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Faith - Essay Example

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THE ROLE OF FAITH IN THE FIRST CENTURY IN THE JUSTIFICATION OF ALL PEOPLES BEFORE GOD By Student Subject and Course Code Professor School Date Abstract This paper examines the role of faith in the First Century of the Christian Era in the justification of all peoples before God…
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Download file to see previous pages Wills (2006) points out that faith meant something different then from what it means today. Ehrman (2005) is concerned with the separation of Christians and Jews on the grounds of faith as salvation and more important than law. Ludemann (2002) attempts to achieve a synthesis with Christ as the common meeting ground for the two religions. Grant (1976) notes that Paul’s labours were devoted to the equation of sin with the flesh, and hints at the early notions that later bore fruit in the Reformation whilst Muggeridge and Vidler (1972) seem to complete the circle with the return to the claim that by receiving Christ, one becomes justified and joins a community—the body of Christ. The Role of Faith in the First Century in the Justification of all Peoples before God The Apostle Paul has written a letter advising the Romans of his intention to visit on his way to Spain. An important theme of his letter concerns the role of faith as a unifying element in the deliverance of various peoples to what he sees as the supreme reality, Jesus Christ. In essence, he seeks a synthesis and detente that will include all citizens in the new monotheism. In Wills (2006) faith is equated with trust. God promotes people into partnership with Him through the Son. Also, Wills sees faith as meaning something very different in ancient times than what it connotes today. Then, faith meant belief in a person, not a dogma as in recent times. (Wills 2006, pp.183-184) The powerful personality of Jesus obviously had much influence on potential converts. Ehrman (2005)shows the division of faith in Rome at this time. To the Jews, Jesus was weak, and definitely not the Messiah. To them, the Romans had all the temporal power needed to dominate the world. The earliest Christians disagreed by asserting that Jesus was the Messiah and that His death was an act of God designed to bring salvation to the world. Indeed Paul claimed that salvation could come to Jews and Gentiles alike not by scrupulous adherence to the law but by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 10:3-4, New Jerusalem Bible). Here Paul delineates perhaps the main reason why the Jews would not recognise Jesus. Ehrman also notes that Paul held that the Jews were not justified by obedience to the law, and reminds Gentiles not to follow the law too closely but to remain as they are and to follow Jesus. Paul also believed that both faiths traced to Abraham—the “father of many nations.” His faith was surely put to the test, and Abraham was justified by this faith, for it guaranteed his salvation ( Ehrman 2005, pp. 188-189). Ludemann (2002) also agrees with Paul that salvation is achieved through Christ alone (Thessalonians 1:9-10). By having faith in Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles become members of a third group—both qualified and eligible-- to enter the new synthesis. There is a three step process as an admission requirement: first, faith in Jesus, then baptism as a rite and finally inclusion in the church as a social body (Ludemann 2002, p.154). Grant (1976) is focused more on the sub-theme of sin, and notes that the ancient Greeks had a different definition of it than did Paul. To them, sin was a consequence of ignorance, and a rational mind could nullify it through reason. Paul was obsessed with the concept of sin and linked it closely with that of flesh He seemed to think that men and women were predestined for sin (Grant 1976, pp.31-32). In this, there is a surprising foreshadowing of Calvinism many ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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