For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
One of the main differences between Christian denominations is understanding when you are saved.
Arminianism theology believes you are saved when you make the election to choose God. Calvinism theology on the other hand believes God has already predetermined your life’s final destination. And Trinitarian theology believes God has already chosen you but you need to exercise faith to experience the fruit of salvation.
I find adoption theology gives a good example of explaining the differences.
Under adoption theology, God through Christ has adopted humanity through his life, death, and resurrection. Just like a parent adopts a child into the family fold, God has adopted humanity into the family circle. The child may either accept his position as a new family member and become engaged with the family culture, or not. The child is already included within the family whether or not she accepts her role. Her actions are either to accept the family or rebel. When she accepts, she enjoys the fruit of family living. When she rebels, she is still a family member, but lost from sharing life with the family and the family treasures.
Arminianism theology on the other hand teaches that the child selects the parent for adoption. You are not included in the family until you decide to make it so. The parent only offers adoption, and the child is the one who legally binds the offer. The weight is on the child choosing to be adopted or not.
Calvinism theology teaches that God has adopted some and has not adopted others. Some will experience eternity with God and others are predestined for eternal lost. As a child, you have to figure out whether you are included or excluded from God’s family.
When you understand that salvation is what Jesus accomplished and not what we make happen, then we find salvation is more about a familial relationship with the living God rather than a business transaction. There are those who treat salvation as something you earn by achieving a goal, or something you acquire by keeping score of good behavior, or some noble actions toward others. When you realize it’s about being included within the Eternal God’s circle of Father-Son-Spirit, it changes your perspective of God, family, and life.
Paul writes that God chose humanity before the foundation of the world to become his children. When Christ rose from the dead, he not only defeated death for himself, but included all of humanity with him. Our home is with him. You cannot be lost unless you already have a home. Those who don’t truly know Jesus Christ yet have a home waiting for them. They have already been adopted into the family but don’t realize the riches that await them. When they accept Jesus and His lordship, life changes. They become engaged in the Family business and enjoy the fruit of God’s redemptive plan. However, if they continue to rebel against participating in God’s family endeavors, and choose not to be engaged with Christ, there will be unpleasant consequences; including the loss of everlasting life.
Our chose is not whether or not we want to be adopted, our chose is whether or not we want to accept our position within the family and participate in the family business. You are already included. The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it?
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