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Salvation in Christianity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Salvation in Christianity, or deliverance, redemption is the "saving [of] human beings from death and separation from God" by Christ's atonement for sin,[1][note 1] and the justification following this atonement. Christians partake in this redemption by baptism, repentance, and participating in Jesus' death and resurrection.

The idea of Jesus' death as an atonement for human sin goes back to the Hebrew writings, and was elaborated in Paul's epistles and in the Gospels. Early Christians regarded themselves as partaking in a new covenant with God, open to both Jews and gentiles, due to the sacrificial death and subsequent exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Early Christian notions of the person and sacrifical role of Jesus in human salvation were further elaborated by the Church Fathers and medieaval writers in various atonement theories, namely the Patristic ransom theory and recapitulation theory, adhered to by Eastern Orthodox Churches and other Eastern Christian Churches; the 11th century satisfaction theory, adhered to by the Roman Catholic Church, and its Protestant derivation, the penal substitution theory; and the 11th century moral influence theory, which is favored within Liberal Protestantism.

Variant views on salvation are among the main fault lines dividing the various Christian denominations, including conflicting definitions of sin and depravity (the sinful nature of humankind), justification (God's means of removing the consequences of sin), and atonement (the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus).

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  • ✪ Christianity for Beginners: Salvation (5 of 7)
  • ✪ What Jesus Himself Teaches About Salvation ‒ Mike Mazzalongo
  • ✪ GCSE RS Unit 10.1 (Part 3 of 5) Salvation and Sin | by MrMcMillanREvis
  • ✪ 1.9 Sin and Salvation for Christians
  • ✪ Salvation & Redemption -- The Early Christian Understanding

Transcription

Well hello again, I'm Mike Mazzalongo, your instructor for this series entitled, "Christianity For Beginners." As we've mentioned before, this is a special group of lessons to introduce the Christian religion to those who may not be familiar with the Christianity or maybe those who want to refresh your course on the basic ideas and doctrines of our faith. So far we've discussed in previous lessons: belief in God, the reasons why Christians believe in God, the Christian religion itself as compared to other religions in the world, lesson number three the history and the writing of the Bible, and then the person of Jesus Christ. In our lesson today we're going to talk about the subject of salvation, the most important issue in the Bible spoken of by Jesus and probably the key idea in the Christian religion. But before I talk about what Christianity says about salvation it's important to understand that every religion has an idea of salvation, it usually refers to some altered or improved state of being in this life or some kind of new existence of one way or in another life, in a subsequent life after this life is over, after death. Every religion we have learned has a different name for salvation. When we're studying the various religions of the world the Taoist religion for example they call it a balance of the Ying and the Yang. Buddhists referred to their idea of salvation as Nirvana. The Hindus call it Moksha. The religion of Islam speaks of Paradise. So no matter what other religions call it or describe its experience, they all share a similar pathway to their own concept of salvation. In all religions except Christianity, salvation is achieved by some kind of human effort. For example, in Buddhism one is required to practice meditation and gain a certain type of knowledge, to practice self-denial in order to reach their goal of salvation. Islam also requires that its adherents practice and maintain the five Spiritual Exercises if they wish to arrive at Paradise. Now I've only given you two examples, but all other religions aside from Christianity demand some form of moral or religious law keeping in order to become worthy and acceptable to a higher power and thus saved. Now the basic premise is always the same in all religions. First of all, mankind is flawed and subject to death. Secondly, God or a higher power or force provides the knowledge and the method to improve this flawed condition and ultimately escaped death in some way. Thirdly, that knowledge and method is mediated by religious leaders who teach and maintain the spiritual discipline to eventually be saved, in other words the religious leaders teach the individuals the things that they need to do in order to reach that condition of salvation. And then if the individual works hard enough, or trains well enough, is zealous enough in his or her practice of the religious customs and rules of their religion then that person will win the prize, which is salvation. Now except for customs and names this has been the pattern for obtaining salvation outlined by most major religions in the world throughout the history of mankind. And now Christianity's idea and approach to salvation is completely different and that's what I want to be talking to you about in this particular lesson. So let's begin with the problem itself. Christianity begins with the same premise concerning mankind's general condition. Humans are flawed they're not perfect, they're subject to moral failure and physical suffering and ultimately death. The Bible which reveals Christianity's view on human salvation teaches that the source of this condition is mankind's sinfulness. We read about this in various places in the Bible, but for example, Paul the Apostle summarizes this idea in his epistle to the Romans when he says the following, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Romans chapter 3 verse 23 and then he declares what the consequences of this sinfulness is when he says, "For the wages of sin is death." Roman 6 verse 23. And then in another epistle, John the Apostle describes what's sin, all this sin, what is it really about? And he says, "Everyone who sins is breaking God's law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 1st John chapter 3 verse 4. So the Bible says that sinfulness is disobedience to God. Now in the Book of Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, the prophet explains in more detail the effect that sin has on us and why sinfulness leads to death. And so we read this passage, it says, "It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Isaiah chapter 59 verse 2. So if we were to summarize these few verses about sin and its effects, we would say the following: sin is disobedience to God's will. Secondly, everyone at one time or another in their life sins. Thirdly, this disobedience separates us from God. And then, this separation ultimately leads to our physical death as well as our spiritual suffering because our spirit cannot be at peace or experience joy if it is separated from the Spirit of God, in whose image it was originally created. And we learn about that Genesis chapter 1 verse 26. I want to give you a visual example of this phenomenon which I've just explained to you. Imagine if you will, we take this plant here, just an ordinary house plant, and let's just say this plant represents a relationship between God and man. God is the vine, if you wish, that holds everything together and the people, His creation, are these leaves here. Now we understand that so long as the leaves are connected to the plant they're alive and they produce more leaves and depending on the plant, they produce flowers so on and so forth. However, if I were to take some scissors and if I were to take this part of the plant and cut it off, what would happen? Well first of all, we'd say well if I look at this leaf over here it looks exactly the same as these other leaves, has the same color, same texture, it feels fresh, there seems to be moisture in it. However, if I were to leave this leaf aside here, just put it down here, and leave it for several days or weeks what would happen? With time it would become dry right? It would lose its moisture, it would begin to crumple up, and eventually would just blow away as dust. And so this leaf here would turn brown and would eventually decay. Now the main plant however over on this side, this plant here, with its leaves would continue to live and continue to bloom and so on and so forth. So the idea is that so long as the leaves are connected to the plant, the plant gives the leaf life. Well, you know this is not a perfect example that I'm trying to show you here, but it does demonstrate the process that takes place through human sinfulness and the need for salvation, which is another word for rescue. We are born sinless and we are joined to God, that's how we begin, who brings us into being and He sustains our physical and spiritual life, just like the leaves connected to the plant. But eventually we sin, we disobey His commands and His law concerning moral and spiritual behavior, and in doing this we separate ourselves, just like that leaf was separated from the plant, we separate ourselves from God and in doing so we become subject to further moral decay, physical death, and also a spiritual separation from God after death. Just like the leaf cannot exist if it is not connected to the plant, we cannot exist if we are not connected to to God. And so the problem here is that once we are cut off from God, we don't have the ability to reattach ourselves to Him and thus we are doomed. Just like the the dead leaf in the example that I showed you, it doesn't have the power in itself to reattach itself to the plant and so therefore if it is cut off or if it falls away from the plant it is also doomed to rot away. And so this is the essential difference between Christianity and other religions. Other religions believe and teach that human beings are able to reattach themselves to God through human effort of some kind. For example, gaining religious knowledge and insight will somehow enable an individual to reattach themselves to God or practicing religious disciplines such as worship or meditation or secret rituals or pilgrimages somehow these things will enable an individual to be reattached to God. Some try to achieve it through extreme denial of the human appetites or food restrictions. Whatever the culture, whatever the tradition or religion, the method is always the same: an attempt to be reunited with God by human effort in order to avoid suffering and death and the separation of the soul from its natural place with God. Christianity, as I mentioned before, is unique in that it reveals a method for rescuing man based on God's actions and not human effort. And so we talk about the solution, if you wish, that Christianity offers. The Bible teaches how God rescues or saves us from the death caused by our separation from Him due to our sins. Here's how it works. First of all, God pays the moral debt that we as human beings owe because of our sins. Each sin we make, each law we break, creates a moral debt that we owe to God. This moral debt is the cause of our guilt and shame and fear of death and judgment because we know that we're guilty and we know there's a price to pay for moral failure. Now we can't pay this moral debt because we are polluted by sin and we can't produce the sinless and perfect life required to remove a lifetime of imperfection and sin, let's face it, God gives you a life and it's perfect when He gives it to you and then what we do is we sin, we disobey, and so we pollute that life but we can't give that life back to Him in exchange for a new one because it's been damaged. So what does God do to solve this problem? God pays the moral debt through Jesus Christ. It is in this way that God rescues us. Paul the Apostle explains it this way in Romans chapter 5 verses 6 to 11. He says, "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps to be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." So this passage explains and points out certain features of the Christian religion. So let's break it down. First of all, it answers the following question, why did God take on human form in Jesus Christ? And the answer is, only a perfect life could be offered for the moral indebtedness of man and only God in the form of man could accomplish this perfect life. Another question, why did Jesus have to die? In order to obtain this forgiveness for man's moral debt. Couldn't God just say, "okay everybody forgiven, all is well?" Well, the reason that Jesus had to die is that death was required because according to God's spiritual laws, human sinfulness could only be attoned for or paid for through death. As the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says the following he says, "In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." Hebrews chapter 9 verse 22. So God establishes spiritual laws. Spiritual laws are are hard and fast, just like physical laws. Gravity, there's a law of nature you can't change that law, you can't deny it, it's there. Well, there are spiritual laws as well and one of the spiritual laws that God has established is that if you sin, if you're cut away from Him, you die physically and ultimately you die spiritually. Another spiritual law that's been established is that the way you atone for sin is through the giving of life. And so a perfect life was required to make up for the imperfect life of mankind destroyed by sin. So how does God figure out a way to create a perfect life? All men are sinners, the Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." So what God does is this, He takes the form of a human being Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, and He offers this innocent and perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the moral debt of sin for all mankind. Well, this brings up another question and the other question is this, how does the sacrifice of one pay for the sins of all? Pay for the sins of everybody? If Jesus were only a man, even if He was good and holy man, His sacrifice could atone for Himself or perhaps for one other person. A perfect human life can be exchanged for an imperfect human life, one for one. But because Jesus also has a divine nature, the intrinsic value of His life is so far greater than the intrinsic value of just a human life and so therefore the value of His life means that He can pay for the sins of all men, not just one man. As God, the sacrifice of His divine life is able to pay for the sins of everyone. In First Peter chapter 3 verse 18, Peter the Apostle says the following, "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners, to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the spirit." Another question follows and that is, what was the purpose of the Jewish people? Well, the purpose of the Jewish people was the following, God chose one man, Abraham, and from him He created a special people. He gave them their religion, He gave them a country, laws and formed their culture and their history, and that's what the Old Testament is about, it's about the formation of the Jewish people and their history. Now the reason for this was to provide a religious and cultural and historical stage upon which the Lord could appear as a man, the man called Jesus Christ. And so His purpose was to offer His life for sins of mankind and the Jewish people were the vehicle used to make His human appearance on the stage of history, and as a reward for this the Jewish nation were to be the first ones offered the salvation that Jesus had obtained through His death and burial and resurrection. Another question comes up and that, is what what is the role of the Bible in all of this? The Bible is the inspired account of God's plan to save humanity through Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament it gives that information, as I mentioned before, about the about the Jewish nation and how God formed them and the prophecies about the coming of Jesus and so on and so forth. The New Testament is about the life, the ministry, the death the burial, the resurrection of Jesus and of course the establishment of the church. As I said, it records the beginning of the world but then it focuses in on the forming of the Jewish people and it continues to tell their story until the appearance of Jesus and then it follows with the eyewitness accounts of his death and resurrection and it ends of course the in the New Testament with the history of the forming of His church and the spread of Christianity in the first century. The main theme however is the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ. Now Paul the Apostle summarizes this idea in writing to a young minister when he says the following, "You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus." Second Timothy chapter 3 verse 15. And so Christianity presents a unique way to deal with the consequences of human weakness and moral failure, not by human effort and religious practice or attempts at achieving some type of human perfection but rather God offers himself through Jesus Christ as a payment for the debt of sins of all men. Now in Christianity, God is the one who rescues us from death, He's the one that rescues us from separation, from condemnation because we do not have the power to do this in ourselves and by ourselves. Now this is not to say that humans have no participation in the rescue. We do offer something to God but it is the thing that we truly have to give to God and that is our faith. And this brings us to the second important teaching in the Bible concerning this subject. Salvation is offered to man based on faith, not based on human effort. The Bible is very clear about this especially in the New Testament. In Christianity, God does what is impossible for man, He pays the moral debt for sin and man does what is humanly possible for man and that is he trusts God. The part that God can do is He pays the sins of all men, the part that man does is trust in God for His salvation. This is the sum of salvation. God offers man rescue from death and separation caused by sin and man believes and trusts in God to accomplish this on his behalf. This beautiful reconciliation is described in various ways in the Bible. In Romans chapter 5 verse 1, Paul again says the following, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." And then the golden verse of the Bible, John 3, verse 16, John says, "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." So, if I were to go back to my example of separation with the plant I used a little earlier in the lesson, in Christianity, it's as if God takes the cutoff branch or the plant, if you wish, the leaf and He reattaches it back to himself. People do this with plants and damaged trees all the time, it's called grafting. They cut a wedge in the branch and they reattach the severed branch or plant whatever it is, and they hold it in place with some kind of wrapping and eventually the branch on the tree and the branch that's been cut off they merge right? They're grafted into each other and eventually they grow back together. Well in the same way God grafts us back into Himself and the element that holds us in place, so to speak, is faith. Faith is the thing that holds us back into God when He has regrafted us back into Himself. This is the key doctrine of the Christian religion. Salvation is based on faith through the grace of God. In other words because of God's kindness, that's grace, He offers us salvation, that's rescue, based on our faith in Jesus Christ and not based on personal goodness or human effort. Again I go to Paul the Apostle he says it this way in Romans 3:21-22, he says, "But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are." Now of course there are many facets and details to the Christian religion that I've not mentioned here and I'll discuss in our next couple of lessons, but the issue of salvation and how it is produced by God and received by man, this is the core teaching of the Bible and it is the core teaching of Christianity. Now there may be some more questions here that naturally arise from the teaching that I've just given you and I'd like to share some more of those questions, give you some of those answers. So for example, what is faith? In other words we are saved by faith, but what faith? What should we believe? Well, first of all faith or belief by simple definition is to accept something as true. When you say I believe something, you're saying I accept as true this premise or what you've just told me or what you've just taught me, that's the basis of faith. In Christianity we accept as true that Jesus Christ is the son of God. When we say have faith in Jesus, that's what we mean. We mean we Jesus, that's what we mean. We mean we believe as true that Jesus is the Son of God and we believe as true the things that He has taught us. When challenged to believe for example, Peter one of the Apostles demonstrated the essence of Christian belief when he said the following, "You are the Messiah the Son of the Living God." Matthew 16 verse 16. Now there are a lot of other teachings and details of the Christian faith that one must know and understand and believe however for salvation's sake the essential issue is what we believe about Jesus Christ. Our salvation is not based upon how many passages of scripture that we remember, it's not based on how long ago Moses lived and so on and so forth. Our salvation is based squarely on our belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that He died to pay the debt for our sins. Of course belief includes our trust that this death pays for our sins and our faith in Him makes us right before God. So I believe not only as true that Jesus is the Son of God but that His death pays for my sins. I believe that whole premise given to me in the New Testament. OK, another question that comes up, what about repentance and baptism? Because you read about that all the way through the New Testament. Well, in the Bible faith is almost always associated and accompanied by repentance and baptism. In other words, when you read about salvation in the New Testament, people being saved, faith is always accompanied by an activity, the activity of repentance and baptism. And so repentance and baptism are part of our faith response. For example, repentance refers to a change of heart, turning from disbelief and sin to belief and a desire to please and obey God. Repentance doesn't mean, "okay from now on I'm going to be perfect." Repentance means from now on I'm going to change the way that I live, I'm going to go from disbelief to belief. I'm going to go from I enjoy sin and I don't care what I do to I'm going to find out what God wants me to do and I'm going to make every effort to do that, that's sincere repentance. Now baptism we need to explain the word. The English word baptism comes from a Greek word in the Bible which means to plunge or too immerse in water. So, in the Bible those who believed in Jesus express that faith through repentance and through baptism. For example, when Peter the Apostle preached about Jesus's death and resurrection, he encouraged people to believe and when they responded to him and they asked, "Well, what are we to do? How do we show that we believe?" Listen to what he said, "Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts chapter 2 verse 38. In another passage, Paul the Apostle describes what was said to him before he was baptized by a man called Ananias. It says, Ananias said to Paul, "What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized have your sins washed away, by calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22 verse 16. And so to summarize, God offers salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that makes salvation possible. We accept that sacrifice for our sins by faith, that is by believing that Jesus is the Son of God and His sacrifice pays for our sins, we accept that is true. And then we express our faith according to God's command in repentance and in baptism. All of these things work together as a single unit. Faith, repentance and baptism, they're all a part, one of the same thing. Perhaps one last question, and that is who can become a Christian and when can a person be baptized? Well Jesus answers this question when He spoke to his Apostles and this was recorded in the Gospel of Mark, it says, "And then he told them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will condemned.'" Mark chapter 16 verses 15 and 16. And so Jesus Himself says that the Good News of salvation is for everybody. Everybody! Anyone, he says, who believes and is baptized is saved. No exceptions based on color or race or education or gender, or social position, or how much you know about the Bible, or you don't know about the Bible, or who your parents are... those things are not important. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and if you respond to Him in repentance and baptism, Jesus says you will be saved forever and ever. However, He also makes clear that those who refuse to believe and consequently refuse to be baptized, have no alternative way to be saved. Now a lot of people say well that's not fair, we're not called to decide what is fair and what is not fair as far as God is concerned. He calls on us to know Him, to believe Him and to obey Him. So this means that when we come to believe, then we shouldn't hesitate to express that faith in the way God intended and that is through repentance and baptism. Well as we close this lesson on salvation, let me encourage anyone hearing this message to believe in Jesus Christ and to trust in the way of salvation that He offers. If you have not yet expressed your faith in Him through repentance and baptism then I encourage you if you're watching this at home and you've not yet repented and been baptized, I encourage you to respond to God in obedience as soon as you can so that as the Bible, says you will be saved and you will be saved forever. Ok, so that's our lesson for today. In our next lesson, we're going to be talking about the subject of the church. So I hope that you'll be with us for that for that lesson. In the meantime, I pray that God blesses you. We'll see you again soon.

