Unification News for December 1998

The Divine Principle, Volume 3, Part 2

Historically it has always been understood that Jesus came for the salvation of humankind. As Paul writes: "For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him." (1 Thess. 9:10).

Despite such understandings, the actual meaning of salvation has for many remained somewhat vague. Does salvation simply refer to the afterlife? Is it limited to individuals? What does it mean to be saved?

If someone who was dying were to be saved, we would understand that he was restored to life and health. The same is true of a person drowning; to save him would mean to pull him form the water and return him to the shore. In these instances, "saving" a person means restoring him to his prior state of well-being.

By the same token, Divine Principle teaches that spiritual salvation means restoring fallen man to his original state of goodness and wholeness--the state he enjoyed before the Fall. This means restoring him to the position where as an individual he can fulfill the original purpose of life.

Must be perfect

When Jesus came two thousand years ago, he unequivocally stated the goal of the individual life: "You therefore must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt. 5:48)

In Greek, the language in which Matthew wrote his Gospel, the word "perfect" (Greek: tellios) means "end" or "goal." It may be thus understood as describing one who has reached the end, or has achieved maturity in the image of God. For Divine Principle, such an ideal, challenging though it may be, reflects God's goal in His original creation and His goal in salvation. His first task is to create individual who are full reflections of Himself.

Let us recall, however, that the process of salvation is meant to go beyond individuals. When John writes in his Gospel that "For God so loved the world that He gave his only son" (Jn. 3:16). he was reflecting the ultimate extent of God's goal. God is not just interested in individuals; He also intends to save families, races, nations and the world.

If we think of what a saved world would be, we must think of a world free form what John F. Kennedy called the "common enemies of man--tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself." Speaking positively, we may envision a world where the strong are generous and the weak secure, where, in the words of Amos: ". . . justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream." (Amos 5:24).

It would be a world in which humanity's ancient hope for peace was realized, and our desire for material well-being met. It would be in effect a Garden of Eden that had been restored on a global scale.

To Be Accomplished

Of course one may wonder if such a world could actually be realized. The record of human history is not promising. Nevertheless, Divine Principle points out that such a vision relies not primarily on man--although man has his part to play--but on God. And for God to be God, He must one day realize His original ideal.

Those who have followed God have on occasion been blessed with insight as to His ultimate purposes. The apostle Paul, for example, wrote of the day when God would "unite all things in (Christ), things in heaven and things on earth." (Eph 1:10). Similarly, the prophet Isaiah writes of the Lord's proclamation: "I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass, I have purposed it and I will do it." (Is. 46:11).

In the fullness of time, God will surely accomplish His purpose. As the God of love, He could never leave fallen man in his current state, for man was created as His child.

By what steps would a restored world have to be approached? If Adam and Eve originally had managed to become marriage partners who reflected God's love, and if they had raised their children in this spirit, their family could have been the origin of an enlightened clan, society, nation and world.

In other words, as the children of a perfected Adam and Eve matured and started their own families, their original family would have gradually expanded, finally developing into one world family. At the core of this global family would have been one set of true parents, perfected Adam and Eve, representing God's parental love to all their descendants. Centered on this family, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth would have emerged.

Divine Principle teaches that throughout history God's purpose and method are consistent. The goal of salvation is thus a restored world expressing God's original ideal and centered on perfected man an woman. It is for this purpose that God sends the messiah. He comes to stand before God as the true individual and to establish a true family--a family that embodies and expresses God's love. On this foundation the Messiah is to build an ideal nation and world, thus fulfilling the originally intended Kingdom of Heaven of earth.

For this reason Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew writes: "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom . . ." (Mt. 9:35).

In the next section we will look more specifically at what the Kingdom meant for Jesus.

Next Month . The Kingdom

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