What does ‘salvation’ mean to you?

She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (MT 1:21, CEB)

In John Wesley’s sermon “Salvation by Faith,” the first in his standard sermons if you are keeping track, he asks two questions. What is saving faith? What does it mean to say we are saved?

The questions highlight an important distinctive feature of Wesley’s theology. It is primary concerned with salvation. All the systematic theologians can wrestle with questions about the nature of God and the end times. Wesley was consumed by the thought he posed in the introduction to his sermons:

I am a creature of a day passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: Just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing, — the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore.

In the first sermon in his standard sermons, he lays out the meaning of salvation. My summary is as follows.

  • Salvation begins in this life and extends into eternity.
  • Salvation is being saved from sin, the guilt, fear, and power of it.
  • Salvation begins with justification and ends with the perfection of Jesus Christ’s own image formed in us.
  • Salvation is by grace but ordinarily is conditioned on faith.

This is Wesley’s definition and description of salvation.

What does the term ‘salvation’ mean to you?

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4 thoughts on “What does ‘salvation’ mean to you?

  1. I posted something at Methoblog that must have been rejected so I will try posting it here and try to express what I posted there. I am not sure who moderates what here and there.
    Maybe you could clue me in on how these sites work.
    Methoblog seems to slant left.

    I agree that Wesley’s focus seems to be on the salvation or the “prize” or “goal” Paul talks about.
    John Wesley also included social issues of concern to the church.
    There is no question John Wesley was a man of God completely convinced of the authority of scripture and the pursuit of the “goal”.
    I tend to agree that is the main focus of the gospel according to Wesley.

    14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

    17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
    18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
    19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
    20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
    21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. Philippians 3

    I am also posting some links for you to look at:

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/Non-Believing-Clergy.pdf

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/03/18/clergy-who-dont-believe-the-scandal-of-apostate-pastors/

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I would never join in any criticism of the Methoblog. That site has been a great help to Methodist and Wesleyan bloggers trying to make connections with each other. I have no idea what its comment policy is. On my blog, I have to approve any comment with 2 or more hyperlinks attached to it. Spam programs often try to attach lots of links to blogs, so this is a defense against that.

      Peace.

  2. Thank you for your reply.
    The comment about Methoblog was an observation.
    Does Methoblog do their own moderation or does the person who posts the thread do the moderation?
    I have noticed many threads are not the posters words but links to comments and threads posted elsewhere.
    Peace to you.

    1. Nearly 100% of the posts at the Methoblog site are links to other places. The site was created to be a place to collect and connect blogs from Methodists and Wesleyans. Gavin and Jay have their own blogs that are separate where they post their own thoughts and ideas.

      If you leave a comment on the Methoblog site, it is moderated by Gavin and Jay. (Although I do not know how active they are in checking or moderating comments there.) If you link through from the Methoblog to the actual post, then the individual who wrote that post (like me on this blog) is the one who sets the policy on comments.

      If you want to interact with the person who wrote the blog, I’d not leave it on the Methoblog but go through to the actual blog where the original post is.

      As for the make up of the blogs on the site, most — but not all — are United Methodist bloggers. I would not be surprised if as a group they tend to lean toward the theological left.

      I misinterpreted your early comment. I thought you were criticizing the Methoblog for refusing to accept your comment. Sorry for my mistake.

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