Cor.5:18, 19). It indicates the restoration of personal relations between God and man. The initiative has been taken by God. Paul never speaks of God being reconciled to us, but always man being reconciled to God. This has been achieved by God and is offered to man, “God has reconciled us” (2Cor.5:18); and yet man has to be reconciled to God. The word could be translated as “remove the obstacles to fellowship”. The last barrier to fellowship was broken down at the cross, and the last barrier between man and God is broken down when man the rebel comes in repentance and faith to God. 5) We have been saved through faith. Faith is man’s response to what God has done for him in Christ- “thus by grace have you been saved, through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Faith is opposed to the principle of works, of earning the favour of God (Gal. 2:16). It is through the preaching of the gospel, or of the cross, is described as a means of salvation (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor.1:18). The response is faith (Rom.10:9) resulting in baptism and the gift of the Spirit (2Cor.5:17; Titus 3:5). B) Salvation as a present Experience. Paul uses salvation language of our present Christian experience in 3 contexts. Salvation means protection in Christ, power through the Spirit, and preaching to the lost. 1) Salvation means protection. The Christian is secure “in Christ” in regard to salvation (2Tim.2:10; 3:15, 19; cf. Eph.1:4). All men by nature are in Adam, but believers are “in Christ” by grace. This is the theme of Rom.Ch.5 and 1Cor.Ch.15. The Christian is implicated in all that Christ has done; thus some of Paul’s favourite metaphors are corporate ones, which stress the organic unity between Christ and his people. The very idea of Christ or Messiah involved the idea of a Messianic people; you cannot have Messiah without his qahal or ekklesia (Mat.16:18). He called himself the Good Shepherd, and therefore he must have a flock (Lk.12:32). Jesus´ favourite designation “Son of Man” is essentially a corporate word, denoting “the people of the saints of the Most High” (Dan.7:13, 27). Isaiah oscillates between the personal and the corporate in his description of the Suffering Servant. Baptism is seen as a baptism into Christ and the Breaking of Bread is seen as a participation in his body and blood. The organic union between the believer is stressed by the metaphor of “the Body” in which we are all members (1 Cor.12:12-27; Rom.12:4, 5; Col.2:7-19; Eph.1:23; 4:4-16). He also sees us as “branches in the olive” (Rom.11:16-21) and “stones in the building” (1Cor.3:16, 17; Eph.2:20-22); united with the risen Lord we are united with each other. To become a Christian is to become a limb or organ in the Body and the Church is essentially the household of God (see Gal.6:10; Eph.2:19; 1Tim.3:15; Heb.3:5f; 10:21).The believer is secure in Christ and the world could not touch his inner being; “for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col.3:3). He is the Lord Jesus


Christ (1 Cor.15:24f; Phil. 2:9-11). Nothing can separate the believer from him (Rom. 8:38ff.). Paul had absolute confidence in the protection of God in all his trials (2Tim.2:12 cf. 2Cor.1:9, 10; 2 Thes.3:2; 2 Tim.3:10f; 4:17, 18). In Christ the believer is protected and demonic powers cannot touch him (Rom.8:38; Col. 2:15). 2) Salvation offers power. The old life was powerless to do right (Rom.7:24), but there is deliverance- “through Jesus Christ our Lord”. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes” (Rom. 1:16).” In (1Cor.1:16) Paul says it is the power of God to us who are in process of being saved. Paul speaks of the cross and the resurrection as a present means of our being saved (Gal.2:20; Rom.6:6f; 2Cor.4:10; Phil. 3:10; Col.3:1-5). The cross and resurrection were not only past historical events that related only to Christ. They also concern us because we were implicated in his representative death and resurrection. They concern us now as we reproduce his death and resurrection in our own Christian experience. Our old sinful nature was taken to the cross with Christ (Rom.6:6; Gal.2:20). Likewise I rose with Christ to newness of life (Rom.6:4, 6, 11, 13). Paul instructs the believer how to reckon the fact and to live in the reality of the resurrection life (Rom. 6:11-13; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor.4:10; Phil. 3:10). Paul describes the mighty power of the resurrection life that is now in the Christian (Eph. 1:19). Another way of looking at the power of God in relationship to the Christian is in terms of the Holy Spirit.

• This material links in with the module on the Holy Spirit.(Pneumatology) . 3. Salvation as a future Hope • •
The whole of this section relates to the module on “Eschatology”, the teaching on “The Last Thing.” Teaching on the resurrection body relates to Anthropology

This is a major theme in Paul’s teaching. Salvation is through and through eschatological. The last days have begun in Jesus Christ. Although Christ has come, his coming is still expected; although Christians are redeemed they await their full redemption. The last days have been inaugurated but not yet consummated. Eschatology is a vital part of Paul’s Christology (teaching on the Person of Christ). Paul has three main convictions about the life to come. 1) We shall share his presence. Paul’s conviction about heaven is that “we shall be with the Lord.” In 1 Thessalonians Paul assures believers’ that those who have died are with the Lord (Phil. 4:16, 17). This will be true for all believers’ after the Parousia- “the dead in Christ shall be raised first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up to be with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” To the Corinthians he promises resurrection (2 Cor.4:14) - and even before the final resurrection, when the soul after death is disembodied and lacks its final perfection, the compensation is that we are present with the Lord (2 Cor.5: as Rom.6:8). Writing to the Philippians Paul says that it is necessary for them that he remains here, although his own desire is to depart and to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). Christ was already his “life”; and therefore to depart was “gain”. Nothing could break the union between the believer and Christ; thus when he returns we also appear with him in glory (Col.3:4). Paul is defining the future as a state of relationship with the Lord and others who were in him. The heart of salvation is viewed as a present experience of life with Christ; so it will be in the future. The life to come has already dawned. 2) We shall share his life.


The Christian already shares Christ’s life (Rom.6:10, 11; Gal.2:20), and after death he will continue to share it. We live “in hope of eternal life” promised by God our Saviour- and he cannot lie (Titus 1:1-3). Paul seems to reserve the phrase “eternal life” for the sequel to physical death; such is the meaning of (Rom.2:7; Gal.6:8; Tit.1:2; 3:7 and Rom.5:21; 1 Tim.6:12; Rom.6:22, 23). Paul freely applies “life” both to the present now and to the hereafter. Already we share “life in God” (Col.3:3 cf. Eph.4:18), “life in Christ” (2 Tim.1:1, 2:11) and “life in the Spirit” (Rom.8:6, 10). This life is defined in terms of quality by the Trinity and so it will be in the future. Eternal life is firstly a new quality of life, and secondarily it is defined as eternal. Life with God forever means salvation from death and “wrath” (1Thes.5:9, 10 cf. 1Thes.2:16; 2Tim.1:10; Rom.5:9). Paul can say that we have been delivered from the wrath to come (1Thes.1:10), our deliverance is past and at the same time future. These foes of man have received their death blow, but are not yet dead; their sentence is signed but not yet executed. This applies to the “principalities and powers” which have been decisively defeated, and await their final destruction (1Cor.2:6; 1Cor.15:24). Death has already been conquered by Christ (2Tim.1:10), and yet Paul uses the same word when he says that the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1Cor.15:26). It has been conquered but will not be destroyed until the last day. Saved by Christ’s life now, we shall be saved by it then (Rom.5:9), for we shall share in its fullness. The future life will not be static but life will develop and grow in goodness and love together. The ultimate salvation is a corporate one. Almost all the metaphors used in scripture are corporate ones- the Kingdom of God, the Messianic Banquet, the elect, the Body of Christ, the New Man, the Israel of God, the Fellowship of the Spirit, and so on. The life of heaven will be “we with them” who will ever be with the Lord (1Thes.4:17). 3) We shall share His likeness. The life to come is continuous with this life. Even now we share Christ’s likeness- increasing as we are transformed into his likeness (2Cor.3:18); but it is not until Christ appears that we shall be like him; “for we shall see him as he is” (1Jn.3:2). This is also Paul’s view (Rom.8:29, 30). The word “glory” is frequently connected with salvation. Salvation in it future consummation means “obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thes.2:13f; 2Tim.2:10; Titus 2:13). Jesus came to restore what was man’s original destiny, to be the image and the glory of God (1 Cor.11:7). As we are transformed by the indwelling of Christ we share his glory (1Cor.11:7; Col.3:10; Col.1:27). This will be perfected at his return (2Tim.1:10) when we perfectly reflect in our redeemed human nature the character of God; then we shall be like Christ, without blemish or any such thing (Eph.5:27). Paul links salvation with the return of Christ and the obtaining of his glory (Phil.3:20f.). Paul writes to a city proud of being a Roman colony, and He reminds his readers that we Christians constitute a colony in heaven, and from our Saviour we can expect vindication when he comes, just as the Roman colonists can expect from their Saviour, the Emperor. Christ’s salvation is far superior to Caesar’s; because Christ will change our body, and make it like the body of his glory. This is a theme that runs through the apostles teaching on the future aspect of salvation, the resurrection of the body at the Parousia. The Resurrection of the Body Christian eschatology stands in contrast to Greek. Most people in the Hellenistic world were influenced by Plato. The soul is by its nature immortal and at death is released from the hindrances imposed by the body. “The body is our tomb”, said Plato; thus bodily resurrection would have appeared repugnant and incredible to the Greek mind. The Christian conviction rested on the physical resurrection of Jesus, giving demonstration to the Hebrew conviction about the after-life as it appears in the O.T. The Hebrew could not write off the creation or the body when he knew that both sprang from a good God who “saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen.1:31). The N.T. doctrine of a bodily resurrection is the fulfilment of the hopes of (Isa.11:6-9; Ezek.47:10-12; Joel 3:18, 20 etc.). Paul’s stress on the bodily resurrection is another way of saying that the Christian doctrine of salvation is the counterpart of the Jewish doctrine of creation. Redeemed men will inhabit a redeemed universe where God will be all in all. Paul says we


