The Salvation Calculation

***Comments borrowed from Shane Vanderhart’s blog ‘Christ Alone’.  

sounds like my faith is different from yours” (Starfox)

So if we both claim to follow Christ one of us might not be? Is this country club faith or real faith we are talking about here? I may not fit into your neat little Christian mold – that doesn’t quite make my belief in Christ less than or greater than yours.

Exclusivity – if it is part of the body of the Christ – will also help to define it on some level (this attitude is the key to why there is over 100 denominations and a very divided body of Christ). I have to think Christ wasn’t as exclusive as we want to think – cause he would not teach us this ideal to his body’s very dismay?

Also if Jesus is exlcusive then it stands to reason he is also selective…is Jesus selective regarding who can and can’t be saved?

because “Jesus professing” doesn’t always mean “Jesus following.”” (Starfox)

I have looked into this idea with a microscope on the term ‘believe’ and I agree with this premise.

that is through trusting faith in Jesus (the Way) alone to save and keep you saved and repentance of sins while asking forgivness from God the Father.” (Starfox)

(a) Jesus in 14:1 says something kind of strange – ‘believe in God and/(kai) believe also in me’. The word ‘kai’ actually seperates the sentence into believing in 2 identities. Now Jesus clears this up later in the chapter mind you – saying the ideas line up between God and himself – but that first line funny enough shows the term ‘belief’ used not solely of one person.

(b) Jesus is the ‘way’ – I agree – but the strength of your belief is that if I simply believe in Jesus and accept his salvation – then I am saved (or maybe not – since you don’t think this is assured?). To me that kind of shallows out what it truly means to ‘believe’ in someone.

Jesus mentions aspects of belief in John 14 and what this ‘way’ is all about – following his teachings (vs. 15, 21, 23, 24, 26). I think to truly believe (or even love) Jesus is to follow his teachings and that alone is quite enough. Acceptance of his sacrifice is about as important as acceptance of yourself being a sacrifice – since Jesus followed a path and asked us to trod behind him (pick up the cross and follow me idea). I think the teachings of God are the path as taught by Jesus.

(c) You seem to think salvation is not secured – why? Someone can lose their salvation – which you freely admit we have no control over making happen (not via works) – yet we have control over losing it (via works)? This is quite the hopeless jargon to be honest – can’t be quite sure I am going to heaven as much as I am not sure I am going to hell. I am not sure this idea concerning salvation is logical.

Just because someone claims Jesus is their savior doesn’t mean they are trusting in Him” (Starfox)

True – but how can you be so sure your denomination is not one of the one’s with the fallacy of the 100’s? You say salvation is not by works – just so we don’t boast about it right – yet in your calculation of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice we see works in action. You have to say the prayer and accept or the sacrifice is no good – counts for nothing – no matter how much Jesus loved someone.

Yet now we see you saying you cannot lose your salvation (He paid the FULL price for all sins past, present, and future) – since this is consistent with a more faith based idea. Problem there simply is it chalks faith up to a one time event – we accept – and then nothing else matters afterwards (can’t be lost). So basically we have to be involved in the salvation event irregardless – and for you – that is via accepting the sacrifice (something we do to earn it).

Hell.” (Starfox)

Since you seem to have a good judicial hold of this whole scenario of salvation – how many do you predict of the 6 billion on the planet are going to hell in each generation?

He was the sacrifce for our sins and therefore made Himself the Way to God.” (Starfox)

So if I simply follow the formula to salvation I am saved: I just say the prayer – accept the sacrifice of the Christ – and then I recieve the just reward of heaven? Since it all resides in one person’s actions and requires nothing of me – neat…and since there is nothing keeping me bound to the faith – cannot lose something I did not work to attain – read the next paragraph.

Thankfully I have done this back in 1993 (so either way I am covered) and I am not so doctrinally boxed in to believe this is even remotely accurate and nor do I have to. The logic is full of holes and requires nothing of us in regards to following Jesus’ teachings – which mind you – in John are proof we actually love God. So by the salvation calculation one could be on his way to heaven and not even love God…now that is too priceless.