Contents

Definition and scope

Salvation in Christianity, or deliverance or redemption, is the "saving [of] human beings from death and separation from God" by Christs atonement for sin.[1][2][note 1]

Christian salvation not only concerns the atonement itself, but also the question how one partakes of this salvation, by faith, baptism, or obedience; and the question of this salvation is individual[4][5] or collective.[4][6] It further involves questions regarding the afterlife, e.g. "heaven, hell, purgatory, soul sleep, and annihilation."[4] The fault lines between the various denominations include conflicting definitions of sin, justification, and atonement.

Sin

Judaism

In Judaism, sins between people are considered much more severe in Judaism than sins between man and God. Yom Kippur, the main day of repentance in Judaism, can atone for sins between man and God, but not for sins between man and his fellow, that is until he has appeased his friend.[7][8] With few exceptions, korbanot (sacrifices) only expiate unintentional sins, that is, sins committed because a person forgot that this thing was a sin or by error.[9][10][note 2][note 3] Korbanot have no expiating effect unless the person making the offering sincerely repents his or her actions before making the offering, and makes restitution to any person who was harmed by the violation.[11]

Christianity

Christian hamartiology describes sin as an act of offence against God by despising his persons and Christian biblical law, and by injuring others.[12] It is an evil human act, which violates the rational nature of man, as well as God's nature and his eternal law. According to the classical definition of St. Augustine of Hippo sin is "a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law of God".[13][14]

Christian tradition has explained sin as a fundamental aspect of human existence, due to original sin, also called ancestral sin,[15] the fall of man stemming from Adam's rebellion in Eden when by eated the Forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.[16] Paul espouses it in Romans 5:12-19, and Augustine of Hippo popularized it in the West, developing it into a notion of "hereditary sin," arguing that God holds all the descendants of Adam and Eve accountable for Adam's sin of rebellion, and as such all people deserve God's wrath and condemnation – apart from any actual sins they personally commit.[17]

Total depravity (also called "radical corruption" or "pervasive depravity") is a Protestant theological doctrine derived from the concept of original sin. It is the teaching that, as a consequence of the Fall of Man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin as a result of their fallen nature and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God, is utterly unable to choose to follow God, refrain from evil, or accept the gift of salvation as it is offered. It is advocated to various degrees by many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of some Lutheran synods,[18][19][better source needed] and Calvinism, teaching irresistible grace.[20][21][22][23] Arminians, such as Methodists, also believe and teach total depravity, but with the distinct difference of teaching prevenient grace.[24][25]

Justification

In Christian theology, justification is God's act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice. The means of justification is an area of significant difference among Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.[26] Justification is often seen as being the theological fault line that divided Catholic from the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of Protestantism during the Reformation.[27]

Broadly speaking, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Methodist Christians distinguish between initial justification, which in their view ordinarily occurs at baptism; and final salvation, accomplished after a lifetime of striving to do God's will (theosis c.q. divinization).[28][note 4]

Theosis, is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God, as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria ('illumination' with the 'vision' of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God's uncreated energies (or operations).[31][32] The synonymous term divinization is the transforming effect of divine grace,[33] the spirit of God, or the atonement of Christ. Theosis and divinization are to be distinguished from sanctification, "being made holy," which can also apply to objects;[34] and from apotheosis, also "divinization," lit. "making divine").

