Pauline Lit Lecture 8

  1. Recognize the views of justification (how one is made righteous in God’s sight) held by Roman Catholics and Martin Luther. (Sect. 28.1 & 28.2)
    Paul’s claim “by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:16), means that no one could attain eternal life without God’s help.Justification was a process of cooperation with divine grace that began with repentance and continued in the form of obedience to the commandments of God and the church (Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, 6:10-11) (F. Thielman, “Law,” DPL, p.529).· Starting with repentance, the sanctification process consists of trusting in Christ and performing acts of love (which include obeying the church). As a result, one can be justified and declared righteous by God. If one dies before being justified, then one can still do acts of sanctification in order to become justified. [Purgatory?]

    Protestants call this view “works righteousness” (one is justified by works, vs. Ephesians 2:8-9).

    Martin Luther’s view of justification 1.2.1 After fearing that no amount of good works could save him from God’s just judgment, Luther meditated on Psalm 31:1-2 and Romans 1:17, discovering that the purpose of God’s righteousness was not to condemn but to save the sinner.

    • Reading Galatians and Paul’s other letters in this light, Luther concluded that no human attempt at righteousness could avail (“active righteousness”); only God’s gift of his own righteousness (“passive righteousness”), appropriated by faith alone saves us.·
    • In the sphere of justification, the law has no place.· Justification (being declared righteous by God) happens immediately when we put our trust in Christ. God transfers Christ’s righteousness to us. Sanctification then happens as we walk out our faith with Christ. Luther’s insight was a pivotal moment in church history and the history of the West.
    • Luther and subsequent Protestant scholarship assumed that New Testament Pharisees held the same view of “works righteousness” or justification as the medieval Roman Catholic Church.
  2. Explain (in 4 paragraphs) Luther’s incorrect assumption regarding New Testament Pharisees’ view of “works righteousness” (justification), and the lecture’s three-point conclusion regarding New Testament Pharisees’ view of the “works of the law” and circumcision. (Sect. 28.2.2 & 29.7)
    1.1.1 Luther and subsequent Protestant scholarship assumed that New Testament Pharisees held the same view of “works righteousness” or justification as the medieval Roman Catholic Church.

    1.1 Conclusion: New Testament Pharisees’ view of the “works of the law” and circumcision 1.1.1 In the “Covenantal Nomism” view of Sanders and N. T. Wright, Second Temple Judaism (the period between the OT and the NT) stressed certain identity markers (“works of the law”). These markers were not for how to “get in” the covenant but for how to “stay in,” and to ethnically and practically separate Jews from Gentiles. These identity markers were:· Food laws restricting Jews from table fellowship with Gentiles (Gal. 2:11-16)· Holy days (Gal 4:10)· Circumcision (Gal. 2:3; 5:2-6, 11-12) 1.1.2 Circumcision, however, is more than “staying in.” For Second Temple Judaism, as for the Old Testament, circumcision is the way in. Males must be circumcised or they will be put to death (Genesis 17:14).As God says to Abraham, “This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep. Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised…” (Gen. 17: 10-12) 1.1.3 There is no doubt that, for Paul, circumcision is the old “way in.”“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:13-14, compare Rom. 2:25-29).
  3. Recognize:
    1.1 The law reveals sin
    1.2 The law points forward to Christ
    1.3 The law is temporary and subordinate to a greater end
    1.4 The law is a power to die to or be set free from 1.5 The law is a good gift from a gracious God when it does its proper work
    1.6 The law reveals sin and provokes sin.
    1.7 The law is the standard of universal judgment on the Day of Judgment
    the seven functions of the Law in Paul’s writings
  4. Recognize : Contrasting God’s wisdom with worldly wisdom (1 Cor. 1:9, cf. Isa. 29:14; 1:31, cf. Jer. 9:23-24; 2:16 cf. Isa. 40:13, etc.) Paul directs the church to discipline a member guilty of legal incest: “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:13, cf. Dt. 17:7; 19:19; 22:21, 24; 24:7) Paul cites the shema in dealing with the issue of food offered to idols. (1 Cor. 8:4, 6, cf. Dt. 4:35, 29; 6:4) Paul argues for his right to be supported financially for his ministry from the law (1 Cor. 9:8-9; cf. Dt. 25:4). Paul uses the pattern of Israel’s sin and idolatry in the desert to warn the Corinthians to resist the same temptations. (1 Cor. 10:1-22, cf. several OT passages in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) Paul appeals to the law as an authority in practical matters. (2 Cor. 8:15, citing Ex. 16:18 and 2 Cor. 13:1, quoting Dt. 19:15) F. Thielman, ‘Law,’ DPL, p.536, “Clearly for Paul, ‘the Law’ was valid in some form for members of the new covenant.”
    Those points from the Scriptures that validate the authority of certain aspects of the Law for the church. (Sect. 31.1)
  5. Recognize this :

