more hope…

Another quote from ‘Surprised…’ to chew on:

The power of the gospel lies, not in the offer of a new spirituality or religious experience, not in the threat of hellfire (certainly not in the threat of being ‘left behind’) which can be removed only if the hearer ticks this box, says this prayer, raises a hand, or whatever…but in the powerful announcement that God is God, that Jesus is Lord, that the powers of evil have been defeated, that God’s new world has begun. This announcement, stated as a fact about the way the world is rather than as an appeal about the way you might like your life, your emotions or your bank balance to be, is the foundation of everything else. Of course, once the gospel announcement is made, in whatever way, it means instantly that all people everywhere are gladly invited to come in, to join the party, to discover forgiveness for the past, an astonishing destiny in God’s future, and a vocation in the present. And in that welcome, and invitation, all the emotions can be, and one hopes will eventually be, fully engaged.
Wright, N.T. ‘Surprised by Hope’ pp238-239; London: SPCK 2007

Now, of course, the challenge to us is that we have to make that proclamation, not just wait for people to stumble across it. But at the same time it will take all kinds of methods, some spoken, some practically enacted.

So…my challenge from this reading is to do something. Simple.

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4 thoughts on “more hope…

  1. Interesting stuff Martin. Whilst I agree that the gospel is more than a way out of hell and isn’t achieved by a special prayer etc, I feel I have to ask what about salvation?
    Acts 4:12 says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
    But what are men being saved from, if not hell?
    BTW. Not having a go or saying “my interpretation is right” or anything dangerous like that, I want to start a conversation, want to think this one through etc.

    1. I think the key is to explore what we mean by Salvation – as in, is it just about the life after death or about life before death? Too often, I think, we’ve focused on what it means in the eternal, going to be with God away in heaven, when in fact what we should be focusing on is the promise God makes is that the new heaven and new earth will be here on earth and that our role here and now is to demonstrate its arrival by following the way of Jesus. If Salvation means life lived to it’s fullest here and now, that makes it very exciting. So, I don’t think that is unbiblical – certainly doesn’t contradict the Acts quote, and affirms that salvation is an invitation to life. Does that help?

      1. Absolutely, that is definitely the key. We need to know what we’re saved from in order to save others from the same.
        Salvation has to be about something bigger than giving someone a full life though, surely? Redemption happens in the here and now, the Kingdom of God is both here and to come, but for me Salvation is bigger than just having a better life.
        I think the other things are part of a life with Jesus, but the prize that we run for is Salvation.
        Hope that’s not rude. I’m trying not to tread on your interpretation. Co that’s what we’re all doing, ultimately, isn’t it? Interpreting. Trying to understand the gospel based on what we read and what the Spirit makes us feel. Know what I mean?

  2. Yes – but that’s what I’m saying. Salvation is here and now as well as yet to be. The whole inaugurated kingdom thing. So, Jesus says he’s come to bring ‘fullness of life’ – that’s what I’m going on about. That is salvation.

    Soteria (Gk) means the following:
    – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation
    – deliverance from the molestation of enemies
    – in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation of Messianic salvation
    salvation as the present possession of all true Christians, future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God. (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=4991)
    So – definitely both here and future.

    It’s a bit like ‘repentance’ (metanoia) meaning literally a change of mind, rather than simply ‘repentance’, with all the connotations that brings.

    Great to converse about this! (and in no way offensive, either!)

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