Monday, October 30, 2006

The Center of Paul’s Theology and the Order of Salvation

The central soteriological reality is union with the exalted Christ by Spirit-created faith. That is the nub, the essence, of the way or order of salvation for Paul. The center of Paul’s soteriology, at the center of his theology as whole, then, is neither justification by faith nor sanctification, neither the imputation of Christ’s righteousness nor the renewing work of the Spirit. To draw that conclusion, however, is not to “de-center” justification (or sanctification), as if justification is somehow less important for Paul than the Reformation claims. Justification is supremely important, it is absolutely crucial in Paul’s gospel of salvation” (cf.Eph.1:13). Deny of distort his teaching on justification and that gospel ceases to be gospel; there is no longer saving “good news” for guilty sinners. But no matter how close justification is to the heart of Paul’s gospel, in our salvation, as he sees it, there is an antecedent consideration, a reality, that is deeper, more fundamental, more decisive, more crucial: Christ and our union with him, the crucified and resurrected, the exalted, Christ. Union with Christ by faith-that is the essence of Paul’s ordo salutis. [1]

[1] pg. 43 From Richard Gaffin’s “By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation”

No comments: