What did people in the New Testament have to do to be "saved"?

Wed, 18/04/2012 - 13:18

What did people in the New Testament have to do to be “saved”? I was prompted to ask this question by this assertion in a comment in the discussion about the sinlessness of Jesus:

Many within the orthodox evangelical world go so far as to say that one can not deny Christ’s deity and experience the personal salvation that He offers.

What I have done here is simply look at occurrences of the words “save”, “saved” or “salvation” in the New Testament and highlight what appears to be required of people in order for them to be saved. It is a limited exercise. There will be passages that have a bearing on this question where the salvation terminology is not found—for example, passages that use different word groups, or which speak of people perishing or being destroyed because they have not done something. But I think it will give us a pretty clear idea of what people were expected to do or believe in response to the saving action of God—and more importantly, as I will suggest at the end, of the narrative contexts in which this theme emerged.

  • The disciples were told that they would have to endure to the end of the tribulation that was coming upon Israel in order to be saved (Matt. 10:22; 24:13). Those who took up their own crosses and lost their lives for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the good news of the kingdom of God would save their souls (Mk. 8:35).
  • The sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet was “saved” by a “faith” that expressed itself as a concrete expression of love towards Jesus (Lk. 7:47-50). Zacchaeus was saved—restored to the family of Abraham—by his offer to restore what he had defrauded and give half of his goods to the poor (Lk. 19:8-9).
  • Jews who believed the good news about the coming kingdom of God and its significance for Israel would be saved (Lk. 8:12). Anyone who believed the good news about the coming transformation of the status of God’s people in relation to the nations—that is, the good news of the kingdom of God—and was baptized, would be saved (Mk. 16:16), though this passage may not be part of Mark’s original Gospel.
  • Only those Jews who sought to follow the narrow path leading to life would be saved (Lk. 13:23-24). For that reason, it would be difficult for the wealthy to be saved from the destruction that was coming upon Israel (Lk. 18:26-27).
  • Those Jews and the “other sheep” who entered the renewed community of Israel through the door which is Jesus would be saved (Jn. 10:7-9, 16). Those who did not reject Jesus but received the words which he spoke on the Father’s authority would be saved and would enter the life of the age to come (Jn. 12:46-50).
  • Those Jews who repented of their sins and called on the name of the Lord Jesus, who had been appointed ruler and judge by God (Acts 2:34-36), would be saved from the destruction that was coming upon the “crooked generation” of Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 2:21, 40; 3:23; 4:12). Diaspora Jews would be saved by believing the message that “God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus” (Acts 13:23, 26).
  • Gentiles were saved by believing the good news that Jesus had been “appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:14, 42).
  • The Philippian jailer believed in the Lord Jesus and was saved, along with his household (Acts 16:30-31).
  • Both Jews and Gentiles were saved by believing the good news that Jesus had been made Israel’s king “by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:1-4, 16). Jews and Gentiles who believed that God raised Jesus from the dead and confessed that this Jesus was now Lord would be saved from the wrath of God which was about to come both upon Israel and upon the nations (Rom. 10:9, 13). Gentiles were saved by believing the good news about God’s Son—that he had been raised from the dead, made Lord, would come to judge and rule the nations, etc.—which was proclaimed to the pagan world (2 Thess. 2:13).
  • People were saved by holding fast to the word preached to them, that Jesus died for the sins of God’s people and was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures, embodying the restoration of God’s people (1 Cor. 15:1-5; cf. Hos. 6:1-2).
  • Gentiles were saved—that is, incorporated into the restored people of God—not by works of the Law but “by faith”, as a response to the gift of God (Eph. 1:13; 2:8-9, 19-22).
  • The Philippians were told to keep working out their own salvation, “holding fast to the word of life”, until the “day of Christ” (Phil. 2:12-16). Women would be “saved through childbearing” (1 Tim. 2:15). Timothy would save both himself and his audience by the consistency and integrity of his behaviour and teaching (1 Tim. 4:13-16).
  • The troubled Jewish Christians addressed in the Letter to the Hebrews would be saved by drawing near to God through Jesus (Heb. 7:25). They would be saved by faithfully waiting for Jesus to appear again to deliver them (Heb. 9:28).
  • People were saved by demonstrating the validity of their faith by means of good works (James 2:14).
  • People were saved by the act of being baptized as an “appeal to God… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, who has been given authority over all powers (1 Pet. 3:21-22).

