Wholistic Salvation

To often we think of salvation only in individual terms and even then we often only think of the soul. But salvation is not for the soul, but the body and soul (see below), and along with that all of creation to boot. In addition, beyond any individual salvation, there is the creation of the Bride of Christ, which is not one person, but the whole of the family of God, everyone born again by water and the spirit.

Creation itself will be redeemed (Romans 8:19-22). A massive group, beyond number, from every nation, tribe, and people will be redeemed (Revelation &:9-12). Individuals who call upon the name of the Lord will be redeemed, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and born again into the family of God.

We sometimes forget that God created us as a unified creation with a body (dust of the earth) and a soul/spirit (breath of God) and that it takes both aspects for us to be what God created. Paul talks about being without the body (in the interim between death and resurrection) as being naked (2 Corinthians 5:1-5), and his desire for the new body, the new resurrected creation God has waiting for us.

In this body, this flesh, we only have the first fruits of our redemption. Yes, we can be healed, but that is not our right to demand for this flesh. Paul reminds us that this flesh is a weak, unfired vessel (clay), easily broken (2 Corinthians 4:1). That fragility reminds us of our place, that the glory for who we are and what we become belongs to God.

But that new body, that redeemed body, will be so much more than what we currently are. It is beyond our imagining. It is our guaranteed future as children of God. But now we wait, groaning as we deal with the problems and limitations, the pain and suffering of our current condition; waiting for our full sonship, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).

However, we are impatient. We want to live like a King's kid now. We want to take full possession of our inheritance now. Yet, our call is to take up our cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. To patiently and obediently walk His walk. To learn obedience the same way he did, through suffering (Hebrews 5:8).

This does not mean there won't be times of joy, gifting, rapture, healing, prosperity, and all the other glimpses into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. There will be those things, as God so decides and the Spirit so apportions. But they are only glimpses, the first fruits of an incalculable bounty of riches. They are a reminder, a touch of hope for the real thing. For now we learn and grow, maturing in things of Christ, becoming as much like our brother as our faith allows, working out our salvation in fear and trembling, keeping our focus firmly planted on the work ahead.

We look forward to the rest that awaits us, but now is not the time of rest, though God graciously gives us restful moments. Now is the time of salvation, of the potter's hand on the clay of our unfired vessel, molding us for the Kingdom, for that glorious future when we will be revealed as the sons of God.

Dear God, give us the patient perseverance we need to keep on the path ahead. By your grace, give us every bit of the grace we need to hold fast to the work that has already been accomplished and the tenacious persistence to continue on, wherever it is that you decide take us.

Update: Yes, I know some people clain the proper term is holistic not wholistic, but while not wanting to coin my own word, I wanted to use a spelling that did not evoke a new age context, at least not in a knee-jerk way and WHOLISTIC does mean what I use it for…See this article in the Grammarist.

  6 comments for “Wholistic Salvation

  1. August 23, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Excellent post.
    I totally agree.
    In november I was diagnosed with GBS.
    I am recovering from it. While I was in ICU I focused on scriptures, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I thought of that scripture as I was learning to walk again. With ever step I took. One night a man came in a prayed Psalm 100:1-3 “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise, his holy name.Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of his benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” The man prayed that over me that night. Afterward I began feeling much stronger. I still have pain. Thanks for your post.

  2. August 23, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    I would like to challenge your statement,

    “Yes, we can be healed, but that is not our right to demand for this flesh.”

    Jesus told the woman with the infirmity (Luke 13:10-17) that she had a “right” to healing because she was a child of Abraham (she was in the covenant). Aren’t we Christians in a better covenant and are also children of Abraham?

  3. August 23, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Diane, I cannot concur with your interpretation. The issue that I see in this text is not the woman’s right to healing but her right to be healed by Jesus on the Sabbath. If a donkey can be watered on the Sabbath, surely a woman, a child of Abraham, who has suffered for 18 years can be healed on the Sabbath. You appear to have switched the focus of the argument from Jesus to the woman, which is not what the text is about. It is about Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath.

    The woman did have a right to seek healing, we all do, even on the Sabbath, but that is never called into question or even the issue at hand, only Jesus’ healing of her. The comparison in the text is between her and the donkey, not her and her “right” to healing, which is not addressed or at issue.

    We have no “right” to healing. The promise in the OT Covenant was not to healing, but instead not to have sickness in the first place. Sickness was promised if the covenant was broken. So healing would occur as part of the reconciliation, much like the healing from the serpent bites after the people sinned in the wilderness, but it was not a right; it a grace gift from a compassionate God.

    I may have missed the place where it is referenced, but I have never seen anywhere in the Bible that healing is stated as a “right”.

  4. August 23, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Preacherman.

    May God in his mercy heal you from your pain, when he has accomplished all that it was meant to do.

    Jobian moments are difficult, but I prefer to see them as unique grace gifts for those whom God deals with in special ways, like Job.

    So, do not be discouraged, run with endurance the race set before you, knowing that God only deals so intensely with those whom he loves so deeply. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

    Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

    Grace and peace.

  5. November 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Wow! What a website. You have a real knack for making a blog readable and easy on the eyes. I am always interested in reading other sites about religion, they give me a lot to think about. I don’t have time to read all the information you have right now, I found this site when looking for something else on beliefnet.com, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see your latest articles. What is your preferred translation of the Bible? I think they are all good, don’t really have a preferred one myself. I have a blog with Biblical passages on it. Please visit it – it as at http://www.GotTB.com. I just redesigned the site with a new look and feel, please let me know what you think of the new layout. God’s Peace!

  6. December 2, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Joe, I do not have a preferred translation, though I mostly use the New King James (my carry around Bible) and the ESV. I actually prefer to compare many translations as well as the original Greek. I took 25 hours of Greek in college. Keep up the work on your site.

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