Topic 10 The development of the basic beliefs of Christianity: Paul’s and James’ Perspectives of Salvation



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Activity One


Enquiry Question

Generic Skills

Values and Attitudes

What do people have to do (as discussed in the previous two lessons) in order to obtain salvation from God?

Communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills

Truth, sanctity of life, love, respect for life


Teaching Steps

Step 1. Teacher does warm-up exercise with students by asking them to think whether causal relation is common in our daily life.

  • Teacher raises the questions:

            1. What are the meanings of the following phrases? (Teacher picks three from the following: (1) Getting good out of misfortune; (2) Misfortune brought by too much fortune; (3) Opportunity arising from destiny; (4) Failing due to a little trouble; (5) Accumulating merit by doing good; (6) Having good fortunes due to the good deeds done before.)

            2. Can you provide some real life examples to illustrate the above phrases?

            3. The above phrases have a common characteristic which describes a certain relation. What is it? (causal relation)

            4. What is the truth concerning causal relation revealed by the phrases? (Certain things must be done to obtain a certain result. Many things in the world happen according to this rule.)

  • Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

      1. In order to obtain certain results, one must work on the corresponding causes. However, would one definitely get the expected results when he/she works on the corresponding causes?

      2. Why don’t the expected results come up every time? (Teacher suggests that even when one has successfully worked on a certain cause, one may not always get the corresponding result. Other than our own efforts, a lot of factors affect the results. These factors are usually out of our control. Therefore, even when one has worked on a certain cause, the corresponding result is not guaranteed.)


Step 2. Teacher points out:

  • A lot of things in the world work according to the causal relation. A certain cause will lead to a certain result. However, the results are not always controlled by people. A lot of factors may affect the outcome and these factors are usually out of our control.

Justification by Faith Activity One 3-2


  • In the Bible, Paul also used the logic of causal relation to express his theological ideas and explain the way of salvation in Christianity.


Step 3. Teacher carries out the “Making Amendments” activity with students.

  • Teacher raises the question:

              1. If a person has done something wrong and hurt an interpersonal relationship, what can he do in order to remedy for what is done and amend the relationship? (Students can suggest anything they can think of, such as an apology, restitution, doing one’s best to redress the wrong, etc.)

  • Teacher can give the following example: If you carelessly break your friend’s favorite watch, making him very angry, how would you remedy for that and amend the relationship? (Teacher guides students to answer: restitution, apology, etc)

  • Teacher may show ‘PowerPoint 1’ (Injury caused by hot beverage) pages 1 to 4, and discusses with students: How can the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Beijing remedy for injuring the customers? (Teacher guides students to answer: compensation, apology, etc. Teacher may show students the actual judgment from the court on page 5 of ‘PowerPoint 1’.)

  • Teacher asks:

                1. Are there any alternatives to remedy the incident?

  • Teacher points out:

              1. Paul used the causal relation to bring out the idea of justification by faith, so as to explain the way of salvation.

              2. Teacher shows ‘PowerPoint 2’ (The situation of man and the meaning of justification). Help students understand that Paul thought that people have no power to save themselves from sin (Students have learned in Lesson 10.1 that people are controlled by sin and cannot save themselves from their sinful nature). People can neither re-establish a good and appropriate relationship with God with their own effort as well. So, the humankind has to depend on God’s grace.


Step 4. Teacher reads Romans 1:16-17 and carries out “The Power of the Gospel” activity with students, allowing students to understand Paul’s concept of “justification by faith”.

Justification by Faith Activity One 3-3




  • Teacher discusses with students: According to Paul, how can people re-establish a good and appropriate relationship with God?

  • Teacher asks students to form groups of four and complete ‘Worksheet 1’ (The Power of the Gospel). Ask students to present after discussion. Teacher discusses the questions on the worksheet with students:

  1. According to Paul, what was the causal relation concerning God’s salvation in the Scripture (Romans 1:16-17)? (Justification by faith: God will justify people according to their faith. Justified people will be considered sinless and can establish a good and appropriate relationship with God.)

  2. What is God’s role in the salvation? (To give the Gospel, i.e. to offer His Son Jesus as a sacrifice to be crucified on the cross; to justify the believers, i.e. to consider them sinless so that they can establish a good and appropriate relationship with God; to save those who believe.)

  3. What is the role of human beings in the salvation? (To believe, i.e. to trust and accept God.)

  4. In the salvation relationship, do you think that man has to give a lot? Why?

  5. What are your comments regarding the causal relation suggested by Paul?

  • Teacher further discusses with students the questions on the worksheet:

  1. In this salvation relationship, does God have more to do or do people have more to do? Why?

  2. Compare and contrast the role of God and people in the salvation relationship, what are the special features of salvation in Christianity?

  • Teacher points out:

  1. Paul stated the causal relation of justification by faith, so as to explain God’s salvation plan.

  2. Human can receive salvation from God only by believing in the Gospel of God.


Step 5. Teacher summarises:

  • Through justification by faith, Paul explained God’s salvation plan.

  • God saves the world by the Gospel. People only have to believe in the Gospel of God in order to be justified by God, considered as sinless so as to re-establish a good and appropriate relationship with God.