What can we learn from this? Basically that salvation in the New Testament is eschatological. People needed to be saved because God was about to judge first his own people and then the pagan nations. People were saved by believing that the death and resurrection of Jesus constituted a decisive moment in this narrative of eschatological transformation. His death was an atonement for the sins of the people of God, including the sins of those Gentiles who were to be incorporated into the “household of God”. Through his resurrection Jesus was given authority as Lord to rule over the renewed people of God and judge the nations (cf. Acts 17:31). Initial belief, however, was not enough. Salvation meant endurance through the coming crisis of political upheaval and persecution. Only those who persevered in the face of great discouragement and suffering would be saved and attain the life of the age to come.

So I can see that people were saved by believing that Jesus had been given authority to rule and judge—an authority that would otherwise have been reserved for God alone. I do not see that people were saved by believing in the deity of Christ, but perhaps that is to be found in one of the passages that has been overlooked. In any case, this does not mean that the “orthodox evangelical world” is wrong to insist that people must confess the deity of Christ in order to be saved. It’s just that this does not appear to have been a necessary criterion in the New Testament.

Comments

Andrew -

I think that, even if one opened the door to allow the NT to speak beyond its own narrative historical framework, these passages that you have quoted would challenge much of our theology of ‘salvation’. And I think that was what Bell was getting at with one section in Love Wins. We’ve so ordered things systematically that we can’t even allow or consider half the passages you quoted above. We cannot steer fully clear of systematic theology. It is inherent to theological construction. But too much has been ‘set to the side’ in our reformed evangelical perspectives in regards to understanding the Bible’s teaching on salvation.

Exactly. I would be interested to hear how you connect this with Love Wins, though, if only briefly.

The connection is that Bell, in his ch.1, poses all kind of non-biblical scenarios of how we tell people they get saved, then looks at many places in the NT where people are told they will be saved. a) They don’t line up all too well and b) there are some interesting accounts of what was said when people were promised salvation in Scripture.

So your quoting of varying passages show the plethora of scriptural data available about what it means to be saved. A lot of it does not fit within the typical systematic approaches of reformed evangelicalism.

I was noting that both Bell and you challenge the normative ‘salvation’ paradigm that we so easily hold to as we formulate our systems. Something like that. Hope that makes sense.

Helpful. Thanks.

Of course, noting the negativity over Bell, you might not have liked the comparison. :)

Rob made a similar point a few years ago at the “Isn’t She Beautiful” conference. The one passage that stuck with me was from Mark 2:1-5 where the paralyzed man’s sins were declared forgiven because of the faith of his friends.

Trust me, I don’t want to be the resident flame thrower, as Dr. Perriman is well mannered Brit. But I guess that’s why we keep reading him. For a theology blog, it is a refreshing quality.

Ok here we go: the “orthodox” who insist on belief in the deity of Christ as sufficient and necessary for salvation are wrong, ill-informed and frankly, spiritually cancerous. It is literally toxic to propagate that kind of nonsense. The flat ahistorical reading of the NT has done and is doing untold damage to the faith of millions around the world. I should know, I was one of those who seriously considered an early exit. Maybe I’m just an irredeemable egghead, but the narrative historical lens keeps me sane and keeps me in church. More importantly, for me, it clearly fleshes out what I, as a 21st century participant in this grand story, should be doing in concert with my faith-family–a people who strive to bear witness to Jesus’ lordship over our world. To me, this defines the scope of the good news that has been proclaimed post-Easter. It’s a pretty straightforward deal, no?

Great comment Yinka, although I find for me the narrative historical hermeneutic allows me to keep calling myself Christian, but I find the church stuff much harder all the time. I fear that it will be a long time before we see a sensible approach to scripture taken by our evangelical brothers and sisters in todays (for me Australian) churches

I think Andrew is right here about what it means to be saved, unfortunately I fear that our churches need saving from extinction.

Thanks Daniel vR. Oi, Australia too ?

I hear you. Atimes, I think extinction is inevitable. On better days, Church stuff becomes bearable as soon as I remember the fact that language that attempts to grasp the ineffable is a tool, a finger pointing to the moon. Its is laughable ( though understandable ) to mistake the pointing finger for the moon.

