Going too far? #5

The elastic is stretching!

This post is a stretch for me; it is a follow on from yesterday. If we should not be obsessed with ‘who is in and who is out’, and that salvation is salvation to purpose, so for example ‘he will save his people from their sins’ is not a ‘he will save all who respond from eternal damnation’. It was first concerning ‘his people’ (Jews – the context for Jesus ministry and the early chapters of Acts so we cannot legitimately simply take texts from there and make them universally applicable beyond their context). Second it is a saving from their sins – the failure to live covenantly which meant living with responsibility for the world (and with benefits). Salvation was then to do with truly being part of a covenant people living in line with heaven – our citizenship is in heaven – for the sake of all others. Salvation to a purpose. If there is an ‘in’ and there is an ‘out’ that is a God-call not one for us to make. For the record, I think most evangelicals will be called ‘in’ as God is a God of great mercy… however, not my call.

Yesterday, why ekklesia – for the sake of one and all, taking responsibility for wherever it is located.

How effective will that responsibility be? How long is a piece of string, or to use the analogy from one of the early comments on this series – how far can this elastic stretch without breaking? Could it stretch as far as including those who are not (now what word would I use? saved?) as part of the new humanity? Or maybe as ‘not fully’ part of the new humanity? In other words what level of transformation might come?

I know a reply can be made with ‘all our righteousness is as filthy rags’ but that again is a Scripture to Jews who were ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ in relationship with God. We can’t simply make it universally applicable to someone who is ‘doing good’ – after all that is what God was ‘doing’ in the beginning, so there has to be some element of that being reflective of God – image and likeness of God.

We should not write humanity off – God doesn’t, we shouldn’t, though the devil seeks to do so at every turn.

I have no clue as to how far the elastic stretches; I think though we can – and we who are ‘saved’ can – eat, rest and pray for one and all so that health, goodness and a little more of heaven is expressed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we discovered the elastic is more stretchy and also stronger than we ever thought. I think that might be a better approach than setting ourselves up as the judge of who is in and who is out. And I suspect the buzz from the bees might add their approval to the shift.

3 thoughts on “Going too far? #5

  1. Thank you Martin so interesting. I think that scripture wonderfully provides great hope that all or at least most could end up ‘in’ at least eventually? Peter talks about Christ preaching to the dead and there’s many other verses which are pretty universalist? God is infinitely loving and just and sees all and knows all and the mission of Jesus to bring salvation to the world cannot fail so at this point we have to pray and hope that as many as possible will be saved and trust him. I don’t write off the possibility that hell exists but I think it may not be eternal? So many questions and nobody really knows whatever they say to the contrary? I don’t think the Bible is clear when it comes to hell etc? Theologians invariably have different opinions on the matter.

    1. Thanks Joanna. As an amateur theologian I note the ‘different opinions’. As many as possible has to be the hope, and a firm hope it is based on who God is as revealed in Jesus.

  2. I don’t think you’re an ‘amateur’ theologian Martin by any means but an extremely knowledgeable one. I have learned a great deal about theology from you!!

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