“Sin and Salvation: some words and some thoughts”
Dear readers, thinkers, and men and women of all thoughts and ideas and opinions, Christians and non-Christians alike. Today I want to talk about and discuss the significant and essential Christian concepts of sin and salvation. I begin by saying that these terms for many people in our world are either not understood, not known, or for many in the modern world are foreign to their lives and thinking. Yet these concepts have a pressing reality to a world lost in consumerism, materialism and intellectual darkness.
Let us examine what is meant in the Christian vocabulary by sin. Many in our shallow modern world and society do not even know what is meant by sin and perhaps are disinclined to deal with the idea or concept at all. Many will say, most people and myself are good people earning a living supporting their families and contributing to their community. Many thus will see no issue about sin. At most they will say there are a number of moral and legal violations that they identify as sin and of course are aware of the great all-time sins of the genocides of the past 100 years: the Holocaust, Pol Pot in Cambodia, the Russian revolution, Darfur, terrorism, and the Armenian genocide.
Sin, however, is much deeper and more profound if properly understood. Sin is love of self, selfishness and devotion to self. It is doing what you want and doing what you like with little regard for others or their needs. In short, sin is a world run and dominated by evil forces. Sin is what brings us all to the reality of ourselves and our lives devoted to ourselves. We can only understand what I have just described if we take off our rose-colored glasses and see things as they really are: broken families, jobs lost, and words causing pain and hurt.
Next, I will give thought to the term salvation, an essential and most basic Christian idea. Christians believe we live in a fallen world where our first parents in the Garden of Eden, in disobeying God and giving into their pride, brought death, pain, suffering and all forms of evil into the world. Salvation in Christ is God’s rescue mission to repair our broken world and broken relationship with God and to bring us to heaven, and into a loving relationship with God and Christ and our neighbor. Christ and the Cross are God’s act of rescue and means of salvation to bring humanity into a correct and loving relationship with our Creator and redeemer.
Salvation is not an outmoded idea but expresses a great truth that the world is and has gone awry, that the world is encased with evil, wickedness and sin which God in Christ offer to do away with and fix for us all, for all time and generations. Sin and salvation deal with what the world is and what God seeks to fix and repair. Sin is the reality, and salvation in Christ is the solution. The beginning and centrality of salvation is that God so loved the world. Christ came into the world for all peoples. Christianity is a religion of the saving power of God’s love.
Finally, I will speak of the Buddhist idea of salvation. I have a high regard for Buddhism. Buddha, however, and he was not entirely wrong, viewed the world as bad and as the source of evil and suffering for man, that we have to liberate ourselves from our ties to this world, our ties to our bodies. The more we are liberated from the world, we are liberated from its evil. In Buddhism we liberate ourselves not by a loving God but by detachment from the world which is bad.
In many ways there are strong resemblances between Buddhism and the Christian concept of evil in the world. For the Christian, however, God created a good material world and a man and women in his image and sent his son in the form of a man born of a woman who lived a human life. Thus, Buddhism in some ways is like Christianity and in other ways differs. It must be said that both systems have good points. The distinction is the goodness of God in Christianity, and that Buddhism is in some ways an atheistic system. Christianity sees the material world as created to be good. Buddhism recommends detachment from the evil material world. Christianity takes up and loves man and the material world which God created as good and seeks redemption of all men and women.