Reflection on SALVATION

Salvation which is an indispensable element in all religions, is provided in one way in both Old Testament and New Testament, and also rooted in grace, faith and sacrifice. However, there are variant views on salvation among the various Christian denominations - Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. The dispute is found even within Protestantism. Nevertheless, Salvation through Jesus Christ is the main topic in the New Testament of the Bible. The Bible covers topics relating to salvation, sin, repentance, forgiveness, and others that help provide biblical guidance for Christians to follow.
“Soteria” is the Greek noun translated as Salvation. It denotes deliverance and preservation. It also means cure, recovery, or remedy. Literarily, salvation means preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil. Salvation, also, is the state of being preserved from harm; it denotes saving someone from an unpleasant situation. It is liberation from confinement, constriction, and limitation. The word “Salvation” in the Bible is used in different ways, but the basic meaning is "deliverance from danger." It also denotes healing of diseases, deliverance from fear, deliverance from famine, deliverance from enemies, deliverance from bondage, and so on. The salvation from sin in general and original sin in particular is made possible by the Christological mystery: Incarnation of the Word and Virgin birth of Jesus, life (teachings, miracles, and prophecies), Passion, Death, Harrowing of Hell, after-three-days Resurrection, Pentecost, Enthronement in Heaven and His Parousia. Furthermore, in the context of salvation, the resurrection is referred to as the “atonement”. Christian soteriology ranges from exclusive salvation to universal reconciliation concepts. While some of the differences are as widespread as Christianity itself, the overwhelming majority agrees that Christian salvation is made possible by the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying on the cross.
Over the centuries, Christians have held different ideas about how Jesus saved people, and different views (the theories of atonement) still exist within different Christian denominations. Some of these views include; the moral transformation view, which was predominant during the first three centuries AD and today, is held by Eastern Orthodox. In this view, Jesus saved people from sinfulness through his life and teachings, thus transforming their character to become righteous. This salvation is seen as undeserved, since God graciously sent Jesus to save people when they were unrighteous and did not in any way deserve such a favour. In the Christus Victor view, people needed salvation from the powers of evil. Jesus achieved salvation for people by defeating the powers of evil, particularly satan; He won, overthrew satan and saved people from his dominion. This view has been dated in writings of the Church Fathers up to the 4th centuries AD. This view is not widely held in the West. Furthermore, the ransom theory of atonement entails the idea that satan had power over sinful souls in the afterlife, but that Christ rescued people from his power. Often, the death of Christ plays an important role in this rescue. The view appears to have arisen during the 3rd century, in the writings of Origen and other theologians. Nevertheless, the penal substitution theory of salvation is widely held among Protestants, who often consider it “central” to Christianity. It holds that Christ takes the penalty of people's sin as their substitute, thus saving people from God’s wrath against sin. Penal substitution thus presents Jesus saving people from the divine punishment of their past wrongdoings.
For Catholicism, after the Fall, humanity did not become totally corrupt (as per “total depravity”, which precludes humanity from any merit in salvation), but was only "wounded by sin," and "stands in need of salvation from God", and "this human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, is transmitted to all men.
Sequentially, justification is granted by God via the act (ex opera operato) of baptism firstly, by which the subject is formally justified and made holy by Christ's justice and holiness (causa formalis). Christ can work apart and before the sacrament of baptism, as desire for eventual baptism is grace enough to be saved, since God is not tied to work by means of his instituted sacraments. However, Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion - because a mortal sin makes justification lost even if faith (intellectual assent) is still present. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace”. This is not the only way for sins to be forgiven, as in some cases sins can also be forgiven by confessing to God alone. This is why the Catholic Church teaches that Christians outside of the Church can be saved, since in many cases other Christian denominations do not possess the priesthood instituted from Jesus Christ and thus lack access to the "binding and loosing" that priests of the New Covenant practice through the sacrament. So, the Catholic Church upholds that Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to “all men”.
Finally, this salvation wrought by Christ is both Immanent and Eschatological. It is immanent since, God who is near us, loves us and makes himself known to us, assures us of salvation in this world. Eschatological Salvation entails perfected fellowship with God when Christ shall come to set up his eternal kingdom. It includes immortal resurrection; the life of the age to come (Lk.20:35). Eschatological salvation means not only the redemption of the body but also the restoration of communion between God and humanity that had been broken by sin.