Part Two: Jesus’s Death and Salvation

Tension between Jesus teaching and practicing a ministry of love and that Jesus died a criminal’s death. Three options for deciding how to interpret the relationship between these two:

  • 1. The logic of retribution resolves the tension by minimizing the significance of Jesus’s teaching and practices. For salvation only two points matter: (a) Jesus was sinless and (b) Jesus died a sacrificial death and therefore Jesus’s crucifixion is the means to achieve salvation.
    • Grimsrud says the problem is that this notion of salvation was foreign to Jesus and to the Old Testament salvation story.
  • 2. The other extreme, all that actually matters is the truthfulness of Jesus’s message of love.
    • Grimsrud says this is closer, “however Jesus’s execution may have importance for how we understand salvation.” (AK location 2561)
  • 3. The approach taken in this book: Jesus’s crucifixion is crucial for how we understand the Bible’s salvation story, but not because it adds a needed element that makes salvation possible. “Rather, Jesus’s crucifixion illumines what is at stake in God’s efforts to bring healing to the world, what forces oppose these efforts, and how those forces may be overcome.” (AK location 2573)
    • In other words, Jesus’s crucifixion says more about those who oppose God than about God himself.
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