Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Saved" from what (or from whom)?

Recently I was surprised to hear someone say that he thought we were saved from God. I think that portraying God as the problem undermines the good news at its very foundations. If God is the problem, then should he get any credit for the solution? And if God is the problem, why would he need to provide a solution? Wouldn't it be simpler to just stop being the problem? Or does he have a contradiction within himself, so that he is both for us and against us?

If someone believes that God is basically the problem, we might look at what John the Baptist said, "Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Luke 3:7) There's no doubt that John the Baptist means God's wrath. And yet the idea of salvation is only possible because God's wrath is the smaller part of the story, and God's love is the larger part -- and because the destruction is only for what is evil. We'll come back to that after looking at a more complete picture.

So from what does Jesus save people? This is a brief review of the passages where the four Biblical gospels comment not just on salvation in general, but specifically discuss from what Jesus saves us.
We are saved from our sins
"You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
"Your sins are forgiven. ... Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7:48,50)

We are saved from death
"Lord, save us! We'll die!" (Matthew 8:25)
"Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:30)

We are saved from the evil one
 "Deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13)

We are saved from illness, disease, and disability
"Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil? To save life or to kill?" (Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9)
"Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you." (Luke 18:42)

We are saved from being lost"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost." (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10)

We are saved from our enemies
"That we should be saved from our enemies, and the hand of all who hate us." (Luke 1:71)

We are saved from God's wrath
"Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Luke 3:7)

When John the Baptist asked who warned them to flee from the coming wrath ... actually, John the Baptist did when he called the people to repent and be baptized. Not only did John warn them, but so did Moses and all the prophets. And all that John the Baptist said was "repent" (it might be more understandable to translate that as "reform" or "renew a right spirit") -- and be cleansed / baptized. Because "the coming wrath" is only for what is evil, and people can flee from it just by abandoning the evil. When Jesus saves us from doing evil, he saves us from wrath by that same act. But in this picture, God is not the problem. He is truly the solution.

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

Indeed. He is the solution.