shall rise with a “spiritual body” in (1Cor.15:44); one perfectly adapted for heavenly conditions, that will express the full life in Christ. By “body” he means the whole man, his entire personality. The present state of those who have died, Paul says little; although he hoped that he would be alive when Christ returned, and “be changed” without having to undergo death (1Cor.15:51). In 2Cor.Ch.5 he expresses the same thought; he hopes to be “clothed upon” and that “mortality may be swallowed up by life” (see the whole section - 2 Cor.2:1-8) and thus avoid the disembodied existence (5:3). But even if he has to face this “nakedness”, he knows he is accepted with the Lord, present with the Lord (5:8, 9). To depart means “to be with Christ which is far better” (Phil.1:23), although the resurrection body belongs to the last day. The dead in Christ are still in Christ, they are with Christ; but they await, as we do, the return of Christ and the resurrection of the body. The Parousia will usher in the consummation of the new age; it will mean the resurrection of the body for those who are in Christ, and the transformation of the body for those who are alive. Death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor.15:54), and we will be like our Lord, and so we will be forever with Him. To answer the question: “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?” (1 Cor.15:35), Paul gives two insights. The parable of the seed, when we grow grain in the ground, it dies and decomposes. Only the germ lives on, and from it the new body is formed. It is central theme of life through death (Jn.12:24), and a central principle of Christianity. So it is with the resurrection body; a continuity of life through death, while this physical frame returns to the dust as surely as the husk of grain. But the analogy goes further. We do not expect an identical grain to emerge from the cornfield, but something far more wonderful, a plant, a blade, an ear of corn. There is not only a continuity with that grain but a real likeness, but greatly enhanced and beautified. “God has given it a body as it has pleased him...So also is the resurrection of the dead….it is sown in corruption, it is raised in glory” (1Cor.15:38, 42f.). We cannot conceive what a spiritual body will be like, but when we receive and possess it, we will recognize that there has been continuity of life and a real though transfigured likeness to the body we knew. Paul makes a comparison with the risen body of Christ - our risen body will be like his. There are two corporate bodies on the earth- those of Adam and Christ. All men are related to Adam and bear his likeness; similarly all who are related to Christ will bear his likeness - for likeness depends on relationship. As the old solidarity in Adam characterizes our physical life, it is bound to end in death like his (1Cor.15:22, 48). Similarly, our new solidarity in Christ marks our spiritual life and will likewise issue in life like his. Christ is the first-fruits of the great harvest. Where there is a first-fruit there will be a harvest. “As we have born the image of the earthy, so we shall bear the image of the heavenly (man)” (15:49), but this will not be until the Saviour appears and gives us to share in his exalted body; the whole of redeemed humanity will reflect the Redeemer - “when Christ shall be fully formed in us” (Gal.4:19). THE ATONEMENT7 Was it necessary for Christ to die? Did Christ’s earthly life earn any saving benefits for us? The cause and nature of the Atonement. Did Christ descend into hell? DEFINITION: The atonement is the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation. (Grudem has included in this definition the life of Christ as having saving benefits for us as well as his death) A. The Cause of the Atonement To find the ultimate cause for Christ coming to earth and dying for us we must go back to something in the character of God himself. And here Scripture points to: the love and the justice of God. The love of God in the atonement is declared to us:


Grudem pp568-603


“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn.3:16). But the justice of God (go back to our first module on the attributes of God) also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid for before forgiveness was possible and the possibility of fellowship with God restored. Paul explains that this is the reason God sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins: Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” (Rom.3:25). “Propitiation” refers to a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath so that God becomes “propitious” or favourably disposed towards us.” This propitiation was “to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Here Paul says God had been forgiving sins without a penalty (on the basis of Christ’s future sacrifice – although Paul do9ers not make this point). But now God has sent Jesus to die and pay the penalty for our sins, “it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Christ (Rom.3:26). “Therefore both the love and the justice of God were the ultimate cause of the atonement” (Grudem). B. The Necessity of the Atonement Was there not another way than the cross? Remember that God did not spare the angels that rebelled against him (2Pet.2:4). He did not have to save us! IN this sense the atonement was not absolutely necessary. Once God did decide to save, then, there was no other way but to die, in order to save us. This is called the “consequent absolute necessity” of the atonement. In the Garden Jesus prays, “if it be possible, let this cup pass for me, nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done” (Mat.26:39). This verse show it was not possible for Jesus to avoid the cross After, his resurrection he spoke to disciples as they walk to Emmaus, and said,
“ “

Was it not necessary that Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Lk.24:26). Jesus understood from the O.T. Scriptures that it was necessary for the Messiah to die for the sins of his people. Paul shows in Rom.Ch.3 that if God were to be righteous, and still save people, he had to send Christ to pay the penalty for our sin: “To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom.3:26). Hebrews emphasises that Christ had to suffer for our sins: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb.2:17).Hebrews also argues that since, “it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin” (Heb.10:4), a better sacrifice is required (Heb.9:23).. Only the blood of Christ would be able to take away sins (Heb.9:25-26). There was no other way for Christ to save us, than for Christ to die in our place. C. The Nature of the Atonement Two aspects of Christ’s work under consideration (1) Christ’s obedience for us, in which he obeyed the requirements of the Law in our place and was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father as our representative, and (2) Christ’s suffering for us, in which he took the penalty due for


our sins and as a result died for our sins. Note that the primary emphasis in both theses cases is the primary influence of Christ’s work is not on us but the Father. . Jesus obeyed the Father in our place and perfectly met the demands of the law. And he suffered in our place, receiving in himself the penalty that God the Father would have visited on us. In both cases the atonement is viewed as objective, something that has influence directly upon God himself. Only secondarily, does it have application to us. 1. Christ’s Obedience for Us (sometimes called his “active obedience”). If Christ had only earned forgiveness for us, then we would not have gained heaven. Our guilt would have been removed but we would simply be in the condition of Adam before he fell. To be established in righteousness forever and to have their fellowship with God made sure forever, Adam had to continue to obey God perfectly over a period of time. For this reason Christ had to live a life of perfect obedience to God in order to earn righteousness for us. He had to obey the law for his whole life on our behalf so that the positive merits of his perfect obedience would be counted for us. . This called Christ’s “active obedience,” while his suffering and dying is called his “passive obedience.” Paul says his desire is that he may be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of his own, based on law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Phil.3:9).Paul needs more than forgiveness for his sin (“moral neutrality”) but a positive moral righteousness. Paul also says that Christ has been made “our righteousness” (1Cor.1:30) and says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom.5:19). There are some theologians who make no reference to the necessity of Christ’s life- time obedience. They simply teach that Christ died and thereby paid the price for our sins. But Christ did more, he became our “righteousness” before God. Jesus said to John Baptist, “It is necessary for us to fulfil all righteousness” (Mat.3:15). 2. Christ’s Sufferings for Us (sometimes called his “passive obedience”). In addition to fulfilling the law perfectly on our behalf, Christ also took on himself the suffering necessary to pay the penalty for our sins, a. Suffering for his whole life: In a broad sense the suffering of Christ for our sin was in both body and soul through out his life. Jesus experienced suffering in his temptations in the wilderness (Mat.4:1-11). He suffered as he grew to maturity, “Though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb.5:8). He knew suffering due to the intense opposition he faced from the Jewish leaders throughout his entire ministry (Heb.12:3-4). He experienced intense grief at the death of his friend Lazarus (Jn.11:35). Isaiah said he would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa.53:3). b. The Pain of the Cross: The sufferings of Jesus intensified as he drew nearer to the cross. He shared his agony with his disciples when he said, “My soul; is very sorrowful, even to death” (Mat.26:38). But of course it was on the cross where Jesus’ sufferings for us reached their climax; for it was there that he bore the penalty for our sin and died in our place. Scripture teaches that there were 4 aspects of pain that Jesus experienced. (1) Physical pain and death Many people in the ancient world had witnessed public executions, and some had seen men crucified. The phrase “And they crucified him” (Mk.15:24) is repeated several times over in the accounts of the crucifixion. The physical aspects of crucifixion are not described in the gospels, but have been described by many commentators (see Grudem p572-30). Jesus, did


