How do you come to the view, as a Christian, that there is Salvation outside of what Christ has done for us?
I don't hold to the view that there is Salvation outside of what Christ has done for us, for all mankind. I do, however, hold to the view that knowing what Christ has done for all of mankind, mercy is the prerogative of God and we overstep our boundaries if we say that those outside the Church are condemned because they don't have correct knowledge.
Being Orthodox is no guarantee of salvation; neither is being outside the faith a guarantee of condemnation. We see this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Christ, in that story, is clearly approving of the actions of a person from a group loathed by those who thought they had all the right answers. And yet the man with the *incorrect doctrine*, outside of those who thought they were guaranteed a ticket to heaven, is the one who loves his neighbour; the one approved by Christ. One can imagine the consternation of those who heard that story from Christ's own lips. How could a condemned infidel be the hero of any tale? And yet Christ chose to tell that story for the very reason of making a point regarding the importance of loving one's neighbour.
Matthew 25 shows us that how we love is important. God judges the heart; the one who responds to Christ's law of love without knowing of Him may be judged as righteous. Christ makes it clear that not all those who cry "Lord, Lord" are saved. Many who *know* Him are rejected; having believed themselves to be the conduits of all truth. But in doing the wrong of not loving their fellow man, they really only have a head knowledge and are condemned by their own lack of practical love.
edited for clarity
So in a sense, it's another type of belief in election? (sorry if my questions sound ignorant...I'm trying to connect things)
Well since I agree with Ridikkulus' original answer 100%, let me try and give my own answer and understanding of the question.
First no, it is NOT a belief in election whatsoever. God has not pre-ordained some people to heaven and some people to hell. (if I remember what election means, I've forgotten so many of these theological terms over the years...
The way I look at this subject is this, if Christ Jesus is God (which we believe He is), then He (God) can save anyone He so chooses, whether or not they are a "Christian" or not. God is not bound by any man made rules, interpretations, nor is He bound by the words of the Scriptures. WE are bound by the Scriptures, but God is not. The text points to Him, not Him to the text.
Only God knows the heart of an individual, and while ultimately it would be the work of the Incarnation, the Cross the Resurrection that ultimately saves everyone who is saved, (for there is no other name in heaven or on earth by which we must be saved), judgment is for God alone. And since Jesus will sit on the Judgement Seat, as God it's His judgment which determines salvation for any individual. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ, no one is saved outside of Christ, but that doesn't mean all Muslims are doomed to hell. If people of other faiths are saved, it is of course because of Christ and through Christ, but Orthodoxy takes a less legalistic approach, Christ doesn't just save "human beings"...for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . . . but the word "world" is the greek word "kosmos"...which doesn't not imply "people" but implies ALL of creation. The entire universe is saved through Christ. That doesn't mean "universalism" because God never imposes His will upon creatures with free will....people can always reject Christ, but many people of other faiths do NOT reject Christ per se, they may simply have a complete misunderstanding of who He is, or in fact never heard of Him.
Orthodoxy does not believe (for example) that all Native Americans prior to it's "discovery" by Europeans are all doomed to Hell simply because they never heard of a Jew named Jesus. (or never heard of a Jew for that matter...lol!) But rather as St. Paul said, each person is given a portion of the light and truth, even pagans, and they will be judged according to what they have received. Like the parable of the talents, were they faithful to the portion they received or not?
And even if indeed, people today have heard of Christ, it is still ultimately He who chooses to save. If God chooses to "save" nearly every Hindu on the planet, and condemn nearly every Christian to hell, He gets to do it. Maybe most Hindu's are more faithful to Christ in their heart and soul than Christians? I do not know. Only Christ knows. I've read stories where Christ was first preached to indigenous peoples over the centuries, and when these missionaries began to teach, the people would say things like "oh yeah, we already believe that"...they had never heard of Jesus, but they already had a beliefs that mirrored Christianity and/or ancient Judaism in some form or some way. Not in all ways, but there was common ground to work upon. (which is one reason the Alaskans were so readily acceptable to Orthodoxy) Some of the early Christian writers wrote about similar concepts. Even Hinduism has it's Christian parallels.
Now, no matter who they are, they're not being saved "outside" the work of Christ, for which without that, we believe nothing would be saved, but in the end it is His decision, not what we "think" His decision should or should not be.
Just as it was His decision to "fullfill" the Covenant with humanity very, very differently than most Jews 2000 years ago thought He would. Is it unfair to fullfill prophecy that most thought would be literal in a spiritual sense? Maybe. But that made it possible for not just a select group of people to be saved, but ALL humanity to have the chance to be saved. So which would have been more "unfair"? So who knows? It might seem equally "unfair" that Jesus can save people who are not Christians, but not to them, I'm sure.
Ultimately it is Jesus doing the saving, but God can and does work in ways which we never would imagine. Rest assured, there is no Salvation outside the work of Christ, this is the center of Orthodox Christianity, however it is not for us to judge who will and who will not be saved. I have a hard time believing that God would condemn the majority of the human race to hell simply because they never heard of Christ, or had a misunderstanding of who Christ was. (which is probably true of most non Christians today) That turns Christianity into an extremely legalistic religion, rather than what it really is, which is giving us all a chance of life and life more abundantly.
I personally think when this question is raised it's the wrong question. It's always asked, "can non Christians be saved?" When to me, the real question should be, "can God save non Christians"? Because THAT is at the heart of the matter. Salvation is not something WE do, it is something God did, in the work of Jesus Christ. For me the answer to "can God save non Christians?" has to be a big YES. Otherwise we've found something God is incapable of, and hence He really isn't God after all. And thus we're all diluted and have fallen into some form of idolatry of our own making. (a God who can save us, but no one else)
Again, I don't mean to imply universalism, because I'm not a universalist, (nor does Orthodoxy teach it) but I also don't see how we can say who will and who won't be saved based on our understanding of the Scriptures and God. Our minds are just too limited for such things IMO. We certainly should preach and Evangelize, but not because we think "oh those poor people are going to burn in hell", but because we want, we desire them to have the life that Christ can give them. The joy, the peace, the meaning and purpose for their life....that comes from Christ. If Salvation is just about a "get out of hell free" card, then I don't see it's transformative effects in people lives. Christianity is a means to trasnfigure life, and the world, and THAT is why we should evangelize, and be missionary, IMO.
Anyways, that's long winded, and I apologize. But that's how I understand the subject, if I'm wrong I'm sure i'll be told.