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John's distinctive description of salvation is 'eternal life'.

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Introduction

Salvation John's distinctive description of salvation is 'eternal life'. According to the Fourth Gospel, eternal life is a gift from God.1 Barrett sees salvation as the opposite of judgement; it is an Apocalyptic2 unveiling of the future.The basis of salvation in Johannine terms is eternal life is only possible insofar as it derives from God through Christ by the Spirit. Thus men can be rescued from darkness, judgement and wrath: and thus they can pass from death to life.3 This concept of salvation in John, moreover, has a continuing reference: past, present and future are involved in it. Barrett suggests that there are three kinds of eschatology; purely futuristic - this will happen at some 'future unknown date'; realised - this is already happening but with Jesus the final events will happen and personalised - this happens to the individual, when each man individually turns to Jesus. Smalley suggests there is a future tense involved as the person who honours the Son of God is promised the 'resurrection of life' in the age to come.45 John's Gospel explicitly states that it was written to bring people to salvation. It is important to note that only through Jesus can you gain salvation "God did not send his son into the world to judge it but to save it" - here we have links to Christology and the idea that the paraklete will judge. There is emphasis that presents eternal life as the result of belief: "that believing you may have life in His name."5 Since Jesus Himself is life (1:4; 14:6), eternal life is defined in terms of quality and experience more than quantity and duration (10:10).6 Eternal life is not an end, but the beginning of a relationship with the living God through Christ (17:3) ...read more.

Middle

A contrasting view put forward by Russell is that Nicodemus came under cover of the dark so that the other P harisees would not know that he has approached Jesus. This would imply a general Pharisaic opposition to Jesus. We who believe that baptism is essential and those who do not have turned to Jesus' statement to Nicodemus for support of our positions. We have generally approached John 3:115 to find the answer to "What must I do to be saved?" while ignoring the context. While admitting that Jesus' statements ultimately relate to salvation, let us look to learn more completely what he and Nicodemus were talking about. John the Baptist had come announcing that the kingdom of God was near. He called for repentance and baptism as a public commitment to that kingdom even though he did not call it a new birth. Although baptism comes to us suddenly without explanation in John's ministry, historians tell us that the Jews were familiar with baptism. We are told that Gentiles who became Jewish proselytes made their commitment known publicly by a ceremony of baptism. Baptism signified their entrance into the hopes and claims of fleshly, national Israel. While John proclaimed the nearness of the kingdom, he also pointed to the one who would come after him. John then identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. Andrew went to Peter and exclaimed, "We have found the Messiah!" Philip declared that they had found the one whom Moses and the prophets wrote about. And Nathanael answered Jesus, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Word gets around. A devout ruler named Nicodemus hears these rumors about the Messiah, the king, and the kingdom. ...read more.

Conclusion

The treatment of Nicodemus is not overtly hostile, he just lacks the understanding that will gain the salvation that belief in eternal life, and Jesus, will bring. In chapter 7 Nicodemus seems to stand against the actions of those Pharisees who have condemned Jesus through not allowing him freedom to speak. The Pharisees are seen to criticise the officers who have not arrested Jesus "Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him?" presumably believing themselves that the answer is no. Nicodemus shows immediate support towards Jesus; his words indicate he is willing to hear Jesus and see his wrok; thus potentially enabling him to salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."7 Nicodemus responded "How can a man be born again when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born?" And Jesus replied "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."8 Nearly all scholars agree9 that "born of water" is a reference to baptism and that "and the spirit" is a reference to the spiritual renewal which takes place within a person when he or she comes to Faith in Jesus, repents, and recieves "the gift of the Holy Spirit" promised in Acts 2:38. Thus baptism and repentance are both the requirements for salvation.10 1 Jn 3;16, 17:2 2 Book of Revelations 3 Jn 12:46, 3:18, 3:36, 5:24 4 Jn 5:25-9 5 John - Evangelist & Interpreter by Stephen Smalley. Pg. 203 6 Jn 15 vs 18 7 John's Gospel - Verse 3 8 John's Gospel - Verse 5 9 e.g. Dodd, Marsh, Smalley. 10 http://members.iquest.net/-c_m_f/cmffrede.htm ...read more.

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