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


Material 2: The significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the early church



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Material 2: The significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the early church


  1. The Jewish Christians’ views on requirements for salvation

Some Jewish Christians’ views on God’s salvation during early church times


Requirements for salvation


  1. Circumcision




  1. Obey Jewish laws, such as the Sabbath and diet restrictions and sacrifices in the Mosaic Laws.




  1. Believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ




Advantages

  • Continuation of the traditions in Old Testament times

  • The Jews did not have to change their established thoughts in order to accept the new faith




Limitations

  • Non-Jews had to make great sacrifices in order to fulfill the requirements for salvation according to the Jewish traditions

  • The requirements greatly affected the number of gentile Christians joining the early church







  1. Paul’s views on requirements for salvation

Paul’s views on God’s salvation




Requirements for salvation
Believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The group that benefited from Paul’s view
The gentiles

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




  1. Summary

  • The Pauline idea of justification by faith was very important to the early church. At that time, the Jewish Christians maintained that the gentiles, other than believing in Christ, must also practise circumcision and observe other Jewish laws in order to join the Christian church.

  • This requirements hindered many gentiles from becoming Christians.

  • Paul, on the other hand, maintained that the gentiles did not have to obey the Jewish laws in order to become Christians. Both the gentiles and the Jews were the same. They could all receive salvation from God.

  • Paul thought 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, becoming God’s people.

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 3 2-1


Material 3: The influence of the Pauline idea of justification by faith on the development of Christianity


  1. Missions to the gentiles

In the early church, some Jewish Christians demanded that the gentiles joining the church must also practise circumcision and other Jewish laws such as observing the Sabbath and diet rituals and sacrifices. These laws were very traditional Jewish customs, which were very different from the gentile traditions. The requirements greatly reduced the gentiles’ willingness to become Christians.

Paul received revelation from God and proposed the idea of “justification by faith”. He suggested that the gentiles were same as the Jews. Both groups could become God’s people and Christians by believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Gentiles who wanted to join the Christian church did not have to obey the Jewish laws, they only had to believe in the Gospel. The idea of “justification by faith” invited the gentiles to Christianity and it helped spread Christianity throughout the world in the following 2000 years.




  1. Martin Luther’s Reformation

After the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, the western churches were getting more corrupt due to financial problems. The voice yearning for reformation was raised in many places in Europe. One of the most important reformers was Martin Luther (1483-1546). During 1512-1519, Martin Luther read Romans 1:16-17 and understood that people’s justification by God was completely based on God’s grace. It was not based on anything done by people. People can only accept this grace of salvation with “faith”.

Martin Luther reiterated the importance of Paul’s thinking of “justification by faith”. It helped people understand that people could only be justified by God by having faith in God. However, the Pope at that time did not accept his proposition and even expelled him from the church. Martin Luther insisted on his own idea, and his theological position stirred up religious reform movements in England, Italy and Spain. Eventually, the voice yearning for reforms spread throughout Europe and numerous religious sects supporting the new theological position sprang up. The Western Christianity eventually split into Catholic and Protestant.




  1. The Pauline research

The theological idea of Paul was an important cornerstone of Christianity. Ever since the first century, the Pauline epistles and theology have been very important topics for research in Christianity and biblical studies. Scholars through the centuries have published innumerable works on Paul and the various aspects of his theology. Even today, biblical and Christian scholars are still eagerly discussing Paul’s work, thus deepening our understanding of the Pauline theology and conditions of the early church.

Justification by Faith Teacher’s References Material 3 2-2




  1. Today’s Situation

Since the religious reform, the doctrine of “justification” has become a controversial theological topic between the Catholic and Protestant traditions. The Catholic Church emphasised “justification by grace”, i.e. righteous acts will come after receiving God’s grace. On the other hand, the Protestant Church emphasised “justification by faith.” At the end of the twentieth century, through the effort of the committees of the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, the two sides reached a consensus to relieve the unnecessary misunderstanding in the past. Although two different Christian traditions stressed and viewed the doctrine of justification in different ways, with the Catholic Church stressing “made just” and the Protestant Church stressing “accounted just”, both agreed that sinners are accepted by God’s grace, and will become righteous human beings if they have faith in Jesus Christ.

In addition, on the 31st October 1999, the clerical representatives of the Ecumenical Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation signed the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” (1997 final draft) in Augsburg, Germany. The full text can be viewed at http://www.cathlinks.org/j-just.htm.


References:



  1. 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

  2. 王芃:〈聖經解釋與社會責任〉,http://www.chineseprotestantchurch.org/Theological-Forum/200405.htm

  3. “Martin Luther,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther.

Justification by Faith Worksheet 1 2-1


Worksheet 1: The Power of the Gospel


  1. In the following chart showing causal relation, try to fill in what God has done and what people should do, and then answer the questions:




God






C. the relation in God’s salvation:
by declared




Humans (the Jews, Gentiles)

In the above salvation relationship, do people have to contribute a lot? Why?


