If you’ve been following along lately, I have (at admittedly, a very stuttered pace – sorry) been exploring very new (to me) and paradigm changing paths along my journey. For me, this usually looks like arriving at answers to questions I had never asked, or new answers to questions I have. If your path is like mine, you know that questions usually lead to more questions – and in some ways, the more you seem to know, the less you are really sure of.
When I discovered that all were included in Christ, this changed things. It destroyed the idea of Penal Substitutionary Atonement that I had subconsciously believed. And it messed with the idea of “Hell,” specifically causing me to reject Eternal Conscious Torment.
Somewhat naturally, this causes me to wonder, “What is Salvation, then?” and “What are we ‘saved’ from, exactly?”
To “save” in the original languages (sozo) carried a meaning of: to heal, to restore, to preserve or to rescue.
“Salvation” (soterion) is that which is brought about, a direct application as a result of – a “Savior” – one who is a preserver or deliverer.
There is no Salvation, no saving, apart from One who would apply such – a Savior, the Christ. He is, in fact, Salvation Himself. As representative Man (Son of Man), He became Salvation for all mankind in His death, burial and Resurrection. Since One has died for all, all have died. So too, since One was raised with all, all are raised. Jesus bore us all again in His Resurrection. The old is gone, there is now, a New Creation.
In this way, we have been saved, by His faith, and this not of ourselves.
So, is it all finished, then? Closed case? Not quite.
From an Objective standpoint, what Christ did for us, as us, is complete. God was on the Cross with and in Jesus and Spirit, and the world was reconciled to Themselves. As the Christ became Salvation, we are too. We are saved, it is who we are in the New Creation.
But all do not make this a subjective reality by trust, thus experiencing the Joy of their Salvation. While our lack of trust or belief cannot change who we objectively are, and what has objectively been finished – we can, nonetheless, remain in ignorance of this Reality, and not experience It. This is part of what “Hell” is. Our trust and belief acknowledges who Trinity is, and begins to acknowledge who we are. We have been born again into a New Living Hope, an Indwelling Source, saved. And since we are saved, we walk in faith and belief and trust, experiencing our Salvation daily.
God is Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.“
In this way, we are saved, over and over and over again, when we choose to trust in Him, and nothing else. This is surrender, following, laying down one’s life, carrying our cross. This is choosing to walk the narrow Path, being decreased, as He is increased.
As wonderful as that is (really, really Good News, eh?), I still believe that there is more to Salvation, something along the lines of the Purpose of God from before time, something about the restoration of all things, and the reconciliation of all things being summed up in Christ.
It is easy to see that humanity remains in desperate need of “being saved.” There is much in the world that is not of God – sin, death, destruction, decay, war, violence, disease, lies, deception…. We need deliverance (a definition of “Salvation”) from it all.
The prevailing attitude of Christians is “this world is not my home…” I know what is usually meant by this, and I can appreciate it. But, it is just not true. This world, earth, is our home. The notion that, because one has said the right prayer or believed the right way in order to be saved “to go to heaven when we die” has created a world, an earth, that is the antithesis of God’s Purpose. Since we are “not long for this world” and are headed to some heavenly home in the clouds someday – then there is no real purpose to really care for the world we inhabit today, or our fellow inhabitants. Jesus showed us, however, that He brought the Kingdom here. Further, it is now within us. As Sons and Daughters of God, the entire creation, the cosmos, is crying out for the restoration of all things by and through the revelation of us.
The Kingdom of God is being established on the earth, here and now. It is the Sons and Daughters of God, who, from a subjective Reality, are manifesting what has been Objectively True in Christ “from the foundations of the world.”
Eden is here for those who see – and Live and Love, accordingly.
It is true that in some way, we live between the times – in the already, but not yet. But within the mystery of all of that, I say it is beyond time for a remnant of us to begin living with Kingdom intentions, now, thus playing a salvific role in our Co-Authority, Rule and Reign with God.
Maybe Jesus’ “second coming” is the Sons and Daughters awakening to this Reality, and Living from it? Maybe this is what it will look like for the Shalom of God to reign, and for the reconciliation of all things in Christ to become seen?
