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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 8. Salvation
We believe that, through
the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God offers salvation
from sin and a new way of life to all people. We receive God's
salvation when we repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and
Lord. In Christ, we are reconciled with God and brought into the
reconciling community of God's people. We place our faith in God that,
by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, we may be saved
from sin to follow Christ in this life and to know the fullness of
salvation in the age to come.
From the beginning, God
has acted with grace and mercy to bring about salvation--through signs
and wonders, by delivering God's people, and by making a covenant with
Israel.  God so loved the world that,
in the fullness of time, God sent his Son, whose faithfulness unto
death on the cross has provided the way of salvation for all people.  By his blood shed for us, Christ
inaugurated the new covenant.  He heals
us, forgives our sins, and delivers us from the bondage of evil and
from those who do evil against us.  By
his death and resurrection, he breaks the powers of sin and death,  cancels our debt of sin,  and opens the way to new life. 7 We are
saved by God's grace, not by our own merits. 
When we hear the good
news of the love of God, the Holy Spirit moves us to accept the gift of
salvation. God brings us into right relationship without coercion. Our
response includes yielding to God's grace, placing full trust in God
alone, repenting of sin, turning from evil, joining the fellowship of
the redeemed, and showing forth the obedience of faith in word and
deed.  When we who once were God's
enemies are reconciled with God through Christ, we also experience
reconciliation with others, especially within the church.  In baptism we publicly testify to our
salvation and pledge allegiance to the one true God and to the people
of God, the church. As we experience grace and the new birth, we are
adopted into the family of God and become more and more transformed
into the image of Christ.  We thus
respond in faith to Christ and seek to walk faithfully in the way of
We believe that the
salvation we already experience is but a foretaste of the salvation yet
to come, when Christ will vanquish sin and death, and the redeemed will
live in eternal communion with God.
(1) Ps. 74:12; Deut. 6:20-25; Exod. 20:1-17.
(2) John 3:16; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1-2.
(3) Matt. 26:28; 1 Cor. 11:25.
(4) Rom. 5:1-5; Mark 2:1-12.
(5) Rom. 8:2; Heb. 2:14-15.
(6) Rom. 3:24-25; Col. 2:13-14; Mark 10:45.
(7) Rom. 6:4.
(8) Eph. 2:8-9.
(9) Rom. 1:5; Luke 19:8-10.
(10) Rom. 5:6-10.
(11) Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18.
1. In the history of Christian thought, there have been three major
views of the atonement. Each has a basis in Scripture and contributes
to our understanding of salvation. By breaking the power of sin and
death, Christ is conqueror over evil (the Christ-the-victor view). By
canceling our debt of sin, Christ is a sacrifice and pays the ransom on
our behalf (substitutionary atonement). By opening the way to new life,
Christ shows God's love, inspiring us to receive that love and love God
and others in return (the moral-influence view).
2. People undergo a
variety of experiences in accepting salvation. Some have crisis
conversions, while others hear the proclamation of salvation and are
gradually nurtured by the community of faith before they make a
commitment. In either case, acceptance of salvation is a personal,
voluntary decision. Salvation is not acquired automatically because we
are born into a Christian family or grow up in the church.
3. This confession uses a
variety of expressions for salvation. For example, salvation is often
expressed as "justification by faith." The justification that is
"reckoned" to us as salvation (Rom. 4:1-12) is experienced as a
covenant relationship with God. A covenant is a binding agreement
between two parties. God offers the relationship. The just, or
righteous, person has received the offer, lives according to the
covenant, and trusts in God's faithfulness. Justification by faith and
faithful obedience to the covenant relationship are inseparable (Heb.
11). See "Discipleship and the Christian Life" (Article 17).
"New birth" is another
way to express salvation. Human beings were created in the image of
God. That is, they were children of God. When they sinned, they became
children of the devil and lost their place in God's family (1 John
2:29-3:10). Through salvation, we are "born again" or adopted into the
family of God (Gal. 3:23-4:7).
The New Testament
frequently connects our salvation with peace (John 16:33; Rom. 5:1;
10:15). In doing so, it builds on the Old Testament concept of shalom.
Through Christ's death on the cross, we have both peace with God and
reconciliation within the church between groups which had been enemies
(Eph. 2:14-17). Christ's suffering without taking revenge gives us an
example; we can follow in his steps and live for righteousness (1 Pet.
2:19-24; Luke 6:35-36; Mark 8:34). See also "Peace, Justice, and
Nonresistance" (Article 22).
4. God saves us as
individuals in community. The Lord's saving activity embraced an entire
people in bondage (Exod. 15). Jesus called a company of disciples. The
church is the context of the message of salvation (Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Pet.
2:1-10). There, covenants are made in the presence of witnesses, and
members are held accountable. God's covenant with us also brings about
right relationship within the people of God, in which former
hostilities are reconciled.
5. According to the
Bible, salvation includes not only forgiveness of sins which we have
committed, but also rescue from powers of evil in which we have become
entrapped (1 Pet. 2:24; Matt. 26:28; Heb. 2:14-15), deliverance from
enemies who have sinned against us (Luke 21:16-19; Acts 4), and
healing. For a discussion of the relationship of salvation and healing,
see "The Church in Mission" (Article 10), Commentary paragraph 3. Our
ultimate salvation lies in the power of the resurrection.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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