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Lesson 9: Metaphors of Salvation *

Introduction: Have you ever gone to a physician and found you don't understand a lot of what is being told to you? I had one specialist who would use all sorts of medical terms that I did not understand. I would stop him and make him explain his terms. In my law practice I work with employees whose religious beliefs conflict with some work requirement. The law requires the religious objector to let the employer (or union) know about the conflict. When these (generally Christian) employees write about their religious beliefs, I try to be alert to terms that are not understood by the general public. When I see these, I suggest to the employee that they substitute a term that the public understands. The Bible uses all sorts of terms to describe salvation. We learned the reason for many of them when we studied the Old Testament sanctuary service. This week we look more deeply into this subject. Let's dive right into our study of how the Bible describes our salvation!

  1. Redeemed FLKs?

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:1-2. To whom does Peter address his letter? (To God's elect - that means us!)

      1. Peter calls us "strangers in the world." Have you ever had someone say you looked strange? My son introduced me to the term "FLK." It means "funny looking kid." Physicians use this term because a child that does not look quite right often has unseen medical problems. The child's looks are a clue to these problems. Are we FLK's in the eyes of the world? (I hope so. We might not look strange, but Peter suggests that someone elected by God does not count this sinful world as home. A changed heart makes us strangers to this world.)

        1. Wait a minute, aren't Christians supposed to look different?(You don't have to be as old as me to be able to see that lifestyles are generally reflected in the way a person looks. However, I don't think Peter is talking about looks.)

      2. How are we elected to be strangers? ( 1 Peter 1:2 gives us two pictures: our sins are removed by Jesus' blood being sprinkled on us. (Recall our discussion of the sanctuary on earth.) The Holy Spirit helps us to move towards obedience to Jesus. This gets us ready for the next world.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Notice all the symbols, all the metaphors. The last text referred to "sprinkling by His blood." Among other things, this text refers to "new birth," and "inheritance." What kind of family are we being born into? What kind of wealth does this new family possess? (Christians look forward to a new world. Peter says our new birth now into the family of God gives us "living hope" for an inheritance in the next world. That inheritance, unlike today's stock market, cannot go bad. He is a bit vague on the details, however.)

      1. Can we make this transition now? (Yes. We can join the family of God now when we are born again (through baptism). Last week we learned that we opt into Jesus' baptism when we are baptized. See Romans 6:4.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. We are strangers and we suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Why is Peter upbeat about this? (Imagine being hired by a new company into a very important position. All of these new challenges can be difficult, but they help you to become better at your work. You don't mind these challenges because you are delighted to have your new position. Our joy because of our new birth and new inheritance help us to shrug off the immediate challenges. The challenges strengthen our faith.)

    4. Read 1 Peter 1:17. Peter tells us to live our life as strangers here. What do you think this means, as a practical matter? How would a stranger live as compared to a regular citizen?

    5. Read 1 Peter 1:18-19. We are redeemed strangers. From what have we been redeemed? ("From the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers."

      1. What is an empty way of life? What does that mean? (A life without meaning. A life with no future.)

      2. The idea of being redeemed means to be "bought back." Here we are not being redeemed with money, we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. What kind of a future and a meaningful life has Jesus purchased for us? (Think of two kinds of artwork. My father did some wood carving that I imagine will be in the family for generations. On the local beach, artists make some beautiful creations out of sand. They last for a week. Jesus allows us to now begin building for eternity.)

    6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16. Has our eyesight also changed with this new birth? (Yes.)

      1. What, exactly, do you think it means to "regard [someone] from a worldly point of view?" (A worldly point of view would regard a person based on wealth, looks, and position. We might be a "FLK" in the world's view - but when we are converted we see these things in a new light. We understand the eternal view of things.)

        1. Why would we think less of wealth, looks and position just because we become Christians? (This goes back to Peter's point in 1 Peter 1:4 - our new heavenly wealth is completely secure. Wealth, looks, position on earth all fade. We all become old and die. Our new eyesight helps us to pick out what is eternally important.)

  2. Reconciliation

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. When I say that I am "reconciled" to someone, that means I previously had a dispute with them. I do not recall picking any fights with God! Why is it I need to be reconciled? (Read 2 Corinthians 5:19. When we sin we are in conflict with God! Jesus gives us a way not to have our sins counted against us. The source of the dispute between God and humans is resolved by Jesus.)

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. Paul tells us that he is speaking for God. He is making a sales pitch on God's behalf. What is he selling? (Reconciliation. We have two opposing worlds - the earth here and the earth to come. Paul, as an ambassador for God and the earth to come, appeals to us to accept this offer to have our sin placed on Jesus and His righteousness placed on us.)

    3. Let's revisit 2 Corinthians 5:16. How does Paul see us? (Recall that the disciples originally thought that Jesus would set up a kingdom on earth. They now see Jesus' kingdom as being in heaven and the new earth. When the Kingdom of Heaven becomes real to you, you see others not as rich, powerful or beautiful, but rather as citizens or non-citizens of the earth to come.)

  3. Justification

    1. Read Romans 3:19-20. As we look at the citizens and non-citizens around us, will those who are "good people" and good neighbors be considered citizens of the earth to come? (No. No one is righteous by being a good person. Even those who read God's word and understand His standard for living are not righteous - they merely understand more clearly how sinful they are!)

    2. Read Romans 3:21-24. How do we become righteous? How do we become citizens of the eternal world to come? (Faith in the redemption made for us by Jesus.)

      1. Does any other factor in our life make a difference? (No! All who believe are entitled to accept this redemption. "There is no difference.")

    3. Read Romans 3:25-26. When we accept Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, when we opt into His death as sufficient punishment for our sins, how do we end up? (Justified! We are eligible to be citizens of the eternal world to come.)

    4. Friend, do you understand this? Because of what Jesus did for you - redemption, reconciliation, justification - you are eligible to become a citizen of the Kingdom of God. You can join the family that will live eternally on the earth to come. Will you accept what Jesus has done for you and today become a citizen?

  4. Next week: Atonement At The Cross.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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