Recently I was asked the following question, I wrote back a short reply and decided to open it up to wider debate, so here's you chance to chip in.
What is salvation? How would you express it?
Most people agree that ‘salvation’ is at the heart of the Christian faith. But too often our use of phrases like ‘being saved’ sounds like religious jargon, easy to use within church culture but difficult to translate in our mission work in the community.
All two often we pay too much attention on how an individual becomes saved and not enough on how he or she lives as a Christian.
We place too much focus on justification and not enough on the sanctification process. So whilst I do believe a decision is necessary I don’t sell ‘fire insurance’ for the end of life. I believe in Belonging before Believing and this is best done in community.
In the Bible, salvation centres upon restoring the whole person, not just the 'soul', to a proper network of relationships. It embraces forgiveness in relation to each other and God, as well as healing and a proper attitude to the whole of creation.
A good example is when Jesus declared that 'salvation had come to this house' when Zacchaeus rejected his previous lifestyle and prioritised restoring relationships in his community (Luke 19). His personal conversion showed itself in social change; biblically salvation is never seen as a purely individualistic concern .
A few years ago whilst working as Project manager for the healthy living centre I discovered that the holistic nature of the project really touched my life and gave it more meaning; I witnessed the fullness of the width, breath and depth of salvation in a dynamic way.
I have experienced how 'Salvation' has many other aspects such as liberation from oppression, suffering, exclusion, guilt and insecurity. All of which can be found within the biblical hermeneutic.
Salvation should rebuild and reinforces a personal and corporate affirmation of ourselves and the community we live in.