Limits of the Law

In responding to claims that Gentiles must be circumcised, Paul appealed to the common experience of the Spirit received by the Galatians. Did they receive the gift due to a “ hearing of faith ” or “ from the works of the Law? ” Having begun in the Spirit, why did they now seek the “ completion ” of their faith based on “ flesh ” by submitting to circumcision?

Word of the Cross

Jesus performed miracles, exorcised demons, and taught with great authority, often attracting large crowds. Nevertheless, his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite displays of supernatural power. In the end, only the Roman centurion on duty at Golgotha perceived him to be the “ Son of God ” when the Nazarene breathed his last.

Faith of Jesus

Having demonstrated that all men violate God’s revealed will, Paul concludes that no one is acquitted before Him “ from the works of the Law .” Instead, men and women are justified “ through the faith ” or faithfulness OF Jesus - They are reconciled with their Creator because of the gracious act of Jesus on their behalf. Since all men deserve condemnation and death, all they can do is respond with repentance and faith to what God has done for them.

To the Assembly

In the first chapter of First Thessalonians , Paul anticipates the Letter’s main subjects - the tribulation of believers, Christian hope, and the “ arrival ” of Jesus when he will rescue his people from “ wrath .” He will resurrect the righteous dead, and “ meet ” all his assembled saints as he descends from Heaven. On that day, his disciples, both living and dead, will “ obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ .”

Sound Teaching

In 2 Timothy , Paul discusses the future resurrection of believers as he responds to denials of this “ sound teaching ” by deceivers who were disrupting the Assembly, denials he treats as little more than idle chatter. In doing so, he demonstrates that his later theology remains well within the Apostolic Tradition and the teachings of his earliest letters. From the beginning, belief in the resurrection was central to the doctrine of salvation taught by Jesus, his Apostles, and the early Church.