The Importance of Concepts

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONCEPTS

MONDAY

Identify the correct statement regarding Biblical salvation:

Acquiring godly characteristics and gaining immortality, incorruptibility and union with God by human effort with some help from God;

 or

The act of God making man acceptable to enter into His presence for all eternity.

If you said the former, your thinking is very Orthodox (Eastern Orthodox, that is) in its concepts. If you said the latter, your thinking is very Protestant.

The concept of salvation in Eastern Orthodoxy combines the work of man with the work of God. In fact, Eastern Orthodoxy combines the concept of salvation with the concept of sanctification into a concept called theosis or deification to describe being re-united with God. God has done His work (through Jesus on the cross), and man must do his work as well if reunion is to be realized. This has been the concept of Orthodox thinkers who have attempted to understand the early church Father’s interpretation of Scripture. Please note: Orthodox thinkers emphasize understanding the early church Father’s interpretation of Scripture rather than allowing the Scriptures to speak for themselves.

Is theosis a biblical concept? Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and other foundational figures of the Reformation did not think so. As they studied the writings of the Apostles they saw a different picture. Notice: Luther and company, although students of the church Fathers, did not think that they were the final authority in Biblical understanding. They looked to the Scriptures as the final authority and allowed language, grammar and historical context form their concepts. As they examined Scripture, they saw the Scripture’s singular teaching that only Christ’s work plus nothing made man acceptable to enter into God’s presence.

With Eastern Orthodox theology still ‘swimming’ in my head as a result of my latest trip into Eastern Europe, I thought we would take the time to compare their concepts of salvation/sanctification (i.e. theosis) with the biblical concepts of salvation and sanctification. In the process we can refine our own conceptual understanding of these topics.


NAU Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 
NIV Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

 
KJV Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

NAU Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 
NIV Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


KJV Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

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