Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner

1.)  CAN GOD'S WILL BE THWARTED?

2.)  DID GOD ELECT ONLY A FEW FOR SALVATION WHILE CONDEMNING THE GREATER PART OF MANKIND TO HELL?

3.)  FAITH OR SALVATION: WHICH COMES FIRST?

4.)  DID GOD THE FATHER BEGET JESUS CHRIST?

5.)  WHAT ARE THE TWO NATURES OF CHRIST?

6.)  WHAT IS ANTINOMIANISM?

7.)  WHAT IS SABELLIANISM?

8.)  WHAT IS PELAGIANISM?

9.)  DOES LOVE REALLY WIN?

10.)  IS YOUR WILL REALLY YOUR WILL?

11.)  CAN TWO THEOLOGIES BE TESTED FOR COMPATIBILITY?

12.)  WHAT IS THE FRAUD OF FIDEISM?

13.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES THEOLOGY?

14.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIAN SCIENCE THEOLOGY?

15.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH MORMON THEOLOGY?

16.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS THEOLOGY?

17.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENTOLOGY THEOLOGY?

18.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH UNIFICATION CHURCH THEOLOGY?

19.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH THE WAY INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGY?

20.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD THEOLOGY?

21.)  IS REPENTANCE REALLY NECESSARY?

22.)  WHAT ARE SOME MUSINGS OF A METHODIST THEOLOGIAN ON LIMITED ATONEMENT?

23.)  WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO TEACH A LIMITED ATONEMENT PROVIDED ONLY FOR THE ELECT OF GOD?

24.)  WHAT WERE CALVIN'S ACTUAL WORDS?

25.)  WHAT IS GNOSTICISM?

26.)  WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN?

27.)  IS CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY?

1.)  IS CHRISTIANITY COMPATIBLE WITH POSITIVE TOLERANCE?

2.)  CAN WE HAVE A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENY THE POWER THEREOF?

3.)  WHAT IS THE GREAT WAR?

4.)  SHOULD PRESIDENT TRUMP HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED FOR IMMORALITY?

5.)  WHO SAID MOSES WAS HUMBLE?

6.)  COULD CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE BENEFIT FROM WOKE REVISION?

7.)  DID EINSTEIN BELIEVE ALL CHRISTIANS WERE CALVINISTS?

8.)  WHY IS MARXISM A MAGNET?

9.)  WHAT IS TRUE SCIENCE?

10.)  CAN YOU LOSE YOUR SALVATION?

11.)  WHAT ARE THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS?

12.)  WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS?

13.)  WAS PAUL ENTIRELY SANCTIFIED?

14.)  ARE YOU LIVING IN A WORLD AT WAR?

15.)  WHAT IS THE DIRECT METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

16.)  WHAT IS THE CONTRAPOSITIVE METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

17.)  WHAT IS THE CONTRADICTION METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

18.)  WHAT MIGHT A METHODIST THEOLOGIAN SAY ABOUT PURGATORY?

19.)  WHICH BIBLE PASSAGES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

20.)  DO SELECTED NIV VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

21.)  DO SELECTED AKJV VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

22.)  DO SELECTED YLT VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

23.)  DO SELECTED 'VOICE' VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

24.)  COULD THE CONCEPT OF 'SALVATION ONLY FOR THE ELECT' HAVE BEEN ROOTED IN THE MIND OF AUGUSTINE BEFORE HE EMBRACED CHRISTIANITY?

25.)  DID AUGUSTINE RECEIVE PUSHBACK FOR HIS TEACHING OF 'SALVATION ONLY FOR THE ELECT' DURING HIS LIFETIME?

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT REDEMPTION?