Step 6. Teacher distributes ‘Students’ Reference: Material 1’ (The explanation of the Pauline idea of justification by faith), briefly explains it and wraps up the activity.

Justification by Faith Activity Two 3-1






Activity Two


Enquiry Question

Generic Skills

Values and Attitudes

What was the significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the Early Church?

Communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills

Truth, love, blessing for all humankind, equal opportunities, respect for life


Teaching Steps:

Step 1. Teacher raises the question:

    • The Pauline idea of justification by faith was very important to the early church. Do you know what its significance was?


Step 2. Teacher carries out “The meaning of Justification by faith” activity with students, allowing students to understand the meaning of justification by faith.

  • Teacher asks students to form groups of four and distributes ‘Appendix 1’ (The problem with the views on salvation during Early Church) to each group. Students are expected to explore the significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the believers of the early church.

  • Each group plays the role of experts in Christian history. Based on the three pieces of information about the early church in ‘Appendix 1’, discuss the requirements for getting salvation as presented by the early Jewish Christians and by Paul in ‘Worksheet 2’ (The significance of the idea of justification by faith).

  • Teacher invites students to present their ideas. Then, teacher may distribute ‘Students’ Reference: Material 2’ (The significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the early church) and explain the answer, emphasising the importance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the early church. At that time, the Jewish Christians thought that the gentiles, other than believing in Christ, must also practise circumcision and observe other Jewish laws in order to join the Christian church. These regulations hindered many gentiles from becoming Christians. Paul, on the other hand, advocated that God had a new way of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The gentiles only had to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved, justified, and to establish a good and appropriate relationship with God.


Step 3. Teacher carries out the “Joy beyond expectation” activity with students.

    • Teacher asks:

  1. How would the gentiles feel when they learned the Pauline idea of justification by faith? (Teacher may ask some students to share their ideas.)

Justification by Faith Activity Two 3-2


    • Teacher describes the following situation:

  1. Imagine you are walking down a street. Suddenly, a man approaches and stops you. He claims to be a staff member of Happy Radio. He says, “Do you want to receive the gift from our radio station: a super deluxe package of a nine-day tour in Japan? The package is going to cover the expense of the flight tickets, food and accommodation, and on top of that, you will be given $10,000 for shopping! If you want to get this gift, you have to get into the van with me now and go to the radio station. If you don’t get in now, we will find another person and your opportunity will be gone. Now I will count from 1 to 5. You have to decide once I get to 5. One, two, three, four…” You have always dreamed of going to Japan. However, there is no way you can earn the travel expenses needed. Now you see a black van near the curb with the words “Happy Radio” on it. You are thinking whether you should say yes.

    • Teacher raises the questions:

  1. Do you believe this person who claims to be a staff member of Happy Radio? (Teacher asks students to indicate their answers with a show of hands and chooses two to three students to answer the following questions.)

  2. Why do you believe or not believe the above person? (Happy Radio is a famous and reputable radio station.)

  3. Why don’t you find other ways to achieve your dream? (Because there is no other way.)

  4. How can you show whether you believe or not? (To follow the person to the van.)

    • Teacher states:

  1. When we decide whether to believe or not, we would consider the reliability of the other party, or think about the alternatives to achieve the same purpose.

    • Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

  1. When Paul proposed the idea of justification by faith, how did the gentiles in the early church feel?

  2. With reference to the above activity, why were the gentiles happy? (At that time, the gentiles had longed for God’s salvation for a long time and they had no other ways to obtain salvation.)

Justification by Faith Activity Two 3-3
Step 4. Teacher summarises:

    • The Jewish Christians believed that observing circumcision and other Jewish laws, such as observing the Sabbath and diet rituals, were the only ways to receive salvation from God. They did not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ could save them.

    • Jewish Christians thought that the gentiles must first accept the Jewish traditions before they could join the Christian church. Their regulations hindered the gentiles from becoming Christians.

    • Paul proposed the idea of justification by faith, making it clear that one only has to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be justified and become a Christian. His proposition allowed more gentiles to join the church.




Justification by Faith Activity Three 2-1




Activity Three


Enquiry Question

Generic Skills

Values and Attitudes

How has the Pauline idea of justification by faith influence the development of Christianity?

Communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills

Truth, blessing for all humankind, burden for core and auxiliary values


Teaching Steps:

Step 1. Teacher raises the question:

    • How has the Pauline idea of justification by faith influenced the development of Christianity?


Step 2. Teacher carries out “The influence of Paul” activity with students, allowing students to learn about Paul’s achievements and influences:

    • Teacher shows ‘PowerPoint 3’ (The influence of the Pauline idea on the development of Christianity) and introduces the influences of Pauline theology as well as his missionary accomplishments.

    • Teacher discusses with students:

  1. With reference to the idea of justification by faith, what was Paul’s role in the early church? What were his influences?

  2. Which aspect of Paul’s idea of justification by faith had the most important effect to the development of the Christian church in later times? Why?


Step 3. Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

    • How does Paul’s idea of justification by faith influence people in modern times? Is it easy for today’s people to accept his idea?

