Presentation on theme: "Pauline Themes Mysticism 2 Corinthians 12:1-4: It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of."— Presentation transcript:
Pauline Themes Mysticism 2 Corinthians 12:1-4: It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven— whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. Comment: Although Paul puts this in the third person, almost everybody thinks he is talking about himself. Paul, by the way, is having a very difficult time here practicing the humility he believes he should practice.
The Conflicted/Reconciled Self Romans 7:14-8:4: For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh,* sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. *“Flesh” for Paul means, not our bodies, but our “lower” nature. Bodies are destined for resurrection; flesh is not. The Gospel of John uses “flesh” in a more positive way (as in “The Word became flesh”).
The Conflicted/Reconciled Self (continued) Galatians 2:19-21: For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. 2 Corinthians 5:16-19: From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
Eschatology (teaching about “the end”) Paul expected Christ’s return in his own lifetime: We who are left alive until the Lord comes … [will be] caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) The time we live in will not last long. While it lasts, married men should be as if they had no wives; … buyers must not count on keeping what they buy, nor those who use the worlds wealth. … For the whole frame of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31) Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise immortal, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
The Centrality & Preeminence of Jesus Paul sees the Risen Jesus in several roles (Harris): 1) As God’s revealed Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1-4) 2) As the divine Lord through whom God rules (Philippians 2:11; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28) 3) As the means by whom God’s Spirit dwells in believers (Romans 8; 14:17) 4) As the “second Adam” (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-24, 45-49) 5) As the head of his “body” the Church (1 Corinthians 10:16-18, 12:12-30; Romans 12) 6) As liberator from sin, Torah and death (Galatians 3-5; Romans 3-7) For Paul, ultimate reality is not simply God, but something more complex and elusive: The Communion of God’s Spirit in Jesus Christ “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:13) The communion of God’s Spirit in Jesus Christ is the ultimate reality here and now and the ultimate destiny of all creation. Communion: Mutual Indwelling (a union that preserves differences); God, the risen Jesus and the Spirit indwell one another; together they indwell creation, and vice versa; together they indwell believers, and vice versa; believers indwell one another (“are members of one another”) in the one body of Christ (Romans 12:5). In a sense, God simply is the original communion, into which we are being drawn.
Justification by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone Grace: unmerited favor, unconditional love Justification: being “put right” (Lutherans: being declared right; Catholics: being made right) Faith: Objectively—the faithfulness of God, Jesus and the Spirit; subjectively—not blind belief, but awakening and responding to the grace of God already at work in one’s life. Joint Catholic-Lutheran Statement: “By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are adopted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.” Romans 6:20b-21: Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Justification (continued) Romans 3:21-31: But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.