D. soteriology

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This part of dogmatics, dealing with the personal appropriation of the merits of Christ by a sinner, deals with:

1. Faith, the proper attitude of the heart

2. The means of grace, that produce and preserve faith

3. The order of salvation, the various phases of God's activity relating to faith

4. The church, that is, the communion of believers

5. The office (function) of the public ministry

6. The Antichrist

1. Faith

I. Faith occupies a central position in the New Testament (that is, in the gospel covenant).
1. The New Testament proclaims reconciliation and union between God and mankind.

a) Christ re-established union between God and the sinners.

1) Sin separates people from God.
Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Isaiah 64:7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.
Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

2) Christ brought about a reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19 God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
Ephesians 2:15b-16 His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

b) This union is proclaimed and offered for sinners to receive and to enjoy. Receiving the offered reconciliation is called believing.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Acts 2:44 All the believers (οἱ πιστεύοντες) were together and had everything in common.
Acts 4:4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
Acts 8:13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Acts 11:21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
Acts 17:12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

c) Faith is the uniting bond in a sinner's renewed union with God.

1) Through faith there is peace with God.
John 1:12 To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 17:20,21 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Romans 5:1,2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

2) Those who receive this peace are simply called believers.
Acts 5:14 More and more men and women believed (πιστεύοντες) in the Lord and were added to their number.
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers (τύπος γίνου τῶν πιστῶν) in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Corinthians 6:6 One brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers (ἀπίστων).
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers (ἀπίστοις). For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
2. The dominance of faith is emphasized in various ways in the New Testament.

a) Sometimes the centrality of faith is stated directly.

1) The “law of faith” (the faith principle) is set in contrast to the law of works and ordinances.
Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith (διὰ νόμου πίστεως).
Ephesians 2:14-15 He himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.
Colossians 2:13-14 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 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.
Galatians 3:2,5 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard (ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως)? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard (ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως)?

2) The ratifying of the New Testament is the “coming” of faith.
Galatians 3:23,25 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

b) Sometimes the centrality of faith is stated less directly, but clearly.

1) For salvation sinners are asked only to believe.
John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Acts 16:30-31 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Ephesians 2:8 It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
2 Timothy 3:15 From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2) A person’s relation to the New Testament revelation may be seen as a reflection of his attitude toward faith (or the faith).
Acts 6:7 The word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith (ὑπήκουον τῇ πίστει).
Romans 1:5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως).
Romans 16:26 [The message of Jesus Christ is] now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως).
Galatians 1:23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith (εὐαγγελίζαται τὴν πίστιν) he once tried to destroy.”
Jude 3,20 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

c) The coexisting emotions of love and hope are not to be excluded, although faith remains the primary and fundamental factor.
John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
1 John 4:7,16,19 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 19 We love because he first loved us.

Romans 8:24 In this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 3:15 In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Faith and love
John 16:27 The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
Galatians 5:6 In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (πίστις δι’ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη).
Ephesians 3:16-18 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Faith and hope

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:23 Continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Faith, hope, and love

1 Corinthians 13:13 Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
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