Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

From the incredible book (in The Gospel and Our Culture Series) StormFront: "In the Bible, talk about salvation refers primarily to God and God's victory over all the powers that resist and distort God's gracious purposes for the world. The Bible sees life as a great struggle between life and death, between sin and righteousness, between faithfulness and rebellion, between peace and violence. The good news of salvation is the announcement that God wins: God's life is stronger than death. God's righteousness is deeper than human sin. God's faithfulness outlasts human rebellion. God's peace is more enduring than human violence. For North Americans, by contrast, salvation is more focused upon how God meets our needs. It's about overcoming our guilt, solving our problems, discovering meaning in our existence, feeling included and loved, and overcoming the threat of our death and the death of those we love -- all of course with God's help. . . . "In the final analysis, the biblical understanding of salvation is not merely that our lives will be set right again at last. The biblical understanding of salvation is that our lives become swept up into something larger and greater than ourselves, into God's purposes for the world. In other words, the receiving of salvation and the call to mission are not to be conceived sequentially, as if one followed the other (first salvation, then grateful obedience in mission). Rather, to receive salvation is to be called into something larger and greater than we are, to be invited to participate in God's saving purpose and plan for the world. That is why the gospel is primarily about God, and only secondarily about us."

5 Comments:

  • Excellent quotation included today. I purchased Stormfront a few weeks ago and have been struggling through it. The book, for some reason, has been incredibly deep and almost complex for me. Conversely, I picked my copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning back up two nights ago - and the book has leapt out strongly at me - it has been profoundly helpful and insightful for me into God's love and grace for me. To each his/her own - as long as we're fully engaged in His Spirit.

    By Blogger KentF, at 4/20/2005 05:51:00 AM  

  • "That is why the gospel is primarily about God, and only secondarily about us"

    Praise God for this truth! Of course the byproduct of this is that as our understanding of salvation changes so must our preaching and sharing of it. This is where it gets tricky! No longer can we just put the quick "Amway/Life Insurance" sell on people on the plane, in the elevator or in other drive thru settings -

    "Do you want to go to Heaven or Hell?"

    "Hell no! Heaven yes?"

    "Welcome to the club! .... Hope you enjoy your retirement package!"

    We must continue to speak about salvation from the perspective of both Calvary and Heaven but the priority of being saved is always the present.

    The offer for abundant life is an offer of salvation from an average life. But as Stormfront declares, "to receive salvation is to be called into something larger and greater than we are, to be invited to participate in God's saving purpose and plan for the world."

    Now that will preach!

    Keep announcing the storm Mike! You make me want to chase it! Thanks.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 4/20/2005 06:35:00 AM  

  • This salvation thing is getting to be like Shrek's onion. I just keep peeling back layers ....

    saved from
    saved by
    saved for

    and now

    saved into

    Or maybe I'm just diving into more layers.

    Like Donkey's parfait.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 4/20/2005 09:49:00 AM  

  • I always tell people that the point of our faith is not Heaven - the point of our faith is...GOD.
    If our theology gets too heaven-heavy, then our faith becomes all about us. It becomes about keeping our butts out of hell instead of entering into a vibrant and alive relationship with the Creator. We give in order to be given to, we share our faith out of fear instead of love. But when salvation starts right now, we can start loving and serving now...because the focus can be on being part of something, something more important than just saving ourselves.

    By Blogger Neal W., at 4/20/2005 04:22:00 PM  

  • Talk about heaven is great, as long as the focus of heaven is God. Our visions of heaven are often just that of superlative sensory gratification, the ultimate achievement of our materialistic lusts. But when I read Scripture, I do see a lot of emphasis put on hope, and I don't know how you separate from that heaven, which is the complete realization of GOD'S ultimate victory.

    Sometimes the church feels it must "meet needs" to attract a (post-)modern generation, but what could give a greater sense of purpose to this purposeless generation than to participate in Go'd victory?

    Great quote.

    By Blogger Anthony Parker, at 4/20/2005 11:17:00 PM  

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