    • Does today’s Christian mission still emphasise justification by faith? How can you tell?

    • Did Paul mean that Christians need only faith but nothing else?


Step 4. Teacher summarises:

    • Paul devoted his whole life to preach and reach for the gentiles. He proposed the concept of justification by faith, developed missionary journeys, wrote letters to instruct and exhort the gentile churches, thus enabling the rapid spread of the early Christianity in the non-Jewish world.

Justification by Faith Activity Three 2-2


    • The Pauline idea of justification by faith has been an important cornerstone of Christian theology. It has remarkable influence on Christianity in later times, especially on the birth of Protestantism.


Step 5. Teacher distributes ‘Students’ Reference: Material 3’ (The influence of the Pauline idea of justification by faith on the development of Christianity), briefly explains it and wraps up the activity.
Justification by Faith Extended Activities
Extended Activities:


  1. Teacher asks students to look up in media sources such as books and websites for the views of different religions concerning salvation.




  1. Teacher asks students to choose two or more religions and compare their:

    • Purpose of salvation

    • Requirements for salvation

    • The situation of believers after receiving salvation

    • Any other things that concern salvation




  1. Teacher can invite students to do sharing in the following period.




  1. Students may refer to the following websites:

http://iwr.cass.cn/

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%95%91%E8%B4%96%E8%AB%96

http://astrology.fightclub.com.pk/text/t-159911-p-1.html


Justification by Faith Appendix 1 2-1


Appendix 1: The problem of the salvation view in the Early Church



The requirements for God’s chosen people in Old Testament Times


  • In Old Testament times, the Jews believed that they had to make a covenant with God in order to become God’s chosen people, meaning that they had to undergo circumcision because circumcision was the “sign of the covenant with God”.

  • Other than circumcision, God’s chosen people had to obey God’s Law as well, such as the Ten Commandments, and follow the ritual laws of sacrifices, Sabbath and diet restrictions and other ethical laws in daily life.

  • Circumcision and obeying the Law were the two most important requirements for becoming God’s chosen people.



Some Jewish Christians’ views on salvation in the early church


  • In early church times, some Jews believed in Jesus and joined the Christian church.

  • Some Jewish Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah sent by God. Therefore anyone who wished to become a Christian must, on top of believing in Jesus, undergo circumcision and obey the laws in daily life. Only then could one become God’s chosen people and receive salvation from God.

  • Just as what some people taught at that time: “You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires.” (Acts 15:1); “The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5)

  • Since the Jews had always followed the laws in daily life and practiced circumcision, the above requirements were no hindrance to them.

Justification by Faith Appendix 1 2-2




Some issues the gentiles might consider when joining the early Christian church


  • According to some teachings at that time, on top of believing in Jesus, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5) in order to become Christians and join the Christian church.

  • Circumcision: When gentiles wanted to join the church, they had to consider if they could accept circumcision which was totally alien to their own traditions.

  • At that time, the Greeks believed that circumcision was a form of self-mutilation. Therefore, they despised the circumcised. This made it more difficult for the gentiles to decide whether to undergo circumcision in order to join the church.

  • Obeying the Jewish Laws: Sabbath laws, diet laws and sacrifices were very traditional Jewish customs. Gentiles who obeyed such laws would have adopted the Jewish lifestyle, which greatly impacted on their personal and social life. Therefore, observing the Laws was a big hindrance to the gentiles.

Reference:

董俊蘭 (1999):〈保羅書信中的「因信稱義」〉,《神學與教會》,24卷2期,http://www.ttcs.org.tw/~church/24.2/11.htm

Justification by Faith Teacher’s References Material 1


Material 1: The explanation of the Pauline idea of justification by faith


  1. The meaning of “faith”

According to Paul, “faith” is a word with a lot of meanings. “Faith” carries the meaning of having confidence in a belief. Yet, a more suitable meaning is “absolute trust and complete acceptance”. It means that one does not only believe in the existence of God and Jesus, but one will trust the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe that the Gospel can save one’s life. “Faith” is not merely intellectual recognition, but also practices in action. “Faith” begins with acceptance, continues with complete obedience and modification in one’s life, so as to practise the Christian teaching.


  1. The meaning of “justification”

Justification means establishing a good and appropriate relationship between God and people. God’s justification means that God treats the sinners as if they have never sinned. God treats sinners well as if they were His beloved children. God does not treat people as enemies, but as friends. God does not think people deserve punishments because they are sinful; rather, He thinks people are His children who deserve love.


  1. The meaning of “justification by faith”

Anyone who truly believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be justified by God. He/She can establish a good and appropriate relationship with God and is no longer controlled by sin. People can be justified not because of the things they have done, but because of God’s grace. We can only receive this grace through faith. The love of God enables man to establish a good relationship with Him through faith, and even have an abundant life. As it is written, “The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.” (Romans 1:17)

References:



  1. Barclay, William (1955). The Letters to the Romans. Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press. pp. 8-14.

  2. 董俊蘭 (1999):〈保羅書信中的「因信稱義」〉,《神學與教會》,24卷2期http://www.ttcs.org.tw/~church/24.2/11.htm。

Justification by Faith Teacher’s References Material 2 2-1



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