a. The central them of Paul's teachings is quite different from the teachings of Jesus. What is the source of Paul's teachings?
b. Some people (especially those during the Reformation such as Martin Luther) regard justification as the central theme of Paul's teachings. Is this correct? What are the major teachings of Paul?
c. What are the teachings of Paul on the work of Christ?
d. What does Paul teach about the new life in Christ?
e. How does Paul describe the church?
f. What is the eschatology of Paul?
1. What is the central theme of Paul's teachings?
a. Theme: realization of the coming new age of redemption by the work of Christ. This includes justification and the new life.
b. redemptive history summed up in 2Co 5:17 (All things have become new)
c. redemptive work of Christ as the centre of redemptive history
d. both realized and futuristic eschatology
e. historical career of Jesus not included by Paul because it is not a necessary part of the message of redemption
2. How does Paul teach about the work of Christ?
a. Atonement:(1) word only used once in Ro 5:11
(2) meaning: "through whom we have now received our reconciliation"
(3) The death of Christ dealt with the problem of human sin and brought men into fellowship with God
(4) Characteristics:b. Justification:(a) Love of God (Ro 5:8, 8:32) and love of Christ (Eph 5:25, Gal 2:20)
(b) Sacrificial -- associated with OT ritual of sacrifice: Eph 5:2, 1Co 5:7 (lamb), Ro 3:25 (blood)
(c) Vicarious -- Christ died for us (1Th 5:9, Eph 5:2, Gal 3:13)
(d) Substitutionary -- died in place of us (1Ti 2:6)
(e) Propitiary -- to appease a person who has been offended, in this case, the righteous God (Ro 3:25-26)
(f) Redemptive -- to buy or purchase (Tit 2:14, 1Ti 2:6, Eph 1:7, 1Co 6:19-20)
(g) Triumphant -- man freed from sin, death and evil spiritual world (1Co 15:24-25, Col 2:15)(1) to justify means "to declare righteous", not "to make righteous"
(2) mainly in Romans and Galatians (and Eph 4:32, Col 2:13)
(3) Righteousness is a concept of relationship. He is righteous who has fulfilled the demands laid upon him by the relationship in which he stands. Righteousness is the standard God has decreed for human conduct.
(4) Characteristics:(a) Eschatological -- relate to the final judgment by God (Ro 8:33-34), certain of deliverance from the wrath of God (Ro 5:9), no longer under condemnation (Ro 8:1), including past and subsequent sins
(b) Forensic -- declaration by the judge to be free from guilt, as a matter of relationship not of ethical character as the person is still ungodly (Ro 4:5), God no longer counts a man's sin against him (2Co 5:19)
(c) Ground of justification is the death of Christ, and means is faith alone (Gal 2:16, Ro 3:24-25), not from the works of the Law (Gal 2:16, 3:11)
3. How does Paul describe a Christian's new life in Christ?
a. Present age will continue until the Second Coming:(1) evil character (Gal 1:4)b. New life is a present reality:
(2) demonic powers still oppose God's people (Eph 6:12ff)
(3) believers still subject to bodily evil, sickness (Ro 8:35, Php 2:26f) and death (Ro 8:10)
(4) physical world still under decay (Ro 8:21)
(5) world still under divine judgment (1Co 11:32)(1) deliverance from the present evil age (Gal 1:4)c. Characteristics of the new life:
(2) no longer conformed to the old age (Ro 12:2)
(3) new covenant with God already come into existence (1Co 11:25)
(4) a new creation in Christ that should express itself in good works (Eph 2:10)
(5) "one new man" that is constituted of all who are in Christ (Eph 2:15)
(6) new man progressively like Christ (Col 3:9-16, Eph 4:22-24)(1) In Christ: experience the new existence or new age in Christ in contrast with the old age or the natural man in Adam (1Co 15:22), with redemption (Ro 3:24), sanctification (1Co 1:2), access to God (Eph 2:12) [Some explains this as the mystical body of Christ, the church (Ro 12:5, Gal 3:28).]d. Christian conduct and ethics: (as compared to the new life and a positional situation in Christ)
(2) In the Spirit: in the realm where the Spirit blesses (Ro 14:17) and gives new life, in contrast with in the flesh (Ro 8:9) or natural life of sin, bondage and death
(3) Dead to the flesh: the flesh is viewed as dead and has been crucified (Gal 5:24, 2:20, Ro 6:4); spiritual circumcision or putting off the old man (Col 3:9, 2:11)
(4) Dead to the world: irrelevancy of worldly matters (Col 2:20, 3:2), though not complete indifference
(5) Indwelling of Christ and the Spirit: the two are the same (Ro 8:9-10, 1Co 3:16, 6:19); the Spirit works by witnessing to the believer (Ro 8:16), helping them in weakness (Ro 8:26), and guiding (Ro 8:14)(1) Fruit (singular) of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23, Php 4:8, Col 3:12-15)e. An example of love:
(2) Imitation of Christ (1Th 1:6, 1Co 11:1) in His love and His giving of Himself in suffering and death
(3) Union with Christ (1Co 6:15, Eph 2:10) as expressed in good works
(4) Experience the indwelling Spirit (2Co 3:18) through love (Ro 5:5), freedom (Ro 8:2), and service (Ro 7:6)
(5) Sanctification as the work of the Spirit (2Th 2:13) but also demanding a human response: as requested by Paul (2Co 7:1), yielding to righteousness not impurity (Ro 6:19), being in holiness not uncleanness (1Th 4:7)
(6) Love as the excellent charisma (1Co 13)(1) Most of the meat sold in Hellenistic cities came from the temples after sacrificial ritual resulting scruples in some Christians (1Co 10:25).