Hi Yinka,

Yes, a fellow Aussie it seems.

The hardest thing, is that I am convinced that Andrew is on the right track when he talks about the idea that post Christendom we should be trying to articulate what it means to be New Creation people in microcosm in light of the story of Abraham. And I am convinced especially from my own experience that we do not look like this at all in our churches today because we are still operating under the old ideas of Empire.

The greatest challenge is to try to re-imagine what this new creation paradigm of people of God looks like. From my own reading of things in the UK they seem to be further ahead of the game regards to new ideas than here in Oz.

Ha ! Just a Nigerian fan, mate !

Nursing my new-found narrative-historical glasses in the well meaning but koo-koo evangelical mecca that is America.

Curious about the UK, care to breifly elborate ? All I hear of Europe is about how the grand old churches are virually empty most sundays.

Same thing struck me about the post-christian paradigm. Sheesh–I think of the land of my birth and the rest of the African continent, oh dear.

Hey Yinka,

Got me there with your oi!

I have a mate that has been to Sheffield in the UK a few times to experience and learn about how they are doing what they call ‘missinal community’ models of church. The one in Sheffield is multi-denomination and more info can be found here,

http://www.networkchurchsheffield.org.uk/

He is adapting it for Australian conditions, you know, hot dusty and snake ridden.

I like it because I think it can fit well with what Andrew talks about regarding the question “what does it mean to be ‘New Creation’ community in our world today.

Sheffield is not the only place trying new things obviously, but it is one I know a bit more about. Have even heard about some places in the U.S trying this stuff. Maybe there is hope yet.

God bless America, you need it!

Thanks, Daniel, helpful.

I would say (and you would probably agree) that the idea of getting “saved” is just one of many ways of viewing faith in early Christianity (or Judaism), whereas it seems to the be-all and end-all of evangelical Christianity. Complicate that with the fact that “salvation” in the NT usually has, in addition to eschatological context, community-oriented rather than individual-oriented context, and I no longer think one can consider personal salvation the way evangelicals mean it as a truly Christian doctrine.

Yes, I would agree. Salvation in the New Testament is much more like saving the Siberian tiger. A species is threatened with extinction. What can be done to ensure its survival? Then we deal with individual tigers.

I was going to avoid getting involved in this discussion - but felt a small contribution might be helpful.

I’ve never liked ‘saved/salvation’ terminology as used by some evangelicals, and in fact rarely hear it these days. It focuses on salvation from an eternity in hell, and can tend towards a salacious obsession with the eternal conseqeunces of sin.

The use of the term in the NT is broader than that, but not so broad, or so limited to 1st century issues, as to make the restricted use unrecognisable. I don’t think it need be a target for the alleged misuse of scripture by evangelicals though, unless it is used abusively.

Evangelicals as a whole are, like myself, impressed with the achievement of Jesus, which, for them, provides the hermeneutical key for the scriptures. If Jesus is understood to be introducing the kingdom of God as its messiah/king, by gathering around himself those who were experiencing the realities of this eschatological kingdom, in the sense of the new age to come, then salvation is cast in a different light. It is salvation from a world which was passing away (which it did, as it were, in AD 70, and still is today as a world which, in many respects, is passing away).

From this perspective, ‘salvation’ is not limited to escape from hell or the AD 70 catastrophe, or even from the ravages of personal or corporate sin, though that is certainly included. More broadly, it embraces the inauguration of a new humanity, its motivations and agenda, which continues to this day. The NT examples given at the head of this thread illustrate this new humanity. At the core of this new humanity is Jesus, his life and ministry, his resurrection from the dead, and the new life which he provided as the transformative energy for its pesonal and community expression and worldwide mission.

Some evangelicals may have limited the meaning of the words ‘save/saved/salvation’ to conform to a very limited agenda. Maybe they exist in the backwoods of the USA or in reclusive groups in the UK. I think they are the rare and endangered species, and out of anthropological interest and a concern for bio-diversity, we should seek ways of identifying and protecting them before their total extinction.

I wish that sort of evangelical was as rare as you think it is. I have never known any other kind.

“Backwoods of the USA? ” . Hell no, Peter. Thanks to the USA, this is the dominant specie of evangelical worldwide !

