Unconditional Salvation (Part 3)

Part 2

The previous posts will be hard to believe for some because they want a part to play in their salvation, to have something that they can claim they did to get themselves saved, some condition that they had personally fulfilled. Thus you hear people say things like “I chose God,” “I found God,” “I put my faith in God,”  “I believed the Gospel,” or “I asked Jesus to come into my heart.”

But the good news is the exact opposite of these things!

You didn’t choose God; God chose you.

You didn’t find God; God found You! You were the lost sheep in Jesus’ parable, and he’s the shepherd who searched for and found you.

Your faith doesn’t save you; Jesus’ faith does. Or do you really think that the difference between those who get to spend eternity with Jesus and those who don’t is that the former made superior choices? In that case, we really are saved by our own righteous acts after all!

You didn’t believe the Gospel. You couldn’t; it’s too good to be fully believed. Jesus believed it for you.

You might have asked Jesus to come into your heart, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there until you did so. Indeed, he was there all along, waiting for you to realize it.

From His point of view we were found before we were lost – He found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam. We were given grace before the fall. He was simply waiting for the opportune time in which to appear – in which to reveal what has always been: the reality of our salvation in Christ Jesus. – Andre Rabe

Salvation is always God’s initiative, not people’s, which is religion. Religion will tell you what you must do to achieve salvation, enlightenment, heaven, perfection, happiness, etc., but the Gospel declares what God has done for us to achieve it on our behalf.

The salvation of God is unconditional.

Your efforts are not needed.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Romans 9:16).

Being “born again” is a term used synonymously with being saved. Once again, it is not anything we do that gets us born again; it was caused by Christ’s resurrection. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, emphasis mine). Think about it – who ever made any kind of contribution to their own birth? Nobody. The work fully belongs to the mother.

“Even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5). We were saved when we were dead in our transgressions, not when we decided to turn to God. That is precisely why we were saved by grace (i.e. by what we could never earn and is only according to God’s unmerited favor).

Reconciliation took place when we were still enemies; “…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God…” (Romans 5:10). God didn’t reconcile us after we had chosen to become buddies with him. Even after we were reconciled, we remained enemies (in our own minds) until we realized that God was never our enemy. So reconciliation must have taken place for all humanity (unless you would like to hold to a theory of limited atonement, where God reconciled only those he knew would believe later).

We do not accept Christ into our lives; He has already accepted us into His! Any accepting done on our part is simply accepting the fact that He has already accepted us. – Christian Erickson

If you reject Him, He will reject your rejection of Him. – Andre Rabe

You can exclude yourself, but you can’t stop him from including you. – John Crowder

The New Testament generally credits even repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and belief (Acts 13:48) to the work of God within.

You have no part to play in the actualization of your salvation.

You do, however, have a part in the experience of your salvation. Indeed, it is you who experiences it. It is you and your choices that determine when and how you experience the salvation that Jesus has made fully available to you. Salvation is objectively real independent of us, but subjectively real (i.e. experienced) only through our participation by faith.

…Salvation – or happiness… – is by faith and not by works. Since the repair job is already done, all you have to do is believe – to trust that it’s done – and you’re home free; because except for your unbelief, you were home free already. – Robert Capon

*****

Also see:

Unconditional Salvation (Part 2)

Part 1

Everyone is saved

When I say everyone is saved, I basically mean that no one needs to worry about their eternal destiny; only love lasts forever, most importantly the everlasting love of God.

(Keep in mind, however, that this kind of “salvation” is not what the scriptures speak of when they use the same word (as I explained in the previous post). I am just speaking in terms of how the word “salvation” is currently used among most people who call themselves christians.)

Some people think that when I say that God saved everyone I am saying that God forces everyone to have a relationship with him and is thus a control freak that removes our freedom. (I would say quite the opposite, actually.)

Let me give an analogy. It’s like humanity was drowning in an ocean, some were asking God to save them, some weren’t. But God saved them all! He didn’t refuse to save some just because they didn’t ask him. But the one’s who did not ask for help now have a choice as to whether they will accept the reality that they have been saved. They can continue acting as if they are drowning (although that would be a very poor choice!), but in reality they have been brought onto the ship of his love.