Catholics believe faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man. Forgiveness of sin exists and is infused, but justification can be lost by mortal sin.[35][36]

In the Protestant doctrine, sin is merely "covered", and righteousness imputed. In Lutheranism and Calvinism, righteousness from God is viewed as being credited to the sinner's account through faith alone, without works. Protestants believe faith without works can justify man because Christ died for sinners, but anyone who truly has faith will produce good works as a product of faith, as a good tree produces good fruit. For Lutherans justification can be lost with the loss of faith.[35][36]

Atonement

A 'Jesus Saves' neon cross sign outside of a Protestant church in New York City.
A 'Jesus Saves' neon cross sign outside of a Protestant church in New York City.

The English word 'atonement' originally meant "at-one-ment", i.e. being "at one", in harmony, with someone.[37] According to Collins English Dictionary, it is used to describe the saving work that God did through Christ to reconcile the world to himself, and also of the state of a person having been reconciled to God.[38][39] According to The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, atonement in Christian theology is "man's reconciliation with God through the sacrifcial death of Christ."[40]

A number of metaphors and Old Testament terms and references have been used in the New Testament writings to understand the person[web 2][41][note 5] and death of Jesus.[42][43] Starting in the second century CE, various theories of atonement have been explicated to explain the death of Jesus, and the metaphors applied by the New Testament to understand his death. Over the centuries, Christians have held different ideas about how Jesus saved people, and different views still exist within different Christian denominations. Due to the influence of Gustaf Aulèn's (1879-1978) Christus Victor, the various theories or paradigms of atonement are often grouped as "classic paradigm," "objective paradigm," and the "subjective paradigm":[44][45][46][note 6]

Hebrew scriptures

In the Hebrew writings, God is absolute righteousness, and only pure and sinless persons can approach him. Pureness or sinlesssness can be achieved either by the sacrificial "shedding of blood"; or, as stated by the Prophets, "by the future Divine gift of a new covenant to replace the old covenant which sinful Israel has broken," or "by the action of a Divinely sent Servant of the Lord who was 'wounded for our transgressions' and 'bare the sin of many'."[40][note 3] Yet, without repentance, such an offering of sacrifice was without effect. During the post-exilic period, martyrs could also bear atonic value.[40]

New Testament

Paul

1 Corinthians 15:3 contains the kerygma of the early Christians:[48] "Christ died for our sins."[web 3] The meaning of this kerygma is a matter of debate, and open to multiple interpretations. Traditionally, this kerygma is interpreted as meaning that Jesus' death was an atonement or ransom for, or propitiation or expiation of, God's wrath against humanity because of their sins. With Jesus death, humanity was freed from this wrath.[49][web 4][note 7] In the classical Protestant understanding, which has dominated the understanding o Paul's writings, humans partake in this salvation by faith in Jesus Christ; this faith is a grace given by God, and people are justified by God through Jesus Christ and faith in Him.[50]

More recent scholarship has raised several concerns regarding these interpretations. The traditional interpretation sees Paul's understanding of salvation as involving "an exposition of the individual's relation to God." According to Krister Stendahl, the main concern of Paul's writings on Jesus' role, and salvation by faith, is not the individual conscience of human sinners, and their doubts about being chosen by God or not, but the problem of the inclusion of gentile (Greek) Torah observers into God's convenant.[51][52][53][web 6][note 8] Paul draws on several interpretative frames to solve this problem, but most inportantly, his own experience and understanding.[54] The kerygma from 1:Cor.15:3-5 refers to two mythologies: the greek myth of the noble dead, to which the Maccabean notion of martyrdom and dying for ones people is related;[note 9] and the Jewish myth of the persecuted sage or righteous man, c.q. the "story of the child of wisdom."[55][56] The notion of 'dying for' refers to this martyrdom and persecution.[57][note 3] 'Dying for our sins' refers to the problem of gentile Torah-observers, who, despite their faithfulness, cannot fully observe commandments, including circomsision, and are therefore 'sinners', excluded from God's convenant. [58] Jesus' death and resurrection solved this problem of the exclusion of the gentles from God's convenant, as indicated by Rom 3:21-26.[59]

According to E.P. Sanders, who initiated the socalled New Perspective on Paul, Paul saw the faithfull redeemed by particpation in Jesus' death and rising. Though "Jesus’ death substituted for that of others and thereby freed believers from sin and guilt," a metaphor derived from "ancient sacrificial theology,"[web 8][note 3] the essence of Paul's writing is not in the "legal terms" regarding the expiation of sin, but the act of "participation in Christ through dying and rising with him."[60][note 10] According to Sanders, "those who are baptized into Christ are baptized into his death, and thus they escape the power of sin [...] he died so that the believers may die with him and consequently live with him."[web 8] James F. McGrath notes that Paul "prefers to use the language of participation. One died for all, so that all died (2 Corinthians 5:14). This is not only different from substitution, it is the opposite of it."[web 7] By this participation in Christ's death and rising, "one receives forgiveness for past offences, is liberated from the powers of sin, and receives the Spirit."[61] Paul insists that salvation is received by the grace of God; according to Sanders, this insistence is in line with Judaism of ca. 200 NCE until 200 CE, which saw God's convenant with Israel as an act of grace of God. Observance of the Law is needed to maintain the convenant, but the convenant is not be earned by observing the Law, but by the grace of God.[web 11]

Several passages from Paul, such as Rom. 3:25,[note 11] are traditionally interpreted as meaning that we are saved by faith in Christ. According to Richard B. Hays,[64] who iniated the socalled "Pistis Christou debate,"[65][note 12] a different reading of these pasagges is also possible.[66][59][67][web 5] The phrase pistis Christou can be translated as 'faith in Christ', that is, salvation by believing in Christ, the traditional interpretation; or as 'faithfulness of Christ', that is, belief "through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ."[68][note 13][web 5] In this view, according to Cobb, Jesus' life and death was not seen by Paul as an atonement, but as a means to participate in faithfulness.[web 5] In this interpretation, Rom. 3:21-26 states that Jesus was faithfull, even to the cost of death, and justified by God for this faithfullness.[59] Those who participate in this faithfulness are equally justified by God, both Jews and gentiles.[59][web 5][note 14] While this view has found support by a range of scholars, it has also been questioned and criticized.[65]

Gospels

In the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as calling for repentance of sin, and stating that blood-sacrifices cannot substitute repentance. [40] Yet, he is also portrayed as "giving His life [as] a ransom for many'," and applying Isaiah 53s "suffering servant" unto himself. The Gospel of John portrays him as the sacrificial Lamb of God, and compares His death to the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb at Pesach.[40]

Classic paradigm

The classic paradigm entails the traditional understandings of the early Church Fathers,[44][45] who developed the themses found in the New Testament.[40]

Ransom from Satan

The ransom theory of atonement says that Christ liberated humanity from slavery to sin and Satan, and thus death, by giving his own life as a ransom sacrifice to Satan, swapping the life of the perfect (Jesus), for the lives of the imperfect (humans). It entails the idea that God deceived the devil,[69] and that Satan, or death, had "legitimate rights"[69] over sinful souls in the afterlife, due to the fall of man and inherited sin. During the first millennium CE, the ransom theory of atonement was the dominant metaphor for atonement, both in eastern and western Christianity, until it was replaced in the west by Anselmus' satisfaction theory of atonement.[70]

In one version of the idea of deception, Satan attempted to take Jesus' soul after he had died, but in doing so over-extended his authority, as Jesus had never sinned. As a consequence, Satan lost his authority completely, and all humanity gained freedom. In another version, God entered into a deal with Satan, offering to trade Jesus' soul in exchange for the souls of all people, but after the trade, God raised Jesus from the dead and left Satan with nothing. Other versions held that Jesus' divinity was masked by his human form, so Satan tried to take Jesus’ soul without realizing that his divinity would destroy Satan's power. Another idea is that Jesus came to teach how not to sin and Satan, in anger with this, tried to take his soul.

The ransom theory was first clearly enunciated by Irenaeus (c.130–c.202),[71] who was an outspoken critic of Gnosticism, but borrowed ideas from their dualistic worldview.[72] In this worldview, humankind is under the power of the Demiurg, a lesser God who has created the world. Yet, humans have a spark of the true divine nature within them, which can be liberated by gnosis (knowledge) of this divine spark. This knowledge is revealed by the Logos, "the very mind of the supreme God," who entered the world in the person of Jesus. Nevertheless, the Logos could not simply undo the power of the Demiurg, and had to hide his real identity, appearing as a physical form, thereby misleading the Demiurg, and liberating humankind.[72] In Irenaeus' writings, the Demiurge is replaced by the devil, while Justin Martyr had already eqauted Jesus and the Logos.[72]

Origen (184–253) introduced the idea that the devil held legitimate rights over humans, who were bought free by the blood of Christ.[73] He also introduced the notion that the devil was deceived in thinking that he could master the human soul.[74]

Gustaf Aulén reinterpreted the ransom theory in his study Christus Victor (1931),[75] calling it the Christus Victor doctrine, arguing that Christ's death was not a payment to the Devil, but defeated the powers of evil, particularly Satan, which had held humankind in their dominion.[76] According to Pugh, "Ever since [Aulén's] time, we call these patristic ideas the Christus Victor way of seeing the cross."[77]

Recapitulation theory

The recapitulation view, first comprehensively expressed by Irenaeus,[78] went "hand-in-hand" with the ransom theory.[77] It says that Christ succeeds where Adam failed,[79] undoing the wrong that Adam did and, because of his union with humanity, leads humanity on to eternal life, including moral perfection.[80] Theosis ("divinasation") is a "corollary" of the recapitulation.[81]

Objective paradigm

Satisfaction

In the 11th century, Anselm of Canterbury rejected the ransom view and proposed the satisfaction theory of atonement. He allegedly depicted God as a feudal lord[82][note 15] whose honor had been offended by the sins of humankind. In this view, people needed salvation from the divine punishment that these offences would bring, since nothing they could do could repay the honor debt. Anselm held that Christ had infinitely honored God through his life and death and that Christ could repay what humanity owed God, thus satisfying the offence to God's honor and doing away with the need for punishment. When Anselm proposed the satisfaction view, it was immediately criticized by Peter Abelard.

