Faithlife Sermons

Restricting Salvation to Mere Forgiveness of Sin

Notes & Transcripts

Salvation as conceived today is far removed from what it was in the beginnings of Christianity and only by correcting it can God's grace in salvation be returned to the concrete, embodied existence of our human personalities walking with Jesus in his easy yoke.

Once salvation is relegated to mere forgiveness of sin, though, the discussions of salvation's nature are limited to debates about the death of Christ, about which arrangements involving Christ's death make forgiveness possible and actual. Such debates yield "theories of the atonement." And yet through these theories the connection between salvation and life - both his life and ours - becomes unintelligible. And it remains unintelligible to everyone who attempts to understand salvation through those theories alone. Why? It is because they are of no use in helping us, as the apostle Paul puts it, to understand how, being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we are then "saved by his life." (Rom. 5:10) How can we be saved by his life when we believe salvation comes from his death alone? So if we concentrate on such theories exclusively, the body and therefore the concrete life we find ourselves in are lost to the redemption process.

Source: Willard, Dallas; The Spirit of the Disciplines, pp33-34.

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