Try asking the person sitting beside you in church next Sunday, “How will God save?” You may get a response reflecting a view of “justification by death” (universalism) or annihilation of the wicked (soul destruction), but most likely your friend will be orthodox, and will give you an answer more akin to that of Webster’s dictionary than anything else. While the dictionary (correctly) defines “salvation” in theological terms as “deliverance from sin and penalty, realized in a future state,”1 such an abstract definition does not reflect the Bible’s many facets of all salvation entails. Salvation understood in these terms only responds to one of man’s three enemies: the flesh. Christians often do not meditate on salvation as God rescuing us from our other two enemies (the world and the devil), but Scripture speaks a great deal about these. In this vein, one image of the saving God that is tremendously neglected today is that of God as a warrior. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate that the salvation of God’s people includes Jesus Christ waging eschatological war against the enemies external to their own flesh. This image of the divine warrior, which has its roots in the historical milieu of the Ancient Near East (ANE), is prominent throughout the Old and New Testaments, and is still relevant for the life of the Church today.
(Continue reading here.)