Justification by Faith Worksheet 1 2-2


  1. How would you comment on the causal relation of salvation as suggested by Paul?










Justification by Faith Worksheet 2


Worksheet 2: The significance of the idea of justification by faith


  1. Based on ‘Appendix 1’, try to complete the following tables.




  1. The Jewish Christians’ views on requirements for salvation

Some Jewish Christians’ views on God’s salvation during early church times




Requirements for salvation
















Advantages

Limitations




  1. Paul’s views on requirements for salvation

Paul’s views on God’s salvation




Requirements for salvation



The group that benefited from Paul’s view



Justification by Faith Students’ 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. 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 Students’ References Material 2 2-1






Material 2: The significance of the Pauline idea of justification by faith to the early church


  1. The Jewish Christians’ views on requirements for salvation

Some Jewish Christians’ views on God’s salvation during early church times


Requirements for salvation


  1. Circumcision




  1. Obey Jewish laws, such as the Sabbath and diet restrictions and sacrifices in the Mosaic Laws.




  1. Believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ




Advantages

  • Continuation of the traditions in Old Testament times

  • The Jews did not have to change their established thoughts in order to accept the new faith




Limitations

  • Non-Jews had to make great sacrifices in order to fulfill the requirements for salvation according to the Jewish traditions

  • The requirements greatly affected the number of gentile Christians joining the early church







  1. Paul’s views on requirements for salvation

Paul’s views on God’s salvation




Requirements for salvation
Believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The group that benefited from Paul’s view
The gentiles

Justification by Faith Students’ References Material 2 2-2


  1. Summary

  • The Pauline idea of justification by faith was very important to the early church. At that time, the Jewish Christians maintained that the gentiles, other than believing in Christ, must also practise circumcision and observe other Jewish laws in order to join the Christian church.

  • This requirements hindered many gentiles from becoming Christians.

  • Paul, on the other hand, maintained that the gentiles did not have to obey the Jewish laws in order to become Christians. Both the gentiles and the Jews were the same. They could all receive salvation from God.

  • Paul thought 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, becoming God’s people.

Reference:

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

Justification by Faith Students’ References Material 3 2-1






Material 3: The influence of the Pauline idea of justification by faith on the development of Christianity


  1. Missions to the gentiles

In the early church, some Jewish Christians demanded that the gentiles joining the church must also practise circumcision and other Jewish laws such as observing the Sabbath and diet rituals and sacrifices. These laws were very traditional Jewish customs, which were very different from the gentile traditions. The requirements greatly reduced the gentiles’ willingness to become Christians.

Paul received revelation from God and proposed the idea of “justification by faith”. He suggested that the gentiles were same as the Jews. Both groups could become God’s people and Christians by believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Gentiles who wanted to join the Christian church did not have to obey the Jewish laws, they only had to believe in the Gospel. The idea of “justification by faith” invited the gentiles to Christianity and it helped spread Christianity throughout the world in the following 2000 years.




  1. Martin Luther’s Reformation

After the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, the western churches were getting more corrupt due to financial problems. The voice yearning for reformation was raised in many places in Europe. One of the most important reformers was Martin Luther (1483-1546). During 1512-1519, Martin Luther read Romans 1:16-17 and understood that people’s justification by God was completely based on God’s grace. It was not based on anything done by people. People can only accept this grace of salvation with “faith”.

Martin Luther reiterated the importance of Paul’s thinking of “justification by faith”. It helped people understand that people could only be justified by God by having faith in God. However, the Pope at that time did not accept his proposition and even expelled him from the church. Martin Luther insisted on his own idea, and his theological position stirred up religious reform movements in England, Italy and Spain. Eventually, the voice yearning for reforms spread throughout Europe and numerous religious sects supporting the new theological position sprang up. The Western Christianity eventually split into Catholic and Protestant.




  1. The Pauline research

The theological idea of Paul was an important cornerstone of Christianity. Ever since the first century, the Pauline epistles and theology have been very important topics for research in Christianity and biblical studies. Scholars through the centuries have published innumerable

Justification by Faith Teacher’s References Material 3 2-2


works on Paul and the various aspects of his theology. Even today, biblical and Christian scholars are still eagerly discussing Paul’s work, thus deepening our understanding of the Pauline theology and conditions of the early church.

References:



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

  2. 王芃:〈聖經解釋與社會責任〉,http://www.chineseprotestantchurch.org/Theological-Forum/200405.htm

  3. “Martin Luther,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther.

Faith and Work Teacher’s Guide 2-1





  1. Biblical reference: James 2:14-26




  1. Objectives:

    • To understand the relationship between faith and work according to James’ idea of justification.

    • To understand that James considered faith and work to be complementary. Faith can be made perfect through work.

    • To understand that James complemented the Pauline idea of justification by faith because real faith must be accompanied by good work. Their teachings help believers understand the significance of good deeds or charitable work.

  1. Teaching Strategies

Background Information

    • James considered faith and work to be complementary. Faith can be made perfect through work.

    • James thought that the justification of human beings (having an appropriate relationship with God) does not only base on faith, but also on work.

    • James complemented the Pauline idea of justification by faith because real faith must be accompanied by good work.

Issues for Explorations

    • Can humans be justified by faith alone without the consideration of their work?

Enquiry Questions

    • Why did James propose that work is an integral part of salvation?

    • How did James understand the relationship between faith and work?

    • What is the impact of James’ view on “integration of faith and work” on Christians in the modern times?

Learning Activities

    • Through analysing the Scriptures, explore James’ teaching that the justification of men (having an appropriate relationship with God) should not be based on their faith alone, but also on their work.

    • Through studying the story of Martin Luther and the role-playing lawyers involved in a court argument, explore how James complemented the Pauline idea of justification by faith.

Faith and Work Teacher’s Guide 2-2





Key Concepts

    • Justification

    • Faith

    • Work

Generic Skills, Values and Attitudes Involved

    • Refer to the ‘Generic Skills, Values and Attitudes’ tables included in the corresponding lesson plans.

High-order Questions

    • How is a life with faith and work complementing each other like? How does such a life benefit oneself and others?

Extended Activities

    • Look for policies, propaganda and slogans of governments, political parties and politicians. Explore whether the results of their implementation are consistent with what their promises. Thus, examine if governments, political parties and politicians truly believe in their own policies, propaganda and slogans.



Faith and Work Activity One 3-1






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