Chapter 2: Salvation in the Old Testament

References to Amazon Kindle locations based on 9895 locations, 241 book pages, chapter 1 start on page 1, location 63, last chapter ending on page 241, location 6853, converted using this page.

What is salvation? Do we also need to be saved from God?

“Salvation in the Old Testament is not about some transaction in the heart of God or some sort of weighing of the cosmic scale of justice. Rather, salvation has to do with flesh and blood actions.” (The Healing God, second paragraph, AK Location 791, page 26)

Eight steps of the primal story

“Jesus and his followers express their understandings of salvation in terms of the Old Testament’s primal story” (The Primal Salvation Story, AK Location 843, page 28)

“In this primal salvation story, the key saving act of God comes in the exodus. However, the exodus presupposes God’s initial call of Abraham and Sarah…”

“God’s strategy to bring about peace leads to another act of creation,…”

  • Read Isaiah 2:2-4
  • Micah 4:1-3
  • Compare to Acts 2:44-47

“The Exodus was a crucial part of God’s healing strategy and an important memory for biblical faith.” (AK Location 890, page 30)

  • “The God of the Exodus is not the God of people in power.”

“The ‘salvation story’ tells us: …”(AK Location 915, page 31)

Hos 11:8, Admah and Zeboiim were two cities, according to Genesis 19, destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. How does the logic of retribution apply here? Grimsrud asks, “Why does God do this?” The answer is in Hos 11:9, “I am your God and no mortal.” (AK location 958, page 32)

  • Rob Bell asked, “Does God get what God wants?”

Move on to the Babylonian exile…

  • Jer 31:31-34
  • Is 43

“The heart of the Old Testament’s primal story may be seen as three key saving moments: the calling of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 12), the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery (Exod 1-15), and the proclamation of mercy to the Hebrew exiles (Isa 40-55)” (AK Location 1014, page 34)

  • God gives salvation in each of these key moments to unworthy recipients
  • God the savior acts in these moments purely out of God’s own good will
  • At its core, according to the primal story, salvation has to do with a loving, passionate God desiring a personal connection with hmanity
  • According to a typical account of the primal story, Hosea 11, God’s holiness fuels mercy, not retribution

The Role Of The Law

  • “The law provides a framework for ongoing faithful living” (AK Location 1058, page 36)
  • “At its heart, Torah was not about picky, legalistic rules that must not be violated out of fear of harsh punishment. Rather, Torah sought healthy communal relationships for all in the community. Torah had a constructive, relational, and life-embracing concern.” (AK Location 1093, page 37)
  • “Most fundamentally, biblical law has its roots in God’s love. It expresses God’s mercy meant to empower people of faith to live joyful, healthy lives in community.” (AK Location 1133, page 38)
    • Hence Jesus’ statement that he fulfills the law rather than abolishes it. Matthew 5:17
    • Do we think that Paul had this understanding of the law?

The Role of Sacrifices

  • “Sacrifices do not appease an angry and punitive God; rather their practice enters as gifts from a consistently loving God to sustain relationships established already by God initiating healing, delivering love.” (AK location 1165, page 39)
  • Two general types of sacrifices presented in Leviticus 1-7
    • Offerings that express commitment, loyalty, and gratitude.
    • Sin offerings – expressions of repentence, regret for wrongdoing, and resolve to return to a viable relationship with Yahweh. (Lev 4-6)
      • Those who inadvertently violated Torah
      • For those who advertently violated Torah the offender is first to make restitution with the community
      • The place of blood in sin offerings is not explained in the Old Testament. Leviticus 17:11 seems to say that blood symbolizes life
      • “The acts of ‘atonement’ in the sin offering were not practiced with the expectation that the death of a sacrificed animal would provide satisfaction to an angry or dishonored deity and in that way make salvation possible. Salvation was made possible by God’s mercy instead of atonement.” (AK Location 1208, page 41)
      • “By the eighth century, Amos and other prophets claimed that such faithfulness had been forgotten and the sacrifices had become autonomous (and empty) religions acts..” (AK Location 1227, page 42)
  • Salvation and Retribution (AK Location 1236, page 42)
    • “The called-for actions, rather, include the Hebrews responding to God’s merciful acts by acting mercifully themselves.” (AK Location 1236)
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