you suffer this for me? Paul says in amazement, “the Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal.2:20). (2) The Pain of Bearing Sin More awful than the physical pain that Jesus endured was the mental and psychological pain of bearing the guilt for our sin. The more we grow in God, the more we feel revulsion against sin. Jesus was entirely and perfectly holy. He hated sin with his entire being, the thought of rebellion and sin, contradicted everything in his character. Yet in obedience to Father, and out of love for us, Jesus took on himself our sin. Scripture frequently says that our sins were put on Christ: “The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa.53:6), and “he bore the sins of many” (Isa.53:12). John Baptist calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn.1:29). Paul says that God made Christ “to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2Cor.5:21) and that “Christ became a curse for us” (Gal.3:13). Hebrews says the Christ “was offer4ed once to bear the sin of many” (Heb.9:28). And Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1Pet.2:24). How could the Father put our sins on Christ? I the same way that Adam’s sin was imputed to us, so our sin was imputed to Christ; that is, he thought of them as belonging to Chris, thus, the guilt of our sin was reckoned to Christ,

Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed”. (Isa.53:4-5)

It is not only the fact that the Father laid on his Son our sin, but it is also true that Christ voluntarily took on himself our sin. And guilt.. The whole of the trinity was totally engaged together in our redemption through the death of Christ. (3) Abandonoment The suffering was further aggravated by the fact that Jesus faced the cross alone. Even his 3 chosen disciples in the Garden failed him (mk.14:34). Jesus sought support in his hour of trial. As soon as he was arrested all his disciples fled (Mat.26:56). They did not desert him because of any failure in him, because he loved them to the end (Jn.13:1). Far worse than human desertion was the fact that Jesus was deprived of the closeness he enjoyed with the Father, joy that he had enjoyed for all his earthly life. When Jesus cried out “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mat.27:46), he showed that he was cut off from fellowship with Father, who had been his unfailing source of strength. And his greatest source of joy. Abandoned by Father, who is “of purer eyes than to behold iniquity” (Hab.1:13).Jesus was bearing the sin and guilt of humanity. (4) Bearing the Wrath of God As Jesus bore our sin, God poured out his wrath. Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin which God had stored up since the beginning of the world. In Rom.3:25 we read that God put forward Christ as“propitiation,” a word meaning “a sacrifice that bears Gods wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into


favour.” Paul; tells us that “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom.3:25-26). God had forgiven sin in the past but also stored up his righteous anger against those sins. God cannot overlook sin which requires punishment consistent with his righteousness. The stored up wrath was poured out upon Jesus on the cross. Evangelical scholars insist that the wrath of God is a doctrine taught in the O.T. and N.T. scriptures. Paul, in Romans teaches that all men are sinners, and that they come under the wrath and condemnation of God. Three other N.T. Scriptures refer to Christ’s death as a “propitiation:” Heb.2:17; 1Jn.2:2 and 4:10. The Greek terms (the verb hilaskomai, “to make propitiation” and the noun “hilasmos,” “a sacrifice of propitiation”) used in these passages have the sense of “a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God – and thereby makes God propitious (or favourable) toward us.” These verses simply mean that Jesus bore the wrath of God against us. This doctrine is at the heart of the atonement. In God there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for. Furthermore, before the atonement could have any effect on us, it first effected God and his relation to the sinners he planned to redeem. Even the presence of God strikes fear into his people (cf. Heb.12:21, 2829), how terrible to face a wrathful God in judgment (Heb.12:29). In the light of this we are better able to understand the cry of Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat.27:46). Jesus knew that this would not be forever, for Jesus knew that he was leaving the world, and going to the Father (Jn.14:28; 16:10, 17). It was for the joy that was set before him, that Jesus endured the cross, and is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (heb.12:2). Jesus still called God “my God;” this cry of desolation is not one of total despair. Despite his desolation he still maintained his trust in his Father, shown to us later when he commits his spirit to Father: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk.23:46). Jesus’ cry is taken from Psalm 22:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? (Ps.22:1).

The psalmist was rescued by God, and his cry of desolation turned into a hymn of praise. Jesus prayed this psalm and he knew that God would deliver him. And that the psalm expressed implicit faith in God. Grudem suggests that this verse means, “Why have you left me for so long?” This is the sense it has in Psalm 22. Nevertheless, it is a real cry og anguish from Jesus as he grapples with the suffering of crucifixion and the burden of sins guilt. Hour after hour it continued for him, the weight of sin and the wrath of God against sin in his own son. Went that wrath abated and that guilt removed, Jesus knew he had born away sin and the work of salvation accomplished: “It is finished” (Jn.19:30). He was now released of sin’s curse and free to relinquish suffering and pain and yield himself up to Father (Lk.23:46; Jn.10:17-18). c. Further Understanding of the Death of Christ (1) The penalty was inflicted by God the Father. The Father required Christ to pay the penalty for our sin. He represented the Trinity in his action and purpose in redemption. It was God’s justice that required that sin be paid for, and in the context of Trinity, Father who required that payment. God the Son voluntarily took upon himself to pay the price for our redemption. Referring to God the Father Paul says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Cor.5:21) Isaiah said, “The LORD has laid upon him the iniquity of us all” (Isa.53:6) and goes on to say, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him, he has put him to grief” (Isa.53:10). Here we see the amazing love


of Father and son for us. Paul says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). (2) Not eternal suffering but Complete Payment. (a) If we had to pay the penalty for our sins we would suffer eternally in separation from God; (b) Jesus was able to bear all the wrath of God against our sin and bear it to the end. No mere man could have done this, only by virtue of the union of the divine and human nature in himself, was Jesus able to bear all the wrath of God against sin and bear it to the end. Isaiah prophesied the God “shall see of the fruit of his travail of his soul and be satisfied” (Isa.53:11).When Jesus knew that he had paid the full penalty for our sin he said, “It is finished” (Jn.19:30). If the price had not been paid, there would still be condemnation on us, but Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:1). The price having been paid, Christ no longer suffers; Hebrews repeats this again, and again: “not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb.9:25-28). The N.T. emphasise the completion and finality of Christ’s sacrificial death. This teaching assures us that there is no more price to be paid and no grounds for fear or uncertainty. (3) The Meaning of the Blood of Christ The N.T. frequently links the blood of Christ with our redemption. Peter says “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Pet.1:18-19). The blood of Christ is the outward evidence that his life blood was poured out when he died on the cross to pay for our redemption – “the blood of Christ” means his death in all its saving aspects. 8 Although the blood of Christ (as the evidence of his life given) speaks of the removal of our guilt before God it also has other effects. By the blood of Christ our consciences are cleansed (Heb.9:14), we gain boldness to enter God’s presence to worship and to pray. (Heb.10:19), we are continually cleansed from sin (1Jn.1:7 cf. Rev.1.5), we are able to conquer the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10-11), and we are rescued out of a sinful way of life (1Pet.1:18-19).Scripture speaks much about the blood of Christ because its shedding was very clear evidence of his life being poured out for us. The emphasis on the blood links the death of Christ with the sacrificial system of the O.T. where the life blood of the sacrificial victim was poured out. These sacrifices pointed forward to and prefigured the death of Christ. (4) Christ’s death as “Penal Substitution” Christ’s death was “penal” in that he bore a penalty when he died. His death is a “substitution” in that he was a substitute for us when he died. This evangelical view of the atonement is called “vicarious atonement” because he stood in our place and represented us. As our representative he took the penalty that we deserve. d. N.T. Terms Describing Different Aspects of the Atonement. The 4 terms that show Christ’s death met the four needs that we had as sinners: We deserve to die as the penalty for sin.