From this perspective, ‘salvation’ is not limited to escape from hell or the AD 70 catastrophe, or even from the ravages of personal or corporate sin, though that is certainly included. More broadly, it embraces the inauguration of a new humanity, its motivations and agenda, which continues to this day.

This I fully agree with. An excellent statement.

The NT examples given at the head of this thread illustrate this new humanity.

This I don’t quite agree with. I arrive at the first quote by a rather different route.

At the core of this new humanity is Jesus, his life and ministry, his resurrection from the dead, and the new life which he provided as the transformative energy for its pesonal and community expression and worldwide mission.

Another excellent statement.

But I have to agree with Paul and Yinka that what Scot McKnight labels a “soterian” gospel is alive and kicking throughout much of the world, thanks not least to the dominance of American evangelicalism.

I just wanted to say that I can’t dig into this topic at the moment, even if it was my comment in another thread that got this started.

I also want to let Yinka know that I would hate to be in the path of that flame if it was ever decided to really be the resident flame thrower! I felt the heat of that flame right through my computer monitor! :)

Cherylu,
Flames of redemption–not damnation :)

This is an excellent post, Andrew, and it serves to point out the discrepancy of orthodox views. But I think it your conclusions don’t fit the data.

For example, you say: “People were saved by believing that the death and resurrection of Jesus constituted a decisive moment in this narrative of eschatological transformation.”

Well, some were, but many of these passages describe people saved while Jesus was alive, when certainly there was no belief about his death one way or another.

To me, the conclusion is that the need for and definition of “salvation” are constantly changing, even during the period when the NT was written.

For example, Zaccheus was saved without (as far as we know) ackowledging the saving power of the death of Jesus. The Philippian jailer believed “in” Jesus … what did he believe? We don’t know. How does a “household” get “saved?” We don’t know.

If nothing else, it should make people more humble and less dogmatic about “salvation.”

Point taken, Paul. That was an oversimplification. Zacchaeus is a good example of a person who is simply caught up in the eschatological process. But given the preceding story about a blindman who recognizes Jesus as Son of David, it’s probably fair to conclude that Zacchaeus is responding to an implicit claim to kingship. Or he views Jesus as a prophet like John the Baptist who calls Israel to repentance in the face of an impending judgment. In any case, Jesus regards him as one of the “lost” sheep of Israel whom the suffering Son of Man has come to save and restore to Abraham.

In other words, it is not just a matter of what individuals believed personally. It is about how they are drawn into a narrative of eschatological transformation for which Jesus’ death and resurrection are decisive.

Fair enough. It is easy to see how that narrative worked in the first century. I think, though, it’s harder to see the narrative (or how that narrative affects us today, collectively and as individuals) today.

That’s the big question. But is it really so difficult? What did the Exodus narrative mean for Jews in 6th century BC? It meant that they were members of a people which had been “redeemed” from slavery in Egypt. It explained who they were. It left a mark on them. The same is true for the New Testament narrative of the salvation of the people of God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If nothing else, we are members of a people that went through this historical transformation. We live by the Spirit, we are accountable to Jesus as Lord, we find grace in this context only because Jesus died for our sins. In other words, it means what it meant.

Here is my response to this issue coming only from the Gospel of John.

It seems to me that if you accept that the Bible teaches that you have to believe in the deity of Christ to be saved hinges a whole lot on if you believe He is God in the first place. Now, I suppose that is a “duh” statement. But…

I have been doing quite a bit of reading of the things that Jesus said just in the Gospel of John today. Frankly, there are several places in that Gospel where Jesus speaks of Himself in a way that I can not see as anything else but Him claiming deity for Himself.

In John 6:32-35, He speaks of Himself as the bread of life that came down from Heaven and says the bread of God is He that came down from Heaven. Again in 6:38, He says that He came down from Heaven. This is not just a man speaking–no man can claim to have come down from Heaven. In John 6:62, He asks them what they would think if they saw Him ascending “where He was before.”

And of course, in John 8:58, we have the famous, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” statement. With it’s obvious connection going back to Exodus when Moses asked God what His name was and He told him “I AM” and then added that His name was the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, I can truly see no other way to read that then an outright claim of deity by Jesus.