To me, the idea of following Christ is a lot more deeper than some salvation calculation which lets one pretend they follow Jesus via association. What really needs to be associated with the Christ is ‘the way’ we live our daily lives.

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22 thoughts on “The Salvation Calculation

  1. (b) Jesus is the ‘way’ – I agree – but the strength of your belief is that if I simply believe in Jesus and accept his salvation – then I am saved (or maybe not – since you don’t think this is assured?). To me that kind of shallows out what it truly means to ‘believe’ in someone.
    ——Amen, Amen, Amen.
    fishon

  2. (c) You seem to think salvation is not secured – why? Someone can lose their salvation – which you freely admit we have no control over making happen (not via works) – yet we have control over losing it (via works)? This is quite the hopeless jargon to be honest – can’t be quite sure I am going to heaven as much as I am not sure I am going to hell. I am not sure this idea concerning salvation is logical.
    ——-Works has nothing to do with losing your salvation. It is denying/rejecting Christ that does that.

    ——-I believe the Bible teaches very clearly you can give back [lose] your salvation, but I have absolutely no doubt that I am going to heaven. There are those who teach that we would believe you can lose your salvation live in fear of losing it. Maybe a few feel that way, but the majority of folks I know, have no fear of it. It is a strawman arguement.

    To me, the idea of following Christ is a lot more deeper than some salvation calculation which lets one pretend they follow Jesus via association. What really needs to be associated with the Christ is ‘the way’ we live our daily lives.
    ——Amen, Amen, Amen
    fishon

  3. Again… like I said on the other blog you took this from…

    I think you have vastly misunderstood and/or twisted the things I’ve said…

  4. Agreed – but to do you justice I will post some of the discussion from that site to this one so no one can be confused as to what I did say – and what you did say.

  5. My next post is more of this discussion as we walk through some Christian discussion on mainstream theology in most Christian circles – I think it a pleasure to show everyone what some of the debate is truly about.

  6. “Works has nothing to do with losing your salvation. It is denying/rejecting Christ that does that.” (fishon)

    But is a decision we make a ‘work’? That is what is truly at the heart of the discussion. If salvation is some event that happened around 2000 years ago – an event none of us had anything to do with – then how can our ‘decision’ change that act?

    I have also heard this called a ‘gift’ – even in that light – whether we open it or not – it’s still ours. Unless God is into taking a ‘gift’ away from us?

    What is really puzzling about this whole idea is the fact we can ‘move God’s hands’ on something. Whether we accept or reject the ‘gift’ the decision we make effects God in some way. By accepting we see God move closer…by rejecting we see God move farther away. It’s almost as if, via this salvation calculation, God is calculable – and even worse – according to our theological wills.

    Do you not think that is a dangerous idea? Someone laying down a model for controlling God (and his movements). I am kind of going to an extreme but i have seen this thought effect people who believe – to the point – they play the role of the God ambassador (right hand person) – with answers in hand and rules of a godly structure usually.

    The million dollar question: If salvation is something we do not earn (at all) then is there something we can do about it (to make it apply to anyone)? I am coming under the assumption this theology is hugely flawed.

  7. I do see in the Gospels the idea of having faith in Christ or God or both in terms of salvation. But how clearly is it stated that the faith must included the sacrifice of Christ? There are around six times where Jesus tells people that their faith has saved them before there’s ever a crucifixion/resurrection.

    The other question I would have is that the Tanakh is full of instances of trust/salvation. Psalms 70:4 “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continuarlly, Let God be magnifed.”

    Psalms 119, with verses 30 “I have chosen the way of truth: they judgements have I laid before me.” 45: “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.”

    Psalms 69, with the speaker listing what’s going on around him and within him, and then in verse 13: “But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of they mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.”