Nevertheless, those who refuse to accept reality cannot remain in their delusional strike forever. Eventually, they will be brought to their senses because they will become hungry. In the same way, all people, created in the image of God, were designed with a natural desire for the ultimate pleasure, God, and a repulsion to everything opposite. Their disgust for the false and their attraction to God will eventually pull them out of their insanity and bring them to recognize things as they really are.

This analogy falls short, however, because nobody was ever really “drowning.” We never needed to be saved from an angry god. God was never required by his nature to punish people for eternity for naughty things they do or forced to give up his loving pursuit of them because, in their ignorance of what God is truly like, they “rejected God,” which, more accurately, was merely a rejection of a certain idea of God.

Not everyone is saved

Speaking in the sense that the scriptures do, however, not everyone is saved. That is, not everyone has experienced deliverance from all negativity in life.

A particularly notable topic concerning salvation in the New Testament is being saved from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. If you have never looked into this and its relation to the scriptures, I would encourage you to do your homework. It will significantly alter the way you read the scriptures. The ignorance among christians concerning this historical event is likely the foremost reason why many confuse passages where this destruction is spoken of as a reference to being saved from eternal damnation.

There’s a difference between being saved and becoming saved. No one needs to become saved. Salvation is freely available for all to live in. But some need to be saved. That is, it would do them well to live in that salvation that is theirs already and act like who they truly are.

People can become something but not act like it. For example, if a prince thinks he is a beggar, he will go around asking people for food and money simply because he is unaware of the reality that those things are already abundantly available to him.

This is why you will read scriptures passages like the following: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Notice how both connect the experience of salvation to consciousness – repenting (changing your mind) and knowing.

God’s desire is that everyone live in and experience the salvation he created for them. This happens by believing the truth that they already have been saved.

True salvation

Ultimately, salvation is not even a status of whether someone is saved or not.

Salvation is a person. 

In the Old Testament people call God their salvation (Psalm 27:1 & Isaiah 12:2) and say that salvation is in God (Jeremiah 3:23) (where everyone happens to be). The name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation,” and Jesus himself says that eternal life is to know him (John 17:3).

Salvation is about experiencing freedom from every negative thing and enjoying relationship with Jesus here and now.

And all humanity is saved – is able to live in the abundant life in Christ.

If you find this post hard to swallow, I think I might know why. Stay tuned for the final post!

Part 3

*****

Also see:

Unconditional Salvation (Part 1)

What does it mean to be “saved”?

“Salvation” and “saved” are commonly used words within christianity, but they are usually not used in the way the scriptures use them. This results in people reading their confused understanding of the words back into the scriptures, consequently producing confused interpretations.

Biblical salvation is deliverance from things in this life. The scriptures speak of being saved from sickness, disease, demonic oppression, drowning, perverse generations, enemies, crucifixion, imprisonment, being lost, sin, death, ignorance of the Gospel, escaping the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, etc. Notice how everything refers to things in this life, not the afterlife.

Modern christianity has wrongly tied “salvation” and “being saved” in the scriptures to escaping an eschatological hell. Salvation can only be made to refer to the afterlife if such ideas are read into the text; it must be assumed that the afterlife was being spoken of (because the context never implies it). Yet such a theory cannot be substantiated because a detailed paradigm of the afterlife (like what currently exists) did not even exist in the Jewish mind during Jesus’ time on earth. Most people simply said that all who died, both righteous and wicked, went to “Sheol.” This term meant “the grave” or “the place of the dead” and it had neither a positive nor a negative connotation.

Even thinking of salvation in terms of individuals is largely derived from Platonic dualism and the development of the concept of the autonomous human individual beginning in the Renaissance in the 14th century and peaking in the 18th century Enlightenment. In contrast, salvation in the scriptures is consistently spoken of in cosmic terms.

“I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).

“…I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).

“All flesh will see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11).

“As in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

“Just as the trespass of one man resulted in condemnation for all, so one righteous act resulted in justification and life to all” (Romans 5:18).

