Tuesday, 12 February 2013

An evangelical Q & A - salvation, theosis, families

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Q - What do you want?

A - I come to bring you the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Q - Yeah, I know all that stuff. Look, why are you telling me this? You Christians are a nuisance - why can't you leave us alone?

If it happened, it happened two thousand years ago. If Jesus had really saved me from sin and death, why do I need to know about it? I'm saved already! What difference could knowing about it make?

A - That's a good question! (Pause...)

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If the world was without sin and you were without sin, then I think you may be right. You probably would not need to know about Jesus to be saved by him. You could just live then die and collect your salvation.

But in a world of sin you would probably, for various reasons, fail to collect.

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Q - Ha! Why would anyone fail to collect salvation, especially when they didn't have to work for it?

A - I'm glad to hear you say that - hold onto it! But the answer is that, by the time you die you might have decided that you don't need salvation, or that salvation is evil because God is evil - or you may be too interested in something else...

At any rate, by the time they die many people apparently don't want salvation - they don't want to live with God in Heaven.

So, if you don't want, you don't collect; and when you are offered salvation, ready made, work-done - like a wrapped package - you reject it.

To prevent that is why I need to tell you what happened 2000 years ago.

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Q - But what am I supposed to do with this Good News?

A - Believe it. Really believe it. Regard it as reality. Live by it. Recognize that you were lost but now are found. Trust this reality - hold onto it. Cling to it exactly like a small child holds onto the fact of their Father's love, come what may. Reconize that you are never alone nor bereft.

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Q - Yeah, yeah - but I need to know what to do, how to plan my life, what choices to make. Being saved is all or nothing, by the sound of it - I only have one choice to make. Suppose I am saved and know it. What then?

A - Have you heard of theosis?

Q - I'm not sure...

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A - Salvation is binary: all or nothing: Heaven or Hell: Living with Christ, or rejecting Christ. Okay, so you are saved - but saved to what? That to which we are saved is determined by our choices. It's a hierarchy.

You understand? Salvation is binary, but the destination is multiple: Heaven has 'many mansions'. Theosis is about earning your place in Heaven, your position, your 'job' if you like...

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Q - I still don't get why I need to know this!

A - You don't, if you are a child; but you do if you are not.

A child does not know it has a mother and father, or that that they love him. A child simply trusts...

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Q - (Interrupting) But I'm not a child.

A - Exactly!

A child is saved - a child would not reject the salvation that Christ has won for him - a child wants to live with God in Heaven in that celestial family.

An innocent child simply trusts, loves, accepts... but an adult needs to know.

That's what makes him an adult. Innocence is beautiful and innocence is sufficient; but once the question has been asked, there is no going back.

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Q - So if children are better than adults, why did I grow-up?

A - You mean why did God make you like you are? Well, an innocent child is intrinsically better and sure of salvation, but an adult is potentially better - it's theosis again.

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Q - Ummm...

A - Look - things are more complicated for adults than children - but not that much more complicated. We can understand life in terms of families, of Fathers and Mothers and their children.

Family life is a the form of reality in miniature - and although earthly families are flawed, we can easily imagine them perfected.

In fact, we must know heavenly perfection otherwise we wouldn't realize that all earthly copies were flawed!

Q - Yes, I've read CS Lewis too...

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A - Shut up and listen!

Salvation happens because we are God's children, theosis is growing-up and taking-on a role - in essence Father or Mother.

Put crudely, children don't need a 'job', they don't need to work; but grown-ups do.

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A child does not need to make plans and strategies, life is binary; but to grow-up is precisely to make choices on the basis of priorities, and make priorities on the basis of reality.

God loves his children as children, and if they get no further then that is fine; but God wants his children to grow-up - which is a very hard and hazardous business.

Is that so difficult to understand about God? - All loving parents have the same attitude to their own children.

That is why you need to know.

(A - Stunned silence...)  

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