    Since the aspect of an afterlife is vague in the Tanakh, and salvation doesn’t seem tied to “escaping hell/gaining heaven,” this can’t be referring to a faith in Christ. It doesn’t even sound like it’s referring to some sort of destination. So what do they mean by salvation, and how does it fit?

    For me, it seems to be an aspect of healing or rescuing. I read on another blog that Judaism, if asked about being saved, would ask “Saved from what?” They didn’t follow the law to “earn” something, but rather followed the law because it was the right thing to do. The law itself provided the reward, through following it. If salvation is applied to this, it seems that it would be the healing comes from following the law, because it is the right thing to do.

    Yael, can you confirm/deny?

  8. OSS,
    I can confirm. That is always my question when I see talk of salvation, salvation from what? In Tanakh salvation is inevitably spoken of in terms of real, physical salvation. God saved me from my enemies, etc. Redemption? We were redeemed from Egypt as a people, so redemption for us is ever spoken of communally, not individually.

    Mitzvot, commandments, are ever spoken of in Tanakh as something we love. What is the reward for doing a mitzvah? The opportunity to do another mitzvah! If we refuse to do a mitzvah we lose the opportunity to do another mitzvah later on as well.

    Ben Azzai said, Run to do even a slight precept, and flee from transgression; for one good deed draws another good deed in its train, and one sin, another sin; for the reward of a good deed is a good deed, and the wages of sin is sin. Pirke Avot 4:2

    There are times when reward is spoken of, but it’s not to be our motivation. Even these ‘rewards’ however are not salvation from anything. To at least try to do good in the world, to repair our part of the world, to live a life where our goal is to make things better, that is reward enough.

  9. Prior to meeting Yael on-line here and doing some slight blogging with Heather (OSS) – I had realized that my idea of my own texts was very tainted at one point and I knew very little of the Jewishness of the teachings…not that it was all my fault – no -one within the sphere of Christianity even so much as looks at Jewish texts from Jewish interpretations. I figured this would be one goal I would undertake.

    I noticed a lot of errors in Christian circles with ideas and interpretations concerning a lot of aspects of Jesus’ teachings – and i mean a lot. Salvation – when I started looking at this idea – was a huge awakening for me – my previous views on salvation were so small and nieve and missed the whole point. I studied the topic and realized salvation is something we are – a lifestyle – it’s meaning is found in what we put into it. I think we can live a godly lifestyle – and this will undoubtedly end up salvific in nature.

    Like Yael says ‘saved from what’? I say ‘exactly! I think we need start using the terms accurately and for the right scenarios. Now if we are talking about saving people in Kenya from brutal torture or even rape – and we get involved and get them out – then yes – you ‘saved’ their lives possibly. If we are talking about ‘sin’ and it ‘wages of death’ – we need to be both saved from that ‘here and now’. The problem with sin is it effects others – ie: murder or adultery – and thusly need to be dealt with in this lifetime, not some other lifetime. Salvation, if it is at all relevant, is relevant in the ‘NOW’. The Christian idea strays away from this – but the Jewish idea does not.

    I said something to my wife yesterday as I watched a documentary on the American Jews (via 1950 – Present) – ‘that’s a faith (judaism) I love even more than my own’.

  10. Jason,
    I’m always happy when I’m able to show someone Judaism as a practical and beautiful way of living life connected to God and to each other. Mostly we Jews are painted as blinded people following a dead religion so it’s good to have someone come to view us differently and be willing to speak up on our behalf. It’s not that we’re looking for converts, it’s just that the more people who get to work trying to make life better in the here and now instead of giving up, the more justice can flow like that mighty stream.

    Zechariah 8:23

  11. “it’s just that the more people who get to work trying to make life better in the here and now instead of giving up” (Yael)

    Agreed…

  12. Yael,

    I read Psalms 119 last night, from a Hebrew perspective, in terms of why one follows the commandments, and that they are their own reward. Wow. It really does change things.

    no -one within the sphere of Christianity even so much as looks at Jewish texts from Jewish interpretations.

