Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Theology of Salvation based on the Sinful Woman of Luke 7

One has to read, "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis to truly appreciate the theology of salvation short of being expounded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Luke 7:37ff. (cf Matthew 26:6-14, Mark 14:3-9)

I stand in awe at the way the Lord sums it up in verse 47, "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” ".

We are often distracted by the following comment from the crowd, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” which has become the really over-used subject for much exegesis and preaching from this passage.

However, I have seen very little exposition on "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much". And really, this is expected. A woman is saved from her sins or the penalty thereof, but the method used was nowhere close to that of the Four Spiritual Laws, Steps to Peace with God or Evangelism Explosion... or is it (close)?

What was lacking in the method of her salvation may not be necessary in the evangelism of the rest of mankind, don't you think? Observe the absence of the following elements which most of modern evangelism seem to treasure as "must have":
  1. There was no conscious knowledge of the Atonement. (Crucifixion and Death of the Savior) other than the Jewish Day of Atonement.
  2. There was no verbal prayer of Salvation. The passage records no conversation with Christ.
On the other hand, here are the elements in salvation that the passage portrays:
  1. Like the thief on the cross who would be of the same or lesser education, I assume that she has a concept of heaven and hell. Therefore, she has a concept of sin and punishment.
  2. Awareness, consciousness, and remorse for sins committed.
  3. Repentance, implicitly demonstrated by her remorse
  4. Knowledge that salvation comes only from and through the Christ, regardless of how that is to be done but I surmise that this woman believes that she is saved simply by a simple utterance of forgiveness from the Lord Himself.
  5. Gave and surrendered completely everything she had and everything precious to her.
  6. Implicitly, the heart and motive to live a new life of holiness without which there is NO TRUE repentance.
This is not to criticize common evangelism methods like the 4 Spiritual Laws. Rather, this passage is to emphasize that the 4 Spiritual Laws MUST HAPPEN TRULY and in the HEART of the recipient of salvation.

This puts in jeopardy the multitudes who have read or listened to our common methods of evangelism, perhaps indicated that they have received Christ but who never had the "change of heart" or metamorphosis of heart that this sinful woman underwent.

There will be many, perhaps in the thousands and even millions when in the last day, though they cry "Lord, Lord", Christ can only say, "I never knew you!"

I mourn for the many in my day who have said they received Christ, but did not hesitate to marry pagans, heathens and non-Christians. I put into question the genuineness of their conversion. Remember that the word for "apostasy" or "falling away" in the Bible hints on a change of loyalties or devotion and what we do with our lives constantly proves where our allegiances are.

I mourn for the many in my day who have even cried to receive Christ, but were quick to enter into shady business deals, tax evasion, swindling, borrowing money without intent to pay back. Do these actions reflect that they are children of God?

I mourn for my "Christian" friends whose level of pride is so high, they would rather step on others or offend them than surrender their rights, who refuse to turn the other cheek when slighted by others but instead would fight back with such vengeance leaving nothing to the vengeance of God, even proud that they have stood out to be the victor in a very unspiritual battle.
I put to question their conversion.

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".

No comments:

Post a Comment