Then we have Jesus making the claim that if they don’t believe that “I am He” they will die in their sins. ( John 8:24 ) When He was asked who He was, He told them in verse 25 “what I have been saying from the beginning.” Did not “what He had been saying since the beginning” include the statements of Godhood that He had already made?

And then finally, in John 12:48, in a statement about life and judgment at the last day and contrasting the two, He states that those that don’t believe His words, but rejects Him AND His words, will be judged on that day. Again,rejecting those words would certainly include rejecting the words He has made proclaiming Himself to be God.

Now I don’t suppose that this argument is likely to convince anyone here–unless you believe that those statements Jesus made do say that He was God. But if you do, I am not sure that you can escapte the implication that to reject (or deny) that He is God is something that is going to bring His judgment and not His salvation.

Cheryl, you are so very convincing, in the sense that it’s easy to be convinced when you ignore 99% of the information involved.

It’s amusing how you respond to a thoughtful post that lists every passage about salvation by saying, “Let’s talk about the Biblical position, which is John.”

How about addressing the actual point, that the meaning of salvation is defined differently in different NT writings? Zaccheus didn’t believe the things about Jesus outlined in the writings of John. He was long dead when John was written. What saved him?

How does one harmonize passages from different writings, if indeed they can be harmonized? Andrew does that through a narrative system. Do you have a coherent way of harmonizing the data?

On second thought, scratch that. I doubt anybody here – certainly not me – wants to read another excruciating heresy hunt.

Paulf,

How do you know Zaccheus didn’t believe the things outlined in John? Is it absurd to think that he just may have heard Jesus say a few other things than what is dirctly recorded in the immediate story of his salvation?

And what it seems to me that you may be missing is the fact that what John recorded were the words/statements of Jesus Himself. They weren’t just some notions of John recorded many years later.

It would seem to me that the one that was sent to bring salvation to man would likly know what He was talking about, don’t you think? Seems like some pretty heavy weight should be given to the direct assertions of Jesus Himself. If He says that rejecting His words bring judment, I would think that rejecting His words bring judgment! I would think that the only way one could get around the implication of such a direct statement is to decide that His words that seem clear to me about His deity don’t really mean He is God or that those words aren’t included in His statement about rejecting His words.

Yes, there is harmonizing that needs to be done. BUT it would certainly appear to me that there are statements made here by Jesus Himself that it would not be very wise to just throw under the bus.

We also need to remember that what Jesus was warning his hearers of was impending judgement for Israel’s infidelity to the covenant, and therefore in many ways to be saved meant literally being saved from the armies of Titus. Why else would ‘fishers’ of men be such a dramatic word in the Greek.

Good lord, this is why I always hesitate to engage with the silly commenters who clog these blogs with blind defense of orthodoxy. IT’S THE WORDS OF JESUS HIMSELF! What could I be thinking!

Cheryl, I don’t know what Zaccheus believed, or what he was suposed to have believed, but then neither do you. But I’d say the odds are pretty good that – if Zaccheus was a real person and this actually happened – he didn’t believe ideas that were not yet invented.

What’s more, if the content of his beliefs were deemed important to the story, the author would have mentioned something about it. But he didn’t, because the author apparently did not believe salvation was about asserting a set of propositions.

Also, your confidence that John accurately records the actual words of Jesus is childishly simple. Not many scholars think that the Jesus who spoke at length about the kingdom in the synoptics could possibly be the same person with a completely different personality and message in John. But hey, let’s assume you are correct and John recorded Jesus with videotape. Your position still displays a commonly depressing lack of discernment and self-awareness.

Because once again, the issue isn’t that there is a verse in John that supports your view. The issue is that there are plenty of verses in other NT writings – including the WORDS OF JESUS HIMSELF – that support other views, and how do you reconcile them?

I know what is taught in Sunday School. If you plan to respond to this, engage my actual question. Otherwise be aware that I don’t suffer foolishness well and – unlike Andrew and other nice people here – will not hesitate to be rude and sarcastic. I don’t have much stomach for arguing with idiots.

I rather lost track of this conversation. Paul, I personally do not want to dismiss the position represented by Cheryl as an “excruciating heresy hunt”, “silly”, “childishly simple”, or “depressing”, and I don’t think being “rude and sarcastic” will help anyone, except perhaps yourself. It is a position maintained by the majority of people in our churches and has a legitimate claim to historic orthodoxy.

