Soteriology: A Comparative Study of Yoruba Ifa Mythology and Christianity (Series no. 9)

                                Pictorial representation of Jesus’s Baptism by John The Baptist


Jesus Christ is the central focus in the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. To believe in Jesus Christ in the Biblical sense is an act of the will of God and not of the intellect. To have eternal life is to come directly and personally to Jesus Christ and believe that He died for human sins. His death, resurrection, and coming again are the triangular anchor of the Christian faith. Scripture clearly states that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother, Mary, by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father (Luke 1: 34-35, Matthew 1: 18-20, 24-25). The virgin birth of Christ is a reminder that Salvation comes about through the supernatural work of God (Galatians 4: 4-5). Jesus was born without inherited sin.

Art representing the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, The Mediator 

According to Christian salvation doctrine, Jesus complied with these necessities and became a mediator between God and man. Jesus was tempted like us, yet he did not sin Mat. 4:1 – 10; vs.10 & 11. By Jesus’ temptations, he can sympathize with humankind more in our experiences, thereby becoming an advocate with God the father. Jesus became man’s high priest by his sacrificial death on the Cross and his resurrection on the third day; (Mt. 27:50 – 28:7). In biblical usage, Salvation is a broad term denoting all the benefits, physical or spiritual, that are graciously bestowed on humans by God[17]. In essence, Salvation is the act or state of deliverance from harm or peril. Whether that danger is physical, spiritual, temporal, or eternal; However, some think that Salvation has only to do with human sin at the fall that resulted in man’s alienation from God and that Christ’s death paid the penalty. Christian’s view on Salvation is espoused in John 11: 25 & 26. It shows that only Jesus Christ, whom God sent to the world, can save sinners from their sins.

The basic Hebrew root denoting Salvation or deliverance is ys`, which is used 354 times in the O.T. It is consistently rendered in the Septuagint by the Greek verb sozo (‘save’) and its derivatives: Soteria (‘salvation’); soter (‘savior’); soterios (‘bringing salvation’); and compound verbs anasozo (‘rescue’) and diasozo (‘preserve’). These Greek words (except for anasozo) are also used in the N.T. about Salvation [18]. According to the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Hebrew verb Hosea (the Hiphil of ys`) is a causative stem. That is to cause something to happen. The Greek verb sozo about physical and spiritual healing reflects the Bible’s holistic view of Salvation, which can be summed up in the Hebrew term shalom (peace), refers to personal wholeness and wellbeing in every sphere. In both O.T. and N.T., God is portrayed pre-eminently as ‘a God who saves’ (Ps. 68:20). His ‘Kingdom’ is his eternal saving sovereignty (Ps. 145:13; Rev. 11:15), both in his saving action as ruler and the realm where that salvific rule is exercised. The essence of each Testament is the announcement that God has provided Salvation. Exodus (Deut. 6:21-23) brought physical deliverance. In the other case, at the Cross (Col. 1:19-20) brought about spiritual emancipation from repentance from sin. There are two crucially distinctive elements in the New Testament concept of Salvation. First, whereas before it could be said that God’ brings Salvation upon the earth’ (Ps. 74:12; cf. Ex. 14:13), now it is said that ‘salvation belongs to God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb’ (Rev. 7:10; cf. 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Tim. 2:10). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God – who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), appeared on earth to bring Salvation (Titus 2:11), that is, ‘to save sinners’ – all human beings (1 Tim 1:15), ‘to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The penalty for sin, a life had to be given, and God chose to provide the sacrifice Himself by sending Jesus Christ. Jesus, through suffering and death on the Cross and resurrection, became the author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10; cf. 7:25) and the Saviour (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11), in whom people must believe if they are to be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Salvation comes by God’s free and gracious choice (Eph. 2:5; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 2:11). On the timeless principle that ‘without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22). It was through the shed blood of Jesus, poured out voluntarily (Mark 15:24) and following God’s set purpose (Acts 2:23), that full and final provision was made for the forgiveness of sins; this is the concept of Redemption, the saving Grace of God (Heb. 9:12, 14, 26-28; 10:10). God’s Salvation to Christians encompasses the past (Adamic sin), the present (present depravity), and the future (eternal life). Past deliverance points forward to present and future deliverances that, in turn, look back to past deliverance. The death and resurrection of Jesus are the focal points. ‘Being saved from sin to righteousness, therefore comes about through calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-13) and involves entrance into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-27) and into the Church as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-28).


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