    Which is puzzling, because Jesus was Jewish. That would’ve been his perspective, and how he was teaching. The idea that the commandments are given to show one how bad one so one can see how they need salvation is seems incredibly foreign to any Jewish thought I’ve come across.

  13. I posted a comment on a conservative Christian site the other day (which I never do, but someone said something that set me off) to the effect that it’s completely inappropriate for Christians to have spent the past 2,000 years telling us that we’ve misinterpreted texts that we wrote in the first place (divine revelation notwithstanding).

  14. I was just looking at a site where they have a presentation of Tanakh, in 6 minutes no less, showing us that clear message of how we Jews can get back on God’s good side after screwing up everything.

    I’m going to have to talk with Rabbi. Here we have those Torah readings of only five books that take a whole year, we have d’vrei Torah every week, we have Torah study classes every week, Talmud classes, kid’s classes, for what purpose? We’re taking all that time and we’re not even getting the right message! We could cut it down to six minutes and be done! No need to repeat every year either…..

    OSS,
    Psalm 119 is one of my favorite Psalms. No cursed law to be found anywhere, is there? Hey, I’d better get out of here. Time to be lighting candles for Shabbat.

  15. “it’s completely inappropriate for Christians to have spent the past 2,000 years telling us that we’ve misinterpreted texts that we wrote in the first place” (cipher)

    Good point – I agree 100%. The Jewish faith could not have consisted so strongly for 1000’s of years without the base it had to keep it going – namely the Torah. Personally, I have a lot to learn from Jewish people speaking in Jewish ideas – which is where I am quite humble about this whole process. Who am I to say your texts read this way or that way – when my own faith has studied them very little from a Jewish standpoint. Maybe my own faith needs to start living by it’s teachings – ‘treat others how you want to be treated ‘ – which for me means ‘I need to walk a mile in your shoes to get to know you’.

    “We’re taking all that time and we’re not even getting the right message! We could cut it down to six minutes and be done! No need to repeat every year either…” (Yael)

    Too funny – LOL. I guess it shows there is a lot more depth to your scriptures than most Christians would even imagine – all I can say is – thank God for the internet.

  16. Jason, I just looked at that “Christ Alone” post. Not that it’s any of my business, but why on earth are you wasting your time over there? Forget about intolerant and insensitive – their assertions aren’t even accurate (“Christianity is not the only religion that is exclusive”). You won’t change them.

  17. “Not that it’s any of my business, but why on earth are you wasting your time over there?” (Cipher)

    I like Shane – we may not agree on everything – as well with some of the commentors – but his blog does relate to the current Christian dynamic in society at present – that I rarely get to see. I also like to discuss faith issues over there even if we tend to disagree on a lot – since discussion has also helped me to learn a lot (which includes some atheists in that list). I guess I want to challenge others to think ‘outside the theological box’ as some did for me. Not sure about gain – but not everything has to be about gain.

    That being said – 2 blogs of people fairly Conservative Christian types have booted me off of their sites for disagreement’s about certain issues – and I guess that’s what comes with challenging age old interpretation that makes no logical sense.

  18. I was pushing buttons on 2 issues that were, for some odd reason, key to both sites – halloween and gay rights – I was in support of both and they were not. In the end, my defense for those without a voice in that convo ended up getting me booted.

  19. It is denying/rejecting Christ that [makes one lose their salvation]. (fishon)

    Romans 3:11 says that NO ONE is seeking God. How can one “lose their salvation” when they’re not really looking for it in the first place?

    Another passage in Romans says that it is (wait for it!) God who “locks all up in stubbornness” so he may show mercy to all. In 1 Timothy it says God’s will is that “ALL WILL be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. Toward the end of Revelation, Christ says, “Behold, I make ALL THINGS new”. Those are among the many verses that state or suggest that everyone is going to be saved, and that God will restore all things to himself.

    Lastly I want to know which “hell” Starfox was referring to: Sheol/Hades, Tartarus, or Gehenna. 😉

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