Penal substitution

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformers reinterpreted Anselm's satisfaction theory of salvation within a legal paradigm. In the legal system, offences required punishment, and no satisfaction could be given to avert this need. They proposed a theory known as penal substitution, in which Christ takes the penalty of people's sin as their substitute, thus saving people from God's wrath against sin. Penal substitution thus presents Jesus saving people from the divine punishment of their past wrongdoings. However, this salvation is not presented as automatic. Rather, a person must have faith in order to receive this free gift of salvation. In the penal substitution view, salvation is not dependent upon human effort or deeds.

The penal substitution paradigm of salvation is widely held among Protestants, who often consider it central to Christianity. However, it has also been widely critiqued.[83][84][85][86] Advocates of the New Perspective on Paul also argue that many New Testament books by Paul the Apostle used to support the theory of penal substitution should be interpreted differently.

Moral government theory

The "moral government theory" teaches that Christ suffered for humanity so that God could forgive humans without punishing them while still maintaining divine justice. It is traditionally taught in Arminian circles that draw primarily from the works of Hugo Grotius.

Subjective paradigm

Moral transformation

The "moral influence theory of atonement" was developed, or most notably propagated, by Abelard (1079-1142),[87][88][note 16] as an alternative to Anselm's satisfaction theory.[87] Abelard not only "rejected the idea of Jesus' death as a ransom paid to the devil",[91][88] which turned the Devil into a rival god,[88] but also objected to the idea that Jesus' death was a "debt paid to God's honor".[91] He also objected to the emphasis on God's judgment, and the idea that God changed his mind after the sinner accepted Jesus' sacrificial death, which was not easily reconcilable with the idea of "the perfect, impassible God [who] does not change".[91][92] Abelard focused on changing man's perception of God as not offended, harsh, and judgemental, but as loving.[91] According to Abelard, "Jesus died as the demonstration of God's love", a demonstration which can change the hearts and minds of the sinners, turning back to God.[91][93]

During the Protestant Reformation in Western Christianity, the majority of the Reformers strongly rejected the moral influence view of the atonement in favor of penal substitution, a highly forensic modification of the honor-oriented Anselmian satisfaction model. Fausto Sozzini's Socinian arm of the Reformation maintained a belief in the moral influence view of the atonement. Socinianism was an early form of Unitarianism, and the Unitarian Church today maintains a moral influence view of the atonement, as do many liberal Protestant theologians of the modern age.[94]

During the 18th century, versions of the moral influence view found overwhelming support among German theologians, most notably the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant.[95] In the 19th and 20th century, it has been popular among liberal Protestant thinkers in the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches, including the Anglican theologian Hastings Rashdall. A number of English theological works in the last hundred years have advocated and popularized the moral influence theory of atonement.[96][97]

A strong division has remained since the Reformation between liberal Protestants (who typically adopt a moral influence view) and conservative Protestants (who typically adopt a penal substitutionary view). Both sides believe that their position is taught by the Bible.[96][98][note 17]

Moral example theory

A related theory, the "moral example theory", was developed by Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) in his work De Jesu Christo servatore (1578). He rejected the idea of "vicarious satisfaction".[note 18] According to Socinus, Jesus' death offers us a perfect example of self-sacrifical dedication to God."[93]

A number of theologians see "example" (or "exemplar") theories of the atonement as variations of the moral influence theory.[99] Wayne Grudem, however, argues that "Whereas the moral influence theory says that Christ's death teaches us how much God loves us, the example theory says that Christ's death teaches us how we should live."[100] Grudem identifies the Socinians as supporters of the example theory.

Other theories

Embracement theory

This approach, while acknowledging the other theories, also sees the Divine voluntary self-giving as the ultimate embracement of humanity in its ultimate act of sin, viz, deicide, or the murder of God, thus canceling sin on the cross.[101][note 19]

Shared atonement theory

In the "shared atonement" theory the atonement is spoken of as shared by all. To wit, God sustains the Universe. Therefore, if Jesus was God in human form, when he died, we all died with him, and when he rose from the dead, we all rose with him.[102][103]

Compatibility of differing theories

Some theologians say that "various biblical understandings of the atonement need not conflict".[104] Reformed theologian J. I. Packer, for example, although he maintains that "penal substitution is the mainstream, historic view of the church and the essential meaning of the Atonement... Yet with penal substitution at the center", he also maintains that "Christus Victor and other Scriptural views of atonement can work together to present a fully orbed picture of Christ's work".[104] J. Kenneth Grider, speaking from a governmental theory perspective, says that the governmental theory can incorporate within itself "numerous understandings promoted in the other major Atonement theories", including ransom theory, elements of the "Abelardian 'moral influence' theory", vicarious aspects of the atonement, etc.[105]

Anglican theologian Oliver Chase Quick described differing theories as being of value, but also denied that any particular theory was fully true, saying, 'if we start from the fundamental and cardinal thought of God's act of love in Jesus Christ ... I think we can reach a reconciling point of view, from which each type of theory is seen to make its essential contribution to the truth, although no one theory, no any number of theories, can be sufficient to express its fullness.'[106]

Others say that some models of the atonement naturally exclude each other. James F. McGrath, for example, talking about the atonement, says that 'Paul ... prefers to use the language of participation. One died for all, so that all died (2 Corinthians 5:14). This is not only different from substitution, it is the opposite of it.'[107] Similarly, Mark M. Mattison, in his article The Meaning of the Atonement says, 'Substitution implies an "either/or"; participation implies a "both/and."[108] J. Kenneth Grider, quoted above showing the compatibility of various atonement models with the governmental theory, nevertheless also says that both penal substitution and satisfaction atonement theories are incompatible with the governmental theory.[109]

Confusion of terms

Some confusion can occur when discussing the atonement because the terms used sometimes have differing meanings depending on the contexts in which they are used.[110] For example:

  • Sometimes substitutionary atonement is used to refer to penal substitution alone,[111] when the term also has a broader sense including other atonement models that are not penal.[112]
  • Penal substitution is also sometimes described as a type of satisfaction atonement,[113] but the term 'satisfaction atonement' functions primarily as a technical term to refer particularly to Anselm's theory.[114]
  • Substitutionary and penal themes are found within the Patristic (and later) literature, but they are not used in a penal substitutionary sense until the Reformed period.[115]
  • 'Substitution', as well as potentially referring to specific theories of the atonement (e.g. penal substitution), is also sometimes used in a less technical way—for example, when used in 'the sense that [Jesus, through his death,] did for us that which we can never do for ourselves'.[116]
  • The phrase 'vicarious atonement' is sometimes used as a synonym for penal substitution, and is also sometimes used to describe other, non-penal substitutionary, theories of atonement.[117][118] Care needs to be taken to understand what is being referred to by the various terms used in different contexts.[110][119]

Limited and unlimited atonement

Eastern Christianity

According to Eastern Christian theology, based upon their understanding of the atonement as put forward by Irenaeus recapitulation theory, Jesus' death is a ransom. This restores the relation with God, who is loving and reaches out to humanity, and offers the possibility of theosis c.q. divinization, becoming the kind of humans God wants us to be.

In Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism salvation is seen as participation in the renewal of human nature itself by way of the eternal Word of God assuming the human nature in its fullness. In contrast to Western branches of theology, Orthodox Christians tend to use the word "expiation" with regard to what is accomplished in the sacrificial act. In Orthodox theology, expiation is an act of offering that seeks to change the one making the offering. The Biblical Greek word which is translated both as "propitiation" and as "expiation" is hilasmos, which means "to make acceptable and enable one to draw close to God". Thus the Orthodox emphasis would be that Christ died, not to appease an angry and vindictive Father or to avert the wrath of God upon sinners, but to defeat and secure the destruction of sin and death, so that those who are fallen and in spiritual bondage may become divinely transfigured, and therefore fully human, as their Creator intended; that is to say, human creatures become God in his energies or operations but not in his essence or identity, conforming to the image of Christ and reacquiring the divine likeness (see theosis).[120]

The Orthodox Church further teaches that a person abides in Christ and makes his salvation sure not only by works of love, but also by his patient suffering of various griefs, illnesses, misfortunes and failures.[121][note 20][121]

Catholicism

In Roman Catholicism, atonement is not seen as the acceptance of a legal exchange. In the Catholic theological understanding of salvation, after the Fall, humanity was "wounded by sin", and "stands in need of salvation from God".[122] God invites us to enter into relationship with Him, and grace (Divine help), which is a gift from God, helps us to respond to this invitation.[123] by believing in Christ and the truth of the Catholic Church.[web 12]

Christ died as a satisfaction for human's offense against God's honor, committed by human sinful behavior. Baptism is necessary for salvation.[web 12] It erases original sin, unites the person with Jesus Christ, infuses grace or Divine help, and gives him justification.[web 12][124][125] When one is baptized, one is saved.[web 12] Christ can work apart and before the sacrament of baptism, as desire for eventual baptism is grace enough to be saved, since God is not tied to the salvation of persons by means only of his instituted sacraments.[126] To maintain salvation and grace, one has to perform good works and participate in the sacraments.[web 12]

Venial sin (lesser sin) lessens infused grace.[web 12] Venial sin can be redeemed by taking the Eucharist and performing penance.[web 12] The sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert, and to recover the grace of justification. In some cases, venial sin can also be forgiven by confessing to God alone. This way Christians outside of the Catholic Church, who don't receive the sacrament, can also be saved.[127] Indulgences are also necessary as substitute for the punishment earned by sin; these indulgences can also be applied for the dead.[web 12] A mortal sin makes infused grace and justification lost, and a Sacramental penance is needed to restore grace.[web 12]

Protestantism

Protestant beliefs about salvation
This table summarizes the classical views of three Protestant beliefs about salvation.[128]
Topic Calvinism Lutheranism Arminianism
Human will Total depravity:[129] Humanity possesses "free will",[130] but it is in bondage to sin,[131] until it is "transformed".[132] Original Sin:[129] Humanity possesses free will in regard to "goods and possessions", but is sinful by nature and unable to contribute to its own salvation. [133][134][135] Humanity possesses freedom from necessity, but not "freedom from sin” unless enabled by "prevenient grace".[136]
Election Unconditional election. Unconditional election.[129][137] Conditional election in view of foreseen faith or unbelief.[138]
Justification and atonement Justification by faith alone. Various views regarding the extent of the atonement.[139] Justification for all men,[140] completed at Christ's death and effective through faith alone.[141][142][143][144] Justification made possible for all through Christ's death, but only completed upon choosing faith in Jesus.[145]
Conversion Monergistic,[146] through the means of grace, irresistible. Monergistic,[147][148] through the means of grace, resistible.[149] Synergistic, resistible due to the common grace of free will.[150]
Perseverance and apostasy Perseverance of the saints: the eternally elect in Christ will certainly persevere in faith.[151] Falling away is possible,[152] but God gives gospel assurance.[153][154] Preservation is conditional upon continued faith in Christ; with the possibility of a final apostasy.[155]


In Protestantism, grace is the result of God's initiative without any regard whatsoever to the one initiating the works, and no one can merit the grace of God by performing rituals, good works, asceticism, or meditation. Broadly speaking, Protestants hold to the five solae of the Reformation, which declare that salvation is attained by grace alone in Christ alone through faith alone for the Glory of God alone as told in Scripture alone.[citation needed]

Most Protestants believe that salvation is achieved through God's grace alone, and once salvation is secured in the person, good works will be a result of this, allowing good works to often operate as a signifier for salvation. Some Protestants, such as Lutherans and the Reformed, understand this to mean that God saves solely by grace, and that works follow as a necessary consequence of saving grace. Others, such as Methodists (and other Arminians), believe that salvation is by faith alone, but that salvation can be forfeited if it is not accompanied by continued faith, and the works that naturally follow from it. A minority rigidly believe that salvation is accomplished by faith alone without any reference to works whatsoever, including the works that may follow salvation (see Free Grace theology).

