The idea of a person being “saved” hasn’t been a primary focal point for the church for most of the past 2000 years. Saved wasn’t a term widely recognized until the 1970’s when, “born again Christian” began to be used to describe a person who had been saved, or made a personal decision to follow Christ.
As I mentioned in my post on Ash Wednesday, the early church had a word that was synonymous with salvation, theosis. One writer explains it this way, “Theosis is the process by which a persons essential being is permeated and filled with the presence of God. Theosis is a biblical idea. When St. Paul talked about being ‘in Christ,’ or Christ being ‘in me’ he meant it literally. That’s how his words were understood by people who lived in his world and spoke his language, the ones who were his original audience.” To the early followers of Jesus, the idea of theosis and salvation were synonymous.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Is 30:15
As we look at Isaiah’s word again with the consideration of salvation as a process more than a decision, Isaiah’s words seems to make a little more sense. “In repentance and rest is your salvation.” As I read that with an interpretation of salvation as theosis, I can see a little more clearly how repentance and rest help aid in ongoing salvation. As I read the Isaiah passage with more of a current American understanding of salvation, I would see it reading more like this… Repentance and rest lead a person to a one-time decision to follow Jesus. I don’t really see how repentance which is a process (we will dive into that in upcoming weeks) and learning to rest, which is a process, pinnacle with a one-time decision.
I could be way off here, but the prophet Isaiah appears to be writing about how repentance and rest are catalysts to surrendering one’s life to God on a day-to-day basis, rather than trying to get someone to make a certain decision that equates to “salvation.” We’ll keep exploring this together as we make our way through Lent.