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Lent Reflections - 2

Today's chapter of 'Thy Will Be Done' almost perfectly explored the ideas I played with yesterday... so I won't repeat them today!

'Sacred Space' focused on the idea of 'Take up your Cross' which it interpreted as a call to martyrdom, to suffering with and for Christ.  The text used, Luke 9:22 - 25 makes for scary reading, potentially linking salvation with this denial of self for the sake of Christ.  This seems to go further than anything I've heard preached, but is definitely a valid reading of the text.

For Arminian/Wesleyan Christians, who lean towards universal or are universalist, all can be saved, all will be saved, and all will be saved to the uttermost.

For Calvinist Christians, who adhere to the TULIP doctrine, only the elect can be saved (limited atonement) but they cannot then be unsaved again (perseverance of the saints).

So what do we do with passages that suggest that salvation can be lost?  Is it the case (and I think it may be) that 'once saved, always saved' ideas open the way to 'abundance of grace' views, and life styles that don't align with professed beliefs? It's not, I want to suggest, that our eternal salvation is, or may be, forfeited, but that the quality of our life is directly linked with the choices we make.

If we lose our 'life' - of self determination, ambition, success, wealth, happiness -  in order to follow Jesus, then we discover a more abundantly fulfilling life.

If we cling to the life we can build for ourselves, fulfillment will only ever be partial, fleeting... our lives will lack fullness, even if we don't know what is missing.

If I read this passage as a temporal rather than an eternal truth, then I can separate life here from life hereafter.

For the record, I have an Arminian-ish theology that verges on Universalism but allows for the possibility that someone might encounter God and say 'no thanks'.  I do not believe in a hell that is eternal conscious torment, though I do have a sense that evil itself needs to be consigned to a 'place' of destruction - perhaps what some have termed 'an empty hell'.  I certainly hope God's a universalist, and that, in the end everyone, Judas included, is OK.    


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