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.