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Paul’s Concept of “justification by Faith”

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Victoria Williams (Box 813)

September 9th, 2017

Christianity 237: Synopsis #1

Paul’s Concept of “Justification by Faith”

        If you were to go to a Christian Church, throughout the sermon you would hear the pastor talk about redemption and justification quite a bit. These are very important concepts in the Christian religion and are very important when talking about the history of Christianity and talking about readings in Christianity.

        Paul, the early Christian apostle, wrote about Justification, which was to him the central concept within Christianity. Justification can be defined as a person being, considered righteous, or innocent, or corrected by God. Herion, states that Justification in the ancient times was known as “looking ‘good’ in a court of law,” (pg. 1 Paul’s Concept of “Justification by Faith”). This meant being found not guilty. If an individual was found not guilty, that meant that they were innocent and were justified. Paul’s concept of, “Justification by Faith,” means that one is considered righteous by God they have faith in what Jesus did on behalf of sinful humanity. Or in other words when he died on the cross to take away the sins of his people.

         Herion then goes on to discuss, four claims that are associated with the term Justification. The first claim is that, “human beings are sinful to the core.” The first thing we need to understand pertaining to being sinful is that sin is not only preforming misdeeds it is also being cut off from God and being focused on oneself, otherwise known as being self-centered. When one is being self- centered they are unable to practice agape or the selfless love and compassion for others. To Christians, everyone should practice agape because Jesus did, however, because we human beings are sinful we are unable to practice agape. Paul states, that because humans are sinful, faith would be a better route, and God gives such faith to humans. In this first claim, Paul describes the character Adam to get this point across. Adam comes from the story of Adam and Eve, who were the first human beings to be created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27).  In this story, Adam was to tend to the garden of Eden and not eat any fruit from a certain tree. However, in Genesis 3, they acted on what they wanted to do rather than what God wanted them to do, and they ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, which was the only tree they were instructed not to eat from.  They ate the fruit, because their decision-making was based on their own self-interest which overrode the word of God, and caused their disobedience. Because of Adam’s self-centered decision making, death was brought into the world, and because of Adam’s disobedience to God, every human being is condemned with death.

        In addition to Adam, Abraham was another character who was mentioned in the old testament. In the story of Abraham, God promised him that he would be the father of many people. However, when Abraham was 99 and his wife Sarah was 90, they believed that it would be a miracle of God for them to have any children at their age. Being that they had not had children yet, Sarah and Abraham took matters into their own hands, instead of waiting for God’s plan to unfold. Abraham slept with Sarah’s handmaid and received a child by the name of Ishmael. Soon later, Abraham and Sarah had a son of their own of which would be named Isaac. God instructed that Abraham take Isaac to the top of a hill and kill him as a sacrifice to God. As Abraham believed that God would bring Isaac back to life if the sacrifice took place. So, Abraham took Isaac to the top of the hill and soon God intervened the sacrifice because his obedience and faith in God had been proved. In return for his faith and obedience, God promised Abraham’s family to be blessed and this blessing lied in his descendent Jesus. This is an example of humanity being blessed by having faith and showing obedience. Here the world was given the gift of redemption because of Abraham’s obedience where in contrast the world was given death by the disobedience of Adam.

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