Showing posts with the label Salvation

According to Paul

In Romans , Paul presents his most detailed explanation of the gospel. He is dealing with conflicts between Gentiles and Jews in the church, and he is preparing the ground for taking the gospel to the west. In the process, he addresses several related topics, including death, redemption, the Law, resurrection, and the New Creation. He begins by describing the plight of humanity that resulted from sin, then he presents the solution provided by God through His son, Jesus Christ.

Message of the Gospel

The Gospel proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth is  NOT  about reforming a fallen society, fixing a corrupt government, or cleaning up an immoral culture. It summons all men and women to repent and join an entirely new and vastly different social order and political reality, namely, the Kingdom of God. If anything, it subverts the political ideologies and popular beliefs of this age.

From Faith for Faith

Men are not set right before God from the works of the law but from the faith of Jesus Christ . In his letter to the Romans , Paul demonstrates that all men have sinned. Jews and Gentiles violate God’s revealed will, therefore, no one is justified before Him “ from the law .” Jews have the Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their conscience yet live and even revel in sin.

Works of the Law

Sin as the Great Leveler places everyone in the same predicament, bondage now - death and “ wrath ” later. No one is exempted from the penalty of sin, neither Jew nor Gentile, and no one has a legitimate excuse for sin. Without exception, God will “ render to every man according to his works ,” and with Him, “ there is no respect of persons .”

Plight to Solution

In  Romans , Paul argues from plight to solution. The gospel is the “ power of God for salvation .” Due to sin, two forces are at work – righteousness and wrath. In his Son, God provides salvation, the solution to the desperate plight of all men that is available to all on the same basis - “ from the faith of Jesus .”

Faithfulness of God

In Romans , Paul stresses the “ righteousness of God ” revealed in the gospel. It is the “ power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ,” and a “ righteousness ” that is being proclaimed throughout the earth to “ Jews and Greeks ” alike. And by the “ righteousness of God ,” the apostle means  HIS  “ righteousness ” - God's  faithfulness  in providing salvation for His wayward creatures. And the genitive construction of the Greek clause, the “ righteousness of God ,” must be given its full weight.

Both Jew and Gentile

The equality of Jews and Gentiles before God is a crucial theme in Romans . Members of either group stand or fall before Him on the same basis. Paul wrote the letter with two purposes in mind. First, to prepare the ground for his visit to the city. Second, to deal with conflicts between Jewish and Gentile believers. In its first half, he explains his gospel. In the second, he addresses the status of the Jewish people and the specific conflicts in the congregation.

Paul's Proposition

Paul presents the points of agreement and disagreement with his opponents in Galatia  – Galatians 2:15-21.  What identifies God’s people and determines membership in the covenant community is Jesus, especially the Messiah revealed on Calvary,  and nothing else ! That does  NOT  mean the  Law serves no purpose, but it is not the basis for determining who is and who is not a redeemed son of God.

Circumcision - Cutting Issue

With the new era inaugurated by Jesus, circumcision is no longer the sign of membership in the covenant community .  Circumcision is an obstacle to claims that disciples must keep the Mosaic Law. In  Genesis , it is the entrance rite of the Abrahamic covenant and the identifying sign of the covenant. And it is mandatory under the l aw given through Moses at Mount Sinai. Thus, if circumcision is no longer required, then the jurisdiction of the Law has changed.

Rescued from this Evil Age

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul states that he was commissioned as an apostle to the Gentiles by the same God that raised Jesus from the dead and “ delivered us FROM THIS EVIL AGE .” This statement anticipates his response to certain Jewish believers who were operating in Galatia as if the old era was still in effect.

Sons of Light

The day of the Lord will mean salvation for the sons of light who remain ever vigilant and prepare for its sudden arrival  – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.  Rather than provide a list of “signs” by which believers can calculate the date of the “ day of the Lord ,” Paul gives instructions on how they must live in anticipation of that day’s sudden arrival. It would not overtake disciples because they “ are not in darkness ,” but instead, they are “ sons of light ” and “ sons of the day. ”

To The Assembly

The Thessalonians received the gospel in tribulation but remained faithful while anticipating the arrival of Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. In his opening paragraph, Paul anticipates the subjects he will discuss in the letter. This includes the tribulations of believers, the basis for Christian hope, the “ coming ” of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, and the impending “ wrath ” on unbelievers.

Fatih of Jesus Christ

According to Paul, men are not set right before God “from the works of the law,” but instead, “from the faith of Jesus Christ.  Having demonstrated that all men have sinned and violated the revealed will of God, both Jews and Gentiles alike, Paul concludes that no one can be set right before God “ from the law .” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to live and even revel in sin.

Christianity's Forgotten Hope

The biblical faith is forward-looking and integral to its doctrine of salvation is the future resurrection of the dead. And that event will also mark the commencement of the New Creation. In the New Testament, this hope is linked to two events. First, the past resurrection of Jesus, and second, his future arrival at the end of the age. And salvation will remain incomplete without the resurrection of the saints.

Redeemed and Adopted

The Law was an interim stage with a termination point. Disciples are no longer under its jurisdiction, but now, are in Christ .  In  Galatians , Paul argues that adopting the rite of circumcision constitutes regression to something rudimentary, a reversion to an earlier stage in the redemptive history of God’s people. If Gentiles adopt a  Torah -compliant lifestyle, they will return to bondage and once more experience the social divisions inherent in the Law.

Rescuing us from Wrath

Already, Jesus is rescuing his people from the coming wrath that will befall the unrighteous when he arrives. Local opposition forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was finished. Because of his anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate matters, and his first letter is his thankful response after receiving good news from Timothy.

Perfection in Resurrection

In the opening thanksgiving of his letter to the Philippians, Paul prepares his readers for a key theme of his letter – going on to “ perfection ” in Jesus. The promised bodily resurrection is necessary for their “ completion .” It is not optional. Instead, it is an integral part of the future salvation they will receive when Jesus arrives in glory.

Resurrection Hope

In Romans, Paul presents his gospel from humanity's plight due to sin to salvation in the resurrection of the dead and the New Creation - LIFE FROM THE DEAD .  In his letter,  the Apostle presents his most detailed explanation of the gospel. His purpose is to deal with conflicts between Gentile and Jewish members of the church and prepare the ground for his taking the gospel to the west. In doing so, he touches on key topics, including death, redemption, the Law, resurrection, and New Creation.

The Young Rich Man

To follow Jesus means surrendering one’s entire life and following wherever he leads, and no questions asked  – Mark 10:17-31.  One day, a young rich man approached Jesus to ask what he should do to inherit everlasting life. Here, the reader is confronted with the cost of discipleship. In the story’s version found in  Matthew , this man is labeled “ young .” In  Luke , he is a “ ruler ,” presumably, of the local synagogue. And his haste to ask his question points to his sincerity.

Salvation of Yahweh

An angel appeared to Joseph informing him that Mary was with child “ begotten of the Holy Spirit ,” and he instructed him to name the child ‘Jesus.’ As the angel declared, “ he will save his people from their sins .” His name links him to the saving act accomplished by God for His people as promised in the Hebrew Bible.