God’s Image is Not God’s Likeness

Gen 1:26-27 says that all of humanity from the beginning was made in the image and likeness of God. We are all made in the image of God, but our likeness has changed because of the failure of humanity to keep God’s commands (Gen 3:1-24). God’s solution to make us like him again, is to pour out his spirit on us and give us a new spirit/heart that will make us like him again. It’s the holy spirit that was promised to circumcise our hearts (Deut 30:6, Jer 4:4, Ez 36:25-27, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:16-21, Rom 2:29, and Col 2:11) and give us the power to overcome sin nature so that we could accomplish the task of keeping God’s commands so that we can be his likeness.

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Salvation from an Investing Perspective

When studying investing and the bible at the same time, some interesting metaphors for salvation came to mind. God’s over of salvation can be compared to a Cosmic Corporate Bond, or a Heavenly ESO.

The Cosmic Corporate Bond:
Paul says the wages of sin is death in Romans 6:23. Think of it like this, we owe God a bond (debt) of life because of our sins and once our bond reaches maturity (our lives reach the end), the “principal” (our life) is paid back because of our sin. The sacrifices of animals in the old testament could be seen as interest payments, but we still owed the principal. However, God uses this to save us by having Jesus pay our bonds (principal and interest) with his own life and since he was sinless he had the right to take on greater eternal life. When he returns for the 1st resurrection he will fulfill God’s promise to pay the believers back their lives as rebates, and this time they will have eternal life with new bodies that are free from sin nature (1 Thess 4:13-18, 1 Cor ch. 15, and 2 Cor 5:1-10). The whole reason we have death is because of sin, but eternal life is still an option because Jesus used this system to free us from the bond of sin/death. As Paul says in 1 Cor 6:19-20, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you at a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

Heavenly Employee Stock Options:
One could also view salvation like Employee Stock Options, and if we don’t exercise the option before expiration, it will expire out of the money. This would be like an American Style Option, where one can exercise at any time before expiration. In addition, in this case, the value of the option is predestined to go out of the money on the expiration day making it expire worthless. In other words, we have until death (expiration day) to choose (exercise) the option of salvation that Jesus paid for. If we exercise this option while it’s in the money then we’ll get the gains of the value of heaven’s stock which is the gift of the holy spirit and dividends of new bodies with eternal life, but if we don’t then it will expire worthlessly and we would lose the chance. This principle follows the conditional statement from John 3:16-21, which says those who believe in Jesus will get mercy on judgment day and be resurrected into eternal life, but those that reject him will be condemned on judgment day experiencing a second death (Rev 20:4-6, Rev 2:11).

We could never afford to purchase shares in heaven because of our sinful nature, and the price is so high, that we can’t even pay the premium debit for the options contract. However, just like an employer may give their employees call options for shares in the company, as remuneration for their work, Jesus paid the contract’s debit price so that we could have the option and the holy spirit cover’s the strike price. In contrast, this was not a reward for our service because none of us can keep the bosses commands, but because Jesus loves us, and only he had the power to do what he did because he is able to keep the boss’s commands, after all, he is the boss’s son. The holy spirit helps us follow the boss’s instruction and prepares us for the new bodies with eternal life. His son paid the price because he loved us, and wanted to make us joint heirs in the cosmic company we call creation. However, if one does not exercise the option before expiration there will be no passive income of eternal life. In addition, those people will be fired, because without the holy spirit (which he offered for free) no one can keep his commands. Galatians 6:7-8 says (NLT) “God is not mocked we reap what we sow. Those who sow into their flesh nature will reap corruption and death, but those who sow into the Holy Spirit will reap eternal life”.

Jesus vs The World’s Salvation

Many religions have a soteriology, which is a method of salvation. Most beliefs teach that we must work for it. Some religions have no salvation or hope of release from suffering, they just take life as it is. There are many methods of salvation using natural works to generate good karma or good character points with God. It’s like climbing a mountain to reach God or deliverance from the struggles of life, but while climbing the climber faces an eruption, an avalanche, a thunderstorm, and mountain lions, so it’s humanly impossible. In contrast, in Christianity Jesus (the Messiah) ascends the metaphorical mountain himself for us. He walks through fire and magma unburned (Dan 3:1-30), parts the wall of snow and ice (Ex 14:15-31, Josh 3:9-17) even walks on rushing water (Mark 6:45-56), quiets the storm (Mark 4:35-41) and shuts the lion’s mouths (Dan 6:1-28). He reaches the top for us and moved the mountain (Mark 11:22-24) by mediating a new covenant where our sin is covered by his sacrifice, so we are saved from its effects including death. In other words, we can’t save ourselves so we must trust God for it.

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The Greatest Marriage Proposal

Why does God give us a choice in the first place, doesn’t he want absolute obedience? If he wanted absolute obedience then he would have made us robots pre-programmed to say I love you. God often compares his covenant relationship to various types of human ones like a parent to child (creator to creation) and a husband and wife (God to his people). Most people can understand the view of God as a Father but seeing God as a husband seems strange to some. What is the difference between the two kinds of relationships?

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Penal Substitutionary Atonement

There are Christians who don’t believe that Jesus died in our place because of God’s punishment. That means they don’t believe in Penal Substitution Atonement. They have some other understanding of why Jesus had to die on the cross because it sounds abusive for God to punish an innocent man for the many. They instead say the blood itself cleanses us of sin, rather than saying Jesus died because he took God’s wrath in our place, but I don’t think we can reject PSA biblically.

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Jesus vs Universal Salvation

Did Jesus teach that there were multiple ways to receive eternal life? No, Jesus did not teach universal salvation, he makes it very clear that we must submit to him since he is the king of heaven and earth and he is the only one that provides the power to overcome sin. Jesus explains this in John 3:16-21, in verses 16-17 he says those that believe are saved. In verses 18-19, he talks about the condemnation of nonbelievers on judgment. Lastly, in verses, 20-21 he explains why things are set up this way, and that is because receiving salvation is like stepping into the light, and rejecting it is staying in darkness. He explains that (NLT) John 3:20 “all who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” Jesus says in his parable of the wedding banquet that people who refuse the banquet invitation (salvation offer) will be cast into outer darkness (Matthew 22:1-14). In both Matt 25:31-46, as well as in the parable of the wheat and weeds/tares (Matt 13:36-43), Jesus distinguishes between righteous and unrighteous. The unrighteous are always cast into darkness on judgment day (Matthew 8:12, Matt 22:13, Matt 25:30).

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Faith vs Conversion

If a gun is put to your head and you are threatened to convert to something like another religion, you lied out of fear. By swearing allegiance to that religion do you genuinely believe in their theology or are you just saying that to keep from being martyred? Can you choose to TRULY believe a new theology/religion under pressure or would you have to fake it only? Conviction comes from outside information that convinces you right? One can’t will their mind into receiving something that they aren’t convinced of internally. So it is really possible for someone to make themselves believe something? Don’t people usually only believe something they are told, not because they will themselves into believing it? Can you FORCE yourself to believe in Santa Claus despite believing the evidence that he doesn’t exist? If crusaders and colonizers ministered to non-Christians in love with the free option to reject, it would be more effective than threatening them in order to coerce conversion.

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