Justification by Faith

analytical Essay
1890 words
1890 words

While acknowledging the divergent views of Nygren and Bornkamm that Romans reflects Paul's past experience, this essay, however, sides with the view that the Sitz im Leben of Romans manifests itself as a letter addressed to the social interactions between Jews and Gentiles and the situation of the Roman Jewish community whom Paul hopes to persuade, as in 14:1 and 15:3, to build up a Christian community net-work in order to give concrete support to his mission to Spain and spiritual support for his journey to Jerusalem (L. K. Lo, 1998 and Ziesler, 1989). This manifestation is again revealed in Paul's discussion of the commonality of sinfulness of Jews and Gentiles in 1:18-32 and 2:21-24, arguing that their solidarity in sin has put them in the same situation of guilt and powerlessness (Lo, 1998). The problem of human sin affecting Jews and Gentiles can only be solved by the divine righteousness which comes to the rescue of human beings in their collective predicament and which is, as in 1:17, primarily a saving power available to all who have faith in and respond to Jesus Christ (Ziesler, 1989). It is therefore against this background that this essay will attempt to discuss Pauline doctrine of justification by faith as understood by scholars like Ziesler, Barclay, Kasemann, Lo and Heinecken and to highlight where relevant differences in their perceptions of the doctrine. In its latter part, this essay will take issue with contentions that the doctrine constitutes only a subsidiary crater (Schweitzer), that justification is only the consequence rather than the content of the gospel (Molland) and that Christology rather than justification is the theme of the epistle (Friedrich) and will argue that the doctrine is so important and...

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...g in Christ but rather supports its significance because it represents the fruits one may be able to get, taste and experience when and after one has genuinely and fully immersed oneself in the faith in Jesus Christ.


Barclay, William The Letter to the Romans, 1975, The Saint Andrew Press

Dawn, Marva Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God, 2001,William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Goodrick, Edward & New International Bible Concordance, 1981, Zondervan Kohlenberger III, John Publishing House

Heinecken, Martin `Justification by faith' in A New Dictionary of Christian Ethics, 1986, SCM Press

Kasemann, Ernst Commentary on Romans, 1980, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Lo, Lung-Kwong Paul's Purpose in Writing Romans, 1998, Alliance Bible Seminary

Ziesler, John Paul's Letter to the Romans, 1989, SCM Press

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that the sitz im leben of romans manifests itself as a letter addressed to the social interactions between jews and gentiles and the situation of the roman jewish community.
  • Argues that paul's reference to these three important conceptions at the preamble before dealing with any specific issue of the concrete situation in rome lends cogent and telling support to the contention that the doctrine of justification is the central theme in romans.
  • Analyzes how paul focuses on the plight of all human races which are neither free from sin nor free for god, a dire situation which evokes god's wrath.
  • Analyzes barclay's view that keeping all the laws is the way to attain to a right relationship with god.
  • Analyzes heinecken's position that christians remain righteous and sinners and need daily repentance and renewal.
  • Explains that the only condition for salvation on human side is faith in jesus christ, equally open to everyone, both jews and gentiles.
  • Analyzes how deissmann and schweitzer relegate the theme of justification of faith to an insignificant'side-crater' in paul's theology.
  • Analyzes how the essay refutes the veracity of the argument based on the frequency and number of references to the language 'in christ' in pauline letters.
  • Cites heinecken, martin, "justification by faith" in a new dictionary of christian ethics, 1986, scm press.
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