In the last post I briefly reviewed Surprised by Hope. I found Wright's section on salvation to be particularly enticing and revealing. A few choice quotes...
“As long as we see salvation in terms of going to heaven when we die, the main work of the church is bound to be seen in terms of saving souls for that future. But when we see salvation, as the New Testament sees it, in terms of God’s promised new heavens and new earth and of our promised resurrection to share in that new and gloriously embodied reality — what I have called life after life after death — then the main work of the church here and now demands to be rethought in consequence.” [Wright, 197.]
“Salvation, then, is not going to heaven but being raised to life in God’s new heaven and new earth. But as soon as we put it like this we realize that the New Testament is full of hints, indications, and downright assertions that this salvation isn’t just something we have to wait for in the long-distance future. We can enjoy it here and now (always partially, of course, since we all still have to die), genuinely anticipating int eh present what is to come in the future.” [Wright page 198.]
“All sorts of things follow from this. We might notice, for instance, that theories of atonement, of the meaning of the cross, are not simply a set of alternative answers to the same question. They give the answers they give because of the question they ask. If the question is, How can I get to heaven despite the sin because of which I deserve to be punished? The answer may well be, because Jesus has been punished in your place. But if the question is, how can God’s plan to rescue and renew the world go ahead despite the corruption and decay that have come about because of human rebellion? The answer may well be because on the cross Jesus defeated the powers of evil, which have enslaved rebel humans and so ensured continuing corruption. Please not, these and other possible questions and answers are not mutually exclusive. My point is that reframing the question will mean rethinking the various answers we might give and the relationship between them.” [Wright, 199.]