(2) Gentile Christians in Asia Minor were advised to abstain from these meats (Ac 15:20).
(3) Paul did not impose the same term in Rome and Corinth (Ro 14:1-23, 1Co 8:1-13, 10:14-33), only forbidding the participation in feasts in the temples (1Co 8:10).
(4) Position: Nothing is unclean of itself (Ro 14:14) so Christians are free to eat any foods. Those whose conscience offends them must not eat (Ro 14:22), those whose conscience is clear are free to eat (1Co 10:25).
(5) Those who have strong scruples are weak in faith (Ro 14:1), but should not condemn those who eat (Ro 14:3).
(6) Those who eat should abstain only if such action would really offend a weaker brother and cause him to violate his conscience and thus lead him to actually sin.
4. What are the teachings of Paul on the future?
a. Experienced and anticipated eschatology:(1) Eschatological events are not merely lying in the future. They have already begun to unfold in history.b. Intermediate state:
(2) The light and the glory of the Age to Come have already shined in Jesus' resurrection which displayed the future immortality.
(3) The believer is already in the Kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13) but he awaits the coming of the Kingdom of God (1Co 15:50).
(4) He had already experienced the new life (2Co 2:16) but he looks forward to the inheritance of eternal life (Gal 6:8).
(5) He has already been saved (Eph 2:5) but he is still awaiting his salvation (Ro 13:11).
(6) He has been raised into newness of life (Ro 6:4) but he longs for the bodily resurrection (2Co 5:4).(1) Nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of Christ (Ro 8:38).c. Second Coming of Christ:
(2) absent from the body but "with Christ" after death (Php 1:23, 2Co 5:8)(1) Day of the Lord (1Th 5:2, 2Th 2:2), Day of the Lord Jesus Christ (1Co 5:5, 1:8, 2Co 1:14, Php 1:6,10), that Day (2Th 1:10, 2Ti 1:18) all refer to the same thing.d. Interim messianic kingdom:
(2) The day which divides this present evil age (Gal 1:4) and the new age of Kingdom of God (2Ti 4:1)
(3) The day (or a period of time) that Christ will:(a) gather his people, both living and dead(4) "Parousia" (presence as in Php 2:2, or arrival as in 1Co 16:17, 2Co 7:7) -- visit of persons of high rank
(b) destroy evil and judge the man of lawlessness (2Th 2:2,8).
(5) "Apokalypsis" (unveiling or disclosure) -- revealing to the world of the glory and power of Christ that are already His (2Th 1:7, 1Co 1:7)
(6) "Epiphaneia" (appearing) -- visible return of Christ (2Th 2:8, Tit 2:13) ["by the epiphaneia of his parousia" indicates the similarity of the terms](1) Triumph of Christ in several stages: first, His resurrection; second, resurrection of the believers in the Second Coming; third, delivering the Kingdom to God after destroying every rule and powere. Judgment:
(2) Similar belief in OT, such as Ezekiel: Eze 33-37 about restoration of a believing remnant, Eze 38-39 about a final terrible war followed by the new Jerusalem(1) God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Ro 2:16), according to their works (Ro 2:5)f. Consummation:
(2) Saints are to assist God in the judgment of the world, even judgment of angels (1Co 6:2-3)
(3) Jews will be judged by the Law (Ro 2:12) but they failed to keep the Law (Gal 3:10-12)
(4) Those who have not had the Law will be judged by the law of God written on their hearts, by conscience (Ro 2:14-16) but they have perverted (Ro 1:21-22)
(5) God will give eternal life to the righteous and send wrath and fury to the wicked (Ro 2:6-10, 2Th 1:9)
(6) For believers, because of justification in Christ, we will be acquitted (Ro 8:1,33-34) but will be assessed based on worthfulness or worthlessness of the Christian life (1Co 3:12-15)(1) God will reconcile all things to Himself through Christ (Col 1:20)
(2) Restoration of order to a universe that has been disturbed by evil and sin (Eph 1:10, 1Co 15:24)
(3) Material world is freed from bondage to decay and burden of evil (Ro 8:19-23)
(4) Jesus is exalted as Lord (Php 2:10-11)
(5) A realized eternal Kingdom of God