Salvation and redemption means becoming at one with God or at-onement. This cannot be achieved through only faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross or even just human overcoming of sin. Rather, the gospel of John speaks about a new birth (John 1:13; 3:1-8) whereby the Holy Spirit imparts the Love of God to individuals and transforms their soul from being in the image of God to acquiring divine substance.
Believing in Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for one’s sins and reconciling one to God does not change the soul in any way. Rather it gives believers a false sense of security that their salvation is assured without any effort of their own. Atonement doesn’t mean the payment of a debt or appeasing an “angry God” but rather becoming like God in the qualities of Divine Love and immortality.
The sinful soul condition is the result of disharmony with God’s Laws. It can be changed on two levels. Firstly, sin is eliminated and natural love purified when humans get in harmony with Divine Laws. This takes human effort – willing and conscious overcoming of sin and cultivating love to God and love to neighbour. Faith alone cannot change the condition of the soul.
Secondly, by sincere prayer, an individual may seek and receive Divine Love, which is imparted through the Holy Spirit. This Love transforms the soul and makes the person a part of Divinity – though not a god or equal with the Father. However, they receive the substance of God in their soul and move beyond the mere image of the Creator. As a result, they become immortal and no longer subject to death.
Without the Divine Love, humans are neither divine nor have God living in them. They are only created in the image of God, not possessing the substance of God. This too applies only at the soul level, not the body level, for God does not possess a body in human shape. The new birth means that the soul, made in the image of God, is by the Divine Love transformed into the substance of God.
The first humans had the potentiality for receiving the Divine Love and becoming children of God through the new birth. When they disobeyed, this opportunity was lost to them. It only became available again to humans and spirits when Jesus came to the earth. His message (gospel) was that the Divine Love, divine nature and immortality were again available for the asking.
Through the new birth, humans can become at one with the Father. This is the effect of the Divine Love flowing into one’s soul and replacing all that tends to sin and error. As the Divine Love takes over the soul, it changes it to the quality of the Great Soul of the Father. Thus the human becomes divine and immortal with their soul not only in the image of God, but also of Divine Substance.
Jesus’ moral teachings, including the Golden Rule and the two great commandments of loving God and neighbour, lead humans to purifying their natural love and restoring harmony between man and God. They will bring much happiness and make human souls more receptive to the Divine Love. However, of and by themselves, they will not bring about reconciliation to God in the divine sense, which means make the person at one with the Father in His Divinity and Immortality. Only prayer for the Divine Love and faith that the Holy Spirit imparts it as promised will bring about this at-onement and the new birth.
Redemption is restoring the relationship the first parents had with their Heavenly Father before their disobedience. God has provided a plan for human salvation, which is becoming at one with the Father in His divine nature and immortality.
The Bible text was finalized as late as the 4th century, when the church became nationalized and used for maintaining control over individuals. It appears to focus more on moral teachings than on future salvation. The church leaders and the temporal rulers wanted the people to conduct themselves in such ways that would increase the power and influence of the church. Hence the truth of the New Birth was neglected and salvation became under the control of the church rather than the responsibility of each individual.
In reality, however, each person is responsible for seeking their own salvation in the way that God has ordained. True salvation is for humans to become a part of God in partaking of the Divine Nature and attributes. This is achieved only through the New Birth – the soul receiving the Divine Love through the Holy Spirit and then growing in that Love. The Divine Love must be voluntarily requested with the soul being open to its inflowing. Jesus’ death, blood or the belief in his vicarious atonement cannot accomplish this.
For a graphic representation of the new birth process, click here.
Photo Credit: John Boyer
Related articles on this website:
Divine Plan of Salvation
Salvation as Soul Transformation
At-Onement with God
You Must Be Born Again
At-Onement with God
Plan of Salvation – Bible
Reflection on the Gospels