Tuesday, October 13, 2020


The fact that obedience is a crucial aspect of salvation underlies Paul’s encouragement to the New Testament church to “work out your own salvation” (Phil. 2:12)—this from the theologian of grace par excellence. Likewise, when the tax collector Zacchaeus pledged fourfold restitution for defrauding others (Luke 19:8), thus fulfilling the requirements of the Torah (Exod. 22:1), Jesus announced, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). It is certainly possible (and traditional) to read ]esus’s comments in terms of a truncated view of salvation as some internal “spiritual” transformation to which Zacchaeus’s visible actions testify. However, the text reflects the biblical perspective that obedience (especially when it concerns the reestablishment of justice) is itself a crucial component of salvation, in the sense of the restoration of communal well-being.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 88

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