Leon Morris “The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross” pp. 112-26. Tyndale (1955) London.


We deserve to bear God’s wrath against sin. We are separated from God by our sin. WE are in bondage to sin and to the kingdom of Satan. These 4 needs are met by Christ’s death in the following ways: Sacrifice To pay the penalty of death that we deserved because of our sins, Christ died as a sacrifice for us. “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb.9:26). Propitiation Te remove us from the wrath of God that we deserved, Christ died as a propitiation for our sins. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1Jn.4:10). Reconciliation To overcome our separation from God, we needed someone to provide reconciliation, and thereby bring us back into fellowship with God. Paul says that God “through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2Cor.5:18-19). Redemption Because we were sinners, in bondage to sin and Satan, we needed someone to provide redemption and thus “redeem” us out of that bondage. When we speak of redemption, the idea of “ransom” comes into view. The ransom is the price paid to redeem someone from bondage or captivity. Jesus said of himself, “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk.10:45). Although we were in bondage, no ransom was paid to him! The penalty for sin was paid by Christ and received and accepted by God the Father and the result was that we were “redeemed” from bondage. We were redeemed from bondage to Satan because “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1Jn.5:19), and when Christ died to “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb.2:15 see also Col.1:13). We have also been delivered from the bondage of sin, Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus… For sin will not have dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace” (Rom.6:11, 14). We have been delivered from the guilt of sin also its power. e. Other Views of Atonement: In contrast to the penal substitution view, other views have been advocated in the history of the church (1) The Ransom to Satan Theory This view was held by Origen (A.D. 185-254), a theologian from Alexandria and later Caesarea, followed by others who believed that the ransom Christ paid to redeem us was paid to Satan, in whose kingdom all people were by virtue of sin. This view gives to Satan more power than he has, namely power to demand what he wants from God. This view does not regard the Scriptures that view Christ’s death as a propitiation offered to God. (2) The Moral Influence Theory First advocated by Peter Abelard (1079-1142), a French theologian, the moral influence theory of the atonement holds that God did not require the payment of a penalty for sin, but that Christ’s death was simply a way in which God showed how much he loved human beings by identifying with their sufferings, even to the point of death. Christ’s death therefore becomes a great example that shows God’s love to us and draws from us a grateful response, so that in loving him we are forgiven. This view pays no regard of sin, nor propitiation and therefore does not deal with our sin or guilt. The payment Christ made for our sins is the basis of forgiveness. (3) The Example Theory Taught by the Socinians, the followers of Faustus Socinius (15351604), an Italian theologian who settled in Poland and attracted a wide following. It denies that God’s justice demands repayment for sin; it says that Christ’s death simply provides us an example of how we should trust and obey God perfectly, even if that leads to a horrible death.


This theory tells us how we should live: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” This view fails to account for the many Scriptures that focus on Christ’s death as a payment for sins, and that he was the propitiation for our sins. Man cannot save himself by following Christ’s example, and by obeying God like Jesus did. (4) The Governmental Theory Taught by Hugo Grotius (1583-16450), the theory holds that God did not have to require payment for sin, but since he was omnipotent God, he could have set aside that requirement and simply forgiven sin without the payment of a penalty. Then what was the purpose of Christ’s death? It was God’s demonstration of the fact that his laws had been broken, and that he is the moral lawgiver and governor of the universe, and that some kind of penalty would be required whenever his law was broken. Thus Christ did not pay the exact penalty for our sin, but simply suffered to show that when God’s laws are broken there must be some penalty paid. This view fails to account for the Scriptures that speak of Christ bearing our sin, of God laying on Christ our iniquity, of Christ dying specifically for our sins. \this view also implies we cannot trust in Christ’s completed work for forgiveness of sin, because he has not actually made payment for those sins. It makes forgiveness something that took place in God’s mind apart from the atonement. Christ did not actually earn salvation for us, and therefore his redemptive work is of little significance. To say that God can forgive apart from requiring ant penalty is to underestimate the holiness and righteousness of God. f. Did Christ descend into Hell? Grudem is quite emphatic that Christ did not descend into hell (Systematic Theology pp586594). The phrase is not in the Bible, but in the Apostles Creed. (1) The Origin of the Phrase, “He descended into hell” The Apostles Creed unlike the Nicene and the Chalcedonian Definition, the Apostles Creed was not written or approved by a single church council at one specific time. It gradually took shape from about A.D. 200 to 750. The phrase “he descended into hell” was not found in any of the early versions until A.D. 390 in one or two versions from Rufinus. It was not included in any version until A.D.650. Calvin took this phrase to mean that Christ suffered the pains of hell while on the cross. He says that “Christ’s descent into hell” refers to the fact that he not only died a physical death but that “it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment.” The Heidelberg Catechism (Question 44) and the Westminster Larger Catechism (Question 50) interpret the phrase in a similar way to Calvin. The question is, if we take the obvious meaning of the phrase; can this idea be supported from Scripture? (2) Possible Biblical Support for a Descent into Hell Suggested Scriptures brought forward to support this position: (Acts 2:27; Rom.10:6-7; Eph.4:8-9; 1Pet.3:18-20; and 1Pet.4:6). (a) Acts 2:27. In Peter’s sermon on the \day of Pentecost he quotes from Ps.16:10.IN the King James Version the verse reads, “because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.” The Gk. Word for “hell” is “hades” and in the O.T. the word is sheol, and can simply mean “the grave” or “death” (the state of being dead). Thus, the NIV translates: “Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay” (Acts 2:27). Peter is using this psalm to show that Christ’s body did not decay.


(b) Rom.10:6-7. “But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” (Rom.10:6-7). (c) Eph.4:8-9. “Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men. Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? (Eph.4:8-9) (d) 1Pet.3:18-20. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1Pet.3:18-20). (2) Possible Biblical Support for a Descent into Hell (a) Acts 2:27. “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27). (b) Rom.10:6-7. “But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” (Rom.10:6-7). (c) Eph.4:8-9. “Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?” (Eph.4:8-9). (d) 1Pet.3:18-20. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1Pet.3:18-20). Refer to Grudem’s exposition of these key verses. He goes into this matter at great length – much more detail than can be covered by this Course. All you are required to do is to read and study the material (pp588-594). D. The Extent of the Atonement Wayne Grudem (pp594-603) Wayne Grudem holds to Reformed Theology, in other words, he is a convinced Calvinist, and therefore holds to a “limited atonement;” which means in real terms that the atonement reaches only to the elect. The blood of Jesus does not extend to all. God may “love the world” but when it comes to choosing, it is a select group of people from the world, not extending to “all the world” (Jn.3:16; cf. 1Tim.2:4). The Reformed position believes that those whom Christ died for are top be saved. He did not die for al, only the elect. The opposite position is that Christ died for all, He paid the penalty for all. Those who do not avail themselves of his provision will pay the penalty for their sin. For those who reject Christ’s salvation the shedding of Christ’s blood is of no benefit to them. They will be lost. The opposite of Reformed or Calvinist is Arminian. John Wesley provided the Arminian’s with a theology of mission to go with their theology and he also gave to them a theology of holiness, which he entitles “Christian Perfection." It is interesting that the 2 great evangelists


