Abiding in the Healing Salvation of Love

Intro: What is salvation and how does it occur? Western Christianity, especially within Fundamentalist and conservative Evangelical circles, emphasizes what we are saved from (which is eternal torment in hell). Eastern Christianity, when it is at its best, focuses on what we are saved for (which is eternal transformation into the character, experience, and joy of the Triune God). (See my blog article entitled “Theosis and Cosmic Salvation.”)

The word “salvation” has root meanings of “healing” and “wholeness.” Such healing results in our becoming the unique children of God we were created to be. Salvation involves obtaining the full potential of our being made in the image of God and involves a relational process nestled in our communion with God. 

Paul uses three verb tenses when he writes about salvation. The past tense (we were saved) indicates that from God’s perspective, we have already been saved. From God’s side, it’s a done deal. The present tense (we are being saved) reminds us that, from our experience, we are undergoing the process of such healing and wholeness as we open ourselves to the transforming love of God which has already assured our salvation. The future tense (we will be saved/healed/made whole) expresses the realization that we have not yet arrived at the ultimate fulfillment of our potential of being “partakers of the divine.” 

The Kin-dom of God was the theme of Jesus’ message and ministry. That Kin-dom involved the experience of God’s presence and activity breaking into the world through the Christ Event. We are invited to enter that Kin-dom (and the salvation it brings) as we experience the relational and healing love of the one Jesus called Abba. In John’s Gospel, the term “eternal life” essentially means what the Synoptic Gospels refer to as the Kin-dom of God. The primary emphasis of “eternal life” is on the quality of life experienced as one lives in communion with God through Christ. As we “abide” in Christ who abides in God, we become healed and whole. 

Below is a meditation on the character of this “salvation” based on John 17:21-23. In that meditation, beginning with “the salvation (wholeness) he brings…”, I list characteristics of this experience which must be held in tension if we are to fully allow ourselves to receive this healing gift. I would ask readers to stop at each pair of characteristics and meditate on how the two words relate to each other and how by holding them together we might plumb the depths of the good news Christ brings. 

“May they all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may trust that you have sent me. The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they too might be brought to completion in one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

(John 17:21-23)

We are healed and transformed through abiding in the shalom of love. We share in the Trinitarian communion and eternal joy of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our salvation is relational. The Holy Spirit creates the “betweenness” which connects and surrounds us and allows for both unity and diversity. We dwell in God and God dwells in us. We find and make our abode in the sacred and beautiful home given and built through this web of unconditional love. We learn (become disciples) by living in this holy communion. Jesus is our guide, mentor, rabbi, and companion. 

The salvation (wholeness) he brings is personal but not private, particular and cosmic, transforming and integrative, immanent and transcendent, specific and comprehensive, gifted and participatory, patient and ambitious, consuming and creative, dynamic and grounding, now and forever. We are destined for joy, and love is both the path and destination, the means and the ends of such an infinite and expanding communion. Together we become “partakers (communicants) of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4) welcoming and helping create the most cherished experience of home

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.