A Brief Theology of Salvation
In the NT, one of the most frequent and fundamental images used to depict our salvation is “redemption.” The root of this term lytron means a “ransom” or “price of release,” and the term itself (apolytrosis) was used as a kind of technical term for the purchase of a slave. If we apply this to believers, then our salvation consists in being freed from a form of slavery.
We are set free from slavery to sin and guilt (Rom 6:7) as well as from the law as a way of trying to acquire righteousness before God (Gal 2:16). But the most fundamental reality we are set free from is the devil. We were slaves to sin and condemnation primarily because we were slaves to Satan. In “redeeming us” out of this slavery, in rescuing us out of this kingdom (Col 1:13; Gal 1:4), Christ in principle bought us out of every other form of slavery as well. The price of this redemption, was “not … perishable things like silver or gold, but … the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18). For this reason, Jesus describes his life as a “ransom” (lytros, Mk 10:45; Matt 20:28).
Christ was willing to do whatever it took—to pay whatever “price” was necessary—in order to defeat the tyrant who had enslaved us and thereby to set us free. What it took was nothing less than the Son of God becoming a man and dying a hellish death on the cross.
In some mysterious way, this event “disarmed,” drove out,” “tied up,” “condemned” and “destroyed” the “god of this age” who had held us in slavery (Col 2:15; Jn 12:31; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Heb 2:14). It thereby enthroned the Son of God as rightful king of his Father’s universe. And it therefore spelled freedom, liberation, redemption and complete salvation for all those previously enslaved subjects who were willing to receive it.
The cross and resurrection were not first and foremost about us. They were about overcoming evil. From a NT perspective, evil is something much greater, much more powerful and much more pervasive than what transpires in our relatively small lives, on our relatively small segment of the cosmos, by means of our relatively small will. This is not to suggest that we are ourselves are not evil, for the NT concludes that, apart from Christ, we are (Eph 2:1). We needed a high priest to enter into the sanctuary and offer up a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; 10:10-14). Christ made this offering, effecting our salvation.
But Christ did this only because he did something even more fundamental: he dealt a death blow to Satan and recaptured his rightful rule over the whole creation. Evil can be overcome in our life only because the “evil one” who previously ruled the cosmos has himself in principle been overcome. We are set free only because the entire cosmos has in principle been set free from the one who had previously enslaved it. And we are reconciled to God only because the entire cosmos, and the whole of the spiritual realm, has in principles been reconciled to God.
—Adapted from God at War, pages 265-267
Photo credit: requiemm via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND
In this video, Greg explores the core sin that stands in the way of love. You might be surprised by what it is. Video by The Work of the People
We know what something is worth to someone by what they are willing to pay for it. Consider, then, what our heavenly bridegroom was willing to pay to redeem us and make us his bride. Out of his love for us, the all-holy God was willing to do nothing less than to go to the…
What about natural evil? How does free will help to make sense of this? Greg reflects on the origins of sickness, natural disaster, animal suffering and so on. Hope you’re enjoying the series so far. There’s more to come!
Greg points his periscope into the afterlife. Episode 675 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0675.mp3
At the climax of Jesus’ suffering on the cross, Jesus cries out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) It’s a jarring moment in the narrative. To forsake is to abandon. Did Jesus really believe that God had abandoned him? Was Jesus right about this? If he was right, what does…
Hello fellow spiritual pilgrims, Just flew back from a two day visit to Whitworth University in Spokane Washington. Twenty years ago I almost entered a 50 mile trail race in Spokane that’s held every fall, but a lingering knee injury kept me out. The race was billed as the most beautiful trail race in the…