of the eighteenth century – George Whitefield and John Wesley were from opposite sides of the theological divide. Generally speaking, evangelicals and Pentecostals tend to be Arminian, whereas Presbyterians are Calvinistic. Pentecostals fit into 2 camps when it comes to holiness teaching; (can we identify distinctions between Pentecostals and Charismatic’s?). Scripture Passages used to support the Reformed position Grudem quotes verses in support of his Calvinistic position, but several of them can equally be applied to all believers. For example, he quotes “Husbands love you wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her” (Eph.5:25). Grudem applies this exclusively to the elect, but surely, all who put their faith in Jesus Christ become the bride of Christ! You will need to examine all these verses: (Jn.6:37-39; 10:1; 10:15; 17:9, 20; Acts 20:28; Rom5:8; 10; 8:32, 33, 34; 2Cor.5:21; cf. Gal.1:4; Eph.1:3-4; 2:8; Phil.1:29). (Look up “Calvinism” in General Index). Scripture passages used to support the Arminian position (Grudem does not give an adequate view of Arminianism (Look up General Index). A contemporary movement led by Clark Pinnock (go to websites) has moved to a “Christian Universalist” position; another slant on this issue is the denial of eternal punishment led by influential scholars John Stott and John W. Wenham. James Packer (Anglican scholar) has a good article on “Clark Pinnock” entitled “Evangelical Annihilationism in Review.” The evangelist who is an Arminian will look on each person in his congregation as within the possibility of God’s grace. He can genuinely invite all to come to Jesus. The Calvinistic evangelist (a strange thought!) will invite all to come to Jesus, knowing that only the “elect” ones will be able to respond. Supposing you find yourself outside of the chosen group – how will you feel? Jesus’ ministry seems to contradict the idea of election. He gave bread to all; he healed all who came to him. He blessed those who came to him from outside of Israel. Does the death of Jesus extend the election? Previous to the cross, the election applied to Israel as a nation, but certainly did not extend to salvation. The “Great Commission” seems to have expansiveness about it – “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (of course the hidden message is, according to the Calvinist that not every creature will be allowed to receive the benefits of the blood of Jesus). Verses quoted by Grudem in favour of Arminianism (Jn.1:29; 3:16; 6:51; 2Cor.5:19; 1JN.2:2; 1Tim.2:6; Heb.2:9). Some Points of agreement and some comments on Disputed Texts. (1) Both sides agree that not all will be saved. (It seems to me strange that more people are saved in periods of Revival than at other times, how does one view election in the light of this?). Of course Reformed Doctrine places all initiative with God under the heading of “His Sovereignty.” (Does that make God responsible for Adam’s sin?).(2) A second agreement relates to the universal proclamation of the gospel. C. H. Spurgeon, the famous pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London in the second half of the nineteenth century was a Calvinist and a great evangelist. George Whitefield was the greatest evangelist of the eighteenth century and he laboured mostly in America with Jonathon Edwards the great Calvinistic theologian. One of the best representatives of Calvinism today in America is John Piper of Minneapolis, who has a large missionary programme. The Scottish missionaries were by and large from a Calvinistic background. The famous missionary William Carey of India faced a formidable barrier due to church leaders who said to him, that when God chooses to save the heathen He will do it. David Brainerd has inspired generations of missionaries (he was a friend of Jonathon Edwards) sought to convert the American Indians. Evangelicals generally see both sides of the divide and recognize the Divine sovereignty and the freedom of choice that God has given to man. The gift of free will (and how man has abused it) is an essential part of being human. Jesus said: “Choose life!” He also said of his people Israel, “You will not come to me that you might have life.” Did the rich young ruler forfeit eternal life by rejecting Jesus’ invitation to follow him? (Perhaps we ought to say that he was not elected to salvation!). (3) Both agree on the power of Christ’s reconciliation and the virtue of His blood. The Calvinist believes that the blood only was shed for the elect, and is only effective for them. The others hold that there is power in the blood of Jesus for all mankind, if they would avail themselves of it. There was power in Jesus to heal the sick, but all did not avail themselves of it. At the judgment, surely the greatest indictment against men is that they rejected the precious Saviour who loved them and died for them. If, they were foreordained to hell and had no


choice about it, they cannot be charge with “treading under foot the blood of Christ,” that is why Grudem emphasizes that the basis of judgment is the guilt of sin. How can man be charged when he had no choice in his destiny? You must read Grudem’s arguments for yourself (pp597-603). (Internet: David Hunt “Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God”). The Charismatic theologian Tom Smail is one of my favourite writers. He wrote early in the Charismatic Movement “Reflected Glory” (Jesus Christ) followed later by “The Giving Gift” (Holy Spirit) and “The Tom Smail on Calvinism, Arminianism and Universalism ‘Once and For All: A Confession of the Cross” he discusses some of the major objections to both Calvinism and Arminianism, in particular the doctrines of limited atonement and double predestination (in Calvinism) and the semi-pelagianism and human sovereignty of Arminianism. What follows is a summary of his position by “World of Sven” (modified). Christ died for all – The Biblical Evidence. Smail affirms that there is overwhelming biblical evidence that Christ’s death was for all humanity and not just for the elect. He quotes the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, when Jesus says that the blood of the new covenant was “poured out for the many” (Mk.14:24; Mat.26:28). He cites New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias, who says the use of the word “many” is simply because Hebrew and Aramaic have no word for “all” in the plural. C. E. Cranfield quotes even Calvin to the same effect: “By the word many he means not a part of the world only, but the whole of the human race.” Smail notes that Christ’s work is spoken of as having universal significance in other N.T. writers. Jesus carries the sin of the world (Jn.1:29), he is sent to save the world (Jn.3:17) and in his death he will draw all men to himself (Jn.16:31-32; 5:19), which is our basis for summoning the entire world to Christ. Paul also notes that just as God has given all men over to disobedience, he will have mercy on them all (Rom.11:32). The cross is not only for humanity, but also to redeem the whole of creation from sin and death, and God one day will bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, Jesus Christ (Eph.1:17-20). The church then is not the gathering of God’s private elect, but: “The present experience of God’s redeeming grace in the Church gives insight into and confidence about God’s ultimate purpose for the whole universe. What he has already done for us and has begun to work out in us, he has also done for the whole created universe and the day will come when he will fulfil that purpose on that cosmic scale." What God has done in Christ will extend beyond humanity to the whole of creation. All things were made by Christ and for Christ, and all things will be redeemed through him. This is the hope of Rom.8:19-21, that once humanity has been renewed, so all of creation will be. In the light of Christ’s all-encompassing atoning work which encompasses both humanity and creation, there can be no room to cling to the belief that God had in mind only to die for a small number of elect, or to only redeem part of what he has made whilst willfully condemning the rest. However, it is clear that not all of humanity has responded to the Gospel as it has been preached throughout the centuries. Most people have never heard it, and of those that have, many still reject it. The atoning act is done “for many”; but it is received by few. So how are we to relate the incomplete response to the preaching of the cross to the will of God that acts savingly for all of us on the cross? (a) Double Predestination and Limited Atonement Smail outlines the ideas of limited atonement and double predestination found in historical Calvinism, which deal with the double outcome of the Gospel by accepting that the situation as it now stands is as things will finally be, and so the biblical passages about Jesus’ universal atoning work are restricted and conditioned. The Calvinist attribute this to a decision of the divine ;while the Arminian attribute the situation to human will. Hyper-Calvinism plants this double-outcome firmly at the heart of God’s eternal purpose for humankind. From eternity God has chosen some people to be saved from their sins by his gracious love and the death of his Son. The flipside of this is of course that those who have not been chosen


are left to face the consequences of God’s justice by being damned for all eternity. Smail summarizes this view: “Christ died therefore, not for all people, but only for those whom God has chosen and who therefore by the Holy Spirit would be brought to justifying and sanctifying faith when they heard the Gospel. Biblical problems aside, there are also severe pastoral and preaching problem associated with holding to a doctrine of double predestination and limited atonement. How are we able to reconcile preaching messages where we call everyone to follow Jesus when at the same time we sincerely believe that the “very decree of God himself has prevented people from responding to that call [of the Gospel]? It can easily seem that God is offering Christ with his open hand and simultaneously taking him away with his closed predestination hand, and that is not an attitude consonant with the revealed character of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What sort of picture of God does double predestination and limited atonement present? Does it correlate with God as we see him revealed in Jesus Christ? This is questionable. Against proponents of this view such as John Owen and Jonathan Edwards, Scottish theologian John Mcleod Campbell made clear his reasons for rejecting the traditional Calvinist stance: “While they set forth justice as a necessary attribute of the divine nature, so that God must deal with all men according to its requirements, they represent mercy and love as not necessary, but arbitrary, and find their expression in the history of only some men. For, according to their system justice alone is expressed in the history of the non-elect, in their endurance of punishment; in the history of the elect, in Christ’s enduring te cross for them. Mercy and love are expressed in the history of the elect alone.” In the system of limited atonement, God’s justice is meted out to all, either directly to the non-elect in the form of wrath and hell, or it is meted out to Christ instead of the elect. God’s justice is universal, but his mercy and love are expressed only to the elect. God is fundamentally “a God of justice who gives to sinners what they deserve and his love and mercy are restricted to those he has, for inscrutable reasons of his own, decided to redeem.” There are of course pastoral problems with such an approach. How are people to trust in God’s love for them when there is no way of knowing until judgment day whether he has in fact chosen you or not? How can we preach that God loves the world when in fact he has decreed to reject and cast away huge parts of it? Does this correspond with the accepting love and open invite that Jesus offers to sinners? Jesus says that he will draw all men to himself, and that he will not drive away anyone who comes to him. How can it be said then, that Jesus is revealing a Father who has already chosen to damn some people for all eternity whilst saving others? Even for Christians, there can be no real assurance as to whether or not God has chosen you until all is revealed in the last judgment. There is of course election in the history of God’s dealings with humanity. God chooses Jacob over Esau and Israel over the other nations as the bearers of the divine purpose. However, these double outcomes are never ultimate, and God does not elect people simply for them to enjoy the privilege of salvation instead of others. To be chosen as God’s people is a calling to the responsibility of mediating and proclaiming God’s salvation to the whole world. Calvinism is not the only answer to the double response to the preaching of the Gospel. Contrary to Calvinism, the ultimate deciding factor in who is saved and who isn’t is not rooted in an eternal divine decree, but in human free will. Modern evangelistic techniques encourage people to make ‘decisions for Christ’, which will lead to their salvation. The ultimate deciding factor in whether or not one is saved is whether or not we have rejected or accepted Christ.


