Study Guide: Twisted Scripture: Romans 10

Sunday July 6, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

For many Christians, salvation has been reduced to a one-time prayer where one mentally and verbally agrees to a few key theological beliefs. The Bible and Jesus' life, however, present us with a more holistic salvation that involves wholeness, new life, and transformation. Instead of viewing salvation as a legal contract, we are invited to join Jesus in a covenantal marriage where his life is poured out for us and our lives are poured out for him.

Extended Summary:

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For many Christians today, salvation is understood as a legal transaction, where one gains postmortem fire insurance in exchange for saying a one time salvation prayer. This is an anemic understanding of salvation that has led people to have a lot of belief without any change in lifestyle. This has also led people to view their relationship with Christ as a contract rather than a covenant. If salvation is a legal contract, we naturally want to know all the fine print and loopholes of our salvation so that we know exactly how far we can and cannot go before losing our salvation.

This legal contract mindset leads us to ask a few questions:

Salvation in the New Testament is much more holistic; it’s about wholeness, new life, and transformation whereas a contract is a one-time deal. Some key differences between contract and covenant are as follows:

Scripture describes God as constantly seeking covenant with his people. This is mostly clearly seen when Jesus on the cross reveals the beautiful heart of God as well as our worth to God! Here we are a faithless bride committing adultery and yet he pursues us and woos us. The cross is his wedding betrothal to us!

The words of our “Salvation Prayer” just commit us to something. Romans 10 are covenantal words! Salvation is about the reality of the wholeness of God’s love here in our reality. It’s a process of transformation where we’re infused with the life and DNA of God, and it changes us! And someday that process will be complete. If we work with a contract mindset, we lose the joy of covenant.

Reflection Questions:

  1. When you accepted Christ into your life, was it with the mindset of contract or covenant? How did this impact your relationship with Christ?
  2. Why is it so natural for people in the West to think in terms of contract versus covenant?
  3. How do we replace our legalistic mindsets with the holistic salvation Jesus offers us?
  4. What does the process of salvation look like for your life?
  5. How does this sermon change your approach in evangelizing others?