A-Z: General definitions: Salvation


In the Bible, salvation is seen as God's commitment to save or rescue his people from sin (and other dangers) and to establish his kingdom.

1. In the Old Testament, God intervenes to help the people of Israel, particularly when faced by enemies.

2. The doctrine of the Incarnation teaches that, in the person of Jesus Christ, God became a human being and willingly offered himself to die on the cross in order to save men and women from their sins. There were a variety of interpretations of the doctrine of the Atonement (i.e. the reconciliation of mankind to God through the death of Christ). Origen (c. 185-254) viewed Christ's death as a ransom paid to Satan who had acquired rights over man through the Fall; but this interpretation was later largely superceded by that of St Anselm (c 1033-1109) who taught that Christ died to take the punishment due to human sin, thus paying the debt owed to God and appeasing His righteous anger. According to the New Testament, the Crucifixion and burial of Jesus were followed three days later by the Resurrection, after which he met a number of his disciples and convinced them of his victory over sin and death. The account in Acts 1:1-11 of Christ's Ascension into Heaven includes an assertion there will be a Second coming when he will return to earth as Judge. 

Related Topics

Big ideas: Redemption, salvation

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