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Professors John Frame and Steve Childers combine almost 90 years of experience to help you practically apply theology to your life and ministry. Study the 8 foundations Scripture provides for developing sound theology.
The ultimate goal of salvation is to restore fallen humanity and creation so they will flourish in a new earth for eternity.
The Scriptures tell us the Triune Lord carries out his plan of redemption in history to bring salvation to fallen humanity and creation. Therefore, the central message of the Bible is “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).
The ultimate goal of salvation is not merely to forgive and relocate believers to heaven, but to restore fallen humanity and creation so they will flourish in a new earth for eternity. The Greek word in Scripture that we translate “save” means to make whole.
The essence of salvation is the restoration of God’s original purposes in creation. What needs to be restored is humanity’s broken relationship with God, self, others, and creation because of the Fall.
In the beginning, God created and ruled over everything—and it was good. God made human beings in his image to be in a healthy relationship with him as they carried out his purposes for the world. In the original creation, before the Fall, we see a glimpse of true human flourishing according to God’s creative order and design.
It was heaven on earth. There was no pain, suffering, disease, sickness, or death. The Hebrew prophets use the word “shalom” to describe this state of full peace, completeness, wholeness, and blessedness.
In this garden paradise, Adam and Eve experienced the blessedness of shalom—the fullness of happiness, love, joy, and peace. Their interwoven relationships with God, themselves, each other, and creation reflect God’s highly relational triune image. These relationships are the building blocks for all of life. When they are functioning properly we experience the fullness of life that God intended.
However, paradise didn’t last. When sin entered the world, something terrible happened—not only to people, but to all of creation. After the Fall, by God’s grace there is still a significant remnant of paradise left in our lives and world, even though things are also horribly ruined and no longer the way they are supposed to be.
In Genesis 3 we learn that, because of sin, humanity became alienated from God and under his just curse because of our guilt and moral corruption. This alienation and curse then flowed, like a polluted river, into all our other relationships. For example, our alienation from God flows into our alienation from ourselves when we experience shame and fear (Gen. 3:10). And it flows into alienation from others, resulting in a loss of transparency and intimacy in all our relationships (Gen. 3:10, 11-13).
Our alienation from God also brings about our broken relationship with creation. Our work is now cursed with toil and vanity. The curse of sin has even spread to our physical bodies, resulting in disease, sickness, and death (Gen. 3:16-19). All of creation and nature itself is now subject to decay (Rom. 8:18-25).
But there is good news! God now promises to apply the riches of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to all the broken relationships of those who truly believe in him and follow him as Savior and Lord.
First and foremost, God promises to restore our alienated relationship with him by graciously giving us a new standing and a new heart in Christ to replace our guilty standing and corrupt heart because of sin.
Our new knowledge of God in Christ brings healing to our broken relationship with ourselves, which in turn deepens our relationship with God.
Our restored relationship with God also restores our relationships with others, especially as God unites us by his Spirit in a new community, his Church. God designs this new community to be a living display of his kingdom and an instrument to carry out his purposes on earth.
Our restored relationships with God, self, and others flow into our relationship with creation as we seek to influence all our spheres of work as faithful servants of the king, in order to carry out his will on the earth.
All these restored relationships give us a foretaste of God’s kingdom that is still to come, in all its fullness, when Jesus returns to make all things new forever in a new world.
Sound theology reflects this good news of God’s saving grace that restores fallen humanity and creation to the full beauty of his original design.
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