Calvary as Theophany: Post-Script 2, Salvation Is the Future

I'd like to add a post-script to yesterday's post-script regarding "a theology of drowning."

The theological point of that post was that God's love and our salvation are two distinct things. God can love us but that doesn't necessarily mean we're saved. 

Another way to frame this is to ponder those curious disjoints in the New Testament regarding reconciliation with God and being saved. It's easiest to see this in how salvation is described for God's people in the future tense. That is to say, I've been justified and reconciled with God (past tense), but salvation has not yet been secured (future tense). Some examples:

2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Note the disjoint. Currently, we're the pleasing aroma of Christ. So God's love is not the question. Yet we are still "being saved." Clearly, God's affection for us is something different from the full experience of salvation. 

Another example:

Romans 13:11
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed

Again, this sentence is addressed to believers ("when we first believed"). So God's love for this group isn't at issue. But salvation remains something to be realized: "Our salvation is nearer now."

And a final, famous example:

Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

It couldn't be more clear. The "beloved" still have to "work out" their salvation. 

There are many more examples of this love/salvation disjoint. But as I pointed out in the last post, our habit is to conflate the two. Theologically, we tend to assume reconciliation with God is synonymous with salvation. And in many texts, they are. Reconciliation and justification are clearly related to salvation. But as I've illustrated here, salvation is often described as a work in progress, as something in the future. 

This supports the "theology of drowning" argument I made in the last post. God loves us, from the foundation of the world God loves us. But salvation is a process, something that needs to be worked on, realized and brought to fruition. 

Just knowing God loves you isn't enough.

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