Lutheranism

Lutherans believe that God has justified all sinners, that is, he has declared them "not guilty" for the sake of Christ. Lutheran churches believe that this is the central message in the Bible upon which the very existence of the churches depends. In Lutheranism, it is a message relevant to people of all races and social levels, of all times and places, for "the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men" (Romans 5:18). All need forgiveness of sins before God, and Scripture proclaims that all have been justified, for "the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18).[156]

Lutheranism teaches that individuals receive this free gift of forgiveness and salvation not on the basis of their own works, but only through faith (Sola fide):[157]

Saving faith is the knowledge of,[158] acceptance of,[159] and trust[160] in the promise of the Gospel.[161] Even faith itself is seen as a gift of God, created in the hearts of Christians[162] by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word[163] and Baptism.[164] Faith is seen as an instrument that receives the gift of salvation, not something that causes salvation.[165] Thus, Lutherans reject the "decision theology" which is common among modern evangelicals.[166]

Calvinism

Calvinists believe in the predestination of the elect before the foundation of the world. All of the elect necessarily persevere in faith because God keeps them from falling away. Calvinists understand the doctrines of salvation to include the five points of Calvinism, typically arranged in English to form the acrostic "TULIP".[167]

  • "Total depravity", also called "total inability", asserts that as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term "total" in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as possible.)[168] This doctrine is derived from Augustine's explanation of Original Sin.
  • "Unconditional election" asserts that God has chosen from eternity those whom he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those he has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God[169]
  • "Limited atonement", also called "particular redemption" or "definite atonement", asserts that Jesus's substitutionary atonement was definite and certain in its purpose and in what it accomplished. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus's death. Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all. Hence, Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.[170] The doctrine is driven by the Calvinistic concept of the sovereignty of God in salvation and their understanding of the nature of the atonement.
  • "Irresistible grace", also called "efficacious grace", asserts that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that this purposeful influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ."[171]
  • "Perseverance of the saints", or "preservation of the saints", asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return. The word "saints" is used to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not only those who are exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven).[172]

Arminianism

Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity, held by Christian denominations such as the Methodist Church. It is based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609). Like Calvinists, Arminians agree that all people are born sinful and are in need of salvation. Classical Arminians emphasize that God's free grace (or prevenient grace) enables humans to freely respond to or to reject the salvation offered through Christ. Classical Arminians believe that a person's saving relationship with Christ is conditional upon faith, and thus, a person can sever their saving relationship with Christ through persistent unbelief.

The Five Articles of Remonstrance that Arminius's followers formulated in 1610 state the beliefs regarding (I) conditional election, (II) unlimited atonement, (III) total depravity, (IV) total depravity and resistible grace, and (V) possibility of apostasy. However, the fifth article did not completely deny the perseverance of the saints; Arminius said that "I never taught that a true believer can… fall away from the faith… yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of Scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to see, are not of such as kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding."[173] Further, the text of the Articles of Remonstrance says that no believer can be plucked from Christ's hand, and the matter of falling away, "loss of salvation" required further study before it could be taught with any certainty.

Methodism

Methodism falls squarely in the tradition of substitutionary atonement, though it is linked with Christus Victor and moral influence theories.[174] Methodism also emphasizes a participatory nature in atonement, in which the Methodist believer spiritually dies with Christ as He dies for humanity.[174]

Methodism affirms the doctrine of justification by faith, but in Wesleyan-Arminian theology, justification refers to "pardon, the forgiveness of sins", rather than "being made actually just and righteous", which Methodists believe is accomplished through sanctification.[30][note 21][175] John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Churches, taught that the keeping of the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments,[176] as well as engaging in the works of piety and the works of mercy, were "indispensible for our sanctification".[177]

Methodist soteriology emphasizes the importance of the pursuit of holiness in salvation,[178] a concept best summarized in a quote by Methodist evangelist Phoebe Palmer who stated that "justification would have ended with me had I refused to be holy."[179] Thus, for Methodists, "true faith...cannot subsist without works".[177]

While "faith is essential for a meaningful relationship with God, our relationship with God also takes shape through our care for people, the community, and creation itself."[180] Methodism, inclusive of the holiness movement, thus teaches that "justification [is made] conditional on obedience and progress in sanctification",[179] emphasizing "a deep reliance upon Christ not only in coming to faith, but in remaining in the faith."[181]

Universalism

Christian Universalists agree with both Calvinists and Arminians that everyone is born in sin and in need of salvation. They also believe that one is saved by Jesus Christ. However, they emphasize that judgment in hell upon sinners is of limited duration, and that God uses judgment to bring sinners to repentance.[182]

Churches of Christ

The Churches of Christ are autonomous Christian congregations, and one of several branches to develop out of the American Restoration Movement. They claim biblical precedent for their doctrine and practice, and trace their heritage back to the early Christian church as described in the New Testament.

Western Churches of Christ are strongly anti-Calvinist in their understanding of salvation, and generally present conversion as "obedience to the proclaimed facts of the gospel rather than as the result of an emotional, Spirit-initiated conversion."[183]

Some churches of Christ hold the view that humans of accountable age are lost because of their sins.[184] These lost souls can be redeemed because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offered himself as the atoning sacrifice.[184] Children too young to understand right from wrong, and make a conscious choice between the two, are believed to be innocent of sin.[184][185] The age when this occurs is generally believed to be around 13.[185]

Beginning in the 1960s, many preachers began placing more emphasis on the role of grace in salvation, instead of focusing exclusively implementing all of the New Testament commands and examples.[186]

The Churches of Christ argue that since faith and repentance are necessary, and that the cleansing of sins is by the blood of Christ through the grace of God, baptism is not an inherently redeeming ritual.[187][188][189] One author describes the relationship between faith and baptism this way, "Faith is the reason why a person is a child of God; baptism is the time at which one is incorporated into Christ and so becomes a child of God" (italics are in the source).[190] Baptism is understood as a confessional expression of faith and repentance,[190] rather than a "work" that earns salvation.[190]

Other

The New Church (Swedenborgian)

According to the doctrine of The New Church, as explained by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), there is no such thing as substitutionary atonement as is generally understood. Swedenborg's account of atonement has much in common with the Christus Victor doctrine, which refers to a Christian understanding of the Atonement which views Christ's death as the means by which the powers of evil, which held humanity under their dominion, were defeated.[76] It is a model of the atonement that is dated to the Church Fathers,[191] and it, along with the related ransom theory, was the dominant theory of the atonement for a thousand years.

Jehovah's Witnesses

According to Jehovah's witnesses, atonement for sins comes only through the life, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus was the "second Adam", being the pre-existent and sinless Son of God who became the human Messiah of Israel, and that he came to undo Adamic sin.[192][193][194][195][196][197]

Witnesses believe that the sentence of death given to Adam and subsequently his offspring by God required an equal substitute or ransom sacrifice of a perfect man. They believe that salvation is possible only through Jesus' ransom sacrifice,[198] and that individuals cannot be reconciled to God until they repent of their sins, and then call on the name of God through Jesus.[199] Salvation is described as a free gift from God, but is said to be unattainable without obedience to Christ and good works that are prompted by faith. According to their teaching, the works prove faith is genuine.[200][201] "Preaching the good news" is said to be one of the works necessary for salvation, both of themselves and those to whom they preach.[202] They believe that people in the "last days" can be "saved" by identifying Jehovah's Witnesses as God's theocratic organization, and by serving God as a part of it.[203]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the Book of Mormon the prophet Amulek teaches that through the "great and last sacrifice" of the Son of God, "he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name"[204] There are two kinds of salvation, conditional and unconditional. Unconditional salvation means that the atonement of Jesus Christ redeems all humanity from the chains of death and they are resurrected to their perfect frames. Conditional salvation of the righteous comes by grace coupled with strict obedience to Gospel principles, in which those who have upheld the highest standards and are committed to the covenants and ordinances of God, will inherit the highest heaven. There is no need for infant baptism. Christ's atonement completely resolved the consequence from the fall of Adam of spiritual death for infants, young children and those of innocent mental capacity who die before an age of self-accountability, hence all these are resurrected to eternal life in the resurrection. However, baptism is required of those who are deemed by God to be accountable for their actions (Moroni 8:10-22)

The United Pentecostal Church

Oneness Pentecostals teach that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the only means by which atonement can be obtained for dying humanity, and which makes the free gift of God's salvation possible. They believe that all must put faith in the propitiatory work of Christ to gain everlasting life. According to United Pentecostal theology, this saving faith is more than just mental assent or intellectual acceptance, or even verbal profession, but must include trust, appropriation, application, action, and obedience. They contend that water baptism is one of the works of faith and obedience necessary for Christ's sacrificial atonement to be efficacious.[205]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Definition of salvation in Christianity:
    * Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. 1989: "The saving of the soul; the deliverance from sin and its consequences"
    * Michael J. Murray, Michael Rea (2012): "[Atonement] presupposes that saving human beings from death and separation from God primarily involves atoning for sin rather than (say) delivering human beings from some kind of bondage, repairing human nature, or something else. In the New Testament we find various terms and phrases (in addition to ‘salvation’) used to characterize or describe what the work of Jesus accomplished on behalf of humanity—e.g., justification, redemption or ransom, reconciliation, deliverance from sin, re-creation or rebirth, the offering of an atoning sacrifice, abundant life, and eternal life. Obviously these terms are not all synonymous; so part of the task of an overall theology of salvation—a soteriology—is to sort out the relations among these various terms and phrases (is salvation simply to be identified with eternal life, for example?), to determine which are to be taken literally and which are mere metaphors, and to explain which effects have been brought about by Jesus' life, which by his death, which by his resurrection, and so on."[1]
    * Anselm Kyongsuk Min: "At the heart of Christian faith is the reality and hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Christian faith is faith in the God of salvation revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian tradition has always equated this salvation with the transcendent, eschatological fulfillment of human existence in a life freed from sin, finitude, and mortality and united with the triune God. This is perhaps the non-negotiable item of Christian faith. What has been a matter of debate is the relation between salvation and our activities in the world."[3]
  2. ^ Sins in Judaism consist of different grades of severity:[web 1]
    • The lightest is the ḥeṭ, ḥaṭṭa'ah, or ḥaṭṭat (lit. "fault," "shortcoming," "misstep"), an infraction of a commandment committed in ignorance of the existence or meaning of that command.
    • The second kind is the awon, a breach of a minor commandment committed with a full knowledge of the existence and nature of that commandment (bemezid).
    • The gravest kind is the pesha or mered, a presumptuous and rebellious act against God. Its worst form is the resha, such an act committed with a wicked intention.
  3. ^ a b c d According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), "The Mishnah says that sins are expiated (1) by sacrifice, (2) by repentance at death or on Yom Kippur, (3) in the case of the lighter transgressions of the positive or negative precepts, by repentance at any time [...] The graver sins, according to Rabbi, are apostasy, heretical interpretation of the Torah, and non-circumcision (Yoma 86a). The atonement for sins between a man and his neighbor is an ample apology (Yoma 85b)."[web 1]