(b) The Arminian Alternative There is another way of treating the double outcome of the proclamation of the gospel. In this system, God respects our free will and doesn’t interfere with our free choices. Such a view is of course flattering to our ego, but it is also a fearful situation to be in because ultimately our eternal destinies are in our own hands and not in the hands of God. Heaven and hell are simply the ultimate endorsements of human choice, and God’s function as judge is simply to be the executor of our free wills, and so ultimately he will be dispensable. Does the New Testament really paint such a picture though? Smail muses: “Do we not flatter ourselves more than a little when we see ourselves as independent free agents competent to stand in our freedom over against the Gospel and reach our own independent decisions about it? Is our human condition not more realistically described by Paul when he says that, left to ourselves, we are ‘slaves to sin’ with sinful minds that are hostile to God (Romans 8:5) so that our alienation from God prevents us from knowing him and from being able to respond positively to him? Our freedom to be in right relationship with God is the very thing we have lost and that needs to be restored to us before we are in any position to decide anything.” We do not choose God, he chooses us, and our ability to respond to Christ does not have its source in ourselves, but is itself his gift to us. Faith is something we are given by grace, not something we summon up for ourselves (Eph.2:8-9). Both the grace and faith that enable us to respond to God appropriately originate entirely with him. There is also little room for the Holy Spirit in the Arminian model where individuals decide to accept or reject God of their own accord. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of responsiveness who first comes from the Father to the Son to enable his responsiveness, and who is then given by the Son to enable our responsiveness to him and his atoning and renewing work. Such responses generate the faith and repentance which are essential to our incorporation into Christ. A strength of the Arminian position is that it emphasizes the need for personal human responsibility before God. The responsiveness of course does not have its origin in us, but in God and his grace. To confess Jesus as Lord is the gift of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.12:3); if we relate to God as Father it is because the Spirit is crying in our inmost heart Abba (Gal.4:6). We can only pray because the Holy Spirit is given to us (Rom.8:26), our conformity to Christ happens by the Spirit (2Cor.3:18), and it is the Spirit which enables us to respond to God, though it is always God who chooses us first, and only then can we choose him (Jn.15:16). Neither the double predestination and limited atonement of Calvinism or the human free-will decision of Arminianism seem to adequately resolve the tensions between an atonement for all of humanity (and indeed all of creation), the election of God, and the need for human responsiveness to God enabled graciously by the Holy Spirit. All our responsiveness to God comes from the Holy Spirit. He starts it all by choosing us, and only then can we choose him. Both Calvinism and Arminianism are the result of the double outcome of the preaching of the Gospel, and as the Gospels and Church history show, both the Son of God and the Spirit can be rejected. The Holy Spirit, sent by God to draw men to Christ, can be rejected (Ephesians 4:30), and Christ himself was despised and rejected by humankind. “The Gospel is answered with the No of alienation rather than with the Yes of liberation,” and the world which crucified Jesus still rejects the overtones of his Holy Spirit today. The world’s rejection of Christ led to Calvary, but just as death and evil did not finally triumph over Christ, so evil and rejection cannot be the final outcome of the Spirit’s encounter with the human heart. The New Testament looks ahead beyond the rejection of the Messiah (and his people) to a day when “at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


(Philippians 2:10-11) Likewise Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the church and of Christ, becomes an apostle for Jesus Christ after encountering him on the Damascus Road. Christians too know dark nights of the soul when we are in rebellion against God and can say with Paul that: “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:21-24) But ultimately of course, Christ sets us free from our body of death and the power of sin and the law (Romans 8:2), and evil and rebellion do not finally triumph. The Spirit who is grieved and rejected shows himself again and again to be the Lord and the giver of life to the very people who have turned him away. We should not be surprised that the Spirit does for us what he intends to do for all creation, because the Spirit is mediating to us the work of Christ, whose dying and rising was for all of creation. Such a universal hope has good grounding in the scriptures. God does not reject anyone, and neither does he leave us helpless and ensnared in our own choices, and in his Son and in his Spirit he has a love that is mighty enough to bring us home to himself. Smail notes that such an argument sounds like a wholehearted universalism, but having a universal hope is not the same as saying dogmatically that everyone will definitely be saved and that no one will be lost. To avoid such a theological minefield, Smail sets out three criteria by which the path to a universal Christian hope may be negotiated. (3) The Universal Hope The double outcome of the gospel in history shows that the Holy Spirit as well as the Son can be despised and rejected by the spirit of rebellion and human autonomy. But the triumph of evil is not the final outcome of Calvary. The Holy Spirit intervenes and rescues us by grace and incorporates us into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and what the Spirit has done for some he seeks to do for all, because it was for all that the Father gave the Son, and it was for all that the Son offered himself on the cross. Such a universal hope has good grounding in the N.T. Smail distinguishes between a universalism that believes all will be saved and what he calls:

(1) A Christocentric Universalism This is to distinguish from a pluralistic universalism that states categorically that God loves everyone and they will all definitely be saved regardless. Such a position would render the atoning work of Christ completely unnecessary. The only way for humanity to be saved and to be brought back to the Father is through his Son Jesus Christ (Jn.14:5) and by being incorporated into him and being ‘in Christ’. Universal salvation is only possible because it is by the Holy Spirit that Christ draws all men to himself, but a pluralistic universalism makes the cross unnecessary, and it makes conversion unnecessary. Indeed universal reconciliation is only possible by universal conversion (metanoia) to Christ, but with the foundation of a universal atonement and the gracious saving activity of the Holy Spirit this is certainly possible, especially if God is indeed going to fill everything with his fullness (Eph.1:23), has reconciled everything with himself (Col.1:20) and is willing that all should be saved (1Tim.2:34). ii) Universal hope – not dogma


