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Salvation, Christian Doctrine of

Subject Religion » Christianity

Key-Topics salvation

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xiii.b ] Salvation for Christians depends upon ‘grace’. This is divine favour and supernatural power freely given by God, shown above all in the ‘Atonement’ (reconciliation, or at-one-ment, between humanity and God) wrought by J esus Christ. Human beings’ S in prevents them from approaching God; reconciliation is made through Christ's sacrificial death ( see C hristology ). There have been many theories about atonement (none officially defined as ‘dogma’; see A uthority ). Early theories about Christ's death as a ‘ransom’ paid to Satan are no longer generally accepted. For St A nselm , only Christ could completely ‘satisfy’ God's just punishment of sin. More persistent is the view that Christ's taking human form (Incarnation) made it possible for human beings also to become divine. P rotestantism has often emphasized ‘penal substitution’ – that Christ bore the punishment due to sinful humanity. Peter Abelard (1079–1142) thought that the love of Christ shown by his death moves humans to love God. This ‘moral influence’ theory has been popular in modern times. By ‘justification’, R oman catholicism has meant the conveying of grace to make people holy. Protestantism has seen it rather as God forgiving people and treating them as though righteous because of Christ's atonement. Protestants have emphasized ‘justification by faith’, ‘faith’ being understood as a response to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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