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How can one escape God's wrath and gain eternal life? On this crucial theological question, Paul differs from other members of the second-Temple Jewish community. Their soteriology is synergistic: for them, though eschatological salvation is due to God's merciful removal of human guilt, obedience to the Law is also indispensable. The divine and the human co-operate. Paul however believes that under such a scheme anything less than perfect obedience to the Law is futile. In consequence, if there is to be salvation for sinful humans, it must be a salvation independent of all human effort and achievement, and thus solely through faith. Contrary to the recent consensus, Paul's concern was not primarily the inclusion of gentiles into the church. This non-synergistic soteriology of Paul's may seem undermined by some of his own statements, that believers must submit to eschatological judgment and that the person without good works will be disqualified from eschatological salvation. But this conclusion is incorrect. For what he holds is that the good works indispensable for salvation are necessarily performed by the believer as manifestations of the indwelling Spirit present in those who have faith in Christ.
Buy What Must I Do to Be Saved? Paul Parts Company with his Jewish Heritage (New Testament Monographs) by D. Smith Barry from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781905048823 & 1905048823
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