THE APPLICATION OF SALVATION IN THE LIGHT OF TRUE CHURCH CATHOLIC
by Christopher Bassaragh January, 2009.
The Application of Salvation in the Light of True Church Catholic Salvation has been in the plan of redemption since the before the Garden of Eden. Most Christians would believe the plan begun when Adam and Eve first sinned, Gen 3:6 but this would actually be when the plan is first announced to the mankind, Gen 3:15. The truth is from the moment Satan lifted his pride to claim he would be like God, Isa 14:13-14, the plan of salvation went into effect. Salvation affects all living things, but is sometimes seen in the wrong light when concerning with the human race. This paper will be dealing with the human race, and more specifically, the church established through faith in Jesus Christ, son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To begin with, let’s define the terms which will be used and focused on throughout this paper. Beginning with salvation: this will be considered the active force in which the process of redemption can become complete. Salvation therefore can be singled into one word or title, Jesus the Christ, or more rightfully, Yeshua Ha Mashiach. As for the terms visible and invisible church, though they are distinctive and different, we will be speaking of the two of these entities combined and labeling them as the True Church Catholic. Catholic in its original definition defines a universalism of the faith under guidance and connection of the Holy Ghost; this is also known as catholicity. Another term we may refer to is the Russian word Sobornost, developed by theologians, which conveys a dynamic aspect of catholicity.1 For additional understanding of the division or difference between the visible and invisible church, the visible church is a group of believers who are part of an institution or organization which confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, redeemer and salvation. The invisible church is the group of believers who walk to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the hearts, whether knowingly or unknowingly. God alone sees and knows who the members of the True Church Catholic is and will reveal their identity at the time of His second coming. It is not easy to accept for some, but Christianity has always been very diverse. In a matter of fact, it was even more diverse in its establishment by Christ and the apostles, and the 1
Melchizedek, Mar. Sobornost, “Catholicity and True Salvation.” Theandros. Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 2005. http://www.theandros.com/sobornost.html. This term that was developed by the Russian theologians expresses the ancient Orthodox ecclesiology as a community of catholicity while at the same time being in unity with the Holy Spirit: “In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body (l Corinthians 12:13). Roman Catholic ecclesiology shares with the East this basic doctrine of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, the “fullness of Him Who filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1.23).
1st, 2nd and early 3rd century church expansion.2 There was one common thread for one to be a “Christian”, belief in the person of Jesus Christ and to follow His teachings.3 And on a deeper intention, salvation is freely given to all mankind primarily on faith John 3:16, 2 thess 2:16, Ps 68:20, Acts 4:12. The term Christian itself was not coined until the gathering church were continually meeting in Antioch, Acts 11:26. There were other titles for Christians such as The Disciples, The Followers of a Teaching4, Saints, Believers, Followers of Light, Followers of the Way, The Brethren5 and Messiachim; and in these different titles, there were often different understandings, yet salvation was available to all. By the time Christianity really began to spread it was better to say there were Christianities6, who differed in beliefs to the utmost extremes. Some believed in 1 God7, some in 28, others in 309, and some who believed in 36510. Other differences were issues as to was Jesus a man or a spirit? Did you need to practice the ways of the Jew or live separate from the laws of the Jews? Even the belief pertaining to what scriptures should be used to grow in faith, but the common thread between all these different groups, who were called Christians, was the person of Jesus Christ. Ehrman suggests, in his book Lost Christianities, that we only believe and follow what we do today because of the majority who won the race of establishment and developed 2
Ehrman, Bart. Lost Christianities. New York: Oxfrod University Press, 2003. 1‐3. Lists the many different versions of Christianity in the 1st – 4th Century before the Council of Nicea happens. He makes a valid point of mentioning that the early Christian church was more diverse than the it is in present day. But even though the church was diverse due to many different beliefs about what makes on a Christian, there seem to be one common thread, belief in the person of Jesus the Christ. 3 John 3:16 ‐ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Galations 3:26‐29 ‐ You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 1 Peter 4:1‐2 ‐ Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 John 2:3‐6 ‐ We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. *Text supplied from the New International Version. 4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_early_Christianity 5 Shepherd, Victor. Luke's Names for Christians in the Acts of the Apostles. May 2005 http://www.victorshepherd.on.ca/Sermons/Luke%27s%20Names%20for%20Christians.htm 6 Ehrman, Bart. Lost Christianities. 1 7 Ibid. 189 8 Ibid. 106 9 Ibid 178 10 Ibid. 93
what is now considered orthodoxy. But in all the feud over who would be redeemed and who would not, Christâ€™s mercy was poured out on all the professed believers, as long as they acted with all their heart. For all believers will be judged to the conviction of the own heart and their understanding of the law, Rom 14:5, and God winks at our ignorance and until we are explained and understand the need for change in our religious practice, Acts 17:30. This fact opens the door to our understanding of Salvation with the idea of Catholicity.