We are not permitted to state dogmatically that everyone will be saved, though there is a wellgrounded hope that they will be. The outcome of man’s rejection of the Holy Spirit is not a closed situation, and the situation remains open. Man greets God sometimes with a big No, yet other times with a Yes – not only prior to conversion, but also during the Christian life. The evangelistic battle is a tough one, yet God’s announced strategy is to draw all men to Christ through the Holy Spirit, who may blow anywhere he pleases. When we seem to face opposition and tribulation from the world, we should take heart in the Lord who has already overcome the world and is who now reaching out to it by his Spirit. iii) The warnings of Jesus It would of course be unwise to dismiss the warnings of Jesus. We are to enter the narrow way that leads to life, not the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt.7:13-14), and there of course many other such warnings. Both in Jesus’ day and in our own there are those who walk paths of selfdestruction that are taking them to their final undoing. Hell – the final state of being separated from God’s love forever. A merely optimistic universalism that overlooks the seeds of self-destruction that are present in human sinfulness is nothing more than a facile daydream. The power of sin and death is so real that it took the death and resurrection of Christ to destroy its power. Yet it is precisely because of the Christ’s death and resurrection that we can hope that the threat of sin, death, and destruction can be overturned. Furthermore, the Spirit that flows from the cross into the world is able to make effective to everything and everyone the reconciliation of all things on earth and in heaven which Christ has won by his blood. Smail quotes Karl Barth who he heard saying: “I do not believe in universalism or any other –ism, but I do believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and of all men.” Barth himself would not affirm a dogmatic doctrine of universal salvation, but he does affirm a strong hope of universal salvation: “If we are certainly forbidden to count on this [universal restoration] as though we had a claim to it, as though it were not supremely the work of God to which many can have no possible claim, we are surely commanded the more definitely to hope and pray for it…to hope and pray cautiously and yet distinctly that, in spite of everything which may seem quite conclusively to proclaim the opposite, his compassion should not fail, and that in accordance with his mercy which is ‘new every morning’ he ‘will not cast off for ever.’(Lamentations 33:22, 31) God is our Saviour, and he wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and humankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.” (1 Tim 2:3-6) This is a prayer that pleases God, and as it has already been made concrete by the mediation of Jesus Christ, it has every chance of being answered. Smail, Tom Once and For All: A Confession of the Cross (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1998) pp166 - 176. C E B Cranfield The Gospel According to St Mark (Cambridge: CUP, 1959) p227 Mcleod Campbell, John The Nature of the Atonement (London: Macmillan, 1886) p54 Barth, Karl Church Dogmatics IV: 3.1 (ET) (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1961) p478 “THE CRUCIFIED GOD” Jurgen Moltmann


Introduction: This book has been described as one of the theological classics of the second half of the twentieth century. It was one of the first books to take up the task of Christian theology following the Holocaust and the Second World War. Moltmann came to faith in a Prisoner of War Camp in Britain at the end of the war. It is a book about believing in God “after Auschwitz”, or a book about believing in God after the cross. He believed that the only way the Christian theologian can speak relevantly to the contemporary world only by confronting and understanding as adequately as possible the basis of Christian faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He works hard at bringing his readers into almost brutal confrontation with “the profane horror and godlessness” of the cross. This is to be seen above all in Jesus’ dying cry of abandonment, according to Matthew and Mark: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” It would be no exaggeration to say that the entire book is an interpretation of these words. It is the abandonment of Jesus by God his Father, who leaves him to die, that requires us, to think not only about the meaning of the cross for human salvation, but also about the meaning of the cross for God: “Who is God in the cross of Christ who is abandoned by God?” The attempt to understand the meaning of the cross for God is not speculation irrelevant to human life, but the discerning of the point where God is found most deeply and evidently to be with us, the godless and the godforsaken. Moltmann expands the question of salvation from the concern with sin to encompass also the contemporary concern with innocent and meaningless suffering. Those with whom the crucified Jesus is identified in his abandoned death are both the godless, who experience their own turning from God as God’s abandonment of them, and the godforsaken, who experience their suffering as God’s abandonment of them. Moltmann is particularly interested in redemption from suffering. In what he calls “the revolution” that the cross requires in the concept of God, he converges with other contemporary theologians like Wolfhart Pannenberg, in a renaissance of Trinitarian theology. The God who, omnipotent and unaffected, remains simply sovereign over the horrors of twentieth century history is the God against whom he finds it morally necessary to rebel. But is this God truly the Christian God? The crisis of credibility of classical theism provides Christian theology with the opportunity to return to the biblical story of God, with its centre in the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, in which God defines for us who he truly is. How God is not only the authority responsible for the world, but the fellow-sufferer, who enters the hell of abandonment, and suffers it in love for the godless and the godforsaken, in order to reach them with God’s love and to overcome their abandonment. In Jesus’ dying cry of godforsakenness, God the divine Son not only shares the godforsakenness that is at the heart of suffering, but also himself takes up the protest against it. Three areas where Moltmann impacted the concept of God: (1) the impassibility of God, as conceived in classical theism, is rejected. He criticized the concept that God cannot suffer, and that he is not affected by the world. Gods love in the classical definition is active benevolence, not a two way relationship in which God can be affected by those God loves. Love is God’s passion. He is careful; to define the sense in which God suffers. He cannot suffer against God’s will, out of weakness as creatures do. God’s suffering is the suffering entailed by love, the suffering God undertakes for the sake of those he loves. The “possibility” of God, in the sense that can be affected by his creatures, means not only that God suffers with and for them but also that their salvation from evil, suffering and death brings God joy. (2) God is tri-personal in a much stronger sense than in the weak Trinitarian monotheism of nineteenth and twentieth century theology. In The Crucified God, this means primarily that there is inter-subjective relationship within God. The full subjectivity of the Spirit is not entirely clear until his next major book The Church in the Power of the Spirit. In this book the Spirit appears mostly in the Augustinian form of the love between the Father and the So. The Spirit, as the mutual love of the Father and the Son as well as their mutual love for the world, bridges the gulf of abandonment between the Father an the Son that opens on Golgotha and so becomes the love that flows from the cross and the resurrection into the world, reconciling and transforming the world on the way to its eschatological redemption. But it is on the relation between the Father and the Son that Moltmann focuses, because it was in penetrating the meaning of the cross, expressed above all in


Jesus’ cry of abandonment, that Moltmann first found the doctrine of the trinity to be theologically necessary. Everything depends on seeing the cross as an event that takes place “in God”, that is, within the inter-subjective relationship of the Father and the Son. It is an event in which, out of love for the world, both suffer, though differently: the Son suffers abandonment by the Father; the Father suffers in grief the death of his Son. In the sharp dialectic style of the book, the cross sets “God against God” in a relationship that bursts the bounds of traditional theism. The Son shares the love of the Father for the world, and willingly surrenders himself to death. The cross is the event of divine solidarity, by both Father and Son, with all who suffer. (3) The idea of God’s history with the world. The cross is a human, historical event in the world. This means that God’s relationship with the world is not just an external activity of God, but it takes place internally to God, that is, within God’s own Trinitarian relationships. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus, the salvific events in which God’s love reaches and transforms the world, are events in which the relationship between the Father and the Son is affected and changed, and they affect the world only because they also affect Go. This is the “profane horror” of the cross, which stands against more comfortable interpretations of the cross. It means that the gospel can never by-pass suffering, since to do so is to by-pass the crucified God. This INTRODUCTION is totally inadequate in giving credit to this book. There is no substitute for reading the book. Comments and Criticisms: Tom Smail in his book entitled “Once and for All: A Confession of the Cross” (pp 15-16), he (1) recognizes the intimate connection between the cross and the Triune God made by Moltmann, quoting: “If the cross of Jesus is understood as a divine event, i.e. as an event between Jesus and his God the Father, it is necessary to speak in Trinitarian terms of the Son and the Father and the Spirit. In that case the doctrine of the Trinity is no longer an exorbitant and impractical speculation about God, but is nothing other than a shorter version of the passion narrative of Christ.”9 (2) Smail suggests (p45ff) that Moltmann’s theology of the cross is a response to the atrocities of the Nazi period in general and to the Jewish holocaust in particular. “His whole book is in fact an extended Christian and Trinitarian exposition of that phrase, God on the gallows. God in Christ, says Moltmann, “humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the God-forsaken, so that all the godless and the God-forsaken can experience communion with him.”10 “God in Auschwitz and Auschwitz in the crucified God – that is the basis for a real hope that both embraces and overcomes the world, and the ground for a love that is stronger than death and can sustain death. It is the ground for living with the terror of history and the end of history, and nevertheless remaining in love and meeting what comes in openness for God’s future. It is the ground for living and bearing guilt and sorrow for the future of man with God.”11 Smail says: “here we have a theology of the cross that addresses our contemporary situation with great relevance and power …it also depends upon the high Christology embodied in its title …. For his model to work, he who hangs on the cross must be “very God of very God, of one being with the Father.” “Moltmann shows that the cross only makes sense in the Trinitarian terms of the relationship between a forsaking Father and a forsaken Son both of whom belongs to and expresses the divine life of God and his identification with his people. It is clear that this theology of the cross has more to do with theodicy rather than atonement. God engages with the suffering and death in the world in such a way as to vindicate his own character of accepting and identifying love that suffers and dies with us and so opens the way to the life and joy that is his purpose for his whole creation. It is not a theodicy of the past, but of the future, of eschatological hope that shows how Christ makes himself