Maybe this is the final, triumphant scene of the “Salvation” story?
The Incarnation of Jesus taught us that He emptied Himself of His divinity in order to be with us in our humanity. This collision was the announcement of the Messiah, the Christ. As the continued Incarnation, we must reverse this, in a way, emptying our humanity in order to realize our Union with Divinity. Heaven on earth may look less like Jesus riding in from the clouds and “saving” the world; and more like the “little Christ’s” in the world, rising up into their Authority-Under-Submission and being the “saving.”
Our human-ness has inherent within it a problem – that of choosing independence (from God), rivalry, scapegoating and violence. Religion has perpetuated this problem by dressing it up and calling it, “the way to God.” This is sacred violence, the sacrificial ethic and an economy of exchange. When Jesus showed us how to be Really, Truly Human – He undid all of this. In seeing such, Salvation cannot be looked upon as a transaction that we are the beneficiaries of. It is instead a pattern to follow (a life of dying and then being raised) and to experience, as He did – that we may be transformed. Only then can we express a true, shared Union, having experienced it.
Only in letting go, in descent, in fall and in death will the false self of ego relent to the True Self we are in God. This process of “Salvation” opens the door for us to encounter and express the same into our relationships and world.
To reject living for our selves, by ourselves – apart from God in our minds – we choose to live in abiding on the Vine, in our Objective Union and Fellowship with the Divine. This is Trinitarian Life, and this is Salvation.
When we reject desire that is not a feasting upon Life and Love Themselves in the Person(s) of God, we find True Desire, and are saved.
When we see that real community excludes none and includes all, even and especially the enemy, there no longer remains a notion of “the other,” and the community is saved – scapegoating is exposed as a mockery.
When we recognize that the language of this Trinity is Love, that this is Their very essence and Life – an ever-giving, self-emptying expression toward each other – a constant giving and receiving – then we can wholly reject violence of all kinds. To cause harm to another is to fail to see yourself, God and all of humanity in that other – and yourself. To choose to Love, forgive, show mercy, to reject retaliation and do restorative justice instead – even at the loss of your own life – is Salvation.
When we recognize our inherent worth and redemption, and that of all people – we are saved.
When we choose Life instead of death – we are saved.
When we seek Truth instead of counterfeit – Salvation is there.
When we build up instead of tear down – we are Salvation.
When we return harm and violence upon us with Love and mercy and forgiveness – we are saved and our oppressors have seen Salvation.
Do you see how this works?
Salvation is the deliverance from (by way of the Life of the Deliverer), everything that is not of God. Salvation is every instance and expression of Love and Life, in the here and now, that exposes the lie and destruction of fear and death. It is the Tree of Life versus the wrong tree. Like Adam and Eve did, we have the ability to choose – to live in, believe from, and manifest either way. Only One, however, is The Way, and the Right Tree. To choose It, to trust It, to walk in It and to Live It – is to have been saved, to be saving and to save – it is to have experienced Salvation, to be Salvation to bring and announce Salvation.
Salvation has come, is now, and is yet coming. This is the Christ Mystery. And we are One with it.
Christ has saved humanity. Spirit is saving us when drawn upon from within. Abba will save the world as all things are drawn unto Him.
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.
Can we tell the Good News of this Gospel without using language and threats and fears; or carrots of motivation that speak to future times and destinations?
We can, and we must. Jesus did. He called it the Kingdom. This Kingdom was best expressed in Love on a Cross, when simultaneously, God took upon Himself and died the death of the hate and violence and brokenness of humanity; and saved humanity from the cycle of hate and violence and brokenness. This Kingdom is the tension of experiencing both the suffering of life with God; and participating in the redemption of all of Life with God.
The Kingdom has always been, is from where mankind originates, and is ultimately where all of mankind is heading back to.
Let us recognize our Salvation into It, our being saved by It, and the Hope of the glorious finality of all creation’s ultimately being saved in the age to come.
“Our salvation is nearer now than in the beginning.”
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