Mention salvation, and nearly all Western Christians assume that you mean going to heaven when you die. They also hold to the assumption that their salvation is wholly about their own personal “relationship with God.”  Looking at salvation (soteria) as the Scriptures present it from Genesis to Revelation, we find that the reality of salvation is much broader in scope.  Salvation is what God is doing for the entire cosmos.  All of creation longs for renewal and restoration, and it waits for the unveiling of redeemed humans who are invited by God to participate in this glorious process.  This is a stewardship that cannot be postponed to the future.

Salvation then is not merely a “life after death.” It is a “life before death.”  It is not just about going to heaven, but it is about being raised to life in God’s great rescue that was inaugurated by Jesus Christ at the cross, confirmed by His resurrection, administered by His ascension, and is now the robust commission of the church.

From beginning to end, salvation is of the Lord. It is not that which we earn or deserve.  Election and effectual calling, justification and adoption, sanctification and transformation, preservation and provision, completion and consummation…a glorious work indeed!