I may not do a very good job of it, but part of my agenda here is to encourage constructive and self-critical dialogue between the historical perspective and the dominant theological paradigms that control popular Christian thought. I understand the sense of frustration—we all experience it in our different ways. But I appreciate the fact that Cheryl has stuck with this conversation despite some fairly strong responses from a number of people, no doubt including myself. I would also like to hear her address the substantive points that you and others have made rather than simply quote counter-testimony. But her counter-testimony is not irrelevant and should be taken seriously.

She is a “foreigner” here, a wanderer from a different country, struggling to learn our language, struggling to make herself understood. I think she should be welcomed and treated with respect. We may even learn something from her. In my humble and “nice” view.

Saint Andrew! Would that Cheryl’s countrymen extend the same grace. I recall your trial over at Theologica…i wonder what the jury decided to do with all the evidence against you. Oh well….

Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your response.

I, too, think that theological banter via the internet is an apalling testimony and dififcult approach overall. It is such a hard medium to engage with, not knowing people’s motives, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. So we just assume attack, we assume talking past one another, assume all kinds of fallacious thinking, assume someone is a heresy hunter, etc. Well, we do know what they say about assuming…….it sometimes makes an ass- out of u- and me- (ass-u-me). :)

I appreciate compassion, well, you know, like that guy named Jesus.

“It is a position maintained by the majority of people in our churches and has a legitimate claim to historic orthodoxy.” This is precisely the problem. Many of us have moved beyond pretending there was ever ANY shred of unbiased historic legitimacy. While commendable, I fear statements like that muddy the waters abit much…perhaps if you, Andrew, attempted to make the case for this ‘doctrine’ , we might be less acerbic in response, awed by your niceness as we are…. ;)

All of us interpret the Scriptures through some sort of lens. Andrew has a unique and, in my opinion, refreshing lens that rocks some of my preconceived notions with which I view the Scriptures. To you, acknowledging the divinity of Jesus is necessary for salvation. So when you read these texts from John, it is crystal clear to you that your interpretation is correct. Yet Andrew and others do not avoid these passages. Rather they see them through their interpretative lens.

I believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I believe that it is vital theology. But what Andrew is tackling in this post was the fact that in the New Testament, affirmation of His deity did not appear to be necessary for redemption and reconciliation.

What about the occasion where Jesus himself was asked specifically about requirements for salvation? In Mark 10:17-31 the rich young man asks Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” If Jesus saw belief in himself as God incarnate as a requirement for salvation, this would be a very appropriate time to spell it out clearly. Instead, he basically tells the young man to keep the law. When the young man insists that he has done so since he was a child, Jesus tells the young man to follow him. When the young man refuses, Jesus follows this up with comments to his disciples about how hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. This would seem to indicate that Jesus clearly sees following him as a requirement for salvation. So why wouldn’t Jesus tell the young man something like “first you must believe I am God”? Instead, he actually bristled at the young man’s initial reference to him as “good teacher,” saying that there is none good but God. If we just read what this text says, aren’t we left with the distinct impression that belief that Jesus is God is not required for salvation? In actuality, following Christ seems to be the requirement.

I’m not of a mind to chuck the orthodox view of the deity of Christ out the window. But it is a bit baffling how people can insist that it is a requirement for salvation.

That’s right. When Jesus tells the man to sell everything he has and give it to the poor, the guy didn’t do it.

But what if he did? What if he said, “okay,” then sold his possessions and joined the group following Jesus? Would he would have been saved, without any orthodox beliefs?

One would assume that if he had done that, he would have been saved as a result of obeying Jesus and following him. At least that is how I read it.

Deity , divinity, deity , divinity–all lost in translation.

If an executed guy walked out of his grave–literally or whatever we wanna call the other option–to be experienced vicerally by his followers, so viceserally that the experience sustians his movement throughout the ages. I’d say the dude was pretty cool, pretty divine–basically ‘God for us’ ( Andrew, you’ll have to copyright that line), especially for those of who, because of this abiding presence, choose to be devoted to him.

Not all encompassing enough ? Can’t we term this belief in his “deity”
Seriously, whats the missing piece here?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6

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