BINT 544 The Doctrine of Salvation in Ephesians and Colossians
Virgil Warren, Ph.D.
Salvation: The Divine Rescue Plan for Reconciliation
By Jimmy Lee Moore
In a postmodern world of multiple worldviews it becomes difficult for one to discern the truth. Each worldview gives its own explanations to man’s greatest questions regarding our existence and purpose. In the pluralistic environment of the United States multiple worldviews both religious and secular co-exist, somewhat, providing answers to the millions of Americans pondering the meaning of life. Still, millions more ascribe to the belief in a higher power while remaining indifferent to its identity. We can compare the current state of things to that of the Roman Empire over two millennia ago. Despite some slight differences, the Empire was to a degree pluralistic, with its citizens adhering to a host of diverse worldviews from the paganism of the Greeks and Romans to the monotheism of the Jews. Yet in this diverse world a motley crew of men and women would confess in a Nazarene, Jesus Christ, to be the fulfillment of the prophecies of ancient Judaism that foretold mankind’s salvation. They acknowledged him as God incarnate, made human, and the revelation of His will to be the answer to all of man’s most tantalizing questions. This belief in the fulfillment of the promise of salvation through the Son of God, the answer to man’s questions, endures today as the Christian faith.
So what is this thing called salvation? A proper theological definition for the term would be what God does for mankind. But this raises some crucial questions: why dose God save us, what does God save us from, what is its nature, how is it done? The answers lie in the Holy Scriptures, which reveals to us God’s will for mankind: to be saved, to be restored, and to be reconciled. The scriptures give us a colorful narrative of salvation, which answers these fundamental questions. One who is at least familiar with the scriptures might assume the narrative begins in the book of Genesis, but to fully understand the story one must look to the opening verses of the Gospel of John;
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3).
Here we see the beloved apostle peering back into God’s life before anything else existed, unveiling an ancient, eternal, fellowship called the Trinity. It’s common to view God as alone, seated on a throne somewhere, but truthfully He is not alone. He has always been Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity are “homoousios”, “of the same substance”, sharing one Deity. The nature of this Trinity is revealed by Christ in several instances in the Gospel of John, particularly in chapter fourteen; “Believe me that I am the Father and the Father is in me”. From these descriptions we see the interpersonal nature of the three persons of the Trinity. The whole salvation narrative began with something deeply relational and interpersonal.
An atheistic worldview generally holds that behind the mystery and wonder of the universe lies a mathematical equation. It offers a scientific, mathematical, and impersonal origin to existence, but fails in explaining how our personalities have come from such impersonal origins. Equally incompatible answers are offered by similar worldviews such as Agnosticism and Deism, which acknowledge the existence of a higher power, but discount any intimate, interpersonal involvement with the universe apart from creating it. Yet the revelation of