When the New Testament says all, it means all (shocking, I know!).

Are you saying everyone is saved?

Yes and no!

I’ll expound upon what I mean by that in the next post.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read over the verses above one more time and consider what they are really trying to say (reading them in context should help). They are pretty crazy! I think you’ll find that pat answers for explaining away the “all” as applied to the salvation of humanity will not suffice. Have you even ever considered that they could be saying that all are saved? Have doctrines you have always been taught prevented such a reading from even entering your mind?

Part 2

*****

Also see:

Saved: The Most Misunderstood Word in the Bible
http://www.tillhecomes.org/saved-most-misunderstood-word-bible/

We Were Never “Spiritually Dead”

death-spiritual

Let me clarify right off the bat that I do think we were spiritually dead at one point, just not in the way it is commonly thought we were.

What is usually meant by being “spiritually dead” is a state of being separated from God. The common explanation for this is that our sins cause us to become separated.

If we are going to say that we were at some point separated from God, we have to say that either God decided to be separate from us from the moment we came into existence or we were not separate from him at first, until we first sinned, and then God left us. In the former case, it’s not very loving of God to create us in a state of spiritual death (and could we then really be said to be “very good” and made in the image of God?). As for the latter case, I say that our sin doesn’t offend God (I have previously written about this here) and, consequently, it cannot separate us from him. Indeed, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Can we say with honesty that God separating himself from us is ever a loving thing to do?

So what do I mean when I use the phrase “spiritually dead”?

I believe we were never actually separated from God. We only thought we were. In other words, our being “spiritually dead” wasn’t an ontological condition of depravity. Rather, it was unbelief, a state of the mind where faith is placed in a false reality. We were “spiritually dead,” but only in the sense of a mindset of separation resulting in destructive behavior. Simply put, humanity was deceived.

Why, then, all the talk in the scriptures about salvation and being saved? Let’s take a look at some related scriptures.

Paul was sent by Jesus to “the Gentiles…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light…” (Acts 26:18, emphasis mine).

Jesus came not to bring salvation itself, but “to give to His people the knowledge of salvation” (Luke 1:77, emphasis mine), which, despite our ignorance, we have always had.

Similarly, Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10, emphasis mine). Jesus didn’t bring them, because they were already available. He brought them to light; that is, he simply revealed them.

“You were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, emphasis mine). We only thought we were God’s enemies; it wasn’t actually true.

“Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18, emphasis mine). Here Paul speak of people who did not experience the life of God, not because it was not available to them, but simply because they did not understand it, were ignorant of it, and chose to not partake of it.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21-23, emphasis mine).

Again, we were never spiritually dead, as if God had left us and we needed some sort of spiritual resuscitation. We can, however, act as if we are. That’s why it says we were “dead in our transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The reference is to our actions. Same with Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh…” We can live as if we are separated from God, but that doesn’t mean we actually are. We can “alienate” ourselves from God in our own thinking, but we actually cannot distance ourselves from him. Our union with Christ is the fundamental, immutable, and permanent reality. He is closer than the air we breathe.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened within our time, but it was a manifestation of an eternal event. His appearance revealed what has always been true – the mystery hidden for ages and generations was finally made known in our dimension of time and space. – Andre Rabe

As a concluding thought, “spiritual death” seems like a very poor term to describe what the above scriptures did, since it is not about separation from God. It would be better to call it ignorance or an illusion, and what Christ did a revelation of reality that draws us out of our ignorance and illusions.

Saved by Your Faith or by Christ’s Faith?

Have you ever been told that if you believe in Jesus then you will be saved?

During the Reformation in the 15th century, an emphasis was placed on Martin Luther’s doctrine of sola fide (by faith alone). This taught that we are justified by faith in Christ (in contrast to Roman Catholic practices and doctrines at that time, such as indulgences).

Luther rightly discerned that, contrary to what was promulgated as truth during his time, our works do not justify us. But there is another reformation sweeping through the body of Christ in which our own faith is also being recognized as a recipe for failure. It is still accepted that justification is by faith alone, but it is acknowledged that it is not our own fickle faith in Christ that justifies us but Christ’s faith on behalf of humanity, the only reliable faith.

