Article 5: Salvation
What does Mennonite Brethren theology have in common with that of other Christian denominations? And what are the distinctive emphases of Mennonite Brethren theology? Our Confession of Faith is a short document, informed by Scripture, that names the perspectives through which we read God’s Word in order to live as Christ’s followers. This is the first article in a series by the Board of Faith and Life exploring the 18 articles of this formative document.
Salvation is found in Jesus alone
Simeon joyfully swept the toddler Jesus up in his arms, praising God: “My eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30).
Jesus is our salvation. Deliverance and forgiveness is found in no one else. This conviction energized the primitive church. This Christological clarity must grip us afresh in our Canadian mission field. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus cannot be relegated to one option in the spirituality supermarket. Jesus will not concede to being one path among many. Jesus, as God incarnate, is the unique and only Saviour for wayward and rebellious humankind.
We are saved by the life of Jesus
We are saved through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. As our Great High Priest, Jesus “is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). The cross remains central because dealing with sin and God’s righteous judgment is not complete without the cross. We are saved by the Person and work of Christ.
Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) in whom and through whom divine reconciliation is fully and finally accomplished (2 Corinthians 5:19).In his Person, God and humanity are perfectly One. Christ is the reconciliation. “He himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
Jesus lived a life of loving obedience, surrendered to the Father’s will. He fulfilled all the requirements of the Law for us and in our place. The first Adam was a rebel who declared high treason against God the King. Jesus, “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), lived a loving and unimpeachable life.
Jesus the lived the life we cannot possibly live for us, and we are saved by his active and passive obedience. We are saved by the life of Jesus!
We are saved by the death of Christ
After Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness and died a death that fully atoned for sin.
Jesus suffered in our place and took the death and punishment due to our rebel race.
Jesus secured salvation because sin’s judgement fell upon him. Jesus was “made…sin for us” that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ was “pierced for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:3) in our place that we might experience redemption and enjoy total forgiveness.
Salvation is full, final and complete because Jesus died for our sins. We are brought into a right relationship with God and declared righteous by God because Jesus laid down his life. Jesus was “delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Jesus bore the penalty for our guilt and sin on the cross. God the Father raised the son from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. The resurrection vindicates Jesus and declares that his sacrifice was full and sufficient.
We are saved from the wrath of God by the death of Christ. We are saved from the penalty and power of sin by Jesus’ blood and righteousness and anticipate being saved from the presence of sin. In this way, the believer can say I am saved, I am being saved, I will be saved.
This salvation is by grace alone. We are saved by God’s work; what God in Christ has done for us – not by our works, effort or performance (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Bill Hogg is C2C national missiologist and a member of the board of faith and life (BFL).