Foundational Truths - The Saviour
In the fourth in our series examining our core beliefs, Simo Frestadius explores Elim’s foundational beliefs about the Saviour.
From the start, Elim has been a Jesus-centred Movement, and a primary way of identifying Jesus has been as the Saviour.
At our first ever meeting on 7 January 1915 when the Elim movement emerged in Monaghan, Ireland, the minutes show that the purpose of this new missional group was to reach ‘Ireland with the full gospel on Pentecostal lines’.
In the 1920s, as we increasingly moved into mainland Britain, our leaders explicitly expressed this full gospel as the Foursquare Gospel, which identifies Jesus as (1) Saviour, (2) Healer, (3) Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, and (4) Coming King.
Believing in Jesus as the Saviour may not be surprising, as the name Jesus it-self means ‘God saves’ and, according to Matthew’s Gospel, the name was given because Jesus ‘will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21).
So, who is this Saviour? In line with the biblical witness and the early creeds of the church, Elim believes that Jesus Christ is fully God (‘true and proper deity’) and fully human (‘real and complete humanity’).
The Gospel of John points out that Jesus as the Word of God was God before he was born (John 1:1-2) and is therefore co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His divine Word became ‘flesh’ (John 1:14), which speaks of Jesus being physically human.
It is exactly because Jesus is both God and human that he can save us. In the words of Irenaeus of Lyon (AD 125-202), ‘he became what we are, that he might bring us to be even what he is himself.’
Now, of course, this does not mean that because Christ became a human we can therefore become gods, but rather because Christ shares our humanity, we can also share the eternal life of God (John 3:16).
To achieve our salvation, Jesus lived a ‘sinless life’, died as our ‘atoning sacrifice’, and was resurrected from the dead.
Paul testifies how ‘Christ died for our sins... was buried... was raised on the third day... [and] appeared’ to many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
Through his sacrificial death on our behalf, Jesus cleansed, forgave and removed our sin. He also defeated death through his resurrection.
Indeed, the Christian hope is grounded on this reality. That is, we have been ‘reconciled to God by death of his Son’, and we are ‘saved by his [resurrection] life’ (Romans 5:10).
Elim also believes that Christ ascended to God’s right hand, he continues to intercede for us and he will return one day.
This means that Jesus as the Saviour continues his mission in the world through the Spirit until ‘God may be all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15:28).
To put it simply, Jesus still is the Saviour of the world.
Jesus our Saviour - what Elim believes
We believe in the true and proper deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his virgin birth, in his real and complete humanity, in his sinless life, in his authoritative teaching, in his substitutionary and atoning sacrifice through his blood shed, in his bodily resurrection, in his ascension to the right hand of the Father, in his heavenly intercession and his second advent to receive his church.
Why Jesus our Saviour matters
• He died for our sins
• He defeated death through his resurrection
• We can have eternal life in Jesus, because he is both God and human
Simo Frestadius is Dean of Research and Executive Director of the Institute for Pentecostal Theology at Regents Theological College.
First published in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.
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