Jurgen Moltmann “The Crucified God” SCM, 1974, p 246 Ibid; p 276 11 Ibid; p 278


one with the godless and the godforsaken in order that they may be one with him in the ridden life of his kingdom. Smail recognizes immediately we turn to Scripture we find a different emphasis to Moltmann, who places all the emphasis on God’s self-vindication in the face of suffering, and the reconciliation of sinners, although not denied, is never properly expounded. Moltmann, in expounding on Christ’s question when dying: “My God, My God…” he says: “Ever since the New Testament, Christian theology has evolved a whole series of answers, which wrung permanent significance out of Christ’s death. He suffered vicariously for us. He died an atoning sacrifice for our sins. All these answers of faith are certainly not wrong, but of we imagine them being offered as an answer to the dying Christ crying out for God, then we sense immediately how inappropriate they the biblical truths are at the heart of Christ atoning salvation (compare this statement with the “Death of Christ” by James Denney). Tom Smail says that Moltmann’s theodicy of the cross is in fact an exposition of the one saying of Jesus, which allows him to relate the event of the cross to the victims of Auschwitz and all the other victims of human oppression and injustice. Smail says that many other expositors have interpreted the meaning of the cross in terms of atonement. “The central thrust is always that the blood of Christ is shed “for the forgiveness of sins”. Paul is the greatest expositor of the N.T. theology of atonement, but Peter, and the writer to the Hebrews do the same. They represent something that was central and essential to primitive Christianity, something that goes back to Jesus himself. Paul said that he received it: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture” (1Cor.15:3). It will not do to brush aside Christ’s vicarious and atoning suffering and death as “certainly not wrong” but somehow secondary to the theodicy approach based on the cry of desolation somewhat isolated from its context. The prevailing culture relativises the sin problem and emphasizes the problem of suffering. The result is to make secondary what is primary. We must be true to the gospel, and its primary thrust, which is that through the cross we are delivered from our sins. In “Once and for All” Smail comes to his own exposition of Christ’s cry of desolation (pp 131-3). The unity of nature homooousion between the Father and the Son in the Spirit, in Johannine terms, “The Father and I are one” (Jn.10:30) is threatened and perhaps even disrupted by what happens to Jesus on the cross. First there comes the god-forsakenness and then the death, which is the consequence of sin and evil. Moltmann sees this separation as utter abandonment by God and quotes R.Bultmann12as saying: “We cannot tell whether or how Jesus found meaning in it (viz., his death). We may not veil from ourselves the possibility that he suffered collapse.” But in such abandonment, what then becomes of his unity with God? There is another side to the gospel witness. In the final discourse in John Jesus, anticipating the final desertion by the disciples says: “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (Jn.16:32). This verse also represents a part of what was happening to the Father-Son relationship on the cross. McLoed Campbell, suggests, that we should take seriously the fact that the cry of desolation is the first verse of Psalm 22. He wants us to recognize that Jesus had the whole psalm in mind and is moving with it from the desolation at the beginning of the psalm to the hope and expectancy at the end. Smail is suspicious of this convenient interpretation, in that it takes away from facing the implications of the Son’s abandonment. Both the Scriptures – Mark and John must be taken with equal seriousness. How can we affirm both? (a) Unbroken Unity of Purpose The Son in his abandonment and the Father in his glory are each pursuing in ways that are appropriate to them the one divine purpose for the liberation of the victims from their suffering and sinners from their sin. The Father in the giving of his Son and the Son in his self-offering to the

R.Bultmann “The Primitive Christian Kerygma” p 24.


Father are both acting in the freedom of the divine love which they share. The Father so loves the world that he gives his Son; the Son so loves the sufferers and the sinners that he freely gives himself to them and for them. Each in their different ways are involved in the suffering; the Son who bears it and the Father who has to abandon his Son to it. Moltmann speaks of the grieving Father, who has to watch and let the whole dire process take its course. (b) Abandonment is not Dissolution of Relationship We have to ask ourselves if Moltmann has not gone too far when he insists that the godforsakenness of Jesus implies the total disruption of the Father-Son relationship. The grief of the Father is just as important here as the death of the Son. “The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father, and if God has constituted himself as the Father f Jesus Christ, then he also suffers the death of his Fatherhood in the death of the Son.” 13 Smail asks, if the abandonment on the cross is the way to the dissolution of the Father-Son relationship? The Father’s Presence with the Son in the Spirit It is here that the Markan emphasis on the abandonment of the Father must be corrected by the Johannine emphasis of their continuing together. Jesus, abandoned to the power of his enemies is not left alone in that dire situation, because even there his Father is with him in his sufferings. “Jesus in the agony of his suffering and in his sharing the separation from God that is the consequence of sin can no longer realize or affirm that togetherness with the Father that has been at the centre of his life. The affirmatory moments when he is affirmed as Son in his baptism and his transfiguration have given way to a closed and silent heaven from which the divine presence has totally withdrawn and the divine purpose can no longer be grasped.” The Father in his own person, in the pursuit of his loving purpose, remains withdrawn from the Son and does nothing to relieve him. But the bond between Father and Son is the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the Father’s presence on the Son’s side of the relationship. In his own person the Father is distinct from the Son, but in the Spirit he gives himself to the Son in the way that is appropriate to the Son’s situation at the different stages of his calling. In the Jordan, the affirmation of Sonship is accompanied by a renewed donation of the Spirit in a way that is appropriate to the ministry then beginning. On the cross, even when he has no sense of communion or communication with the Father, the Spirit of the Father is not withdrawn from the Son. So, though in his own person the Father is withdrawn from the Son, in the Spirit he is still with the Son on Calvary, in the mutual interpenetration of the Trinitarian persons that constitutes their unity. The mutuality of the FatherSon relationship is broken, but the unifying and sustaining gift of the Spirit by the Father to the Son remains. Smail describes the Spirit of faithful endurance, present with the suffering and dying Son. “He can be present there not as the ecstatic Spirit of Pentecost but as the reticent Spirit of patient endurance (Hupomone), who does not stage dramatic deliverances but enables the Son to travel through his sufferings in trust and hope in his apparently absent and unresponding Father.” Paul, in his list of the frits of the Spirit speaks of patience, which is “courageous endurance in the midst of trouble. This is God’s gift to his people when they are under unrelieved pressure. So in Colossians the writer prays for the church that they may be “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Col.1:11). The Spirit inspires the endurance that enables the Son in his abandonment still to cling to the Father. Thus the relationship is not dissolved in the cross but affirmed, despite the fact that Jesus can no longer make sense of what is happening to him. This is the only prayer of Jesus that does not begin with “Father. But Jesus still addresses his prayer to “My God”. It is the prayer of one who is still trusting.


Moltmann “The Crucified God” p 243.


It was indeed the sense of hope and trust in God that Jesus brought into the sense of God forsakenness that he shared that enables him to bring the same hope and trust to others. It was this that enabled him to give himself to the Father on the cross. It was the Spirit of the Father’s love poured out in the Spirit on the Son, that inspired in him the perseverance that called on God as “My God” from the very depths into which he had fallen. It was the Spirit that brought him through to the hope that, according to Luke, finally enabled him to commend his life and his destiny into his Father’s hands.

Bibliography Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology (pp490-511) A.H. Strong Systematic Theology (pp542-564) J. Rodman Williams Renewal Theology (pp221-273) E. M. B. Green “The meaning of salvation” Hodder and Stoughton (1965) London Dictionary of Biblical Imagery IVP Illinois (!998) G. R. Beasley-Murray Jesus and the Kingdom of God Eerdmans (1986) John Calvin “Institutes” (1536); Robert A. Peterson “Calvin and the Atonement” (1999) Mentor John Owen “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” The Banner of Truth (1959) Edinburgh James Denney “The Death of Christ” Hodder and Stoughton (1911) London; R. W. Dale “The Atonement” (1875) Jurgen Moltmann “The Crucified God” SCM, 1974 J. Mcleod Campbell “The Nature of the Atonement” (1856) Wm. B. Eerdmans (1996), MichiganInternet: (see also Wikipedia on Dale, Denney, John Owen). Leon Morris “The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross (1955) Tyndale Press: London; “The Cross in the New Testament” Paternoster Press: Exeter


John Stott The Cross of Christ IVP Leicester (1989) Colin Gunton “The Actuality of the Atonement” (1988) T. & T. Clarke London Tom Smail “Once and for All” (1998) Darton Longman Todd(1988) London. Dictionary of Paul and his Letters IVP Leicester (1993)