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Soteriology is Eschatological

Christians often talk about "getting saved", but what does this mean? What is this so-called salvation?

Salvation is about the end of the world, it is not just about "a relationship with Jesus". It has to do with reality, not psychology.

As I've been studying through Luke 1, I have noticed how much of an emphasis there is on Jesus' future kingdom and his role as King, etc. The angel Gabriel says he will sit on the throne of David. Mary says he will cast rulers down from their thrones. Zechariah says he is a "horn of salvation" (horn = power, might) and that he will deliver Israel from their "enemies and all who hate them". 

As we read the rest of Luke and find that Jesus did not (yet!) do these things, we might read Mary and Zechariah's speech and think they were misguided Israelites who didn't take the OT seriously when it talked about the suffering Messiah. 

However, note that Zechariah's song is not his opinion. He was "filled with the Holy Spirit" and his song is him "prophesying". (Luke 1:67)

Luke 1 does not contain a bunch of misguided thoughts about what they thought Jesus was going to do. Rather, Luke 1 is full of revelation from God about what Jesus was indeed going to do.

We think they didn't have as full a picture of the salvation Jesus was going to bring. True. They didn't know the Messiah had to first suffer before he could come in glory and power. (Luke 24:26) He had to die and atone for our sin before there would be anybody who could enter his future kingdom!

Yet, in a different sense, they had a fuller picture of the salvation Jesus was going to bring, since they were looking at the final future consummation of God's plan of salvation. They didn't get stuck on the here-and-now, they were looking forward to the end.

Christians tend to forget about the future, and make Christianity all about the present joy they experience in God. This is very real, but it is not ultimate. If you are after present joy, there are lots of ways to get it (granted in varying measure). If you are after eternal joy (and true present joy, and freedom from eternal suffering), then Jesus is absolutely the only way.

The point: Salvation is not psychological. It is not just about peace in your heart. It is about the end of the world. It is about peace with God--forever.

We could say salvation has two aspects: physical and spiritual (for lack of better words). 

Spiritual: We have sinned against a holy and perfect God, who is full of righteous indignation and will judge us for it. We need forgiveness. [Otherwise, we will be punished after death in hell.]

Connected is the sinful corruption in our bodies because of our sin. We have hearts that oppose God. We are "dead" in sin. We need a change not only in God toward us (forgiveness), but we also need a change in us toward God. We need new life (regeneration now, glorification at the resurrection later). [Otherwise, we would not be able to know and trust God, and we would continue in sin forever.]

Physical: We live in a world that is opposed to God and full of corruption and wickedness, run by the devil himself; the righteous are persecuted and the wicked prosper. We need deliverance. [Otherwise, eternal life would not be a good thing if it was filled with wickedness!]

God’s salvation is not just a "relationship with Jesus". It is a complete salvation from sin and from affliction, so that we can spend forever worshiping Jesus. We experience this in part now, and ultimately when Jesus returns. It is an end-of-the-world thing.


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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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