One of the most significant debates going on in biblical scholarship is whether certain verses should be translated “in Christ” or “of Christ” (both are valid renderings in the Greek, and the context does not always clearly show which would be superior; see link at bottom for more details). Here’s what some familiar passages of scripture would read when “of” is chosen over “in.”

“Even the righteousness of God which comes through the faith of Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction” (Romans 3:22).

“For the demonstration of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith of Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“But the Scripture has shut up all me under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22).

“Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through His faith” (Ephesians 3:11-12).

“Not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:9).

The word “faith” is sometimes used as a synonym for “religion” or a certain set of beliefs. “What faith are you of?” The scriptures don’t use it in this sense when it says that there is “one faith” (Ephesians 4:5) or refers to “the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). It’s not pointing to the “christian religion.” It means it isn’t our faith but Jesus’ faith, and this faith is found in Christ (1 Timothy 1:14, 2 Timothy 3:15).

This entails an enormous shift in the role of faith.

Some say you have to at least believe to be “saved.” It’s the one work they require of people in order to obtain salvation.

Of course, no one ever calls it a work because they also like to say that “we’re not saved by works.” But that’s precisely what it is! Anything you have to do is a work, and any salvation that requires you to do something in order to achieve it is salvation by works.

“No, brother, Jesus’ works save you, not your own.”

But it’s up to us to generate faith to make stuff happen? It’s up to us to believe within the time limit of this life?

It doesn’t matter that Jesus is the savior, the one who made salvation potentially possible. In the end it is up to you and whether you will do that one good work in order to actualize salvation.

Some will try to gloss over the attempt include just a teeny tiny bit of our own efforts of faith by saying how easy a thing it is. “All you gotta do is believe!” But law + grace = law. Add any of your own works to the finished work of the cross and you end up with the hamster wheel of religion. It doesn’t matter how few requirements of self-effort are given. Even if the only step to inclusion is conjuring up faith to believe, you have stepped out of the realm of grace.

What this way of thinking ultimately says is this that it’s up to us to save ourselves.

If it is our own faith that saves us, then our salvation boils down to our ability to make good decisions. But how is this any different from righteousness by the Law? Sure, it reduces the requirements we must fulfill to just one (namely believe in Jesus), but it is still based on our own effort to follow that one law in order to gain righteousness. There is no essential difference.

Let me return to the idea that it is the faith of Christ that saves us.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Our participation in Christ’s perfect faith is purely a gift; we have no part to play in trying to create or maintain it.

Taking credit for a work you did not author is called plagiarism. Hebrews 12:2 is clear, Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our faith! It does not begin with us, nor is it ours to complete. From beginning to end, faith is all God! Don’t be a spiritual plagiarist! Faith is not yours, but God’s. It is a work that you did not, and cannot author on your own. Rest in the fact that Christ is both the “once upon a time”, and the “happily ever after” of your faith! – Jeff Turner

You didn’t choose him; he chose you (John 15:16). Your choice doesn’t save you; God’s choice did. God elected Christthe representative for all humanity, and thereby reconciled the world to himself.

And we [believers], too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men. – Clement of Rome

It’s not about somebody believing in Jesus, it’s about Jesus believing in humanity.

Your works don’t save you and neither does your faith. Jesus saved you.

It isn’t up to humanity to save itself. Jesus finished the job.

Many people fight against the Calvinistic notion of limited atonement in which Christ died only for a select group of individuals and not for the whole world. Yet many of these same people fail to realize that restricting the efficacy of Christ’s work to a select group is also a form of limited atonement; it is limited by human will power, our own ability to believe.

Let me clarify that believing matters. I have been saying that it doesn’t cause salvation. It does, however, recognize salvation and thereby allows us to experience it.

Faith is like an eye. It doesn’t create what it sees; it simply sees what is there. And in the same way, your faith didn’t create your salvation or your union with God. Your faith was you just opening up your eyes to see that you were already saved and already in union with God. Faith is the taking off of the wrapping paper to see the gift hidden inside of you. – Christian Erickson

I want to emphasize again that our faith doesn’t save us. It is simply an acknowledgement of reality, an aligning of ourselves to what is already true.

Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there. – A. W. Tozer

Faith doesn’t do anything; it simply enables us to relate ourselves to someone else who has already done whatever needs doing…Faith, therefore, is not a gadget by which I can work wonders. It is just trust in a person who actually can work them – and who has promised me he already has. – Robert Capon

Remember, the Gospel is good news. Telling people that they have to do something in order for God to do something for them is bad news; it is the message that they are currently in a bad spot (and most people don’t need to be told that to know it). But telling people that God did it all for them is really good news (and most people have no clue about this).

As Andre Rabe says, “The gospel does not demand faith; it supplies it.”

Faith isn’t about trying to muster up your own perfect beliefs but trusting the sufficiency of Jesus’ beliefs. It’s not about what you have to believe about God; the Good News is what God believes about you

Jesus believed and still believes in you!

Don’t try to put your faith in God. Partake of Jesus’ faith in God. Dump your own faith and enjoy Jesus’ instead. Let faith effortlessly flow out from its author and perfecter within you.

Don’t rely on your own beliefs, convictions, or self-persuasion. Even if we fail in these areas, we have nothing to worry about. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

You can make your own efforts to believe, or you can trust that Jesus’ faith was enough.

Rest in his faith.

*****

Also see:

The Faith of Christ – C. Baxter Kruger
http://baxterkruger.blogspot.jp/2008/11/way-back-in-50s-debate-started.html

Humanity in Wonderland – Christ in All, All in Christ

Nee Inclusion

Who is in Christ? And Who is Christ in?

Many people consider the description “in Christ” or having “Christ in you” to be synonymous with having been “saved” or being a “believer” or a “christian.”

I believe this kind of reading of the New Testament comes from a dualistic mindset that divides humanity into “them” and “us”; those who are in Christ and those who are not; those who have Christ in them and those who don’t.

Is this really the case?

Before you stone me for even daring to question such a distinction, let me say that I understand that there are those who believe and those who do not. That’s not what I’m questioning.

What I’m questioning is the following. Was it really our believing that put ourselves in Christ? Was it really our asking Jesus to “come into our heart” that caused him to do so? Was is really dependent on our initiative?

It’s not difficult to find statements in bibles that seem to assert that some people are not in Christ or do not have Christ in them. Knowing that many of us have come to the scriptures with the dualistic perspective that we have been taught, however, it is not surprising that many have interpreted such passages in a divisive way. I’m willing to bet that most people haven’t even considered whether there is another way to understand them.

I maintain that, in general, such passages are referring to people’s understanding, experiences, and ways of living rather than their being.

Objectively (ontologically), all are in Christ; subjectively (experientially), not all are.

Do people know and believe that they have been redeemed? Have they realized that they were included in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, that they have been put in Christ and Christ in them? If not, even if it is true, it will not benefit them; they will keep operating under their false perceptions of reality that they have always believed in. They will not experience relationship with God because they are not aware of his presence with them.

Some might object: if everyone really is in Christ, why is the phrase used so often in the New Testament? What’s the use of pointing out something that is true of everyone? That’s like telling a group of people that they are all humans. Useless!

There’s another way of looking at it.

Imagine speaking to a room full of parents and saying, “if you have children, you know that feeling when you held your first newborn baby in your arms.” Here, the purpose in saying “if you have children” isn’t to distinguish between those that do and don’t have children but to emphasize that because you indeed do have children, you know the feeling.

In like manner, the “if” in “if you are in Christ” is not a conditional if but a conclusive if, as in “if it is true that you are in Christ (which it is), then [insert awesome thing that results from being in Christ].” The phrase is not used to communicate something believers have but unbelievers don’t. Drawing such distinctions is useless. The point in including such a phrase is to remind the reader of their source; it is because they are in Christ that all these amazing things are true about them. Further, this phrase is used to communicate what should be obvious to the readers. It’s like saying, “how could you not  be such and such…I mean, you’re in Christ. Come on!”

Does this sound too good to be true?