    - Without the work of the Spirit, Scripture is veiled to us; when wielded by the Spirit, Scripture mediates Christ to us (2 Corinthians 3)

    - The law reached its end or climax or goal (telos) in Christ (Ro. 10:4) and has given way to a new covenant. 1.1.1 The new covenant, as the prophets promised, is written on the heart (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:24-37:28) and can be kept by those who walk in the Spirit (Rom. 8:4). 1.1.2 In Christ the law has been transformed into “the law of Christ;” and “the law of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:2; Gal. 6:2). 1.1.3 Viewing the law in this way through Christ, believers follow him who drove beyond external obedience to the heart and summed up the law in the command to love. (See Matthew 5-7; Mark 12:29-31; Rom. 13:8-10 and Gal. 5:14, quoting Lev. 19:18) [See Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together. Christ is the Mediator. Therefore for the Christian there are no direct relationships. The law is mediated to us through him, i.e., he stands between us and the law.] 1.1.4 The new covenant is God’s free gift and new creation in the End Times. Thus the eschatological gift of the Spirit empowers believers to live life now in the Kingdom of God. (Rom 14:17) This means that human existence is no longer centered upon itself, but manifests the fruit of the age to come (Gal. 5:22; cf. vv. 6, 14-26). 1.1.5 Paul’s ethical teaching is driven by the command to love in the way that Christ loved (e.g. Rom. 15:1-7, 14; 13:8-10; 12:9-21; 1 Cor. 8-10; 13).

    - If Christ and the Holy Spirit are in the center of our lives, and if our motivation is to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, then this changes our priorities and the way we use the words of the law. All of the specifics of the 10 Commandments are fulfilled in the law of love. Because we are loved and love, we seek to keep the commandments, not to win salvation, but because we are saved.
    the proper use of the Law for Christian believers. (Sect. 31.2, 31.3 & 31.4.2)
  6. Explain (in 1 paragraph) Paul’s greatest objection to the Law. (Sect. 30)
    Paul’s greatest objection to the law is that it cannot be kept and trying to keep it undermines the finality and centrality of Christ.That which should lead us to Christ becomes a rival to Christ. Paul was not dissatisfied with the law until he was encountered by Christ (Gal. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:4b-6). The law was his center of life as a Pharisee, and now that center is occupied by Christ himself. His intervention gave Paul new insight into the law and a new way of understanding it.
  7. Recognize: “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Cor. 7:14) · How can Paul claim that what matters is “keeping God’s commands” when circumcision, one of God’s most prominent commands, is invalidated? · [Clues: this law is now a matter of the heart and not the outward act, Rom. 2:29; Some traditions hold that Christ fulfills the ritual law (including circumcision) but we are still responsible to fulfill the moral law. Paul himself sees this as being fulfilled by love: “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom 13:10)] Dietary laws are now relativized; 1 Cor. 8:1-13; 10:1-11:1). Both circumcision and kosher food are boundary markers separating Jew and Gentile. For Paul they are no longer valid. The new markers are faith, the Holy Spirit and behavior motivated by the Spirit’s sanctifying power. Paul’s freedom in keeping the law as a Jew functions within his calling to win many Jews and Gentiles to Christ. He is, therefore, free to embrace either culture. Famously, he has become all things to all people in order to win the more. (1 Cor. 9:19-23)
    Those points from the Scriptures that invalidate the authority of certain aspects of the Law for the church. (Sect. 31.1)
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Pauline Lit Lecture 8
Pauline Lit lecture 8