    The Jewish Virual Library writes: "Another important concept [of sacrifices] is the element of substitution. The idea is that the thing being offered is a substitute for the person making the offering, and the things that are done to the offering are things that should have been done to the person offering. The offering is in some sense "punished" in place of the offerer. It is interesting to note that whenever the subject of Karbanot is addressed in the Torah, the name of G-d used is the four-letter name indicating G-d's mercy."[web 9]

    The Jewish Encyclopedia further writes: "Most efficacious seemed to be the atoning power of suffering experienced by the righteous during the Exile. This is the idea underlying the description of the suffering servant of God in Isa. liii. 4, 12, Hebr. [...] of greater atoning power than all the Temple sacrifices was the suffering of the elect ones who were to be servants and witnesses of the Lord (Isa. xlii. 1-4, xlix. 1-7, l. 6). This idea of the atoning power of the suffering and death of the righteous finds expression also in IV Macc. vi. 27, xvii. 21-23; M. Ḳ. 28a; Pesiḳ. xxvii. 174b; Lev. R. xx.; and formed the basis of Paul's doctrine of the atoning blood of Christ (Rom. iii. 25)."[web 10]
  4. ^ Methodism:
    * Ted Peters (2015): "Justification is not enough for the Methodists. The Christian life cannot get along without transformation as well. Transformation is accomplished through the process of sanctification. "The one [justification] implies what God does for us through his Son, the other [sanctifiation] he works in us by his Spirit." The spiritual life of the Methodist ends up reiterating what the Roman Catholics had deemed so important, namely transformation."[29]
    Walter E. Elwell (2001): "This balance is most evident in Wesley's understanding of faith and works, justification and sanctification [...] Wesley, in a sermon entitled "Justification by Faith", makes an attempt to define the term accurately. First, he states what justification is not. It is not being made actually just and righteous (that is sanctification). It is not being cleared of the accusations of Satan, nor of the law, nor even of God. We have sinned, so the accusation stands. Justification implies pardon, the forgiveness of sins [...] Ultimately for the true Wesleyan salvation is completed by our return to original righteousness. This is done by the work of the Holy Spirit [...] The Wesleyan tradition insists that grace is not contrasted with law but with the works of the law. Wesleyans remind us that Jesus came to fulfill, not destroy the law. God made us in his perfect image, and he wants that image restored. He wants to return us to a full and perfect obedience through the process of sanctification [...] Good works follow after justification as its inevitable fruit. Wesley insisted that Methodists who did not fulfill all righteousness deserved the hottest place in the lake of fire."[30]
  5. ^ The earliest Christian writings give several titles to Jesus, such as Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, and Kyrios, which were all derived from the Hebrew scriptures.[web 2][41]
  6. ^ Karl Barth notes a range of alternative themes: forensic (we are guilty of a crime, and Christ takes the punishment), financial (we are indebted to God, and Christ pays our debt) and cultic (Christ makes a sacrifice on our behalf). For various cultural reasons, the oldest themes (honor and sacrifice) prove to have more depth than the more modern ones (payment of a debt, punishment for a crime). But in all these alternatives, the understanding of atonement has the same structure. Human beings owe something to God that we cannot pay. Christ pays it on our behalf. Thus God remains both perfectly just (insisting on a penalty) and perfectly loving (paying the penalty himself). A great many Christians would define such a substitutionary view of the atonement as simply part of what orthodox Christians believe.[47]
  7. ^ Atonement:
    Briscoe and Ogilvie (2003): "Paul says that Christ's ransom price is his blood."[49]
    * Cobb: "The question is whether Paul thought that God sacrificed Jesus to atone for human sins. During the past thousand years, this idea has often been viewed in the Western church as at the heart of Christianity, and many of those who uphold it have appealed to Paul as its basis [...] In fact, the word "atonement" is lacking in many standard translations. The King James Translation uses "propitiation", and the Revised Standard Version uses "expiation." The American Translation reads: "For God showed him publicly dying as a sacrifice of reconciliation to be taken advantage of through faith." The Good News Bible renders the meaning as: "God offered him, so that by his sacrificial death he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him." Despite this variety, and the common avoidance of the word "atonement," all these translations agree with the New Revised Standard Version in suggesting that God sacrificed Jesus so that people could be reconciled to God through faith. All thereby support the idea that is most directly formulated by the use of the word "atonement."[web 5]
  8. ^ Dunn quotes Stendahl: "Cf Stendahl, Paul among Jews and Gentiles, passim-e.g "... a doctrine of faith was hammered out by Paul for the very specific and limited pupose of defending the rights of Gentile converts to be full and genuine heirs to the promise of God to Israel"(p.2)"[52]

    Stephen Westerholm: "For Paul, the question that “justification by faith” was intended to answer was, “On what terms can Gentiles gain entrance to the people of God?” Bent on denying any suggestion that Gentiles must become Jews and keep the Jewish law, he answered, “By faith—and not by works of the (Jewish) law.”"[web 6] Westerholm refers to: Krister Stendahl, The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West, Harvard Theological Review 56 (1963), 199–215; reprinted in Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles and Other Essays (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), 78–96.

    Westerholm quotes Sanders: "Sanders noted that “the salvation of the Gentiles is essential to Paul’s preaching; and with it falls the law; for, as Paul says simply, Gentiles cannot live by the law (Gal. 2.14)” (496). On a similar note, Sanders suggested that the only Jewish “boasting” to which Paul objected was that which exulted over the divine privileges granted to Israel and failed to acknowledge that God, in Christ, had opened the door of salvation to Gentiles."
  9. ^ James F. McGrath refers to 4 Maccabees 6, "which presents a martyr praying “Be merciful to your people, and let our punishment suffice for them. Make my blood their purification, and take my life in exchange for theirs” (4 Maccabees 6:28-29). Clearly there were ideas that existed in the Judaism of the time that helped make sense of the death of the righteous in terms of atonement."[web 7]
  10. ^ Jordan Cooper: "Sanders sees Paul’s motifs of salvation as more participationist than juristic. The reformation overemphasized the judicial categories of forgiveness and escape from condemnation, while ignoring the real heart of salvation, which is a mystical participation in Christ. Paul shows this in his argument in his first epistle to the Corinthians when arguing against sexual immorality. It is wrong because it affects one’s union with Christ by uniting himself to a prostitute. Sin is not merely the violation of an abstract law. This participationist language is also used in Corinthians in the discussion of the Lord’s Supper wherein one participates in the body and blood of Christ."[web 11]
  11. ^ Stubbs: Rom 3:22, 26; Gal. 2:16, 20; 3:22, 26; Phil. 3:9; Eph. 3:12, 4:13;[62] Tonstad: Rom 1:17; 3:21, 22, 25; Gal 3:23, 25[63]
  12. ^ See also:
    * Arland J. Hultgren, Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Commentary, Appendix 3: "Pistis Christou: Faith in or of Christ?"
    * Pistis Christou Debate Timeline
  13. ^ Still, Longenecker (2014): "For many interpreters, certain passages within Paul's letters take on a much fuller theological dimension when they are seen to include a reference to the faith(fulnes) of Jesus Christ. In a passage like Rom 3:21-26, for instance, the inbreaking of God's faithful righteousness is not simply "to all who believe," but is to all who believe "through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ"."[68]
  14. ^ Cobb notes that, in this view, Paul did not propagate a moral influence theory, but something more: "Jesus saves us by being radically faithful. This faithfulness shows us the true character of God's justice. This whole passage emphasizes God's disclosing and demonstrating this paradoxical justice that would more typically be called mercy. The disclosure transforms the relation of God and the world from one of wrath of one of love. Human participation is this new transformed situation is by faithfulness. This faithfulness is a participation in the faithfulness of Jesus. God views those who participate in Jesus' faithfulness in terms of the justice to which they thereby attain rather than in terms of their continuing sinfulness. This participation in Jesus' faithfulness entails readiness to suffer with Jesus. In baptism we participate in Jesus' death and burial. By thus being united with Jesus, the faithful live in confidence that they will rise with him and share in his glory."[web 5]
  15. ^ Recently, this claim has been criticized as a Straw man.[citation needed]
  16. ^ Pugh notes that "the very earliest Patristic writings [...] lean towards a moralistic interpretation of the cross,[89] but rejects the idea that this constiruted a full-fledged theory of moral influence of atonement. He mentions A. J. Wallace and R. D. Rusk (2011), Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation as a "recent attempt to prove at legth that 'moral transformation' was 'the original Christian paradigm of salvation.' This work consists of a totally one-sided presentation of biblical and historical data."[90]
    According to Beilby and Eddy, subjective theories, of which Abelard's is one, emphasize God's love for humanity, and focus on changing man's attitude.[88] According to Beilby and Eddy, "[a]ny New Testament text that proclaim's God's love for humanity and consequent desire to save sinners can be brought forth as evidence for this interpretation of the atonement."[88]
  17. ^ William C. Placher: "Debates about how Christ saves us have tended to divide Protestants into conservatives who defended some form of substitutionary atonement theory and liberals who were more apt to accept a kind of moral influence theory. Both those approaches were about 900 years old. Recently, new accounts of Christ's salvific work have been introduced or reintroduced, and the debates have generally grown angrier, at least from the liberal side. Those who defended substitutionary atonement were always ready to dismiss their opponents as heretics; now some of their opponents complain that a focus on substitutionary atonement leads to violence against women and to child abuse."
  18. ^ Christ suffering for, or punished for, the sinners.
  19. ^ Domenic Marbaniang: "The depth of estrangement and contortion was manifest in the kind of death administered: the death of the cross. Yet, the real story is not that the world rejected Him; the real story is that He was willing to let the world reject Him. Divine self-emptying, divine servanthood, and divine crucifixion are powerful themes that shock the philosophy of religion. Nietzsche called the greatest of all sins to be the murder of God (deicide). There was nothing more sinful than that. On the reverse, the greatest of all righteousness fulfilled was in the self-giving of the Son of God. This self-giving brought an end to the history of hostility between man and God. It cancelled all debts. Man had committed the greatest of all crimes, and God had allowed it to be done to Him in the ultimate divine sacrifice. The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was. The one act of righteousness by the Son of God nullified forever the writ of accusation against all humanity."[101]
  20. ^ (Luke 16:19-31, Mark 8:31-38, Romans 6:3-11, Hebrews 12:1-3, Galatians 6:14).
  21. ^ Elwell (2001): "This balance is most evident in Wesley's understanding of faith and works, justification and sanctification [...] Wesley himself in a sermon entitled "Justification by Faith" makes an attempt to define the term accurately. First, he states what justification is not. It is not being made actually just and righteous (that is sanctification). It is not being cleared of the accusations of Satan, nor of the law, nor even of God. We have sinned, so the accusation stands. Justification implies pardon, the forgiveness of sins. ... Ultimately for the true Wesleyan salvation is completed by our return to original righteousness. This is done by the work of the Holy Spirit. ... The Wesleyan tradition insists that grace is not contrasted with law but with the works of the law. Wesleyans remind us that Jesus came to fulfill, not destroy the law. God made us in his perfect image, and he wants that image restored. He wants to return us to a full and perfect obedience through the process of sanctification [...] Good works follow after justification as its inevitable fruit. Wesley insisted that Methodists who did not fulfill all righteousness deserved the hottest place in the lake of fire.[30]

