Friday, January 12, 2024

Guilt Gospel (4) Deliverance Gospel

The problem with the word “salvation” is that it has taken on a religious meaning. We tend to assume that we are saved from the guilt of sin. The forensic gospel that is preached by most evangelists, assumes that we are guilty of disobeying God and deserve to die as the penalty for our sin. In that context, “salvation” sounds like rescue from death or release from hell. The problem is that the Greek word “sozo”, translated as salvation has a broader meaning. It is not a religious word. It refers to deliverance/ rescue from troubles.

I have been reading Scot McKnight’s translation of the New Testament called the Second Testament. In his translation, he has deliberately eschewed the use of words that have a religious meaning. He does this to shock readers into thinking more deeply about the meaning of the gospels and the message of the New Testament. For example, McKnight uses the word “deliverance” for the “sozo” related Greek words instead of the usual religious translation “salvation”. He uses the word “released” for “aphiemi” related words instead of the religious term forgive”.

While reading through the Acts of the Apostles, I was amazed at how this simple change re-shapes the message of the gospel.

Everyone who trusts in him receives release from sins through his name (Acts 10:43).
We are delivered through the Lord Yesous Christos’s grace(Acts 15:11).
Release from sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38).
The path of deliverance (Acts 16:17).
Believe in the Lord Yesous, and you and your house will be delivered (Acts 16:31).
The gospel preached by the Apostles promised release from bondage. This gospel promised deliverance from slavery to the spiritual powers of evil. Not surprisingly, this is the gospel that the modern world needs to hear, and probably wants to hear.

We must not confuse the work of the Holy Spirit with the work of Satan. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, who leads people into truth, and the truth sets them free (John 8:36). Satan is accuser (that is his name), who tries to convict people of sin and entrap them in guilt. ("Everyone doing sin is Sin's slave" - John 8:34).

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