If so, good! Because the Good News indeed is.

You were put in Christ when you were created. The entire universe was created in Christ (Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 1:16).

The entire universe exists in Christ and is held together by him (Colossians 1:17).

That is why Paul tells pagans that they live and move and have their being in God (Acts 17:28).

We don’t get into Christ by anything we do.  It is by God’s doing that we are in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Thus could Paul write that God was pleased to reveal Christ in Paul so that Paul could preach Christ among (same Greek word as the “in” of “in Paul” just before it) the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16). Christ was already in Paul as well as in the Gentiles; it was simply a matter of God revealing it and Paul realizing it.

“God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among (in) the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27, emphasis mine).

There are no longer any significant dividing lines between people. What matters is the common denominator of Christ in all.

“There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, uncivilized, slave or free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

When God comes to humanity in the history of Jesus Christ, humanity at the same time is brought to God in that history objectively. It is not faith which incorporates humanity into Jesus Christ. Faith is rather the acknowledgment of a mysterious incorporation already objectively accomplished on humanity’s behalf. “One had died for all; therefore all have died” (2 Cor. 5:14). That all have died in Christ (and been raised with him) is the hidden truth of humanity as revealed to faith. Our true humanity is to be found not in ourselves but objectively in him. – George Hunsinger

I can no longer look at anyone from a merely human perspective anymore (2 Corinthians 5:16). God reconciled the entire cosmos, including all humanity, to himself (v. 19). The same people on whose behalf Jesus became sin became the righteousness of God in Christ (v. 21).

The Father of all is in all (Ephesians 4:6).

“When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28, emphasis mine).

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, emphasis mine).

And I could on. But I think you get the point.

There are no outsiders.

All humanity is exploring the wonderland of Christ.

We are not magically brought into Christ by fulfilling some condition such as confessing, repenting, or believing. These things have their place, but they are not prerequisites for inclusion.

Do you see Christ in everyone? Or are you only looking at the outward appearance?

*****

Also see:

Steve McVey on humanity’s inclusion
http://gracewalkministries.blogspot.jp/2013/06/from-secret-of-grace.html

Quotes on the inclusion of all humanity in Christ
http://thesurprisinggodblog.gci.org/p/relevant-quotes.html

A Simple Test of Faith

In the next paragraph I will ask you a question. Take some time to think about it before reading on; otherwise this test will be pointless. Ready?

Where would you end up if you dropped dead right now?

This little exercise reveals where you are placing your faith.

When you pondered your answer to this question, did you think of what you’ve done in your life or what Jesus did for you during his life on earth?

Is your faith in what you do or what Jesus did?

If you thought about what you did when pondering your answer to that question, you need to change the way you think. I’m guessing that most of you probably did.

“I hope I did enough good works in my lifetime.”

“I wonder if this thing I am struggling with right now will keep me from going to be with Jesus?”

Legalistic thoughts. Religious thoughts. Ridiculous thoughts.

But I don’t blame those of you who did. I used to think such thoughts myself. There’s too many churches that make your actions the focus rather than Jesus’. They try to treat your behavior without addressing its cause.

In essence, they preach the Law.

“You need to stop doing this.”

“You need to do more of this.”

But we know from Paul that the Law only makes us sin more (Romans 5:207:5).

Back to this issue of where our faith is.

The good news is that Jesus did a good enough job saving you.

Welcome to the New Covenant.

Yeah, I know most of you have heard this before, perhaps more than you want to. But are you really getting it? Because if you do, the answer to that question I asked at the beginning will jack you up with ridiculous amounts of joy.

And this is why: In terms of salvation, what you do doesn’t matter.

Even your faith in Jesus or your choosing him doesn’t save you. 

Now if you actually have a desire to “unsave” yourself, that’s another story. You can choose to reject the reality that Jesus already saved you, act like God isn’t with you, believe that he’s angry with you, and live in an illusion. Hope that’s not you. It certainly isn’t most people, especially when they know that God is madly in love with them, overflowing with grace, and the most fun guy to be around.

But, again, what you do doesn’t change the fact that Jesus saved you.

Bye bye Old Covenant.