Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

different metaphors


We notice that in speaking about God’s work in Christ we see a number of different metaphors used to describe what is involved. Examples are salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, debt payment, free gift.

The free gift metaphor is popular because provides the mechanism by which Christian Orthodoxy insists that salvation can be rejected by not accepting what is offered. That contention obviously breaks down if we look at salvation as forgiveness instead. Can I reject forgiveness? I can ignore it or fail to forgive in return. But, if one I have wronged decides to forgive, I can do nothing to negate that forgiveness. Forgiveness happens solely in the heart and the mind of the forgiver. I am logically excluded from the process of forgiveness initiated by another.

The same thing can be said of the debt payment picture of salvation. If I owe a debt and someone decides to pay my creditor for me, I cannot prevent that happening. It is a transaction between two other people. It could happen without my knowledge even. I can refuse to be thankful. I can attempt to repay the payment already made on my behalf, but no such repayment could apply to my salvation.

Reconciliation works much the same way as forgiveness. Reconciliation may well involve a mutual forgiveness of past differences and/or wrongs. If that is the case, then reconciliation becomes a two way street, requiring an agreement of all parties. However, the reconciliation between God and man is not that case. Christian theology says that man has offended God, so reconciliation must be initiated by God. Man has no legitimate charge against God, so God needs no approval from man to become reconciled to mankind. If God decides to re establish an amiable relationship, He does not need a human endorsement.

The fact of the matter is that the various biblical pictures of salvation do not require this idea that men can reject what God has purposed for them. If God insists that I accept His salvation, do you really believe I can resist.