References

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  107. ^ James F. McGrath, 'What's Wrong With Penal Substitution?' on Exploring Our Matrix Friday, December 14, 2007 (accessed 30/12/10)
  108. ^ Mark M. Mattison, The Meaning of the Atonement (accessed 30/12/10). See section entitled Substitution or Participation?
  109. ^ J. Kenneth Grider, The Governmental Theory: 'At the same time, [the governmental theory] is not so eclectic that it has any affinity for the main elements of two of the major Atonement theories: the payment of a debt in the `satisfaction' theory; and Christ's being punished, as in the `punishment' theory'; '...the governmental theory cannot incorporate into itself the understanding that Christ paid the penalty for us, or that He paid a debt for us...'.
  110. ^ a b J. K. Mozley, The doctrine of the atonement (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916), p. 94-5: 'The same or similar words may point to the same or similar ideas; but not necessarily so, since a word which has been at one time the expression of one idea, may, to a less or greater extent, alter its meaning under the influence of another idea. Hence it follows that the preservation of a word does not, as a matter of course, involve the preservation of the idea which the word was originally intended to convey. In such respects no doctrine demands more careful treatment than that of the Atonement.'
  111. ^ Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, It Is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010), p. 15: 'What we hope to do in the fourteen expositional messages in this book is simply to show that the doctrine of penal substitution is clearly taught in the Bible' -- compare with title of book: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement.
  112. ^ Mark David Baker (ed), Proclaiming the scandal of the cross (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006): '...many assume that "substitutionary atonement" is merely a shorthand way to refer to "penal substitutionary atonement." [...] Substitution is a broad term that one can use with reference to a variety of metaphors.'
  113. ^ Derek Flood, Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor (accessed 31/12/10): 'This hurtful image of God is largely based on a way of understanding the cross that is known as "Vicarious Atonement", "Penal Substitution", or "Satisfaction-Doctrine".'
  114. ^ John Launchbury, Change us, not God (WCF Publishing, 2009), p. 7: '...Anselm...introduced the Satisfaction Theory'
  115. ^ D. Flood, 'Substitutionary atonement and the Church Fathers' in Evangelical Quarterly 82.2 (2010), p. 141,143,153
  116. ^ Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan & Co, 1956), p. 31. Compare J. I. Packer: 'It would ... clarify discussion if all who hold that Jesus by dying did something for us which we needed to do but could not, would agree that they are regarding Christ’s death as substitutionary, and differing only on the nature of the action which Jesus performed in our place and also, perhaps, on the way we enter into the benefit that flows from it.' ('What did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution' [1973])
  117. ^ D. W. Snyder Belousek, Atonement, Justice, and Peace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), p. 96 n. 2: 'James states that "historic orthodox Christianity" rests upon the doctrine of "vicarious atonement." As such, we agree -- that Christ died "for us" is the ancient apostolic faith reflected in the orthodox creeds. But as to the vicarious character of this "for us," James narrows the idea of vicarious atonement to penal substitution...'.
  118. ^ Theology and Narrative (Oxford: OUP, 1993), p. 248: 'Nor does Frei ever explain what he means by the word "vicarious," which is especially puzzling in light of his apparent rejection of the notion (or at least one notion) of "penal substitution," with which the term "vicarious" is often synonymous...'
  119. ^ Cf. D. Flood, 'Substitutionary Atonement and the Church Fathers' in Evangelical Quarterly 82.2 (2010), p. 144: 'It is not enough to simply identify substitutionary or even penal themes in the writings of the church fathers, and assume that this is an endorsement of the Reformed understanding of penal substitution. Instead, one must look at how a patristic author is using these concepts within their own understanding of the atonement and ask: what salvic purpose does Christ bearing our suffering, sin, and death have for this author? Rather than simply ‘proof-texting’ we need to seek to understand how these statements fit into the larger thought-world of an author. In short, it is a matter of context. The main task of this essay, therefore, is to explore the context in which the church fathers understood substitutionary atonement.'
  120. ^ Fr. James Bernstein, author of Surprised by Christ: My journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity, The Illumined Heart Podcast, May 22, 2008. See also Clark Carlton. The Faith: Understanding Orthodox Christianity - An Orthodox Catechism (Salisbury, MA) Regina Orthodox Press, 1997. 139-146.
  121. ^ a b "struggler.org". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26.
  122. ^ "Solemni Hac Liturgia (Credo of the People of God) (June 30, 1968) - Paul VI".
  123. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church - Grace and justification".
  124. ^ Pohle, Joseph. "The Catholic Encyclopedia". Sanctifying Grace. New Advent. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  125. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1992. Vatican City-State. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.
  126. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church".
  127. ^ "Unitatis redintegratio".
  128. ^ Table drawn from, though not copied, from Lange, Lyle W. God So Loved the World: A Study of Christian Doctrine. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2006. p. 448.
  129. ^ a b c "Calvinism and Lutheranism Compared". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2015. Both (Lutherans and Calvinists) agree on the devastating nature of the fall and that man by nature has no power to aid in his conversions...and that election to salvation is by grace. In Lutheranism the German term for election is Gnadenwahl, election by grace--there is no other kind.
  130. ^ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, III.23.2.
  131. ^ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, II.3.5.
  132. ^ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, III.3.6.
  133. ^ WELS Topical Q&A: WELS vs Assembly of God: "[P]eople by nature are dead in their tranbsgressions (sic) and sin and therefore have no ability to decide of Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). We do not choose Christ, rather he chose us (John 15:16) We believe that human beings are purely passive in conversion."
  134. ^ Augsburg Confessional, Article XVIII, Of Free Will, saying: "(M)an's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14); but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received through the Word."
  135. ^ Henry Cole, trans., Martin Luther on the Bondage of the Will (London, T. Bensley, 1823), 66. The controversial term liberum arbitrium was translated "free-will" by Cole. However Ernest Gordon Rupp and Philip Saville Watson, Luther and Erasmus: Free Will and Salvation (Westminister, 1969) chose "free choice" as their translation.
  136. ^ Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace (Oxford University, 2012), 157-158.
  137. ^ The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Lutheran Church, XI. Election. "Predestination" means "God's ordination to salvation".
  138. ^ Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (InterVarsity Press, 2009), 63. “Arminians accepts divine election, [but] they believe it is conditional."
  139. ^ The Westminster Confession, III:6, says that only the "elect" are "effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved." However in his Calvin and the Reformed Tradition (Baker, 2012), 45, Richard A. Muller observes that "a sizeable body of literature has interpreted Calvin as teaching "limited atonement", but "an equally sizeable body . . . [interprets] Calvin as teaching "unlimited atonement".
  140. ^ "Justification / Salvation". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2015. Romans 3:23-24, 5:9, 18 are other passages that lead us to say that it is most appropriate and accurate to say that universal justification is a finished fact. God has forgiven the sins of the whole world whether people believe it or not. He has done more than "made forgiveness possible." All this is for the sake of the perfect substitutionary work of Jesus Christ.
  141. ^ "IV. Justification by Grace through Faith". This We Believe. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Retrieved 5 February 2015. We believe that God has justified all sinners, that is, he has declared them righteous for the sake of Christ. This is the central message of Scripture upon which the very existence of the church depends. It is a message relevant to people of all times and places, of all races and social levels, for "the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men" (Romans 5:18). All need forgiveness of sins before God, and Scripture proclaims that all have been justified, for "the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18). We believe that individuals receive this free gift of forgiveness not on the basis of their own works, but only through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). ... On the other hand, although Jesus died for all, Scripture says that "whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). Unbelievers forfeit the forgiveness won for them by Christ (John 8:24).
  142. ^ Becker, Siegbert W. "Objective Justification" (PDF). Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. p. 1. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  143. ^ "Universal Justification". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Christ paid for all our sins. God the Father has therefore forgiven them. But to benefit from this verdict we need to hear about it and trust in it. If I deposit money in the bank for you, to benefit from it you need to hear about it and use it. Christ has paid for your sins, but to benefit from it you need to hear about it and believe in it. We need to have faith but we should not think of faith as our contribution. It is a gift of God which the Holy Spirit works in us.
  144. ^ Augsburg Confession, Article V, Of Justification. People "cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake. ..."
  145. ^ "Faith is a condition of justification". Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace (Oxford University, 2012), 136.
  146. ^ Paul ChulHong Kang, Justification: The Imputation of Christ's Righteousness from Reformation Theology to the American Great Awakening and the Korean Revivals (Peter Lang, 2006), 70, note 171. Calvin generally defends Augustine’s "monergistic view".
  147. ^ Diehl, Walter A. "The Age of Accountability". Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Retrieved 10 February 2015. In full accord with Scripture the Lutheran Confessions teach monergism. "In this manner, too, the Holy Scriptures ascribe conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal and all the belongs to their efficacious beginning and completion, not to the human powers of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half, nor in any, even the least or most inconsiderable part, but in solidum, that is, entirely, solely, to the divine working and the Holy Ghost" (Trigl. 891, F.C., Sol. Decl., II, 25).
  148. ^ Monergism; thefreedictionary.com
  149. ^ "Calvinism and Lutheranism Compared". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  150. ^ Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (InterVarsity Press, 2009), 18. "Arminian synergism" refers to "evangelical synergism, which affirms the prevenience of grace."
  151. ^ The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch XVII, "Of the Perseverance of the Saints".
  152. ^ "Once saved always saved". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2015. People can fall from faith. The Bible warns, "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). Some among the Galatians had believed for a while, but had fallen into soul-destroying error. Paul warned them, "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace" (Galatians 5:4). In his explanation of the parable of the sower, Jesus says, "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in time of testing they fall away" (Luke 8:13). According to Jesus a person can believe for a while and then fall away. While they believed they possessed eternal salvation, but when they fell from faith they lost God's gracious gift.
  153. ^ "Perseverence of the Saints (Once Saved Always Saved)". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2015. We cannot contribute one speck to our salvation, but by our own arrogance or carelessness we can throw it away. Therefore, Scripture urges us repeatedly to fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 6 and 2 Timothy 4 for example). My sins threaten and weaken my faith, but the Spirit through the gospel in word and sacraments strengthens and preserves my faith. That’s why Lutherans typically speak of God’s preservation of faith and not the perseverance of the saints. The key is not our perseverance but the Spirit’s preservation.
  154. ^ Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Crossway, 1997), 437-438.
  155. ^ “Many Arminians deny the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints." Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Crossway, 1997), 35.
  156. ^ This We Believe - IV. Justification by grace through faith
  157. ^ Keller, Brian R., Believe it or not: You Are Forgiven Through Christ!, p4, "The forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in the gospel as a ready and complete blessing, won by Christ Jesus. Yet, no one receives the benefits of this gospel message without faith. By faith, the individual receives the forgiveness of sins and eternal life."
  158. ^ John 17:3, Luke 1:77,Galatians 4:9, Philippians 3:8, and 1 Timothy 2:4 refer to faith in terms of knowledge.
  159. ^ John 5:46 refers to acceptance of the truth of Christ's teaching, while John 3:36 notes the rejection of his teaching.
  160. ^ John 3:16,36, Galatians 2:16, Romans 4:20-25, 2 Timothy 1:12 speak of trust, confidence, and belief in Christ. John 3:18 notes belief in the name of Christ, and Mark 1:15 notes belief in the gospel.
  161. ^ Engelder, T.E.W., Popular Symbolics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934. pp. 54-5, Part XIV. "Sin"
  162. ^ Ps. 51:10, Engelder, T.E.W., Popular Symbolics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p.57 Part XV. "Conversion", paragraph 78.
  163. ^ John 17:20, Rom. 10:17, Engelder, T.E.W., Popular Symbolics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p.101 Part XXV. "The Church", paragraph 141.
  164. ^ Titus 3:5, Engelder, T.E.W., Popular Symbolics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p.87 Part XXIII. "Baptism", paragraph 118.
  165. ^ Eph. 2:8, Engelder, T.E.W., Popular Symbolics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p.57 Part XV. "Conversion", paragraph 78.
  166. ^ WELS Topical Q&A: Decision Theology, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
  167. ^ The TULIP acrostic first appeared in Loraine Boettner's The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. The names appearing in parentheses, while not forming an acrostic, are offered by Theologian Roger Nicole in Steele's book cited herein, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined.
  168. ^ David Steele and Curtis Thomas, "The Five Points of Calvinism Defined, Defended, Documented," pg.25, "The adjective 'total' does not mean that each sinner is as totally or completely corrupt in his actions and thoughts as it is possible for him to be. Instead, the word 'total' is used to indicate that the "whole" of man's being has been affected by sin."
  169. ^ "Westminster Confession of Faith".
  170. ^ The Five Points of Calvinism. The Calvinist Corner. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  171. ^ Comparison of Calvinism and Arminianism. The-highway.com. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  172. ^ Loraine Boettner. "The Perseverance of the Saints". The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  173. ^ Arminius Writings, I:254
  174. ^ a b Wood, Darren Cushman (2007). "John Wesley's Use of Atonement". The Asbury Journal. 62 (2): 55–70.
  175. ^ Robinson, Jeff (25 August 2015). "Meet a Reformed Arminian". TGC. Retrieved 19 July 2017. Reformed Arminianism’s understanding of apostasy veers from the Wesleyan notion that individuals may repeatedly fall from grace by committing individual sins and may be repeatedly restored to a state of grace through penitence.
  176. ^ Campbell, Ted A. (1 October 2011). Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials, 2nd Edition. Abingdon Press. pp. 40, 68–69. ISBN 9781426753473.
  177. ^ a b Knight III, Henry H. (9 July 2013). "Wesley on Faith and Good Works". AFTE. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  178. ^ Joyner, F. Belton (2007). United Methodist Answers. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780664230395. Jacob Albright, founder of the movement that led to the Evangelical Church flow in The United Methodist Church, got into trouble with some of his Lutheran, Reformed, and Mennonite neighbors because he insisted that salvation not only involved ritual but meant a change of heart, a different way of living.
  179. ^ a b Sawyer, M. James (11 April 2016). The Survivor's Guide to Theology. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 363. ISBN 9781498294058.
  180. ^ Langford, Andy; Langford, Sally (2011). Living as United Methodist Christians: Our Story, Our Beliefs, Our Lives. Abingdon Press. p. 45. ISBN 9781426711930.
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  186. ^ Richard Thomas Hughes and R. L. Roberts, The Churches of Christ, 2nd Edition, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, ISBN 0-313-23312-8, ISBN 978-0-313-23312-8, 345 pages
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  192. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. pp. 144–145.
  193. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach?. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 2005. p. 32.
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  199. ^ The Watchtower, March 15, 1989, p. 31 Call on Jehovah’s Name and Get Away Safe! “The Way of Salvation”
  200. ^ "James Urges Clean and Active Worship", The Watchtower 3/1/83 p. 13, "Faith that does not prompt us to do good works is not genuine and will not result in our salvation."
  201. ^ "Meetings to Help Us Make Disciples", Our Kingdom Ministry, January 1979, p. 2.
  202. ^ The Watchtower, May 15, 2006 pp. 28-29 par. 12
  203. ^ The Watchtower 2/15/83 p. 12 You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?
  204. ^ "Alma 34:14-16".
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Sources

