Posted in April

Week 13 Homework (due 4/03/17)

Textbook Outline:

The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 12: Salvation: Objective and Subjective

    1. Issues and Polarities of Christian Belief about Salvation
      1. Atonement- reconciliation; Christ bringing God and humanity together despite humanity’s sinfulness and God’s holiness
    2. The Christian Consensus about Christ’s Atonement
      1. Jesus Christ’s life and death objectively provide for reconciliation between God and humanity and make possible forgiveness and transformation of those who believe and trust in him
      2. Jesus Christ provides salvation for the world (humanity) by his life, death, and resurrection
      3. God acted in Christ’s death on the cross to reconcile the world (humanity) with himself and to make possible the forgiveness and transformation of sinners
    3. Alternatives to Christian Beliefs about Salvation Through Christ
      1. The idea that Christ’s saving work is not necessary for everybody
      2. Unificationism
    4. Diverse Christian Beliefs about Christ’s Atoning Work
      1. ransom theory- Christ became a necessary ransom for mankind
      2. satisfaction theory- Christ satisfied (covered) the cost; i.e. transaction
      3. moral influence- Christ’s main task on cross was to change humanity’s perspective and points them to God
      4. Christus Victor- “Christ the Victor”
      5. penal substitution- Christ took humanity’s punishment, so God’s wrath was subdued; capital punishment
    5. A Unitive Christian View of Atonement
      1. No one explanation does justice to all that happened on the cross
      2. Belief in the objectivity of Christ’s atonement is absolute to the gospel itself

The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 13: Salvation: Gift and Task

  1. Issues and Polarities of Christian Belief about Personal Salvation
    1. ordo salutis- how and why a person becomes saved; God’s agency vs human’s agency
    2. Problems: disagreement and diversity; complex issue
    3. soteriology: the doctrine of salvation
  2. The Christian Consensus about Personal Salvation
    1. salvation is primarily a gift in which the initiative is God’s, and yet there is something for the human person to do even if only to accept the gift
    2. all major Protestant Reformers and their post-Reformation disciples, as well as modern Christian theologians, affirmed divine grace and human agency in salvation
    3. Christians altogether believe that salvation as reconciliation with God and inward renewal from the corruption of inherited depravity and toward the restoration of the image go God is wholly and completely a work of God’s grace while at the same time also an event and process involving human agency
  3. Alternatives to Christian Consensus about Salvation
    1. Two main challenges: Pelagianism/Semi-Pelagianism and apokatastasis/universalism
  4. Diversity within Christian Beliefs about Salvation
    1. modernism vs synergism; Roman Catholics vs Protestant
  5. A Unifying Christian Perspective on Salvation
    1. No one explanation does justice to all that happened on the cross
    2. Belief in the objectivity of Christ’s atonement is absolute to the gospel itself

Scripture Response:

The Bible utilizes various words, phrases, and occasionally concepts, to refer to the same idea or event.  While the word choice may make the verses to appear to have different meanings, the truths being taught often align.  This is noticeable when comparing Romans 5:1-21 and the book of Galatians.  Even though both passages discuss salvation, Paul employs different wording, which causes him to approach this concept from multiple routes and views.  In this essay, the author will contrast the word choices and paths these two passages use to inform the readers about the salvation Christ brings.

The Romans scriptures emphasize how salvation is a free gift.  Some of the words that stand out in this passage include: reconciled, death, sin, free gift, and law.  In these 21 verses, Paul argues that sin resulted in death, and the Old Testament law could do nothing to fix this problem.  God stepped in and gave humanity the free gift of Jesus, which reconciled them to him.  Romans 5 reminds the audience that this grace which reconciles humanity from the spiritual death of sin is a free gift, which is available for all.

Since Galatians was written for the Galatia church, rather than the Roman audience, the emphasis on salvation differs.  The main words in this New Testament book include law, faith, flesh, free, and slave.  The law and sin make us slaves to our flesh, but by faith in Christ, humans are freed from this.  People do not have to be bound by the law or the desires of their flesh.  Christians live as individuals who were slaves, but now experience true freedom in Christ.

While both the passages studies discuss how the law displays the necessity of salvation, each scripture explains this through a different path.  In Romans, salvation is shown as free for humanity, while in Galatians, salvation is shown as what frees humanity.

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Question Response

When examining the contribution of Galatians to a Christian understanding of salvation, there are multiple ways that can be examined.  This response will focus on what Galatians informs Christians to do with their newfound salvation.  The dramatic shift from living under the law to living under grace can be confusing for believers, both in Old Testament times and today.  Galatians explains how salvation should affect individuals lives, as well as how it should not.

Salvation frees humanity from the weight and toil of the law.  When an individual becomes saved their identity changes.  They are not slaves to rules and requirements, but Paul argues that they are now heirs. In the Old Testament, God promised a solution to the law—salvation through Jesus’ death—for humanity.  As Christians today, we have received this promise and are coincidentally heirs to the promise of God.

Salvation gives Christians freedom; they do not have to make sacrifices or be bound by burdensome rules.  Paul warns in chapter 5, however, that Christians should not abuse their freedom for their own selfish desires or ambitions.  Freedom is a gift and a privilege for humanity, that should not be thrown away or misused.  Paul then informs Christians of how they are supposed to use this freedom, to serve one another humbly in love.  Christians priority in life should not be on their own concerns or desires, but they should use their freedom to free those who are bound.

Galatians lays out what salvation frees Christians from and what this means for them.  Paul is intentional is explaining to believers what their new lives should look like.  This makes Galatians especially beneficial for new believers, as they often do not understand how they should live as Christians.  Some new believers will live as if they are under a burdensome law, while others will live recklessly.  While Galatians helps all believers further understand their salvation, it is especially helpful for those who recently received salvation.