Each person who responds to God’s grace (Titus 2:11) and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8; 1 John 2:2) by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience instantly receives the great gift of salvation.  This gift includes but is not limited to the following:

 

  • Redemption (Rom 3:24; 8:23) - You are freed from the bondage of sin for the first time in your life.
  • Forgiveness (Mat 6:9-15; 1 John 1:8-10) – You are forgiven your sins by God.
  • Justification (Rom 3:21-26) – You are declared righteous by God; this legal declaration is valid because Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin and lived a life of perfect righteousness that can in turn be imputed to you.
  • Adoption (Rom 8:23; Gal 3:26; 1 John 3:2) – You are a joint heir with Jesus to the Kingdom of God.
  • Regeneration (John 3:1-21) - The Holy Spirit makes known to you the will of God and helps you discern truth from lie.  He occupies and purifies all the rooms of your heart into which He is invited.  For the first time in your life you are not a prisoner of sin.  You are free to pursue the path of righteousness.  This is the first day of your Christian life and you are a new creature in Christ.  This is the mechanism of your redemption.
  • Sanctification (Heb 6:1; 1 Pet 1:13-16) - You are led by the Holy Spirit along the path toward holiness; this is a lifetime journey.
  • Reconciliation (Eph 2:11-22) - You are reconciled with all other believers.
  • Unification (Eph 3:1-11) – You are united with all believers in the Church of Jesus Christ.
  • Glorification (Rom 8:30) – You will complete the journey along the path of sanctification when your mission in this life is done.

 

At the instant of salvation, you can say, “I am a new creature in Christ.  I am no longer a prisoner of sin.  I cast off the shackles of bondage to sin.”  But the shackles had to be unlocked before you could cast them off.  Someone had to place a key in the lock and turn it.  Until the death of our theanthropic Jesus Christ, at a specific place and time (John 19:30), Satan claimed to be the legitimate owner of this key.  But, at the instant of the substitutionary atonement, God the Son took possession.  He then transcended time and space to unlock the shackles of bondage to sin for every person, past, present, and future, characterized by confession of sin, remorse in the heart, a desire to repent, faith in God and the intention of obedience.  By the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, all creation was redeemed from the bondage of evil and each soul was offered redemption from the bondage of sin.

By this substitutionary atonement, redemption from the bondage of sin occupies a special place, perhaps a higher place than some other gifts associated with salvation.  Oswald Chambers had his own unique way of expressing this concept:

 

Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell; but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker today…Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.  Paul did not say he separated himself, but “when it pleased God who separated me.”  Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character.  As long as our eyes are upon our own personal whiteness, we shall never get near the reality of Redemption.  Workers break down because their desire is for their own whiteness, and not for God…God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character.  Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose – to proclaim the Gospel of God (cf. Rom 9:3). (Chambers, January 31st)

 

Redemption literally means ‘to buy back.’  The New Testament writers used this concept to signify the act of setting a captive free through the payment of a redemptive price.  It came to be used in the broader sense of a deliverance from every kind of sin and evil through a price paid by another.  This is the true Scriptural meaning as shown in the following texts in which the substitutionary atonement is offered to redeem the souls of all men from the bondage of sin.

 

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24).  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (I Cor. 6:20).  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ (Gal 3:13).  In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7).  You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with precious blood as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18, 19).  For Thou were slain and have redeemed us for God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9). 

 

But Satan was not a willing seller and will never acknowledge the legitimacy of the sale.  He believes his property was stolen from him and he is battling God to retain possession.  Consequently, creation is legally free from the bondage of evil but it is not free from the influence of evil itself through Satan and his minions.  Similarly, salvation sets us free from the bondage of sin but it does not set us free from the influence of sin itself.

The death of Christ was the redemptive price as He gave His life as a ransom for many (Mat 20:28).  He gave Himself as a ransom for all (I Tim 2:6).  In all these verses, the idea of substitution is clearly evident – one thing is paid for another; the blood of Christ for the redemption of captives and condemned souls.

Redemption is not limited to the human soul.  Redemption from the bondage of evil is aimed at all creation, including your human body, while redemption from the bondage of sin is aimed specifically at your soul.  The human body is part of God’s physical creation and was, long ago, imprisoned in corruption by the architect of evil who administers decay, violence, disease, suffering and death.  Your body has been redeemed from the bondage of evil but not from the influence of evil itself – set free from bondage but not from influence.  This influence can only be overcome by prayer (healing).  Similarly, the totality of ‘mother nature’ has been redeemed from the bondage of evil but not from the influence of evil itself.  But, someday, ‘mother nature’ will be completely changed when Jesus Christ restores and repossesses His creation (Isa 11:6-9, 65:17-25; Rom 8:20-22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-4).  (See also Section 5.1 of Theology Corner)