Salvation as an emotional experience (thinking out loud)

Can true, “saving” faith (that is, faith that is part of a restored relationship with God) better be described as a set of likely emotions rather than just a mental assent to something?  For example, we all know people that have professed to believe all of what can be considered the “required” points of the gospel, but later, they inexplicably turned away.

Maybe what we should have focused on was their reaction to their sin; was it disgust?  Frustration?  Then how did they feel about their chances of making it on their own… Hopeless?  Then, when they found out there was a way, that God had come to earth to pay the price for their sins that they couldn’t; profound joy and gratitude?  And finally, a sense of commitment?

These are the genuine reactions to our need for a Savior.  What if any of them is missing?  Can you replace disgust and hopelessness with something else; oh, let’s say “fear”?  In other words, you shortcut the gospel message and instead of telling someone how bad their sin is, you present Jesus as nothing more than a “get out of Hell free” card.  Without feeling disgust at sin, is true repentance possible?

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2 thoughts on “Salvation as an emotional experience (thinking out loud)

  1. This depends how you define salvation. If you define it as a single event (i.e. before moment, person is NOT saved and after moment, person IS saved) then there’s a few ways to look at it.

    Unfortunately, I think this view of salvation is erroneous.

    When balancing all the Scriptures have to say about it, I think we see that salvation is not instantaneous. It is a WAY – a series of encounters with Jesus. Thus, I am not content to define it by any single moment of emotion or intellectual consent. Rather, it is a whole being transformation that takes the shape of a process in our human experience.

    Not a very popular position if you’re an evangelical, but the only one I find that satisfies the Scriptures.

  2. I agree that salvation isn’t limited to a single event, however I think there is a definite single point in time that marks its beginning, even if you’re not entirely aware of it when it happens. If that isn’t instantaneous, you would have a bunch of people running around who were “kind of” saved. It sounds almost like the theology behind purgatory.

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