Mike Cope's blog

Friday, October 07, 2005

The word "salvation" has, unfortunately, been reduced to PERSONAL salvation -- meaning a moment in time when one is "born again." And certainly, that is part of it. But the word in scripture is much larger, much more dynamic. It refers to the deliverance God offers, and it comes in past, present, and future tenses. Biblically speaking, better than saying "I got saved" would be to say "I am being saved/delivered." Weigh these words from Unveiling Glory: "Living like Jesus is not something we do to get salvation--it is our salvation."


  • Mike,

    I have often cringed when someone said, "I got baptized" as well as "I got saved." The cringe factor depends on the context.

    "I am being saved/delivered" describes God's work more accurately, however, I was interested in the different ways Christians describe their salvation to non-Christians. Are there some other descriptions of this process used by Christians that are more contemporary as well as accurate?

    By Blogger David Michael, at 10/07/2005 05:54:00 AM  

  • This certainly fits my life. God has done many acts of delivering in the past, but he is delivering me a bit more every day. And I like the idea that following Jesus and living for Jesus in this world actually IS my deliverance.

    By Blogger Emily, at 10/07/2005 05:55:00 AM  

  • Can I add something else?

    My sense is that scripture is also using this word in a more global/communal way. God is saving THE WORLD. He is delivering "us" from our sins. As terrific as it is that God offers a "personal" re-birth (and I don't want to minimize that), there is also something bigger going on in which He is moving to redeem all of humanity, and inviting me to be a part of it. In fact, in my mind, the two ("personal" and "global" salvation - for lack of better words) are interconnected. As the one happens, it calls me into participation in the other.

    God is a redeeming God. That idea ought to keep getting bigger (and, maybe even more mysterious) for me every day. Instead, the temptation seems to be to boil it down to something that is (1) easy to understand and (2) "finished" or complete, so that there is a sense of resolution.

    By Blogger Matt, at 10/07/2005 06:09:00 AM  

  • Like you say about the kingdom: "in but not fully" or something to that effect to explain the complexity of the kingdom's coming, I feel that the phrase, "both for and from" is appropriate when describing our salvation. We are saved from Hell in eternity (absence of God forever) and we are saved for a life of abundance here on earth. That relationship with Jesus is more the means than the end. We don't get saved and use Jesus to get to heaven. Heaven is Jesus.

    I was on a church website last night that stated, "different to make a difference" which I think embodies this process we are talking about and not a point.

    Great post.
    You are loved.
    - Joel

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 10/07/2005 06:26:00 AM  

  • That second to last line of the first paragraph should read, "Our relationship with Jesus is more than a means to an end."

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 10/07/2005 06:29:00 AM  

  • In the CofC we are not taught the following:
    1. Justification - the point where we are rescued by the blood of the Lamb
    2. Sanctification - the daily cleansing of our sin, Christ's blood continually covers us!
    3.Glorification - the point where we are home in the loving arms of Jesus.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 10/07/2005 06:57:00 AM  

  • I am being saved everyday, and that saving began over two thousand years ago with a cross and a resurrection.

    John 3:16


    By Blogger David U, at 10/07/2005 07:24:00 AM  

  • Hoots,

    You are correct, you do not hear the lingo in the CoC (overall) but it is used often in Wesleyan theology.

    By Blogger JP Manzi, at 10/07/2005 07:25:00 AM  

  • I just wanted to echo a little bit of what Matt said earlier. I get the sense in reading scripture that to some extent,we will be judged as a group. By that I mean nations, cities, churches, communities, and families.

    There are many thisng to indicate this in cripture. In Revelation, you have Jesus judging the churches. In Nehemiah 1 you have the prophet saying "we" have sinned. There are numerous other examples. Even when God proposes to Moses that he begin a new covenant (personal salvation) with him alone, Moses protests. It's hard to imagine that happening today.

    I don't mean to say that we are not held accountable for our actions as individuals. But there is a strong message in the Bible of communal judgement. I have almost never heard this perspective from a pulpit.

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 10/07/2005 08:00:00 AM  

  • God saves whom he wills, when he wills, how he wills it.

    Luke 23:43

    Acts 10:44

    Galatians 1:15-16

    God has saved and will save millions who have never set foot in a church building or waded into a baptistry . . . I affirm that no one should judge another person's salvation experience. I want to lead every person I meet to the cross and let the power of that experience stand on its own. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 10/07/2005 10:07:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    The key word in your post
    is "reduced" which brings to mind "reductionism" which is unfortunately the path we often take toward scripture. We desire to boil it down to a zero
    sum "either/or" rather than a dynamic "both/and." Take your pick, personal salvation once for all time or an ongoing process, but not both. Eucharist as a memorial feast or as a means to convey spiritual nourishment to the believer, but not both. Baptism as either sign or means, but never both. And the list could go on and on.

    I am coming to realize that I serve a God who is answer C: "all of the above!"

    By Blogger mike the eyeguy, at 10/07/2005 11:27:00 AM  

  • I would have to echo Joel's sentiment. There is something about being redeemed and being seen as perfect that creates the avenue for us to embrace it.

    Somehow, God knew that.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 10/07/2005 01:26:00 PM  


    It's the top of the 3rd inning. Randy Johnson CAN be hit.

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 10/07/2005 06:15:00 PM  

  • So Mike, is this your pre-emptive strike against my mis-quoting you (as I warned you I would)? (grin)

    That quote is one of the most significant things I have heard at the conference so far. It will give me much to think and pray about.

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 10/07/2005 07:52:00 PM  

  • Yep, Thurman,

    "It's the top of the 3rd inning. Randy Johnson CAN be hit."

    Even my lowly Padres could run Johnson off in post season. The Big Unit always seems to freeze in post season games. Yeah!!

    7th inning, LAA 8 NYY 6, LAA at bat with 2 men on and 1 out. Yeah!!

    By Blogger Kathy, at 10/07/2005 08:09:00 PM  

  • Oops! Correction. Bases loaded.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 10/07/2005 08:11:00 PM  

  • "Happy DAY, Happy DAY, when Jesus washed my sins away" ...

    Daily I become a better servant of my Master, but I have a birthday ... a "newbirth" day. (July 26, 1981)

    That was the day I was buried with Christ and raised to live a new life. That day I was reborn. That was the day I was begotten of God.

    God doesn't have the same issues with time I do, and so He can say He knew me before creation, and ordained me then to be saved forever. But for me, time seems real, and there's a day I was saved, and I praise God for that moment when the water of a stream in east TN washed away my sin and tears.

    Mike, you know the whole theology of "already but not yet" well enough to write plenty about it. Let's not diminish the rebirth by pretending that it's not a punctiliar thing in our lives.

    One day Jacob's kids were lead out of Egypt, and the DAY of their salvation became a lasting memorial known as Passover.

    One day I passed from darkness to light, and I thank God for it with my life, and celebrate it annually. It's my passover.

    Since then, I AM redeemed, I AM saved, and I AM justified. I AM His child ... and I became so on one day in my life.

    Praise Him!

    By Blogger Willsh, at 10/10/2005 07:29:00 AM  

  • Once, long ago, during the age in which we attended a church dominated by those in a ministry originating in a university town in Florida, my husband and I were studying the Bible with a couple from an independent church attempting to be more Calvinistic than contemporary mainline denominations of the Reformed tradition.

    One thing they brought up to us is how puzzled they were by the Restorationist churches use of the term "obeying the gospel" to mean baptism or conversion. They thought your whole life was obeying the gospel.

    By Blogger Beverly Choate Dowdy, at 10/10/2005 01:11:00 PM  

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