Tuesday, November 09, 2004

An analogy

I was reflecting on the nature of sin and how different Christians view the problem of sin and salvation and why I think some just miss the point, and I came up with this analogy to best explain it...

Sin is like drug abuse. In sinning we are like a drug user, we do something that is contrary to the law and in the process give ourselves AIDS and get ourselves addicted to drugs.

What do we mean, in an everyday sense of the word, to say that such a drug user is "saved"? Presumably we mean that they are freed from their drug addiction, rehabilitated to a normal life and their disease is being treated.

Thus when Christians come to speak of salvation by God, it is on the face of it quite obvious what salvation is and how it's going to work. Salvation is going to be God out of love saving man from the sin that is destroying him.

Yet many Christians think the point is not in fact about God actually rescuing anyone from sin, just about God not punishing people. The focus is moved from the fact that sin destroys us to the fact that it breaks the cosmic law, and we are then "saved" from God's punishment rather than from the destructive nature of our condition. The trouble is that this does not address the problem. So the judge gives "not-guilty" verdict to a drug-user, but if the drug user is dying of AIDS, then frankly who cares?

That is not salvation, and that is not what the NT writers talk about. In the weekend I sat down and read the NT from Ephesians to Jude in one sitting thinking about this, and I was stuck by how time and again the writers turn constantly to to the fact that God has actually rescued us from the powers of darkness that were enslaving us. He has actually freed us from our addiction to sin, actually healed us from the diseases it brings on us. Any type of Christianity which leaves that bit out has quite simply missed the point.

7 Comments:

Blogger Nathan said...

Out of interest, do you mean that last paragraph in the continious sense (past?) 'has cured and continues to cure us'? or are you using the perfect (?) 'has cured us, and completed the curing'?
If that makes any sense.

When can I get my greek books back? I need to revise the tenses :D

9/11/04  
Blogger Andrew said...

It's a continuing process... past and present continuous, not aorist nor perfect. ;)

Well you can have your greek books back any time you care to pick them up. I was kinda assuming you would just get them back when you moved in, but if you want them sooner by all means come and get them or remind me to bring them with me to your place sometime.

9/11/04  
Blogger Andrew said...

Wait a minute... maybe your question needs more serious consideration than I thought. For example there is Eph 2:9 where saved is in the perfect tense (ie completed past action that has resulted in present state of salvation), and of course every time writers talk about what Jesus himself did it's understandably one of the past tenses - though it would be interesting to look at which one it is in. But then of course there are other verses that come to mind such as Phil 2:12 that say "[continue] to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for God is [continuously] at work in you".

My current guestimate about what's going on is that:
a) In the life, death and resurrection of Christ God defeated (event) the powers of evil.
b) In becoming Christians, we have been brought out of darkness into the kingdom of light (event). [I think the best analogy for this justification is a Nazi prisoner being freed and brought back to England... they are freed from the powers that held them in bondage and shown into the true realm]
c) Once saved thusly, we in turn need to be totally healed and saved (process) from any and all remaining evil in us. [Of course, should the person decide they liked it better in a Nazi prison and wander back in and give themselves over to bondage once more, then that is a distinctly unhelpful thing]
d) One day in the future God will complete the salvation of the world from all evil. (event or process??)

Anyway I plan over the next week or two to compile an exhaustive list of NT verses referring to the topic of salvation, and I can have a look at the tenses then.

10/11/04  
Blogger Nathan said...

Yeah, come to think of it the flatting thing probably works best.
Unless I get the craving to study greek over the next couple of months thats how we'll do it

10/11/04  
Blogger incognito said...

Nice post Andrew!

11/11/04  
Blogger Philotas said...

I can see your point, (and i know this is an incredibly late comment! sorry! exams got me a bit tied up! :P)

You used the drug analogy. I like it! ^_^ But theres something in here i picked up that you might not have thought of.

You said: "The focus is moved from the fact that sin destroys us" And it does. Its not about Punishment, its about the inevitable result of sinning. God doesnt punish anyone, but We are punished by our own lifestyle.
Salvation, GOd prevents that from happening to us.

Doesnt this fit in too?

16/11/04  
Blogger Andrew said...

Yes it does fit in Sam.

16/11/04  

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