William Barrett, explains that one of the most fundamental differences between the Western, Hellenistic mind and the Hebrew mind is found in the area of knowing vs. doing. Says Barrett, “The distinction…arises from the difference between doing and knowing. The Hebrew is concerned with practice, the Greek with knowledge. Right conduct is the ultimate concern of the Hebrew, right thinking that of the Greek. Duty and strictness of conscience are the paramount things in life for the Hebrew; for the Greek, the spontaneous and luminous play of the intelligence. The Hebrew thus extols the moral virtues as the substance and meaning of life; the Greek subordinates them to the intellectual virtues…the contrast is between practice and theory, between the moral man and the theoretical or intellectual man.”
The modern day church operates in this Western or Greek mindset. They approach the Bible with this mindset but the Bible is the product of the Hebrew mind. And when you approach the bible using this Greek mindset, what you get is a caricature, at best, of what was intended. In many cases, it is downright contrary to the intended meaning.
I’m going to give an example of this with the meaning of Salvation.
If you ask your typical churchfolk, ‘what does salvation mean?’ or ‘what are we saved from?’ Chances are you’ll get an answer something like this:
‘Salvation means you’re saved from sin’ or ‘saved from the bondage of sin’
Here are some excerpts taken from various sites on how they define salvation:
- Salvation means that you and I must change to become a new creation. God by His Holy Spirit will change our nature to make it holy. Our heart will be changed so that we will love all people — even our enemies. We will hate sin and walk in the light.
- Salvation means that we are not longer under Satan’s authority.
- Jesus equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24-25).
- Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. It means: to save is to deliver or protect.
None of these are wrong. It’s just that they are defining salvation abstractly.
Phrases like “satan’s authority,” “danger and suffering” are not concrete, but abstract or something intangible. Actually these are all the RESULT of salvation.
But in the Hebrew mind, they think more along the lines of ‘who are we delivered from?’ They want something concrete. Something tangible. “Sin” and “authority” are not tangible. Let’s look at examples from the bible and see if they are abstract (Greek) or tangible (Hebrew).
- 2 Sam 22:49 He brings me out from my enemies. You raise me over those who rebel against me, you rescue me from violent men.
- Luke 1:74 …to grant us that we, freed from our enemies, would serve him without fear…
- 1 Sam 12:11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.
- Psalm 136:24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Can you see a pattern? Salvation from “enemies.” Real, tangible people. And when we speak of eternal salvation, we have a real, tangible enemy and his name is Satan. So we are not just delivered from sin, or Satan’s authority but Satan himself! A real, tangible being that can be touched by those in his realm. He is our enemy.
With this in mind, let’s look at salvation from this viewpoint.
If you deliberately sin against God, then Satan is no longer your enemy because you have shown yourself to be in cahoots with Satan. You are, in fact, an enemy of God just like Satan. And, God can’t deliver or rescue you from your professed enemy, Satan, because again, he is no longer your enemy but a colleague because you have acted in accordance with him.
To put it another way…
Let’s say a husband beats up his wife and she calls 911. The police go there to rescue her from danger or at that moment, her enemy. But when they get there, she changes her mind and decides not to do anything and sends them away. What has just happened? Her husband’s status as “enemy” has now become a “friend” or colleague. The police can no longer rescue her because she has recanted and is now back in cahoots with her “enemy,” her husband. There is no one to rescue her from.
So when we willingly choose to sin and rebel against God, then we have sided with the enemy who at that point is no longer our enemy but has become a friend. And if you are friends with Satan, then you are an enemy of God and there is no salvation for you. Of course if you repent of your sins and confess them, you will be forgiven. I’m just trying to get you to look at salvation from a more concrete, Hebraic perspective.