3 Things Seminary Taught Me: Salvation

1. Salvation is earthy.

This one is paradigm shifting. God’s salvific plan doesn’t do away with physicality, with materialness, with “earthiness” so that we can be in a better spiritual existence usually called “Heaven.” This is actually the teaching of Gnosticism (an ancient heresy) not Christianity. God’s plan has always been to redeem, to recreate, to renew, to resurrect the physical world. To have Heaven on Earth. That’s what He will do. Salvation is physical, it is material, it is earthy. That’s why God became man—He became earthy not ethereal. This is good news. This is the Gospel.

2. Salvation is corporate.

I would guess that a lot of us understand this when we actually think about it. Salvation is not not just about me and my own salvation. God is saving a people—His people. I just don’t think a lot of us (myself included) think of salvation in the corporate sense as much as we should. The corporate dimension of salvation is all over Scripture. It’s the primary way salvation is described. Think about Israel in the OT. Think about the Church, the Bride of Christ in the NT. In fact, most references to salvation in the NT are either plural (talking to the many who make up the one Church) or corporate. I’m not saying it’s wrong to think about salvation as individual, in fact it’s Biblical to do so. However, our children’s songs, our own worship songs, and the way we often talk about salvation are full of singular pronouns. We should follow the example of Scripture and start adding a lot more plural pronouns.

3. Salvation is past, present, and FUTURE.

“I got saved when I was…” This is normally how we talk about salvation—the point of our conversion. Again, this isn’t wrong, but our overemphasis on this aspect of salvation has led to most Christians thinking about salvation as merely a past event. In reality, salvation is also a present event—you are being saved, and even more emphatically a future event—you will be saved. Salvation is thoroughly eschatological.

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