Printed sources

  • Abraham, William J. (2019), Divine Agency and Divine Action, Volume III: Systematic Theology, Oxford University Press
  • Baker, Mark D. (2006), Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of the Atonement, Baker Academic
  • Bartos, Emil (1999), Deification in Eastern Orthodox Theology: An Evaluation and Critique of the Theology of Dumitru Stăniloae, Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs, Paternoster Press, ISBN 978-0-85364-956-4
  • Beilby, James K.; Eddy, Paul R. (2009), The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, InterVarsity Press
  • Briscoe, D. Stuatt; Ogilvie, Lloyd J. (2003), The Preacher's Commentary: Romans Vol. 29, Thomas Nelson
  • Brown, Raymond Edward (2004), An Introduction to New Testament Christology, Paulist Press
  • Charry, Ellen T. (1999), By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine, Oxford University Press
  • Dunn, James D.G. (1982), The New Perspective on Paul. Manson Memprial Lecture, 4 november 1982
  • Elwell, Walter A. (2001), Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library), Baker Publishing Group, ISBN 9781441200303
  • Finlan, Stephen (2004), The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors, Society of Biblical Literature
  • Hays, Richard B. (2002), The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3.1-4.11 (2nd ed.), Eerdmans
  • Holcomb, Justin S. (2017), Christian Theologies of Salvation: A Comparative Introduction, NYU Press
  • Hultgren, Arland J. (2011), Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Commentary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
  • Kapsanis, George (2006), Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life (PDF) (4th ed.), Mount Athos, Greece: Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios, ISBN 978-960-7553-26-3
  • Karkkainen, Veli-Matti (2016), Christology. A Global Introduction, BakerAcademic
  • Cross, F.L.; Livingston, E.A., eds. (1997), "Deification", The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0192116550
  • Mack, Burton L. (1995) [1995], Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth
  • Mack, Burton L. (1997) [1995], Wie schreven het Nieuwe Testament werkelijk? Feiten, mythen en motieven. (Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth), Uitgeverij Ankh-Hermes bv
  • Martyn, J. Louis (2000), "The Apocalyptic Gospel in Galatians", Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, 54 (3): 246–266, doi:10.1177/002096430005400303
  • Min, Anselm Kyongsuk (1989), Dialectic of Salvation: Issues in Theology of Liberation, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-88706-908-6
  • Newman, Jay (1982), Foundations of religious tolerance, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0-8020-5591-0
  • Oxenham, Henry (1865), The Catholic Doctrine of the Atonement, Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green
  • Parry, Robin A. (2004), Universal salvation? The Current Debate, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8028-2764-7
  • Pugh, Ben (2015), Atonement Theories: A Way through the Maze, James Clarke & Co
  • Stendahl, Krister (1963), "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" (PDF), The Harvard Theological Review, 56 (3): 199–215, doi:10.1017/S0017816000024779
  • Still, Todd D.; Longenecker, Bruce W. (2014), Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology, Zondervan
  • Stubs, David L. (2008), "The shape of soteriology and the pistis Christou debate", Scottish Journal of Theology, 61 (2), doi:10.1017/S003693060800392X
  • Tonstad, Sigve K. (2016), God of Sense and Traditions of Non-Sense, Wipf and Stock Publishers
  • Weaver, J. Denny (2001), The Nonviolent Atonement, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

Web-sources

  1. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia, SIN
  2. ^ a b Matt Stefon, Hans J. Hillerbrand, Christology, Encyclopedia Britannica
  3. ^ Bible Gateway, New International Version, 1 Corinthians 15:3
  4. ^ David G. Peterson (2009), Atonement in Paul's writing
  5. ^ a b c d e f John B. Cobb, Did Paul Teach the Doctrine of the Atonement?
  6. ^ a b Stephen Westerholm (2015), The New Perspective on Paul in Review, Direction, Spring 2015 · Vol. 44 No. 1 · pp. 4–15
  7. ^ a b James F. McGrath (2007), What’s Wrong With Penal Substitution?
  8. ^ a b E.P. Sanders, Saint Paul, the Apostle, Encyclopedia Britannica]
  9. ^ Jeewish Virtual Library, Jewish Practices & Rituals: Sacrifices and Offerings (Karbanot)
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  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Matt Slick, Summary of process of salvation in Roman Catholicism, CARM, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

Further reading

General
  • Janowski, Bernd. "Atonement." In The Encyclopedia of Christianity, edited by Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, 152-154. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999. ISBN 0802824137
  • Pugh, Ben (2015), Atonement Theories: A Way through the Maze, James Clarke & Co
Reformed
  • Thomas, G. Michael. The Extent of the Atonement: a Dilemma for Reformed Theology, from Calvin to the Consensus, in series, Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs (Carlisle, Scotland: Paternoster Publishing, 1997) ISBN 0-85364-828-X

External links

This page was last edited on 17 April 2019, at 01:32
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