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An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul - Essay Example

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The writer of the paper "An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul " discusses some elements in Paul’s theology and in the Gospels that are similar so because both have their central themes being Christ and His redemptive work in the life of mankind…
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An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul
The Pauline theology is illustrated best in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Pauline epistles, and is appropriate in the comparison and contrasting of tradition and revelation. Paul states in many openings of his epistles that ‘he is an Apostle neither of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.1 This shows Paul implying about his relationship with the other Apostles as that he had not received his ministry from them but directly from God, and that his target group according to this commission was directly to the gentiles – Gal1:1.
Paul visitedthe Jerusalem, as narrated in Acts 15, and had a very important interaction with Peter and James, two of the chief Apostles who had walked with Jesus Christ. The reason for this interaction was that the three men played a big role in the assimilation of the gentiles into the dispensation of grace or salvation. Noteworthy is the fact that before what came to be referred to as the Jerusalem council, whereby a dispute concerning the suitability of the gentiles to receive salvation, Acts15:1-2, most Christian converts considered themselves as Jews who had found the Messiah bringing into the new dispensation some of the laws of Moses.2 Certain of the converts had even started to teach gentile convertsthat circumcision was a prerequisite before salvation, and thus a dispute had arisen, occasioning the sending of Paul and Barnabas so that the issue could be settled. Peter the Apostle had been instrumental in the conversion of Cornelius as recorded in Acts 10:1- 48, where the evidence of the Holy Spirit falling upon all those who heard Peter speak,and their speaking in new tongues just like it had happened on the day of Pentecost, signified their acceptance by God into salvation without any law requirements like circumcision. Peter spoke words to the effect that God was not a respecter of persons but that in every Nation, he that fears Him and works out righteousness is accepted by Him. James who seems to have been the leader of this meeting gave a conclusion, as quoted in acts 15:13-21, that the scriptures had foretold that the gentiles would also be included in salvation, through grace alone and without the requirements of the law for this had been the plan of God from the beginning.3 It would seem that the interaction of the three was in the plan of God for the fulfillment of this crucial aspect of assimilating the gentiles into salvation, and to have the Jews accept them as part of the family of God.
As quoted in Philippians 3:5, Jewish tradition required circumcision to be done on the eighth day so as to comply with the law and make one acceptable, and thus it made Jews look at gentiles who were not circumcised contemptuously. The revelation in Paul’s Gospel is that the circumcision of the heart is the ultimate for both Jews and Gentiles Romans 2:25 -29. The similarity concerning circumcision, is whereby tradition required it be done on the flesh while in salvation, it is to be done on the heart. The notion that he was Jewish stock implied about the importance that the Jews attached their being able to trace their genealogy many years back, back to Jacob.4 Working righteousness through salvation was what man acceptable in all nations as Gods plan is to unite all mankind into one family through Christ. Paul also stated that he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, but his revelation was that though the Pharisees were known for their adherence to the law, this was not a qualification in the post law dispensation, that Christ’s sacrifice and not legal sacrifices was the payment for man’s redemption. The similarity in this was that in both cases, sacrifices were necessary in case of atonement for sin, with the blood of animals in the law dispensation and the blood of Christ in the new dispensation.
In Paul’s theology and in the Gospels, there are elements that are similar more so because both have their central themes being Christ and His redemptive work in the life of mankind. The Holy Spirit, faith and salvation are three of the elements both in the gospels and in the Pauline theology. While the Gospels and for example John 14:26 promise about the coming helper, denoting the Holy Spirit, Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13 details about the gifts that emanate from the same Holy Spirit. J. C.5 The Gospel according to John 3:16 point to salvation as not the result of any works that man does, but the gift of God to man, an element similar to Pauline theology in Ephesians 2:8 narrate that salvation is by grace through faith, that it is the gift of God.
One area of incidental contact that according to me is most interesting is the Holy Spirit. This is because the power to become victorious is not by power or physical might but by the Spirit of God. This means that everyone can make it in the Kingdom of God.
The element of contact that can be applied to Christianity today is Grace, which means that an individual has God’s unmerited favor. It demonstrates what God has done to bring man to salvation, rather than what man has done to merit salvation. It can be used today to make Christians to realize that it is not through their personal effort but through God’s grace by faith that they will achieve the things of God.
Bible Gateway.Com. Galatians 2 - IVP New Testament Commentaries.
Http://Www.Biblegateway.Com/Resources/Commentaries/IVP-NT/Gal/Conference-Jerusalem. (Accessed, May 17, 2012).
Beker, J. C. Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought (Philadelphia: Fortress,
1980) 11-16.
Gordon D. F. Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study. (Hendrickson Publishers,
Massachusetts, 2007).
Moo, D. J. The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul Journal
Of the Evangelical 144 Theological Society, 2009. Read More
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