Colossians Two: Spotting Saturns

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Colossians

I have a car that looks fairly decent, given that it’s nine years old with over 180,000 miles on it. It’s a Saturn L200, and the reason you won’t see a lot of the ole L200s around is because ’03 was the last year that Saturn produced them. It was Feburary of ’04 and to me this like-new car was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I was able to pay cash for the car from my deployment savings, and it was a great upgrade from my ’91 Grand Prix.

When I first looked at the car, I couldn’t recall ever seeing one like it. I was excited that I was going to have something novel, a ride that would attract attention. Sure enough, the first few days with it there were a lot of people curious about just what it was I was driving. But wouldn’t you know it? It seemed like everywhere I looked, someone was in a silver ’03 Saturn L200 just like mine! It wasn’t until I was personally invested in this vehicle that I began to be more aware of its presence elsewhere, I think the cross of Jesus Christ is the same way to me.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Reformed theology, though I don’t necessary wear the banner or drop C-bombs everywhere, simply because there are too many misconceptions and errant preconceived notions about what I believe. The crux of the debate that’s raged for thousands of years is simply over what role God has in the salvation of sinners. At the far left is the heretical Pelagianism, and then you progress through positions such as semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, Moderate Arminianism, Amyraldianism, Moderate Calvinism, Calvinism, and Hyper-Calvinism, with a few variations in between.

Some camps believe that God has nothing to do with the conversion of a sinner- everything the individual needs he already possesses. Now he simply needs to use his own will to accomplish his salvation. Then the Hyper-Calvinists believe it’s all God and as such we need not waste time proclaiming the Gospel or inviting sinners to Christ. After all, if they were of the Elect, their salvation will most certainly occur and you need not help at all. There is obviously a lot of room for discussion in this arena, and one of the reasons I hate the label “Calvinist” is because by a large, ideas are lumped together with Calvinism that simply aren’t true.

One of the key issues in this fight concerns the role of the cross of Christ and what it was intended to do. Those to the left side of the debate believe that the cross merely made salvation possible, contingent upon the will of the sinner- all for whom Jesus died. Those on the right believe that Jesus indeed secured the salvation for all of the sinners for whom He died, but did not die salvifically for the entire human race, else they’d all be saved. These two positions are a necessity, because unless you’re a Universalist, then you have got to place limitations on the atoning work of Christ. Either it was limited in it’s accomplishment, or it was limited in it’s extent. You may say that Jesus died for all and actually saved none by His death, or you can believe that Jesus died savingly for a particular group of individuals who would be linked to Christ and His atoning benefits through faith purchased in the cross and given to God’s elect as a gift.

I have to believe the latter. I’ve written extensively throughout this blog about my Biblical and logical reasons for believing that monergism is the most Biblical understanding of God’s salvation of sinners, but I’ll include here one simple reason why I believe that the cross of Jesus purchased my salvation. Simply put, if Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection on my behalf is not the basis for my salvation, then this means that my salvation is not by grace alone. In other words, what Jesus did wasn’t sufficient to guarentee my salvation. I had to bring something of my own to the table to actually expunge my sins before God.

The more I ponder what happened on the cross, the more like my Saturn I see pieces of the big picture all throughout Scripture. Colossians one had a big one- Colossians two does as well, because we see Paul telling the Christians in Colossae this: ” You, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God  made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by  canceling  the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

I mean, how beautiful is that? For those of us in Christ, we are reconciled to God and saved in the cross of Jesus because our sins were nailed to it. They are dealt with. They were paid for. And when we trust in Christ as our Savior, this becomes our reality. The best part is, this is available for everyone who will trust Christ as their Savior. This is the Good News. Do you believe it? Are you sharing it?

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